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And you shouldn't either. 

I only direct your attention here because I receive a LOT of requests of for free artwork, whether it be logos, character design and sometimes even graphic novels all intended to be for free. 

I'm a working professional making a living with my art. So clearly I won't be doing art for free, when it's my job to do it. BUT, I also support the idea that even artists who work freelance or even just as a hobby shouldn't work for free. 

Please check out this video by Stephen Silver who explains this way better than I ever could


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:iconfinalknight0x3:
finalknight0x3 Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I've never understood why people don't want to pay you for the art work they asked you too do?
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:iconmajin88:
majin88 Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
'nother great reference is, "Pay the Writer" by Harlan Ellison on youtube!
Reply
:icongeorgia-o-queef:
Georgia-O-Queef Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've never been comfortable asking for art without paying the artist. It feels awkward and entitled to expect a random person to drop what their doing and cater to people's often esoteric, boring interests for the hell of it.
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:icontravisharris:
TravisHarris Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2013  Professional Filmographer
AMEN.
Reply
:iconfrohickey:
Frohickey Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2013
If I ever get such requests, I tell them that I'm sure they must have a relative who'll do it for free. That way they'll get what they pay for.
Reply
:iconjmart-art:
jmart-art Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2013  Professional General Artist
Thanks for sharing this one man, good insight from this guy, not just this video but also his other ones.
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:iconoyetoons:
oyetoons Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2013  Professional General Artist
Preach on! Aside from doing sketches for close friends, I'm sick of doing artwork for free.
Reply
:iconpalidoozy:
Palidoozy Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I know I used to always feel bad about charging money for my art for some reason. One of the things that actually made me reconsider and start charging people, y'know, reasonable prices, is because it brings everyone else's worth down if you drop down to free/cheap as shit. Furthermore... I work a salaried job at a company. I don't feel right receiving a good yearly salary from them, but yet, doing work for someone else for SO MUCH CHEAPER.

When I was a younger artist (barely--it was only about 1-2 years back) I would take bread crumbs for artwork because I was so desperate. Not anymore.
Reply
:iconlelpel:
Lelpel Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2013  Professional General Artist
I'm so glad more and more artists are standing up about this - I really feel like the tide is turning - good on you Matt for having the balls to spread the word in such an open forum - it's about time we had some talented brave people say enough is enough! 
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:iconkamakru:
Kamakru Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2013
I think this "You should do it for free because you enjoy it" mindset leaks into everything these days :/
"You became a hair stylist because you love it, so please cut my hair for free" "you love working on cars, please fix my car for free"
Compensation doesn't always have to be in monetary form (although, it's nice, because the electric company prefers that!). But if I'm going to give away free art, I want that to be *my* decision, not the expectation.
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:icon14-spades:
14-Spades Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I can kinda see someone doing art for free if it is a sketch or something for a close friend or a really personal favor. Anything beyond that though, I don't see it. Art students go to college like I do. I am going to college for medicine soon so I can get paid doing what I love. The same goes for art students. I don't want to hear anymore of this starving artist BS that some people seem to be spouting. Artists need to eat too.
Reply
:icondan-duncan:
dan-duncan Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2013  Professional Filmographer
This topic tends to get a lot of traction, but I think it's an oversimplification to just say don't work for free.

If someone just wants a piece of art, it's a gift and your call.  It's annoying if you have to explain that you don't work for free but at least someone cares enough about your work to want it.

If they want free art to use in or on something they intend to sell I agree, get some kind of compensation.  At the VERY least get credit, so you can get your name out there.

And if it's a writer that wants to do a book they're essentially asking you to start a business with them where the initial investment is time from both parties.  and in that instance I say as the artist you'll spend more time so secure a bigger percentage.

