Trade/request FAQ

8 min read

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Ulario's avatar
Don't get me wrong.  I love you guys... it's because of you that I am able to make my living doing what I love, and I haven't forgotten that.

That being said, I'm sorta on the end of my rope with people who ask me to do art for free no matter how many times I mention on my page that I don't do requests, so any further inquiries about 'freebies' will be directed here.  I'm also making a short FAQ about trades as well, since I feel like the two are kind of related.

Do you do free requests?
No.  Never.

Why do I have to pay you if I want art from you?
Because that's my job.  I rely on my income from art to pay rent on my house and buy food.  Paying me for doing art helps ensure that I can continue to do more art.
Asking me to do art for free is asking me to take several hours out of my time that I could otherwise spend on art that I'm getting paid to do and then getting absolutely nothing in return for it.  That's simply not fair for me.

But you'll be getting exposure!  Isn't that enough?
Okay... let me ask you something.  Would you go to a travel agent and ask them to give you a free vacation claiming that their agency will get 'exposure' because you'll be posting pictures of said vacation online?  Would you go to a car dealer and ask for a new car for free because driving around town in it will give them 'exposure'?  It shouldn't be any different for art.

What does money have to do with art?  

What does money have to do with making music?  With making TV shows or movies?
These things, like art, need money to produce.

But if you love art so much, then it shouldn't be about the money!
Do you know what else I love?  Buying groceries.  Having a roof over my head.

Buy I really, really really want art from you!  D:
Then save up for it.

But I don't want to save up for it!  D:

Then I guess you don't really want it that much.

No... you don't understand!  I REALLY want a commission from you!

Really?  Please.  Continue to to tell me about this art that you HAVE to have that isn't worth paying for!

I drew a picture of one of your characters!  Can I have free art now?
If you want to draw fan art of one of my characters, feel free.  I will cherish it and love it!
However, don't automatically assume that because you did that I owe you free art.  Asking me for this just because you drew one of my characters is pretty awkward and makes me feel bad when I have to decline.

My sister is in the hospital!  Can you draw some free art for her to cheer her up?  My dog died!  Can you draw a tribute picture for her?  I can't pay!
I'm sorry for whatever is going on in your life, but in the end, it's not my fault or problem that something sad has happened to you.
Plus I am well aware that some a-holes out there will just make up an excuse like this to try and convince people into giving them free art.  (No offense to you if you actually are going through a tough time).

I would like to hire you onto my comic project.  I need you to draw 40 comic pages in a week.  I'll pay you $100 for all of it.  Oh... and I can only pay you after its finished.
Would you like a side of magic beans with that?

I'd like to hire you onto my comic project, but I am unsure of whether or not you'll be a good fit for it.  May I have a 'sample' commission for free to see if your style will fit?
You can see plenty of 'samples' in my gallery.  You should be able to judge if I would be a 'good fit' or not by looking at those.  If you really need a sample and are actually serious about the project, then you shouldn't have any trouble paying for it.
Note to other artists:  Be wary of people looking for 'samples'.  I've seen a scam artist looking for others to color his comic and asking for them to color a page of the comic for free as a sample.  Well, it turns out that he contacted 24 different artists about this, each one giving him a different page of the comic so he actually got his comic colored for free.


Art is a luxury item. Not everyone can afford it. I wish that I could do art for others just for fun, since I enjoy doing it. But unfortunately that is not how life works.
Unlike many other artists, this is not just a hobby for me.  I make my living through illustration and graphic design, so I can't afford to work for low wages otherwise I do not eat and my bills do not get paid. I have to pay for food and bills, just like you or your parents do.
Complaining to an artist 'their prices are too high' is telling them that what they do is not worth making a living, and that simply is not fair to the artist.
Saying "I wouldn't pay that much for just a character sheet/illustration/whatever". All I can say to that is wow... JUST? Excuse me, but everything that I do takes hours and hours out of my life and comes from a skill that has taken me nearly a lifetime to perfect. Do not talk down to me in a way that makes it sound that the things that I make petty and not worth my time. 
Saying "No way in hell I'd pay for that! Not ever!" is unbelievably rude. Didn't your parents ever teach you manners? Learn some basic social skills before talking to others, kthnx.
And honestly, artists in the furry fandom are grossly underpaid compared to other artists. 
Seriously. Look at different industries and you will see what I mean. I've seen comic book artists charge upwards of $300-$400 for a simple pencil sketch!  If you have an issue with an artist's pricing, whining about it and acting like an unholy asshole only succeeds in making yourself look like a complete jerk and/or a spoiled child.  Talk to me like that and you will likely go immediately on my block list without warning.

Do you do art trades?

