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!!

And Another Thing…!

Rants

I’m keeping an eye out for work opportunities once again and once again I’m in awe of the lunacy of people out there. Why do people think it’s perfectly acceptable to be ridiculously demanding in their requirements – such as saying the excellence of work they require, what they want submitting artists to do, how they want them to do it etc. Whilst at the same time saying things like “there’s no upfront payment but if this book does well we’ll all make some money”.

Seriously, people, this is your book, not mine. If you want to see your work in print then work for free, it’s your prerogative, but don’t expect talented creatives to bend over backwards creating illustrations for you – for nothing! I mean come on, in this instance particularly, they’re writing a children’s book. D’you know what’s one of the most important parts of a children’s book? The pictures!! Wise up my friends, if you want a fantastic book and you don’t happen to be friends with or related to an illustrator who’s willing to do you a favour then face facts, you’re going to need to put a little of your own money into this venture. Yes, if your book bombs then you’re going to be out of pocket, but that’s the risk everyone takes when they’re trying to start their own business in this world, you can’t just go around with your hand out saying “pweeese can oo do this, and this, and this, and this, and this… for fweeeee!”

Then there’s the people with their projects and worthy causes, the project type of person is the guy (or girl – let’s not be sexist here) who says “Oh I love graphic novels and I’ve got an idea for one so how about someone illustrates it for me…just for fun.” or “I’m running a fund raiser for one legged orphaned chickens and I want some free illustrations.”

First off, illustrate an entire graphic novel…for fun? I’m not saying it wouldn’t be a little bit fun, drawing is fun, I wouldn’t do it otherwise. But to slog away, hour after hour, day after day – because make no mistake, illustrating an ENTIRE graphic novel isn’t going to take a couple of minutes here – to slog away at it in the sure and certain knowledge that you’re just doing it for schitz and giggles is going to impact on your work. Your first panel will be a Leonardo (and by that I mean the artist) but by the time you’re on the fourth or fifth panel it’ll start looking more like a Michaelangelo (and by that I mean the turtle).

Playing devil’s advocate here I can say all right, I s’pose what else are these guys (or girls) going to do? They’ve got a burning desire to see their script all fleshed out and they’re hoping there’s someone out there willing to work for free – and maybe there is, there’s no harm in asking.

Or is there?

Where does one draw the line between it being ok to get work for free if you’re a down on your luck student with a dream but not ok to get work for free if you’re a down on your luck small business with a dream, or a tight fisted corporation with a scheme. Where do you say hold on a minute, I’m working my tuchis off, for you, for free, for what?

THEN of course they sometimes come out with the whole, oh it’s an excellent addition to your portfolio, or, you’ll get your name out there and fame will rain down upon thee, or, there might be more work available in the future and next time we’ll pay you!

Ah yes, the old “jam tomorrow” argument. This isn’t Alice Through The Looking Glass, this is real life. So let’s sit down and work out what your budget is and what kind of art work you can reasonably get for the amount of investment you’re able to provide. I’m not heartless, I understand sometimes people are working on a shoe string budget and I’m always trying to do my best to help out the little guy, but I’m not a total schmuck who’s going to put my heart and soul into doing a ton of free work for someone, no matter how important their mission is to them.

And sod the one legged orphaned chickens!