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Five Tips to Starting Freelancing

Journal Entry: Sat Jul 21, 2012, 8:04 PM
So, you're tired of being unemployed.  You've been stuck at home for the umpteenth month in a row, a new season of The Legend of Korra is still a year off, and your government support checks (should you be lucky to still be getting them) won't even come close to affording you a bus ticket to Everfree Northwest.  Your evaluation of life is the same dissertation of tedium and monotony as Helen Keller's review of Chinese Democracy.

You know, pretty much on par with every other review of Chinese Democracy.

But know what?  If you can't find a job, you'll make a job!  Screw finding work, and screw the employers who keep dismissing your applications for being "over qualified" like that Bachelors of Science in Graphic Design is as detrimental to your character as being a registered felon.  Screw them and that stupid help wanted sign at Quiznos.  Now you're freelancing, baby.

While I'm assuming you're already good enough and networked enough to get little nibbles here and there, it cannot be emphasized enough that the best way to drum up interest in getting freelance work is to be communicative with other artists and show off as much work as you can.  Always keep practicing, stick to your art, and frequently post new stuff.  While acquiring a freelance gig is a bit of a complicated matter of its own, the manners of getting it are pretty well documented.  Visit forums dedicated to small art jobs.  Draw what's popular and siphon interest from an existing fanbase.

Shmooze.

But once you've secured that first freelance job, you'll quickly come to find that the hard part hasn't even come yet.  Because now comes the challenge of actually getting it done.  Yeah, here seems to be an appropriate spot for the title.





- - - = = FIVE TIPS = = - - -
TO STARTING FREELANCING






STAY PROFESSIONAL

You're working from home now!  Hooray!  No bosses or supervisors to hold you to task for anything!  Now you get to stay up as late as you want, sleep in as late as you want, take as many breaks as you can, and hey, just as long as you get a good six to eight hours a day in, you'll be flying pretty and living the high life!  Right?

The unfortunate truth with freelancing and working from home is simply this.  You're still working.  Just because you stripped away the office confines and have replaced it with a more traditional residential ecosystem doesn't take away the necessary obligations you're still held to.

As a freelancer, you'll still have to deal with deadlines.  You'll have to deal with clients.  And when you're dealing with clients, they are your bosses.  And you will be working with many bosses.  Think you're your own boss?  Think again.

The human animal is highly accustomed to "The Routine."  If we break that routine, we blow our productive homeostasis.  Something as simple as waking up one hour later can demolish our ability to be creative, simply because we're subjecting our bodies to a subtle change in "The Routine."  As creatures highly conditioned to recognizing and adapting to change, humans have difficulty sticking to "The Routine" if "The Routine" gets hit with seemingly trivial alterations.

You were productive and punctual at your last job, right?  You wore the uniform, dressed the part, arrived on time sober and wearing pants, are you really so opposed to punctuality that transitioning to working from home will coax you to stop such a practice?  Don't be unprofessional.  You're working from home, yes, but you're still working.

Shower, dammit.

You'll find that starting your day of freelancing in a manner identical to starting your day at the office will keep your body in tune with "The Routine," and make it so much easier to just wake up and get productive.  Sure, it's all in your head.  "The routine" is all in your head.  But you know what else is all in your head?  That fantastic creativity and artistry of your's.  I certainly don't see you throwing that away.

Dress nice, smell good, wake up early, treat your workspace as you would your own office environment, and keep clear of distractions.  Granted, a tiring day of constant drawing takes a lot out of you.  But the feeling afterward isn't nearly as bad as the "God I did absolutely nothing all day today when I was supposed to" sensation.  After all, you've been unemployed for all those previous months.  I'm sure you're quite sick and tired of the "I did nothing all day" sensation by now anyway.

Break time's over.  I don't care if nobody's around, put some damn pants on.


START SMALL

Face it.  You don't know how much you can do.  You think you know, but the truth is, you don't.  Every commission you receive is a new experience, a new series of things you must learn, and a new array of benchmarks you must achieve first.

It's admirable if you want to get started straight away at being the fastest, most highly detailed, intricate artist in the universe.  Better to aim high and miss than aim low and hit, right?  Of course.  Pride and ambition are fantastic qualities in young artists.

