SAY NO TO FREE ART

6 min read
PamzyLove's avatar
By PamzyLove
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Every day, there are more and more posts on here seeking "artists" for everything from auto graphics to comic books to corporate logo designs. More people are finding themselves in need of some form of illustrative service.

But what they're NOT doing, unfortunately, is realizing how rare someone with these particular talents can be.

To those who are "seeking artists", let me ask you; How many people do you know, personally, with the talent and skill to perform the services you need? A dozen? Five? One? …none?

More than likely, you don't know any. Otherwise, you wouldn't be posting on here to find them.

And this is not really a surprise.

In this country, there are almost twice as many neurosurgeons as there are professional illustrators. There are eleven times as many certified mechanics. There are SEVENTY times as many people in the IT field.

So, given that they are less rare, and therefore less in demand, would it make sense to ask your mechanic to work on your car for free? Would you look him in the eye, with a straight face, and tell him that his compensation would be the ability to have his work shown to others as you drive down the street?

Would you offer a neurosurgeon the "opportunity" to add your name to his resume as payment for removing that pesky tumor? (Maybe you could offer him "a few bucks" for "materials". What a deal!)

Would you be able to seriously even CONSIDER offering your web hosting service the chance to have people see their work, by viewing your website, as their payment for hosting you?

If you answered "yes" to ANY of the above, you're obviously insane. If you answered "no", then kudos to you for living in the real world.

But then tell me… why would you think it is okay to live out the same, delusional, ridiculous fantasy when seeking someone whose abilities are even less in supply than these folks?

Graphic artists, illustrators, painters, etc., are skilled tradesmen. As such, to consider them as, or deal with them as, anything less than professionals fully deserving of your respect is both insulting and a bad reflection on you as a sane, reasonable person. In short, it makes you look like a twit.

A few things you need to know;

1. It is not a "great opportunity" for an artist to have his work seen on your car/'zine/website/bedroom wall, etc. It IS a "great opportunity" for YOU to have their work there.

2. It is not clever to seek a "student" or "beginner" in an attempt to get work for free. It's ignorant and insulting. They may be "students", but that does not mean they don't deserve to be paid for their hard work. You were a "student" once, too. Would you have taken that job at McDonalds with no pay, because you were learning essential job skills for the real world? Yes, your proposition it JUST as stupid.

3. The chance to have their name on something that is going to be seen by other people, whether it's one or one million, is NOT a valid enticement. Neither is the right to add that work to their "portfolio". They get to do those things ANYWAY, after being paid as they should. It's not compensation. It's their right, and it's a given.

4. Stop thinking that you're giving them some great chance to work. Once they skip over your silly ad, as they should, the next ad is usually for someone who lives in the real world, and as such, will pay them. There are far more jobs needing these skills than there are people who possess these skills.

5. Students DO need "experience". But they do NOT need to get it by giving their work away. In fact, this does not even offer them the experience they need. Anyone who will not/can not pay them is obviously the type of person or business they should be ashamed to have on their resume anyway. Do you think professional contractors list the "experience" they got while nailing down a loose step at their grandmother's house when they were seventeen?

If you your company or gig was worth listing as desired experience, it would be able to pay for the services it received. The only experience they will get doing free work for you is a lesson learned in what kinds of scrubs they should not lower themselves to deal with.

6. (This one is FOR the artists out there, please pay attention.) Some will ask you to "submit work for consideration". They may even be posing as some sort of "contest". These are almost always scams. They will take the work submitted by many artists seeking to win the "contest", or be "chosen" for the gig, and find what they like most. They will then usually have someone who works for them, or someone who works incredibly cheap because they have no originality or talent of their own, reproduce that same work, or even just make slight modifications to it, and claim it as their own. You will NOT be paid, you will NOT win the contest. The only people who win, here, are the underhanded folks who run these ads. This is speculative, or "spec", work. It's risky at best, and a complete scam at worst. I urge you to avoid it, completely.
So to artists/designers/illustrators looking for work, do everyone a favor, ESPECIALLY yourselves, and avoid people who do not intend to pay you. Whether they are "spec" gigs, or just some guy who wants a free mural on his living room walls. They need you. You do NOT need them. Say NO to free art.

