I’m tired of getting these stupid offers to work on people’s “passion projects” for free, usually with the promise of compensation when/if the project takes off. Guess what? I don’t care that you’re passionate about it, I care if you’re competent. When you knock on my door asking for free work, its a clear sign that you aren’t. You might have hopes that your project hits it big and that you’ll eventually get rich off of it, but if you REALLY believed in it, I feel like you’d be more willing to put your own livelihood on the line instead of asking an artist to do it for you. If I do a bunch of free work hoping it’ll pay off, I’m not doing other work that could actually feed me and pay my bills. And what happens when the project doesn’t get funded or some important factor blows up or everyone decides to quit out early? I get screwed. So, no. I don’t want to work on your passion project. Not unless I get paid up front.
WONDERFUL ADVICE for artists. Please don’t undervalue your art, your time and efforts are valuable and deserve fair compensation.
Add “ custom mask for my speculative DJ/Youtube personality” to this one too haha.
Children’s book is absolutely the most requested “I’ll pay you tuesday for a burger today” move in my experience though. I’ve had people who hadn’t even written the book..or *a* book…ask me to make work for free with promises of payment once the book “takes off”. I realize that it’s not a case of malicious intent so i try not to get angry but it’s still a frustrating position to be put in. So you want me to drop all this work that is paying for my life and take several months to make this art ( under your direction and vision which im sure you have lots of experience with art directing and communicating with an illustrator to achieve the look you want) That devalues what i do and im not sure working with someone who doesnt value my work is a good career path. Yes, you like the work..but you don’t value it or respect the time that goes into it.
Don’t fall for this. I did at first because i thought i should be glad anyone was even looking at my art ( this is a thing i was told and believed because i didnt know better) Guess what- “exposure” didn’t pay off. I made a lot of art that went to waste. If you are making work for a portfolio, work on YOUR ideas. People who offer exposure as payment rarely have the pull or professional awareness for
that to mean anything.
If you are going to take a risk, take that risk on your own work. Taking a risk for someone who has already demonstrated that they have no idea how to start a professional project and are okay with putting someone else out for their own gain is asking for a big mess. A big mess that could cost you a lot of time and distract you from making GOOD work. The chances that person is going to know how to get the work published, marketed, sold, and make one red dime is very very low. A lot of people are full of shit, remember that. It doesnt mean they are bad or mean, just….a lot of people are good at believing their own hype and expect everyone else to buy it too.
It’s ok to say no.
Being an artist means that you will have to be the “bad guy” who reality
checks people who think you should be grateful for the attention.
Sometimes i just politely smile and nod when someone says “oh you should
sell these at the flea market i go to , people would love them!” or
pitch me wildly expensive, tone deaf ideas that they think will save me (
im doing fine and no i can’t cast these in bronze because i don’t have a
home forge and most people arent going to buy $2000 figures and no i do
actually think about the logistics of what i choose to make and costs
and…sigh, never mind) One person recently insisted that i charge a lot more for my work- which is flattering- but would not listen when i explained why i cannot price myself out of my own audience. She knew my business better than i did , somehow- despite me doing this for 13 years and her doing it….never. Sometimes people want to use you as a sounding
board for their own fantasies once they hear you are an artist and aren’t really interested in a conversation. A lot of people think art is
magic and most people aren’t aware of the nuances and culture that comes
with being a professional artist so they say some dumb stuff with the
best of intentions but you really just want to strangle them…just a
gentle quick strangle, nothing permanent…
Anyway, im just glad that young artists now have a much more accessible support system and network that can guide them a bit on stuff like this. I could have avoided so much wasted time at my start, haha!
This is one hundred precent true. Don’t work for someone else without getting paid. If it’s your project, your ideas, go for it, but don’t sacrifice yoursrlf for someone else.