However, when you make the brave step into doing commissioned artwork, remember that you're no longer up against your own ambition or desires that you must achieve.  There's now a second person in the mix.  Your client.  And as you've taken a brave step yourself, they're taking quite a brave step trusting you with their money.  So don't let them down.

When starting out, do something that you know very well you can do and have done.  There's nothing wrong with starting small.  It would be a shame to go through all the work to elevate to an artistic caliber where you could even humor the crazy idea of selling your talent...only to crash and burn out right out of the starting gate.

Think it'll only take you a few hours to do an image?  That's cute.  Give yourself a week.  "But Daaave," you protest while sipping a venti light vanilla latte with no whip, "It's just a silly little logo design, how hard can it be?"

You'll be amazed at how easy it is to bite off more than you can chew.  So make for darned sure you give time frames that are reasonable not just for your client but more importantly for yourself.  Start small, give yourself a crazy amount of time to do it, and if you just so happen to get it done six days and twenty-two hours ahead of schedule, then imagine how pleasantly surprised your client is going to be!

Listen.  The last thing you want to do is be hit with too much work.  And I know what you're thinking.  "Dave, you horrible ambivalent weenie," to which you wave a boot angrily over your head.  "How dare you complain about having TOO MUCH WORK when the jobs economy is flatlining harder than the third season of Mind of Mencia!"

Cleverly noted, you dapper illustrious bastion of the common man's plight.  It's perfectly natural to throw up in your mouth to hear some bloke in this economy advising against accepting a lot of work.  I hear you.  But as much as our current reality sucks with economy, reality also has quite the penchant to suck when it comes to our creative capacities as well.

Hear this.

Maybe starting out small will only get you partially up to your desired production rate.  But starting out already overwhelmed and bogged down will, guaranteed, completely stop you immediately.  You'll lose the desire to work.  You'll hate doing freelance work.  You'll miss deadlines, lose sleep, fall behind, and worst of all, get a bad reputation from the person who hired you.

Oh, they talk.  Yes, they definitely do talk.  Your clients will make everyone else know if you took on way too much and will safeguard their fellow potential clients to seek commissions elsewhere.

Don't risk it.  Start small.  Build up gradually.  Make sure you never cross that line into getting overwhelmed.  Give yourself tons of extra time to anticipate any unforseen events like PC crashes, illness, or emergencies.  And most importantly, allow yourself some time off, too.  Like a car, you can't start the engine if you flood the...umm...accelerator thingy with the, err, uhhh gas pipe flowey bit-look I'm an artist not a mechanic, but just imagine a coherent metaphor of sorts here.  You do too much, you're going to have a bad time.


MANAGE YOURSELF

You don't have a secretary.  There probably isn't a director handling the workload above you.  You can't afford an accountant.  And if you mess up managing a commission, you certainly can't afford a lawyer either to protect yourself.  As a freelance artist, you are predominately on your own, and as your own separate entity, you must remember that it falls upon you to manage and maintain the commission given to you.

Worst part about being your own boss?  You still have to act like a jerk boss.

First off, data keeping.  Hope you have some experience with that, otherwise you'll have a lot to learn in a frighteningly short period of time.  Put forth that extra effort to properly organize all the work you're doing.  Create folders that are organized by the year you do a commission, and then folders for each month within.  Then, create a folder for each commission you do that month.  Inside of that folder, create YET ANOTHER folder for references and specific directions from the client.  Include a text copy of every Email sent between you with time stamps.  Keeping track of Emails in an offline file is a great safeguard to protect both of you should a disagreement arise.  It's also way easier to refer to that file than go sifting through the piles of other Emails and commission-related messages occupying that bulging inbox.

Then keep a text document that tracks that commission's progress.  Have you received the instructions and references?  Is it paid for in full?  Have you only received the first half of payment?  Did the payment go through?  On what day did you receive payment?  Keep track of every facet of the commission's development, particularly the financial information so your client doesn't pay you less than the agreed amount (or worse, if you lose track and accidentally charge them twice).  Handling finances is a dirty, icky feeling, and nothing can ruin a business relationship faster than mismanaging the financial stuff.  Just because you're one of those "we'll handle the payment later, no pressure" kinds of people (bless you for your patience by the way) doesn't mean you're also lax on keeping tabs on it.