And for those who are looking for someone to do work for free. please wake up and join the real world. The only thing you're accomplishing is to insult those with the skills you need. Get a clue.

If you agree with the above important information, please pass it along. The more people know, the faster we can correct this.
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© 2007 - 2020 PamzyLove
Comments481
anonymous's avatar
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ChrobinCormillaLover's avatar

Shame this is happening...

PearlDove's avatar
PearlDoveHobbyist Digital Artist
Okay but...I'm hosting a genuine contest and I'm about to announce the winners soon (which is only two people to be honest)...does that made me a scammer? ^^;
benitothesnow's avatar
Plenty of people who pursue their art part time are willing to do it for free simply because they enjoy it (like me) and they want to be part of something. There's nothing wrong with that.
dexter-draws's avatar
dexter-drawsHobbyist Digital Artist
True but this isn't about y'all, its about the people who DO wanna make money and a living off of their work
Kchic99's avatar
Kchic99Hobbyist Digital Artist
What if the requester want a free art but i can't post it in my DA? I would do the request for training but no posting.. -_-
HarArtMouschou's avatar
HarArtMouschouProfessional Traditional Artist
There is no way to correct this... I deal with that very often and I can't anymore. People pay for ANY usual job they are asking from the others,  but when asking for an artwork (something that is supposed to be special and unique) they believe they don't have to pay for it. WHY??? I would never understand this. I could never ask from a stranger to give me something or make a work for me like asking for a favor. Well, he is a stranger who is going to spend time for you...
I was thinking for years that they don't realize the real value of art.
But now I believe what really happens is exactly the opposite : They KNOW what they are asking has a special value. But they want to underestimate it but trying their best to have for free. Arrogant and disrespectful to the time, effort and soul any artist puts in his work.
And even more, giving Art for free, makes it have no value. It's like you give napkins...

I could talk endlessly for this but this post says it all. 
I don't know but sometimes this disapoints me so much that I want to stop creating. Obviously I don't draw for money (if I did I would have stopped years ago) but feeling that people sometimes dont value my work as they should makes me feel so bad... I guess every artist can feel me. 

p.s. Once I created a video about that... So I m posting it here too :)
youtu.be/pslEVELDrZw
Titanium-Wrench's avatar
Titanium-WrenchHobbyist Traditional Artist
Arguing Back:

But free art is a good thing to give away at times. I am not the best at drawing nor am I the worst, but I acknowledge that I need practice. I give free art or join the contests people run on here to do so. No, I don’t believe I will win anything, it may be a scam, and if it is: I knew the risk. I took that risk. I got to practice and I improved.

When I feel like I’m good enough, when I feel like I am amazing enough to start commissions (if the interest is there) I will start, but I’m the mean time I am mediocre and will practice by doing those things because it is good experience.

It is a good way to practice. If you draw something or someone you haven’t drawn before, it is good practice. It’s why free art can help certain people, but asking for it when it is not offered by extremely talented people is definitely not something you should do. People who are offering it? Go ahead and ask. People who are not? Don’t even try.
Vindexance's avatar
VindexanceHobbyist Traditional Artist
lol this is some of the funniest stuff i've seen in a while XD

Dude, some people don't care all about the money. Maybe they like giving people stuff, whether their art is good or bad. I myself know how hard it is to get points or money on here so I don't mind offering to do free art. I'm not even that great of an artist.

Like dude shhhh
sh
shhh

be quiet.

Don't be like that.

Some people do things for free
some do it with pay.

Some people do work for free and it looks horrible
Some people do work for free and it looks great!

But it's not big of enough deal for you to go on and rant about how no one should accept free art.
I like doing free art or art trades.

