Top Three Ridiculous Requests Of The Week

Rants

Greetings cuddle muffins! Alrighty then, so I’ve got a couple of offerings from the bin of hopeless adverts here for your delight, delectation or just general ambivalence. So, here are this issues top three unbelievably shocking artistic requests made towards the creative industry…

Third Place:

Looking for an illustrator / artist who can draw up 14 little cartoons (black/white) each pertaining to a description (e.g. chess, science, etc.)
To be used on a website.

It shouldn’t take long for the right person to produce what we need. Pay is $40 for the project, including any changes to be made after feedback.

Remember the translation guide I posted a few days ago? The eagle eyed amongst you will note the careful use of the phrase “shouldn’t take long for the right person”. Of course we all know what they really mean by that, not that they left you guessing there as they follow it swiftly up with “Pay is $40” (if you can’t be bothered getting out the calculator, he’s offering $2.86 per illustration) and just as you’re reeling from the sheer brass neckery of it all, they finish you off with the kicker “including any changes to be made after feedback”.
Ouch! Good luck with that…

Second Place:

I am writing a children book and would love to toss some ideas around as far as the illustrations go. Maybe see what you have to offer and go from there. At the moment NO PAY IS OFFERED. How ever if we continue and see a common vision, than I would love to make a select person the illustrator for the book and list you as such on the cover.

Again we can refer to our handy-dandy translation guide for this one boys and girls, see where she says “NO PAY IS OFFERED” that gives us some indication of what she has in mind here. However, even without this glaringly obvious factoid, we’ve also got the old ‘jam tomorrow’ tactic, the promise of future work and fame, fabulous fabulous fame as she promises to list your name on the cover no less! This of course is after you’ve trawled your creative talents giving her an unspecified number of ideas for HER book, which, if she likes them, she may decide you can then bring them to life for her – for free. If she doesn’t like them, you’re out on your ear anyway for the same amount of no money. Plus, she might just take your ideas and saunter off into the sunset with them. “Toss some ideas around” indeed!

The Winner:

I need an excellent illustrator to make a rendering of a battle scene with George Washington from the Revolutionary War. Piece should be stylized and resemble porcelain etchings and artwork with decorative elements.

Please email me for specifics, I need this ASAP. $150

This is, without a doubt, the clear winner of this post’s selection. How could anyone top this…well I suppose if they were asking for the same thing and offering less money. Yes, granted, they didn’t have the out and out bare faced cheek to not offer any pay at all, but $150 for a rendering of a BATTLE SCENE from the revolutionary war, starring George Washington resembling porcelain with decorative elements. I’m sorry, come again? You want what now? For how much?!
Then just to really take your breath away, they begin it by asking for an excellent illustrator (for $150?!) and end it by saying they need it “ASAP”. Oh right, yeah, last minute porcelain etched battle scenes, it’ll be with you by five.

Tune in next time for more shocking discoveries from the world of freelance illustrating…

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.