Not with random people that I don't know.  I only do trades with close friends that I know in person or with artists that I admire.  The only time I do random trades is with the small handful of exchange groups that I participate in. (FantasyXchange and CreatureXchange).

Is there any chance that you'll do a trade with me if I ask?

I'll only consider it if you are an artist that I really admire.
These are rare occasions.  And I will normally be the one to ask because I see that said admired artist is accepting trades at the moment.
Also, be aware that I've been burned on trades a few times in the past, so if you are the one to ask me to do one and I accept... then I will expect you to finish your half first.

Why don't you do trades?
The same reason that I don't do requests.
Art is my full time job so I am spending most of my time doing commissions that I get paid to do so that I can eat.  When I do get time to myself, I'd rather spend it world building or drawing my own characters.

Which character would you ask my to draw if I were to enter a trade with you?
If you want to do a trade with me, it is a requirement that you know how to draw human-like characters.  While anthros take up most of my gallery, it is my humanoid characters that are the nearest and dearest to my heart, so I'll likely be asking for one of them.

© 2014 - 2021 Ulario
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dreameroftheblue's avatar
NimronKiTel's avatar
I know that this is a few days late, but I've been putting a lot of thought into this so I could form a couple thoughts.

At first, I was to argue that you may be a bit harsh on a couple of those.  But after thinking, I realized I was probably looking at it not with not enough thought and from the "photographer" side of myself, where photographers and models regularly trade our respective times for furthering our collective portfolios (I'm in an agreement of sorts like that with my current model).  This means shared rights on the work, etc, all far too complex to get into for what I hope to be an overall short post.  That all said, thinking about the deal I've made... essentially, the rights to the photos are shared in lieu of cash.  So at it's core; it's still payment.

I didn't stop thinking at that though.  I thought deeper into the aspect of why they want free work.  Surely, greed came up, but there are other arguments.  Some argue that digital art has less or no value because it can be copied more easily and theres no such thing as a "Original" because all copies are identical.  Digital photography can suffer from that, too, with certain clients that like dealing in film.  This is not something I feel is true, but there are "people".  There always will be.

So in short... Look at it like this;  A tattoo artist paints, draws, etc using the body as a canvas.  Would you ask them to do work for you for free?

A canvas is a canvas, folks.  Bodily, light-chemical, light-electronic, paint, digital, occupying three-dimensional space, or represented in one...  Art done, is art that needs to be paid for.  Either with some sort of agreement between photographer and model like I (and many others) have done.  An art-for-art trade, which is also payment in it's own right.  Or by direct cash-for-work barter.  Unless it's art that's done for free, which is always awesome, but to expect - or demand - it is wrong.  An artist should do art for the love of it, it's true, but if it's free art, it should be seen and accepted as the gift that it is.  Would you demand a gift?  I wouldn't, and most of my family and friends would blush at the thought of doing something like that.

In the end, my knee-jerk reaction of you perhaps being over-harsh turned out to be just that.  Knee-jerk.  And like most knee-jerk reactions, it was wrong.  In light of that, though, I figured I could at least share how I made it to that conclusion so you might enjoy it, or maybe it could enlighten somebody else who hadn't thought of it in quite this manner.

...So much for short, ey?
Amber-ly's avatar
I was utterly amused reading this. Do you really get those kind of responses and expectations from people?! Your art is worth every penny you charge.
Ulario's avatar
Yes.  Yes I have.
Usually its from oh-so-cool preteens who have no idea how money works.  One of them even went so far as to saying that I was a selfish person for not doing a free picture of her pokemon character for her dad that was in the hospital.  (riiiight)
Amber-ly's avatar
Dads are usually not into Pokemon. Anyways, yes I was imagining spoiled kids to be the ones with such grand expectations, haha. They really have no idea.
CassidyPeterson's avatar
Ah, the exposure one is great! Almost every artist I know agrees that "exposure" is a piss-poor way of getting "paid" for their art, but you're the first to actually present an example! =D
Tank50us's avatar
I completely agree with alot of these. Although admittedly I've been known to ask some friends for some pick-me-up art when I'm down in the dumps.... But how often do any of us REALLY think about what we're doing when we're feeling that way...

But yeah, I do love how ya answered some of those questions... comedy gold right there XD
Sakumbi's avatar
Some people just don't understand, and that's okay because they will learn.  The ones I hate are the ones that I'm pretty sure know better and are just trying to take advantage of an artist.
Talezya's avatar
I agree totally with this! 
ZhaKrisstol's avatar
I see these crop up from various artists, and they're great! Very concise, and blunt, but that's a good thing.

It's a pity that there an increasing number of people out there that have these very same remarks regarding artwork.

Your art is definately worth the prices you charge for it, and I must get round to commissioning you one day.
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