Secondly, you're also in charge of data storage and supply. When working on your commission, don't just save frequently.  Save multiple copies.  Save on both your internal and external hard disk drives.  If you do not yet have an external HDD, go buy one right now.  And if you don't have a backup external HDD, you'd do well to have that on hand as well.  For myself, I save my image across three different files.  That way, if I make a gigantic error that I cannot undo that just ruins the file I'm laboring on, I don't have to start over; I just grab one of the two backups.  Maybe it'll put me back ten, fifteen minutes.  But I'd rather that than lose an entire afternoon.

Lastly, manage your time.  Keep a planner of stuff you want to get done today, and don't forget to include planned time off as well.  And yes, plan time off.  Don't assume you're mister crazy awesome-pants artist guy, because you're not.  If you keep your time intact, you'll realize you'll find more days to spend on yourself, and that your productivity will soar when you remember to unwind every now and then.


NEVER ACCEPT "ROYALTIES" FOR PAYMENT

This is by far the largest and most prominent crime committed against freelance artists.  It's absolutely disgusting to see some people even attempt to get away with this.  I get these offers all the time, and these offers always, ALWAYS, get immediately deleted.  I don't keep track of them, I don't respond, and I immediately purge it from my memory.

Working for free, expecting royalties as compensation.

To a new freelance artist, the opportunity sounds amazing.  What if you're the guy who creates the next Batman?  Imagine, having a promised twenty percent stake in the whole franchise?  Do this with enough stuff, and inevitably you'll land upon a runaway success that brings freight trains of gold straight to your doorstep, right?

Every artist makes this mistake at least once.  I did it.  You probably did it.  Every big name artist I know has done this.  They've worked for free on something that wasn't guaranteed to earn revenue, and paid dearly for it.  Luckily for me, it was just a week's work, but I know people who contributed to projects for several months and haven't gotten a single check out of it.

This is why "royalties as compensation" doesn't work, and why any aspiring producer should be publicly shamed and immediately IP Blocked from all job boards should they be so insulting to the craft as to suggest it a valid means of payment.

Say for example I were to agree to a 10% cut of a comic.  Or 20%.  Heck, let's make them super generous, I get 80% of net profits on a comic.  I could make up any percentage I want, actually, and I'll still get the same amount in the end.

Zero.

Here's how.  I complete the comic.  Let's even give these guys some credit.  It doesn't immediately crash and burn in sales like 95% of all unfunded ventures go.  Let's glance over the fact they were unprofessional enough to resort to "royalties as compensation" which implies a lack of professionalism regarding other matters like advertising and distribution.  Forget all that, they defy all laws of physics and their comic sells an impressive 2,000 issues at five bucks apiece over the course of three months, meaning a gross income of $10,000 in a single fiscal quarter.

Awesome job!  80% of that would land me $8,000!  Right?  Told you these dapper blokes were generous at 80%!  But how generous are they really?

Economics lesson, kids.  Take a seat, because this joke gets pretty funny.  Let's say that they printed a total of 3,000 issues.  Printing cost for that would run about $4,000.  Therefore, the $10,000 gross you made is now $6,000.  Still, 80% of that is $4800 just for you, still not bad for an 80% cut (did I emphasize how unrealistically generous these guys are?  I know, right!).

Now let's talk about how they sold all those copies.  Like most independent sellers, they got their money through conventions.  Over the course of three months, they could attend up to six different comic conventions.  Boothing at each one runs about $500, so that's $3,000 when divied up between six conventions.  Oh, did I mention that with "royalties on net profits," business expenses like attending conventions to sell product cut into your own chunk of money you're owed?  Should've clarified that earlier.  Because now you realize, they're not paying you a whole lot at this point.  In fact, the work you did on that book, the money you're supposed to be receiving, is now being used to pay for its printing and distribution.

Let's also not forget, these guys are seasoned comic distributors seeing as they're going to so many conventions.  So they also know to write off everything else as a business expense.  Now your "royalties on net profits" are going towards paying their gas.  You're now paying their lodging.  You're paying for their food.  You're paying for the late night binge kareoke session they got hopelessly sloshed at after picking up two underage Adventure Time cosplayers at the adjascent Burger King.