What we do is valuable, and it sucks that we get taken advantage of sometimes, but it's also highly competitive, so that's just the nature of the beast.  There will always be drawbacks to an awesome job (celebrities have paparazzi we have fans) and more importantly, we've all done stuff for free.  We do personal work for our portfolios with no pay, in comics (specifically the bigger companies) it's common to be asked for samples, and I'm sure you have or at the very least know someone who has had to do an unpaid board test to get hired on a show.  That's still working for free.  I actually feel kinda bad for kids brand new to the business, who militantly refusing to do anything for free because their heroes told them not too.
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:icontonydonley:
Tonydonley Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2013
I tested this with a bunch of friends who are always asking me to dray them as super heros, draw their kids, their funny dog etc. I sent out a huge Facebook message to them all saying that I would do a drawing for them & all they had to do was buy my comic book digitally. They didn't even have to leave the house. None of them did it. Thats how important and how much they cared about all those dumb drawings they wanted me to spend time on. Oh yeah, the comic was $1!
Dont work for free.
Thanks for this post.
Reply
:iconmikebeals:
mikebeals Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
He makes a good point, The way I look at it is if it's going to take you a significant amount of time, you should charge for it. Most good art takes hours to do, if you at at your job and spend 4 hours there they pay you, If you are doing a drawing, with inks and full colour and it takes you four to six hours then you should consider that time billable hours and charge for it.
The problem is when you are trying to break in to the industry a lot of people want your to do work without pay or with a back end cut of potential sales. And because you aren't a known artist you want to prove yourself. It's a hard juggling act sometimes.
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:iconleonidas666:
Leonidas666 Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for sharing. Unfortunatelly, I'm not that good that I can turn down stuff... not yet anyway.
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:iconhamiltoons:
Hamiltoons Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2013  Professional Artist
I'll do free work for a charity (I limit those gigs) and make sure I can at least put out a tip jar ;)

I had a co-worker the other day ask, "Hey could you do me a favor.  My daughter is having a birthday party.  If I give you a picture could you draw her?  She likes to be a princess." 

I told him to give me the picture and I'd quote him a price.

I still haven't gotten a picture :)
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:iconvonblinden22:
vonblinden22 Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2013  Professional General Artist
I had a friend representing a larger group of friends who are big Phish fanatics solicit me to do a "pro bono" concept for their t-shirt.
I asked if this meant free or very cheap (because it can mean either), and also wondered whether just the concept was pro bono, and if they liked it, then they would pay for the finished product.
After a bit of back and forth via text, it was revealed that, not only were they trying to be dirt cheap about how much they spent on the actual production of the shirts, wanting to limit it to one color, but that somehow this group of "40-50 people" could not budget in a little money for the artist either.
$2 a piece would have given me $100 for my efforts, and a few more bucks would get them a nice, multi color design on the shirt, that you know they would wear for years.
Meanwhile, though some of these people are my "friends", they can justify the hundreds they spend on tickets, travels, hotels, and lots of drugs, but not $2.00 each to pay the artist.
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:iconcourtnee-blackmon:
Courtnee-Blackmon Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2013  Professional
When I get that now, I tell people I am busy, or that I do not come cheap and I do not work free. That or they get no response.
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:iconoki-rue:
oki-Rue Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2013  Student General Artist
Internet is a dangerous weapon to share our works, because everyone can steal them without requesting (I found my poor works with more downloads than favourites or comments) but when they have the kind to ask it would be the minimum ask for money, because we already cheated here.
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:iconoki-rue:
oki-Rue Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2013  Student General Artist
we've been already cheated*
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:iconraquelartq:
RaquelArtQ Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2013   General Artist
Very true i will share this video. I also hate it when other artists work for free. I always ask money but sometimes people don't want to give me a assignment because someone else is already doing it for free. Some people just don't understand they are ruining it for someone else that way. 
Also someone got really angry with me last week because i asked money for a a3 drawing in ink. He wanted to get it for free because he got a lot of drawings from famous artists. :/ He said that i should have been happy for the assignment. That he wanted to make me famous. Yeah right:/
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:iconweaselton:
weaselton Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013
Reminds me of the way customers treat us in the HVAC industry.

They always call us up hoping to get advice on how to DIY fix their AC units.
Reply
:icondasutobani:
Dasutobani Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Professional Filmographer
Just had a guy proposition me recently, I scared him off, unfortunately, after I tried to explain my rights as the artist.  He wanted it cheap and copyright free, I gave him the real price (which was still pretty cheap, at $200 for 3 full illustrations), and told him if he was mass producing it then he'd have to pay royalties.  

I don't mind doing individual pieces for people who are going to keep it for personal reasons, and not resell my hard work, and cut me out of the loop.

