Requests. They are the bane of a professional artist's existence. Someone you don't know comes to your gallery, or stream and decides to ask if you'll draw something for them for free. You try to be polite and explain that you need to make money from your art. They, in turn, get angry, calling you 8 different kinds of selfish when you point out that you need money to live. It's frustrating because they don't understand what they're asking.What's the problem with asking for requests, some of you will query. It doesn't cost anything to make the art.
It doesn't seem unreasonable. What is often forgotten is art takes time. And as the saying goes, Time is Money. Many of us who get requests have been working for years on our art.
We study all of the things that the people who make the requests are too busy, too lazy, or too overwhelmed to do themselves. If our art wasn't some how superior in technique, be it color, composition, anatomy, or any other aspect, you wouldn't be asking. A three hour portrait takes much more than just the hours put directly in the piece. It's the result of time taken building skills. (See my journal
PSA To Younger Artists"Artistic Talent" Isn't talent at all.
Before you get into a huff, let me explain.
Artistic Masters like Vincent Van Gogh, Salvador Dali, Leonardo da Vinci, none of them were born able to draw as they could when their lives ended. Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott FitzGerald, Victor Hugo, Oscar Wilde et al didn't start out being masters of Writing. All of these people and anyone who enters a creative/artistic field, be it music, literature, visual arts, they all started out as beginners. The difference between them and everyone else is that they spent their lives honing their craft. Training in their field. I constantly see people comparing their art to that of people generally older and more experienced than them and coming away self-loathing because they aren't as good as their idol. The Idols have largely put in more time and study.
Excelling at visual art involves putting time into your art. More than just time dreaming, drawing, and coloring is the time spent study
for more on this)
When you ask for free art from anyone, you are asking for them to put hours of time into something for you, instead of putting it into something for themselves or for a paying customer, or instead of doing something else they enjoy like video games. You're asking them to give you a piece of themselves and giving nothing of yourself in return. That isn't fair. That isn't to say we don't give out the occasional piece, but most of the time, it's to friends, people who have in some way given themselves to us. A birthday present to the person you cried to about a break up. A Christmas gift for someone who has supported you through a family disaster. It's almost always a way to say thank you for something that happened behind the scenes. Equivalent Exchange. We put our heart and soul into our work. We need to get something for it.
There will be times where asking is appropriate. Raffles, giveaways, and the like, journals where you are invited to ask. You won't always be chosen however, and you must accept that too. Be kind. Remember all of us are trying to survive in a difficult world. For some of us, as much as we love it, drawing is painful. We all have bills to pay. We don't want to be rude. If I had infinite time and resources, I would be more generous. I'm sure many of us would. Some of us still do art trades with people far below our skill level, because at least they intend to give back.
What I am trying to say is free art isn't actually free. So don't ask as if it's nothing. Don't ask as if you're owed because you're you. And don't get mad if people say no. They have every right to value their time and effort.