And when all is said and done, guess what.  There are no net profits left.  You get 80% of zero.  In fact, they're probably in the hole at this point.  Technically, as 80% shareholder of the venture, you owe THEM money to make up how far into the red they went after blacking out and regaining consciousness nine hours later covered in a pile of Monster High merchandise in aisle seven of a Walmart eighty-nine miles south in Fullerton California.

Oh, when I said earlier that this joke gets funnier?  I lied.  There is no punchline, actually.  It's just one gigantic tragedy, like some glorious opening sequence to The Final Destination except it's not happening to people we're championing gratuitous misfortune upon.

Compensation via royalties is an absolute sham, a dingy scheme to swindle well-meaning hard-working artists into giving them product they can peddle unto others to satiate their own ravenous appetite for raucous parties and free trips to see the voice cast of Futurama.

And worst of all, I wish I thought of it first.  Crafty jerks.


CHARGE A REAL WAGE OR CHARGE NOTHING AT ALL

Protip: If you don't value your time...nobody will.

I knew an awesome character artist.  She was in high school, loved what she did, and certainly had an amazing talent in regards to imagination, creativity, color theory, and manifesting the emotional attributes of a character in their physical attire.  She was amazing.

Then, she opened herself up for commissions.  I will draw your character.  I will make you comics.  I will give you full poster resolution scenes.  And I will do it for between $2 and $5.

She means well, she really does.  What she doesn't realize was she took my workhorse, and clipped off its legs with a pair of garden shears.

There are a lot of professional artists out there who make their living solely through the generous patronage of others.  They have to make their own prices, and they have to find the right balance between something that's agreeable to a casual audience (we know you're not a super corporation like Fox or Disney, so we'll charge a reasonable faire), and something we can still live off of.  We need to pay bills, pay for gas, pay for food, and if the wallet permits, stake a claim in the latest Steam sale.

Hey.  Priorities, man.

But when a young girl who still lives with her parents and aspires to venture down other professional avenues opens up her invaluable talent at a rate that sinks the rest of us, problems arise.  Again, she didn't mean any harm in it, but harm is exactly what she did.  She single-handedly dropped the pay grade curve a few notches forcing professional artists in her circle to adjust their prices accordingly.

Think from a producer's standpoint.  They want great work at a cheap price.  This girl was their golden goose.  Screw the rest of us, they go to her.  She gets all the work, we get lots of days off instead.

Sure, it works for her, because she doesn't suffer any major consequences in working borderline for free.  But on the same token, she wouldn't be much worse off if she did work for free.  Producers also prefer to purchase their work, and will usually insist on a price if "free" is the only answer they get, even though labor laws demand at least some compensation of sorts.  And ya know, she'd be hugely surprised to see a handsome check grace her PayPal account that she never even expected in the first place!

The point is, we freelance artists have to stand together and work together.  We have to compare our own rates amongst eachother, and try to be as consistent as possible.  Otherwise, we throw off our own economy, we force a lot of artists out so they can find a more stable economic engine, the talent pool thins out, we get crappier artwork in the long run, and the producers suddenly get this new luxurious power where they can get all the artwork they want for criminally low prices.

Don't enable them.

Charge a real price.  Or don't charge at all.

Add a Comment:
 
:iconll-corah-sage-ll:
ll-Corah-Sage-ll Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
this needs to be a DD
Reply
:iconvexcel:
Vexcel Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Love your journals!
Reply
:iconcarnie-vorex:
Carnie-Vorex Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2013
This is a very useful article, and besides, I like the language :) But there's still a lot to learn for someone who doesn't even know the average prices, and where that information could be acquired.
Reply
:iconthierryclan14:
thierryclan14 Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
This, i agree wholeheartedly.
Reply
:iconscatteredashe:
ScatteredAshe Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for this outstanding and illuminating article!
Reply
:iconricardoredway:
ricardoredway Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012
THANK YOU FOR THIS
Reply
:icongoldgust:
goldgust Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2012  Hobbyist
What art job websites would these be?
Also, I don't know if my art is good enough for me to charge a bit of a higher price; does anyone have advice? My info is here. [link]
Reply
:iconmbirkhofer:
MBirkhofer Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
One of the biggest things about freelancing that drives me nuts, is the "when it rains, it pours" factor.
You can go 3-5 months begging for jobs, then boom 5-6 jobs all come in at once. More then you can possibly handle at one time. And they all have immediate deadlines. This can be a major hurdle.
As you need to be ready for this as best you can.
During dry periods. STAY BUSY. Be active, work on personal projects. Push your boundaries in ways you can't on commercial products. Be active, and engage clients, other artists, etc. Work on building notoriety and a fan base.
During busy periods. Pace yourself. Keep communication up. Try to work with people to get as much work as you can... But not so much that you miss deadlines. It is better to turn someone away early, then keep them waiting. Pace your funds as well. Freelancing, you do NOT have a steady paycheck. Food, mortgage, rent, taxes, hospital bills, insurance, etc. Be prepared to have the funds for these things, even during a dry period. 5 months is a minimum.
Reply
:iconsisterhipster:
SisterHipster Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Feeling overwhelmed about this...
Reply
:iconpaperheadman:
Paperheadman Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for all the good tips and advices =)

