If you’re an artist, a musician, a website designer, a writer, than you’re used to getting requests to create something for people. And more likely than not, the requests come from people who don’t want to pay for said product. If you’re a pro-artist/musician/writer, odds are you’re just going to say no to these requests since that’s how you make your living and therefore the only exceptions can be the occasional support of a meaningful cause or a favor for a friend. If you’re not a pro, however, then being creative is not necessarily about money and odds are whoever’s asking you might have a better shot at getting something for nothing.
Do you guys see where this post is going? I’ve been drawing all my life and therefore I think the things I create are worth something. But on the other hand, I have a day job and illustrating is just something I do for fun other than the occasional commission. But most of the time, the requests I get from people to create something are for those who want it for free. To those who’ve made those requests and to others who hope to get stuff for free from people but don’t know how to approach the issue, I’m not saying you shouldn’t ask. However I do think it’s important to ask in a way that shows respect for a person’s time.
Example: Sometimes people want me to paint their portraits for blog headers or sidebars. No problem. I love doing that sort of thing. But unless it’s a commission, I have to pick and choose which ones I have the time to say yes to.
Personally, I am way more likely to oblige someone if that person has supported me in some way, even if it’s in a small way like giving a shout-out to something going on on My Style Canvas on her own blog or Facebook page. (Example: The illustration here, of blogger DG Palmer of Dear Girl blog and Scopic magazine, was done upon request. I had no doubt about whether or not I’d say yes–since she’s always supported this blog by linking to my site on her homepage and leaving thoughtful comments.)
I’m just mentioning this because lately I’ve gotten more requests from people I’ve never heard of before–never said hello in the comments or via email–and aren’t offering anything in trade for my time. I admit it’s flattering to some degree to be thought of, but honestly I’ve never said yes to any of those people and that is not likely to change.
The point here is that the thing to keep in mind is that even though people enjoy being creative, doing something like writing a song or an article or designing a website or a dress or–ahem–an illustration is something that can take quite a bit of time and effort. And it’s important to acknowledge that much before requesting a freebie.
Another way to go about it could be a trade in services if you’re a crafty or artistic person yourself. Or if your site gets a lot of traffic, offer a link on the side of your page as payment, at least for a few months, the way you’d display an ad.
Another way of saying, there are ways to get what you want even if you can’t afford custom artwork. Sometimes it’s just a matter of being nice and making some sort of effort yourself.
It's so nice to hear someone talk about this! It often goes left unsaid. Thank you for being honest!
I definitely agree with you on this topic…110%! In high school my peers would ask me to draw them a design for their local band CD covers and such. It's like people think you can just sneeze artwork onto something in the blink of an eye. It takes time, patience, and then you are stressed because you want to please the person. Sigh.
I'm a musician 🙂
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people often dont realise the energy and effort and time it takes to do such work! w
Hi Sabina, I am trouble uploading my video onto their contest app. As soon as it goes live, you will know. Thank YOU!! Danielle
interesting point of view, I think you write about important things that we often forget … btw, wonderful new drawing!!)
People sometimes can be very cheecky. You have a great blog and I am following you. <3<3
I can't believe people would be cheeky enough to ask for a freebie. It's patently obvious the amount of care and attention that goes into your artwork. x
from one creative professional to another – if you don't charge for your work, people will not value your work. ALWAYS ask for compensation because you ARE worth it.
Interesting point of view, although I am not an artist or anything like that, I can see how important it is for you to feel like people realize that a lot of time and effort went into the creation. I am actually surprised people would ask for something from someone they've had no previous contact with, especially for free or offering nothing in return. But having seen many of your illustrations for several blogs I can't say I blame them and I agree I think it is a big compliment to your talent.