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Submitted on
May 5, 2012


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Things you should never ask an Artist to do

Journal Entry: Sat May 5, 2012, 10:55 AM
I write this to not spark a debate or judgement, only to share my personal opinion and experience in hopes of benefiting you and offering insight to people thinking about hiring an artist.

Things you should never ask an Artist to do:
1. Free Work.
Do I really have to explain this one? :) You wouldn't walk into any other business offering a service and ask for free clothes or a burger right? No, you pay for them without question and they take a lot less creativity, time to make and cost a lot less. Why ask people to work for free on something you couldn't make yourself? If you believe in your vision, then I suggest find funding for it to pay the people doing the work for you. This goes for family as well, don't get me wrong, I love my family and enjoy doing something for them but it means so much more when I OFFER to do something for free than when it's expected. Let the artist decide whether or not they want to give their time for free without asking them, as a rule treat them with respect as you would a business and be prepared to pay.

2. Mimic another Artist's style.
Maybe there are a lot of people on the fence on this one but for me and from an artist's perspective it takes a while to develop our own style and look. We spend hours every day perfecting it, and it's an ongoing process, so why would we want to paint like someone else?? If you see an artist and like their work but it doesn't fit your style you're looking for, move on and find the right one. It's taken this long for me to figure out my own, why would I want to mimic someone else?

3. Fast Work.
We're all entitled to our own opinion on this but if you look at the mere logistics, is anything rushed of good quality? Would you rather have 10 flawed pieces that are knocked out in a short amount of time or 10 quality pieces that will pay off in the long run. Art is what we do, it's who we are...don't ask us to compromise the very thing that defines us.

4. Read Minds.
I've run into this quite a bit and the result is usually me redrawing something 10 different times before the client says "yeah that's it!". I realize it's challenging for some to communicate what's in their mind on paper, heck I run into the same thing, but there is one word that will remedy that very thing. References. Some of the best jobs I've done are people who use pictures, artwork samples, perspective shots, name it, anything to get their idea across. I don't care if you have to buy little action figures put them in a pose and use a digital camera to get the perspective you like, to me that's awesome. :) The more details and visuals you have on your idea makes it easier for the artist to conceptualize and execute it more effectively. Saves time and money for both sides.

5. Lower their rates.
To me this is in the same vein as asking for free work and borders the boundaries of compromise. There are some things you haggle in this life and some things you don't. If you're at a garage sale looking at an old toy with some damage here and there, haggle a way. A uniquely designed and original piece of work that takes weeks or months to complete, you do not. :)
I wish people would realize that an idea is only an idea but artwork solidifies it and plays a big part in the profit and popularity. Take care of the ones making your idea come to life that's bringing prosperity, it's an honorable thing to do.

6. Work for recognition.
As long as I have been an artist, I have never EVER had exposure pay my bills. Sure exposure is necessary, but there are a ton of different ways to market your own work on your own time without giving someone who doesn't appreciate the value of art a free ride. We pay our way in this life, they should too.

7. Can I pay you when the project starts to make a profit?
I have spent so much time and invested my own money based on an dream that belongs to someone else. I have yet to see a profit from these projects and it just leaves me with a "What the hell was I thinking?". Granted there have been some projects with some awesome people working on an idea I believed in as well and wanted to offer my time but again that was me offering my time as a gift.

I encourage you to look at it this way, what does the guy at the helm have anything to lose? You're the one doing all the work and not getting paid, he's the one coming up with the ideas based on your creativity and the one who will most likely come out on top regarding profit. You have much to lose, time spent on free projects could be time spent on paid work or even your own dream. The truth is people will use others that allow themselves to be used, respect yourselves enough to know your time and creativity is valuable and worth compensation.

I'll share a personal experience with you, I'll keep things on a generic level because I don't want to name call and point fingers because well, that just isn't cool. :)  I was approached by a company with an idea that I thought was awesome, they even had success with it in the past and had some big players interested in funding it. We had some big names ready to sign all we needed to do is produce, I believed in it so much I devoted 2 years of my time working on the project and invested $40,000 of my own money to enable me to work for free and cover other expenses while I worked. The deal was I would get paid when the company did. Well the company kept making changes to where it was doing more harm than good and to make things worse I found out I could've easily been paid during the 2 years I worked. I was in such disgust I walked away from the project and never looked back. It's my own fault for signing up, but the sad truth is in hindsight I allowed myself to be taken advantage of. What did I have to show for it? A shattered dream and no money. LOL It's why I've told myself I'll never sign up on a project where compensation is based on a gamble or on a later date, no matter how good it sounds. (Unless if it's my own dream of course) I respect the work I do enough to know I need to be compensated, if people truly believe in their vision they'll make things happen, appreciate the people under them and have a desire to compensate them.  

Anyway that's just my two cents. I am by no means the authority on this, I just felt like doing a journal that might help others think and to prevent them from getting sucked into an increasing trend where artists are underpaid and undervalued. Maybe this list will increase as I continue my path, who knows. :)

  • Mood: Artistic
  • Playing: DC Universe Online/L4D2/Dragon Age 2
Skin by Ikue (modified by stevegoad)
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pandaprincessalamode Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014   General Artist
I have a family memeber harassing me for #1 she thinks that it's her right to get my art for free then insult me.
BoxedSurprise Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Number's 1 & 2 hit home, and uh, I feel kinda bad for doing #5 to a well-known artist who is also my friend. I'll keep in mind this journal and pay him what he deserves next time (even more important now that he's getting married!).

I want to say #3 is sort of thrown the wayside when it comes to illustrators for companies (concept art mostly), but time does equal a better work. :)
nashpotatoes13 Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
I like your journal skin
SilverYoshi Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2012
An awesome read, and I couldn't agree more. :)
gearseffect Featured By Owner May 8, 2012
#4. Read Minds, heh there are a bunch of free websites where you can browse stock photos to link the artist to as well.
LoopyLion Featured By Owner May 7, 2012  Student Artist
Very good, very good. You sound like an Art Professor.
adampedrone8 Featured By Owner May 7, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
i love this.
Hellkiller777 Featured By Owner May 7, 2012
I definitely agree with this, especially the free art one. Cause there's times in which I'd love to get art from an artist, but don't have the money to pay. That's why I usually try to be good friends with an artist. Not just because I like their art, but because I want to build a friendship. Some artists even give their friends free art out of nowhere or as a gift. Nonetheless, you still gotta be ready to pay, cause it's usually rare for them to do that for you.

As for not rushing, as much as I'd like the art to be finished in a good pace, it's still not worth rushing. Besides, the more time they take, the more better the art will be. I had to wait near 3 months to get two amazing pictures: one of my dragon from :iconharcolico:, and one of my main sona from :iconw22374:. Despite the times I've been wondering when the art will be done, I always tell the artist to take all the time they need, cause there's no need to rush. Even if I have to wait long, seeing the final product always makes the long wait worth it. I ask the artist to "surprise me" and to take their time. And it ends up being amazing :)

You really speak the truth in what people shouldn't ask an artist to do. :)
stevegoad Featured By Owner May 7, 2012  Professional General Artist
Thanks Henry, I appreciate that. :)
Hellkiller777 Featured By Owner May 8, 2012
No problem Steve. Anytime :)

I've always wanted an amazing pic from you since seeing your art. Too bad I've been having money issues and looking for a job. But whenever I get the cash, I'll definitely be looking for you :):hug:
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