May i ask you some questions in private ? If you don't mind of course :)

In the meantime i hope you'll have a nice day or night !


deviantART muro drawing Comment Drawing
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:iconthanosztitan:
thanosztitan Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2012
Thanks For this, an Eye Opener and Future Reference!
Reply
:iconmarian0:
marian0 Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2012
Helpful and eye-opening. Thanks for sharing.
Reply
:icon00aceofspades00:
00AceOfSpades00 Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I admit, i did a royalty job once. But the guy came back with the money he promised me. But after that experience, i have never did it again.
I also would suggest to pretend (always) an upfront payment. If the customer is really strict on this aspect, you can propose to him a 50% before and a 50% after you show him a looooow res preview of the finished work. But never work with who wants to pay you after the work is done. NEVER! It could be an honest person or it could be an asshole, the fact is that you will never know; it's better to protect your interests.

Beside this, i totally agree with you ;)
Reply
:iconvamporchid:
VampOrchid Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Great advice Dave. I loved reading every bit of this.

Question for however.

I'm saving money to get some schooling. I don't know what I should be going to school for. Here's my problem, I want to draw and color my own stuff. Is there a specific coarse I should be looking to take? Should I be going to school at all? I'm talking online schooling by the way. I want to freelance. It would be the ideal thing for me. I really just don't know where to start.
Reply
:iconvest:
vest Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012
I'd recommend taking a stab at an animation course. It'll give you all the know-how and comfort in creating your own illustrated work, but it will also elevate it to a greater level in which you could turn a professional career out of it. Animation also translates across several different industries like graphic design, web design, layout, video games, and advertising.

It's one of the more versatile breeds of art major you can get.
Reply
:iconvamporchid:
VampOrchid Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the reply! That's actually a great help. I was really stuck on what I should be looking at. Now that I can narrow it down. I will just have to decide what schools I should be looking at for online classes. Thanks for the info David.
Reply
:iconkainthebest:
kainthebest Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think the best way to get a job on the job forums is to apply for as many jobs as possible even though you are already chosen for another job. The reason is, there are a lot of people out there that you are competing against. If you are overwhelmed with work you could always just decline a job offer as long as you haven't accepted payment yet.
Reply
:iconagramuglia:
agramuglia Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for writing this. I was sent a link to this by a friend, and it really helped put things into perspective. I was opening up commissions for writing fanfics and stories, so, for me, this was sorta a new thing. This actually helps a good deal. >_<
Reply
:icontwiggybot:
TwiggyBot Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Great article, thank you for sharing your advice.. ^.^
Reply
:iconcomical1:
Comical1 Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You had me rolling at "Shower, dammit." but the mathematical breakdown of royalties was extremely depressing and eye-opening. I am definitely one of the audience members this article strongly applies to, I've been unemployed since January and I've made a rather useless attempt at the whole freelancing thing (no bites I'm afraid). Sometimes I think we have to realize that perhaps our personal styles are not what's marketable, or at least for someone like me at present. But hey, that's why we have the lovely disclaimer of being a "hobbiest artist"...

