The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – How Not To Hire An Illustrator

Rants

 Continuing with the old hunter gatherer analogy, I have been out harvesting the fruits of the interwebs searching for succulent morsels. Whilst in this occupation, I have found a few really dodgy looking vegetables…

 Exhibit A – The Good Grief


“I have a model diagram and I need someone to design a diagram which looks like the model which Ill give to you.”

          So…are we all clear on that then?

Exhibit B – The Bad Grammar

 

“A illustrator and drawist needed”


This person apparently wants a ‘drawist’ to bring to life the ideas that are in his head. Apparently it “shouldn’t take long.” I suspect otherwise.

Exhibit C – The Ugly Job Offer

“I have twenty illustrations that I need done for a fantas adventure novel.

There will also be a small amount of involved, as the final output will be for an iPad e-book.

Full color.

8.5″ x 11″.

Thank you kindly.”

Ok, definitely a weird grasp of the English language which implies possible communication difficulties ahead so that’s ringing a few alarm bells. There’s going to be “a small amount of involved” which really, could be anything. Assuming the poor verbal skills doesn’t have you running for the hills, you may ask what’s your budget for these twenty full colour 8 by 11 fantasy illustrations?

“Budget: $30-$250”

Say what?! That’s a maximum of about £158 for the whole thing, less the percentage fee for using this website, that’ll leave about £140-ish which works out as £7 per illustration. SEVEN POUNDS for a whole illustration, assuming each fantasy illustration takes, what, five hours to do (sketching, inking and colouring…plus redrafts because you just know this guy is going to want redrafts)? That means he wants someone to work for £1.40 an hour, and that’s ONLY if they pay the maximum budgeted amount. And they say slavery has been abolished!

But you know what’s really, really bloody awful. Worse than the fact this guy is asking people to work for an abysmally small amount. The worst thing is, not only have 26 people actually applied for this god-awful job and agreed to work for this pittance but one of them has bid $30 and said they can complete it in 3 days. THIRTY dollars, that’s how much they’ve valued their time at.

Maybe they’re really fast, maybe they can do all twenty illustrations in, I dunno, less than 3 and a half hours per image (because that’s what it’s going to take to do 20 in 3 days). So say if it takes them 2 hours per image, that’s 40 hours of their life they’re spending on this project in total. $30, minus website fee, leaves about $27 which translates to around £15, which works out as 75p an image or if it takes them 40 hours, about 37p an hour.THIRTY SEVEN pence an hour!! Now THAT is just plain wrong. What in the heck can you buy these days for 37p? What are they trying to do to illustrators everywhere by offering to work for 37p an hour?!


*rage choke*



Union!! UNION!!

What Makes Us So Special?

Rants

As a starving artist, I’m frequently to be found wandering the internet highways looking for work. Like the worldly wise tramp in the song “King of The Road”, after a while you get to know your way around and where to look for potential tit bits and scraps. So, I was at one of these proverbial soup kitchens the other morning and I was looking at the variety of freelance work they had available. Not just for illustrators either, but for pretty much every trade and professional you could care to mention. They had adverts for writers, escorts, programmers and adult movie stars, they had the lot. As I surveyed these dozens of job categories I was suddenly struck by a slight difference in the sections, the illustration section was the only one that was peppered with little symbols that signified competitions were available.

Yes, this site has recently introduced a new “exciting” concept, the competition! Not content with seeing people scrum to be the lowest priced creative talent on the market, now they want people to actually work for free. They don’t just say “work for free” though, no that would be too obvious, illustrators are too smart for that, no, instead they say “ooh, who can work for free the fastest?” to quote Tim Minchin “What, are we f***ing two!?”

Even this guy wouldn’t fall for it.

Seriously, illustrators, can’t you see what they’re doing? You’re working, for FREE! Just because they’re calling it a competition doesn’t change the fact you’re working for FREE, on the promise that maybe, just maybe, your work will get chosen by the client, thereby making you the winner and allowing you to get paid for your work (minus a cut for the site of course…)

The reality is, chances are you won’t get picked. In the mad free for all scrum of desperation, chances are someone else is going to get picked, or the client will go away from his computer and completely forget he even set up a competition in the first place. Whatever. End of the day, you’re left with a piece of work no body wants and you’re not one penny richer.

But you know the think that ired me, and prompted this rant in the first place? It’s the fact that the little “competition” symbols are all over the illustration sections, advertising, design, painting, caricature, cartoon, logo – they’re all at it. However the other sections on the site, the writing sections, the computer programming sections, hell, even the adult film star sections. They don’t have competitions, they don’t have “Who can write the most gripping novel? Winner gets paid.” and they don’t have  “Who has the most novel grip? Winner gets paid.”

I reckon she’d win…

Why are we so special, do the rest of the creative community took down on the illustrator section and just laugh? Are we, as a group, so gods damn moronic that we can fall for the painfully obvious “Let’s see who can sell themselves out the fastest!” infant school rubbish?

Yes. Yes it would seem that we are.

What a load of horse poop.