Always On The Go…

Ponderings

I’ve been really busy recently, working part time in a job which is fun, plus I’m doing a lot of illustrations in my free time. No surprises there. Working on a new series of images at the moment, it’s all very hush hush but I’m planning on putting a whole heck of a lot of effort into this, the plan is to seriously market these images on calenders, notepads, coasters that kind of thing and see what happens. Fingers definitely crossed.

I’ve also been given a commission to do which has me head over heels with happy if everything goes ahead without a hitch. Although I have learned by now not to count my chickens before they hatch, the best laid plans have an alarming tendency to go horribly wrong at every turn so, I’m not holding my breath on the commission until money has changed hands and I’m definitely hired. Everything up to that point is just idle promises really isn’t it, no matter how friendly they sound. I’m really hoping I’m not going to be let down, really hoping.

If you’ve got any tips, tricks, feedback or leads I can follow for illustration opportunities then please let me know, I’m trying out every angle I can attempt. I’ve got the dream and I believe I’ve got the drive, so hopefully the combination will mean that my ultimate goal of working five or six days a week designing illustrations for people will be achieved in the not too distant future.

Watch this space, as they say.

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Prefer Another Style?

Rants

If I got money every time someone told me they prefered another style I could make quite a lucrative living out of it. I’ve even started ammassing a collection of emails in case that day ever comes when I’ll get paid for the backlog.

It annoys me so much every time I get it too, got one this morning if you hadn’t figured it out. Didn’t just suddenly wake up and thinkĀ hey now it bugs me. No, I had a message from one of the many creative freelancing type websites I’m a member of, it was actually the potential client’s second response. Their first response yesterday was that they were rejecting my offer of work because my bid was too high, so I knocked a few quid off it in the hopes of landing the job anyway and lo…today I get a message telling me they’re rejecting my new bid because, they prefer another style.

If they had just stuck to their guns and said it was too high, it wouldn’t have bothered me so much. I could have just thought, well they’re pushing it if they think I’m going to reduce my costs any lower some other schmuck can work for nothing if they want to. It wouldn’t have bothered me. But it’s the fact that they “prefer another style” that really sticks in my craw, don’t they realise that I work in a variety of styles? There’s only room on the website to attach one image to your bid to give the potential client’s a flavour of your work, out of all the images in my portfolio I have to pick something relevant to the task at hand. He was looking for someone to design a fun, friendly map so I sent him an attachment of a map I’d already done. Granted, the map I sent him was more “Treasure Island” than “Magic Kingdom” but I thought, at least he can see I’ve done maps before, obviously I can make them more or less realistic depending on the needs of the client. It’s not like you ask me to do something new and I’ll fall onto the floor twitching and frothing at the mouth or anything.

I have a range of styles for goodness sakes, a range of styles. I can do things realistically, cartoony, delicately, boldly, graphically or paintedly…my style changes to suit the needs of the client so why do they all seem to think that if I haven’t already created exactly what it is they’re looking for, it’s something I will be unable to do. Are they that narrow minded? Do they really believe I’m lacking in any brain or talent whatsoever that I can’t follow a brief?

Infuriating it really is. I know, I KNOW, I could do the project he’s asking for, I could do it really well. But because I haven’t already done it, it would seem, I’m not the style he prefers.

*long drawn out sigh*

Back to the drawing board.

The Sin of Wrath

Rage On!

The Goldilocks Zone – Is it out there?

Rants

Trawling from freelance site to freelance site looking for illustration commissions puts me in mind of the film “Tootsie” oddly enough, Dustin Hoffman’s character, Michael Dorsey, is schlepping from audition to audition trying to find work as an actor in New York. Every time they tell him he’s too old, he’s too young, too tall, too short…or just not right in some way. He quite rightly points out that he’s an actor, he can change himself to suit their needs but, they don’t care.

It’s a lot like that as an illustrator, but I guess it’s a creative industry standard. You’re doing way more legwork than you ever get back in terms of actual work, you’re swimming upstream with thousands of other equally talented artistic salmon and there’s a tiny handful of jobs out there. This of course leads to one of my personal bug bears, the dutch auction website.

For those of you who perhaps have been blissfully unaware of a dutch auction, or websites containing them, I shall briefly explain. Imagine if you will, an auction, although instead of the price rising in increments with the highest bidder succeeding, in a dutch auction, the price goes down and it’s usually the lowest bidder who wins. This is unbelievable douche baggery of the worst kind, instead of buying something, as you would do in a regular auction, all the creatives bidding on these sites are selling something – namely, themselves. And ridiculously cheaply. I have seen shocking bids, absolutely shocking. Say for example a client has gone on to one of these websites and posted up a job looking for an illustrator, say he wants 100 images and he says his budget maximum is going to be fifty bucks or pounds. Yeah, that’d be 0.50 cents or pence per image, doesn’t that just make you want to vomit? That’s how it makes me feel, and then to basically see the squiggling mass of desperate, desperate illustrators clawing over each other to debase themselves for this tight fisted nobodies amusement. I’ll do it for 25p, I’ll do it for nothing, I’ll pay you to let me do it!! Alright, the last two never happen, but that’s probably only because the websites don’t have that function.

It’s just not fair and it’s not right, and whilst I’m not guilty of ever doing it to that extent, I do more often than not, grossly undersell myself, and it kills me. I can’t stand seeing a piece of art with a mind bogglingly over blown price tag, particularly if it’s rubbish – (everyone’s a critic right?) But still, there’s got to be a line somewhere between underselling yourself, overselling yourself and just right. I need to find the Goldilocks band somewhere in all this madness. That sweet spot where dignity and self worth can sit in harmony with customer satisfaction and value for money.

I doubt I’m the only artist out there who’s plagued with feelings of angst over how much one should charge or accept in payment for your work. It’s art after all, it may have taken you hours or days, you may have put your heart and soul into it, how can you accurately put a price on that?

It’s tricky, very, very tricky. Client’s ought to know this, they ought to know that whilst they’re well within their rights to turn down massively over priced art where the artist has clearly priced it with their heart rather than their head, but at the same time, surely they’ve got to think “Here I am, offering someone ten dollars for a couple of days work, that seems fair…wait, maybe…just maybe it’s not fair…maybe it’s actually tantamount to slavery? Who can tell?!”

Meh, that’s just something that bugs me is all. There it is.