One of the major tips I am going to try out and take away from your wonderfully provided words of wisdom is this: "Draw what's popular and siphon interest from an existing fanbase." It may sound like common sense, but lets face it, artistic people are not always the most sensible people in the universe, are they? ;) I'll give it a go, and thank you- for sharing this with us here on DA :D
Reply
:iconhavkatt:
Havkatt Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Thank you for sharing your experience.
However, pricing commissions can be extremely difficult, especially for beginners.
When are your art worthy of what price?
Reply
:icon7daywalk:
7daywalk Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Well said!
Reply
:iconnamine0015:
Namine0015 Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
another wonderful article ^^ :clap:
Reply
:iconkazukishinta:
KazukiShinta Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2012
i print so i read it more carefully, but no worries, i included your deviantart to my print version, i didnt own a PC and just renting^^..this one really gives some odeas and the comment below from :iconmaylar: is really helpful too^^
Reply
:iconmaylar:
Maylar Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Professional General Artist
Two last tips...working for royalties can pay up sometimes, depending of who you work with. There's honest people out there and there's the other kind, who will not hesitate to milk you out completely, if they only get a chance. Since that other kinds is the majority of those who offers royalty payments, it is always better to stay away. However, if you know who and what kind of people are the people who offered you this and trust them, it doesn't have to be such bad experience.

As for the professional artists who accept less money than professionals usually do...sometimes, they just have to. The girl mentioned is financially secured (her parents, etc.) and has no excuse beside being young and unexperienced. And if she decides going truly professionally into artistic waters, she'll realize the damaging side of this very soon. But there's people who are not financially secured at all and for whom even a few bucks is better than "nothing" (which is what they get, if setting their prices higher). It depends of the place you work from, the background, the customers interested in your work and the depth of their pockets and of many other things.

I know several of such people...some of them are from countries where money has different value than in "financially secured countries" (if there is such...but you know what I mean). From places where even a single dollar/euro means something. Some of them live in those "financially secured countries", but are just poor themselves...and earning couple of dollars while being underpaid against earning nothing by pricing right, means the difference between eating or not eating that day. I know a guy who sells hand drawn cards of the city he lives in, for around 25 cents each, sitting in the subway entrance. He doesn't have the computer, or the internet access and no other way of selling those...and between whoring and selling these for lunch, guess what he chooses? Does he know he is underpaid? Of course he does. There's only no chance he could get more money, where he is. And of course there's someone out there who sells similar cards for living and prices them in realistic prices and who loses sales to mentioned guy...but the both artists are at lost.

We live in a dark world and for freelance artists, it was never too bright, either. Let's go back in time and slap DaVinci's father for selling his underage son's painted shield for only four florins, when even half-decent shields by better known artists were priced over fifteen. And let's tell Van Gogh he shouldn't underprice...

But, unfortunately, I truly do agree with what article tip on this says in general...just last month, I declined an offer to do a religious icon for a sum the customer suggested (and which was around three times lower than a normal price is, even with all discounts I could count in). It bit me to pieces to refuse, but I finally did. And what happened? Guy found a girl who will do it for 100$. More than a month of hard work, for hundred bucks. That's the reality...if you don't starve enough to do something by the suggested price, someone does. Being professional artist, living from my art, I can't allow myself to drop prices, not even when it slows down my business...but someone is desperate enough. It is a sad story of "art prostitution".

The solution is, I think, in internationally based guilds and sticking our artist's behinds together as much as we can, no matter where or who we are. Supporting each other, teaching and sharing...otherwise we allow producers, big companies and such to find someone who is willing and hungry enough to do it in their terms.

And we all lose.
Reply
:iconmbirkhofer:
MBirkhofer Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Well, don't confuse page rate+royalties, with just royalties. Obviously, page rate+royalties for any residual publications is the ideal, and the end game of what you really want to be working for. if you are working on a good long term creator owned project, or strong IP that might get republished in other formats or additional runs.