Although, in seeing the caliber of the crap this guy WAS using for his publication's cover.  It was a pretty sad effort to say the least, so I guess you really do get what you pay for...
Reply
:icongpapanto:
Gpapanto Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Professional General Artist
Well said, both by you and by Mr. Silver.

Those who work for free not only short-change themselves,
but they also make it tougher for professionals to make any
kind of living though their trade.
Reply
:iconfrelim:
Frelim Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Hobbyist
Ya....a lot of people here do requests and some even call it "free commissions" (which, linguistically, makes no damn sense).

I guess I kinda relate with some of these artists though. If someone asked me to draw something, I might feel like I'm not competent enough to charge them for it out of fear that they won't like it...but then again, your audience should be aware of your skill level and be willing to accept it. I guess we should just stop trying to be humble....and maybe respect ourselves more.
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:icontekweapons:
tekweapons Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013
People like to treat artists like they're nothing, and for the longest time, I thought that was how artists should be treated- and how I should be treated. Unfortunately that helped development of a mental illness that I've been going to therapy for.

It's peculiar how people think that art is not skilled labor, even when they prelude their statements with, "Gee I wish I could do that..."
It's contradictory.

It's also amazing how rude and shameless the free requestors can be. Some really seem to think that if they stamp you down and chide you hard enough, they'll get what they want.
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:icondiamondslaughter:
diamondslaughter Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013
What's hard is being someone who commissions art and trying to convince an artist to do commissions for money then do free art. I know alot of peeps who do art for free just to do it.
Reply
:iconacidic-leaf:
acidic-leaf Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
pretty understandable for someone who puts their time and effort into getting better at something to need compensation in return.
Reply
:iconsketchschmidt-art:
SketchSchmidt-Art Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I do as well , I may give out free art if that person(possibly inspired me to draw them) but it gets old
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:iconacecs:
AceCS Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013
I've only ever done so on a lark or when it seemed like fun. Stuff like on message boards and whatnot. As I only do stuff for myself and not or pay, I rarely do requests. And those I do these days are only ever for people I know well(IE, friends I talk to IRL and not on the web).
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:iconsicherheitpolizei:
sicherheitpolizei Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013
What? Somebody asked you for a freaking free Graphic Novel work? I hope that somebody didn't use the lamest excuse "You'll get exposure"
Reply
:iconoyetoons:
oyetoons Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2013  Professional General Artist
"Setiap Gerak Ada SENI, Setiap SENI Ada Rahsia,"

HEY! That's my NAME!!!
Reply
:iconsicherheitpolizei:
sicherheitpolizei Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2013
"Seni" means "Art" in my language (Malay)
Reply
:iconoyetoons:
oyetoons Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2013  Professional General Artist
. . . how 'bout that.
Reply
:iconsicherheitpolizei:
sicherheitpolizei Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2013
The saying in my sig is about 'silat' (traditional Indo-Malay martial arts) where each movement is art, and in the art contains power. 

Btw, nice art in your gallery
Reply
:iconoyetoons:
oyetoons Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2013  Professional General Artist
Many thanks!
Reply
:iconsketchschmidt-art:
SketchSchmidt-Art Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Haha ya :)
Reply
:iconneolucky:
Neolucky Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Professional General Artist
Yup! Agreed %100.
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:iconclxcool:
CLXcool Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I only do free art for people that I am very good friends with. If its someone who's asking me "Hey, can you draw me X doing this?". That happened to me once and I got ripped off since he didn't comment back on the drawing I did(I later found out that he hated it and cyberbulled guys like me for not being 'good'. Let alone the said user drew worst than Chris Chan). Nobody understands what it takes to put effort into the art let alone some of the best artists did art for the love of passion. But in the end threw the towel since they are sick of being abused for cash over talent. Bill Watterson had to put up with this when doing Calvin and Hobbes. 
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:iconjmqrz:
jmqrz Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I've done free art for friends or fanart which is completely different from what you are describing. I have people ask for free art all the time, especially tattoos. They ask me to design the tattoo and get offended when I throw a price at them, yet they will gladly pay hundreds if not thousands for the tattoo artist to do the work. Why is my work of any less value than the tattoo artist? The same goes for t-shirt art, people I have dealt with want the art for free, but will pay hundreds to print the shirts. The sad reality is people don't realize what it takes to create art, so they take it for granted and give the artist and art very little value.
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:icondarktailss:
DarkTailss Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I think part of it is a little jealousy and contempt on the buyer's part because they think drawing lines is simple yet they can't do it themselves. Somehow actually putting the tattoo on a person's skin seems like something that takes great effort and skill and care, but for whatever reason drawings don't inspire that same sense of reverence. People just say, yeah, whatever, you can doodle, big deal.
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:iconseratrystfall:
SeraTrystfall Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
It isn't easy to pay, so I like to try and offer something else in return. I know quite a few artists who aren't the best at writing, so I'll offer to do something that involves a short story or creating a bio for a character they created. 
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:iconeventua:
Eventua Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Student Writer
Hang on... so, who is this criticizing?