Not a big deal.
Blubirdss's avatar
BlubirdssHobbyist General Artist
  • Can you guide me with this....commission description thing, how to put this up in my profile ? It asks...
  • Commission Title must be between 4 and 80 characters
  • Commission Description must be between 10 and 10,000 characters
God-Of-BBQ's avatar
God-Of-BBQHobbyist Writer
What of those who are unable to pay for art? I understand most artists here must be paid for their work, hell a lot of artists here rely on that pay to be able to put food on the table, but I believe an artist who loves what he or she does, and enjoys the happiness they bring to many of their viewers should have no problem with doing free work every now and then. 

I'm not the best artist currently, but I have hopes and I'm studying and striving to become better at cartooning and being an illustrator, and when I do become good at my work and I'm known throughout a nice handful of people I will ALWAYS offer free work to those who are unable to afford it. I'm in that boat right now, I'm unable to afford the nicer works of the fine artists here, which is why I do things myself even without the great skill I see every day.

At one point you mention this:

"They may be "students", but that does not mean they don't deserve to be paid for their hard work. You were a "student" once, too."

Let me just say that I'm not against paying beginners for their work. Sometimes they honest to God deserve that pay, but I don't think beginners should put a price tag on their work when they become noticed. I feel like they should slowly ease their way into doing that. Imagine having somebody who is unable to afford work and can't draw at all come to you and ask you for some free work. It could be the simplest request, are you going to deny that man or woman's request all because they couldn't afford the slightest thing? Now let's go back to a time when you couldn't draw and didn't have the cash to pay for work and you went to somebody for a request and YOU were turned down. Didn't feel so good when you were denied, now did it? What right do you have to deny your customer who's probably a big fan of your work his free request?

It's the people who make others pay for their work who build and create an ego and get a big head from doing what they do. They tend to forget their beginnings and become detached. It's sad really. That's why when I become good at digital art and I become known, I will ALWAYS offer free work to those who ask for it. Because, in that time, I have been in their shoes and know what it's like. Artists who love what they do should ALWAYS do free requests at least once every so often.
MirthSpindle's avatar
MirthSpindleHobbyist Digital Artist
If people are unable to pay for art with a price tag, they should fuck off and get a job so they can pay for art, or mooch off of the very rare artist who slave away offering free art.
Titanium-Wrench's avatar
Titanium-WrenchHobbyist Traditional Artist
But for those who are unable to get a job or are in debt or just have financial issues, so some can’t afford it when they themselves can’t draw but want to see something come to life. Yes, they can practice s but sometimes they need the skill right then and don’t have it.
MirthSpindle's avatar
MirthSpindleHobbyist Digital Artist

If you are unable to get a job and are in debt, you should not be getting luxuries like art.

Titanium-Wrench's avatar
Titanium-WrenchHobbyist Traditional Artist
Yeah that was a dumbass comment made by me a while ago.

A more accurate represantion of what younger me wants to say is this:

Some people give free art because they want to and it’s good practice. I don’t get why you are trying to discourage people from doing it.

And some people need to back off and stop asking artists who are not giving free art for free art. If they are giving free art, then go ahead. But if they aren’t, stop requesting.
MirthSpindle's avatar
MirthSpindleHobbyist Digital Artist

I do free art sometimes when I really feel like it, but it is not a good idea to get used to being used. Lots of people who ask me for free art don't actually appreciate it that much, so I learned from that and stopped lowering the value of my work.


But yeah we learn things as we age. We pass on that knowledge. Then we die. :D

Titanium-Wrench's avatar
Titanium-WrenchHobbyist Traditional Artist
Yup.
Venelebat's avatar
VenelebatHobbyist General Artist
So you're saying I should make my art free if I suck at it but if it's amazing I should make everyone pay?
Sylpharie's avatar
SylpharieHobbyist Digital Artist
As one of the people who can understand this. PREACH THIS SHIT! 
KitSnips's avatar
I'm a little confused @_@
Venelebat's avatar
VenelebatHobbyist General Artist
Oi me too
anonymous's avatar
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