Just royalties is a lie though. Anyone that would have the marketability to actually sell enough to make it viable, would know better then to offer it in the first place.
Reply
:iconshadowyzman:
shadowyzman Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
I need to get my act together :P I have been lagging behind in my work too much
Reply
:iconagent-cheshire:
Agent-Cheshire Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012   Digital Artist
As a recent high school graduate I was hoping to start taking commissions here and there as a means to help pay for some of my college expenses. This was very helpful and cleared up a few unanswered questions bouncing around my head on how I should go about it. Thank you for taking the time to post this for the rest of us.
Reply
:iconloona-cry:
Loona-Cry Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
See, what I love about this article is that you can apply it to more than just freelancing. This really can apply to almost anything that requires solo work. :XD:
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:iconxxgrimnirxx:
xxgrimnirxx Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
ok where was this like six months ago?! lol would have loved it before I became unemployed and the ironic thing is that what you described was EXACTLY how i felt. now I am working a full time job doing something I would rather not be doing instead doing what I would like to be doing which is freelancing. alas I think the lack of contacts and networking has killed my enthusiasm of becoming one. Until, My daily drawings get to the point of notice. anyway, enough of my rambling, enjoyed the read and the advice. :)
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:iconhyperchaotix:
Hyperchaotix Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Those last two tips were news to me, thanks! I know a friend who worked on "royalties", but this was for a "company" that was composed of high school students, so he was able to get his "promised percentage"... which was about $40. Granted he considered himself a part of the company at the time so it wasn't so much freelancing as it was a job. It turned out okay, but it was a near miss, that's for sure.

Either way, those last two tips opened my eyes, so thank you!
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:iconimwritten:
Imwritten Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012
I must say great job with writing these tips. What I liked was the way you explained the tips well but at the same time added a bit of comdey.

The fact is freelancing isn't easy, I know I have looked into it here and then. The fact you can explain it so well (The "royalties" was very detailed, good job with that :)) just shows you know that freelancing isn't a case of a few steps to riches, it's serious business.

I hope your info will help many people. Again Great job :)
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:iconrebel-rider:
Rebel-Rider Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
How does an artist know how much their art is worth? I know some people who work on art for an hour have a very beautiful picture but others work for an hour and have a pretty poor picture. For now, I think I'll just do requests since I'm not comfortable with having people pay for my mediocre art.
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:iconamayaells:
AmayaElls Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I found this formula once for pricing art.
Materials + Labour + Expenses + Profit = Wholesale x 2 = Retail
I thought it might be helpful for those who don't know how much is too much (or not enough). This is more for crafts, so maybe take out the wholesale bit.
Basically Expenses would be your gas bill etc for the time spent drawing and labour would be your desired wage x the hours spent. I think this is a good formula in most situations.
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:iconpureluck13:
pureluck13 Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Great article.
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:icon21stuser:
21stUser Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Student Artist
Miss read as 'Free-running' deeply saddened at the article being different. Read article and now looking forward to freelancing!
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:iconkmcressey:
Kmcressey Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Student Digital Artist
hey i recently got asked to do some 3d models for a company
who said thed pay royalties, now i know its all bull
but since i just started doing this, do i take the job and only say work on it for a couple months to earn some cred
or turn it down all together and just keep practicing ?
(Mainly iv'e not been a big person for money i care more for skills)
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:icongwalla:
gwalla Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012
If you take the job and only work a couple of months, you will get no cred or payment. Don't take jobs for "practice"; you can always practice by doing personal work instead of giving somebody free labor.
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:iconkmcressey:
Kmcressey Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Thanks man
made things easier on what to do
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:iconkatelynjayne:
KatelynJayne Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Wonderful article, very well written and tons of information, thanks!!
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:iconaudranasa:
Audranasa Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
common sense really
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:iconwakamash:
Wakamash Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012   General Artist
Amazing, thank you soooo much! :love:
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:icondubslider:
Dubslider Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
The last tip in particular is something that's been striking me over the head. A lot of artists should -- no, they should DESERVE to read this and know that by undercharging themselves, that they put everyone else under the water too.
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:iconbfetish:
Bfetish Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Great journal. I'm in the same boat pretty much. But as a new artist in the game its all about street cred and proving yourself to be reliable.
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:iconfollowingstars:
FollowingStars Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Why did my brain read this to me in Matthew Perry's voice from when he's in Studio 60? Brain, you're a genius. *goes to work* :iconrainbowdashplz:
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:iconkaylingling:
KayLingLing Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2012  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I found this pretty helpful. I'm interested in venturing into the art world after school but can't really figure out what I want to do. So until I figure that out, I've been making hats, both as a hobby and as a little extra money for myself (still being a high school student, like you mentioned in your last point, leads to me not having to rely solely on my hats for income). So I charge about $12 per hat, more if the costs are higher, and I've looked around and seen it is the same price in a few other places on dA.

Anyway. I don't want to bore you. Thanks a lot, I'll be keeping all these points in mind if I do decide to start taking my hats seriously and professionally.
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