People that out of the blue ask for art? Or people who offer free requests (say, since they're a new artist and they need practice or because they just feel like it for a moment etc.)?

The former, I don't think I've ever done - I recognize that I can't draw for butts and don't have the patience for it. I might not like not being in a position to commission really good artwork on a whim, but that's the consequences of a minimum wage job. Why should I expect someone who did have the patience and skill, to do that for me? For free?
I'll stick to writing, I can do that well enough, I think.

On the other hand, if someone is *offering* free art, as a kiriban or a request or something, then sure, I'll snap it up.
Reply
:iconunlokk:
Unlokk Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I Agree with what your Saying , But how you handle family Who want Stuff for Free , I feel bad charging them lol But I Don't even know how to price my work :-/
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:iconalysandir:
Alysandir Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I'd say it depends. The comic industry won't survive without children taking an interest in comics, so I could see a quick 30-second sketch for an 8-year old (if you see 90% of the stuff from Adam Hughes that ends up on eBay, that perfectly illustrates what I mean). I've also seen artists do a quick face sketch on the inner cover of one of their published books in order to sweeten a sale, but again these are quick sketches, not even worth calling a warm-up sketch.

I've also seen sketches given as a "thank you" for someone who really went above and beyond in helping an artist out, like letting them bunk with a host while they're at a con (vs. having to get a room); but I'm not sure that qualifies as "free art."

But adult fanboys who want a fully rendered sketch or wrap cover? Sorry my friend, but it's time to man up and be a real patron of the arts. 


(Conversely, I can say from personal experience that I've been ripped off by published artists who insisted I pay 100% down for a sketch (only to take my money and pretend they don't know me later), so I can understand people who don't want to pay in advance for something...)
Reply
:iconmatthewrhumphreys:
MatthewRHumphreys Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Professional Filmographer
Yeah that's such a personal case by case basis I couldn't even begin to really explain. 
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:iconcarl-riley-art:
Carl-Riley-Art Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013

The biggest problem is that the comic industry is flooded with people that are happy to work for free, hoping for exposure. I've done it myself in the past hoping for a foot in the door and half the time the work doesn't get published and even when it does the exposure is not that great anyway. The second biggest problem is that so many artist who have great talent will churn out commissions or sell art on ebay for next to nothing. Way less than minimum wage. It drives the cost down for everyone. It seems like it's impossible to make any real money out of comics unless you work for one of the biggest publishers, but that'll never happen without plenty of exposure... and that wont happen unless you're happy to work for free or almost nothing. To be honest I'm fucking sick of it! I've been learning and improving my skills for years... have built a portfolio I'm proud of and still decent paying gigs are so few and far between it's ridiculous. I'd rather stick to fan art for myself and do it for my own enjoyment than bust my ass working for free on someone elses stuff for no reward.

 

Wow, that feels better! sorry for the rant :blush:

Reply
:iconmatthewrhumphreys:
MatthewRHumphreys Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Professional Filmographer
Thanks for the rant!
Reply
:iconcarl-riley-art:
Carl-Riley-Art Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013
No Probs.... think I needed to get that off my chest ;)
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:iconvashperado:
vashperado Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2013  Professional Filmographer
you wouldn't think this needed saying so often, but it really does!
I find a lot of people who ask for it really have no idea how much time and effort it takes
like its just a little hobby we do for fun
since its FUN for you, you should WANT to do it for free

yea nope, i like money just as much i like drawing
Reply
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