Voir la version complète : Working for free

05/02/2007, 18h23
This came via CG Talk, its about a pet peeve of mine:



Every day, there are more and more Craigs List posts seeking “artists” for everything from auto graphics

to comic books to corporate logo designs. More people are finding themselves in need of some form of

illustrative service.

But what they’re NOT doing, unfortunately, is realizing how rare someone with these particular talents

can be.

To those who are “seeking artists”, let me ask you; How many people do you know, personally, with the

talent and skill to perform the services you need? A dozen? Five? One? …none?

More than likely, you don’t know any. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be posting on craigslist to find them.

And this is not really a surprise.

In this country, there are almost twice as many neurosurgeons as there are professional illustrators.

There are eleven times as many certified mechanics. There are SEVENTY times as many people in the IT


So, given that they are less rare, and therefore less in demand, would it make sense to ask your mechanic

to work on your car for free? Would you look him in the eye, with a straight face, and tell him that his

compensation would be the ability to have his work shown to others as you drive down the street?

Would you offer a neurosurgeon the “opportunity” to add your name to his resume as payment for removing

that pesky tumor? (Maybe you could offer him “a few bucks” for “materials”. What a deal!)

Would you be able to seriously even CONSIDER offering your web hosting service the chance to have people

see their work, by viewing your website, as their payment for hosting you?

If you answered “yes” to ANY of the above, you’re obviously insane. If you answered “no”, then kudos to

you for living in the real world.

But then tell me… why would you think it is okay to live out the same, delusional, ridiculous fantasy

when seeking someone whose abilities are even less in supply than these folks?

Graphic artists, illustrators, painters, etc., are skilled tradesmen. As such, to consider them as, or

deal with them as, anything less than professionals fully deserving of your respect is both insulting and

a bad reflection on you as a sane, reasonable person. In short, it makes you look like a twit.

A few things you need to know;

1. It is not a “great opportunity” for an artist to have his work seen on your car/’zine/website/bedroom

wall, etc. It IS a “great opportunity” for YOU to have their work there.

2. It is not clever to seek a “student” or “beginner” in an attempt to get work for free. It’s ignorant

and insulting. They may be “students”, but that does not mean they don’t deserve to be paid for their

hard work. You were a “student” once, too. Would you have taken that job at McDonalds with no pay,

because you were learning essential job skills for the real world? Yes, your proposition it JUST as


3. The chance to have their name on something that is going to be seen by other people, whether it’s one

or one million, is NOT a valid enticement. Neither is the right to add that work to their “portfolio”.

They get to do those things ANYWAY, after being paid as they should. It’s not compensation. It’s their

right, and it’s a given.

4. Stop thinking that you’re giving them some great chance to work. Once they skip over your silly ad, as

they should, the next ad is usually for someone who lives in the real world, and as such, will pay them.

There are far more jobs needing these skills than there are people who possess these skills.

5. Students DO need “experience”. But they do NOT need to get it by giving their work away. In fact, this

does not even offer them the experience they need. Anyone who will not/can not pay them is obviously the

type of person or business they should be ashamed to have on their resume anyway. Do you think

professional contractors list the “experience” they got while nailing down a loose step at their

grandmother’s house when they were seventeen?

If you your company or gig was worth listing as desired experience, it would be able to pay for the

services it received. The only experience they will get doing free work for you is a lesson learned in

what kinds of scrubs they should not lower themselves to deal with.

6. (This one is FOR the artists out there, please pay attention.) Some will ask you to “submit work for

consideration”. They may even be posing as some sort of “contest”. These are almost always scams. They

will take the work submitted by many artists seeking to win the “contest”, or be “chosen” for the gig,

and find what they like most. They will then usually have someone who works for them, or someone who

works incredibly cheap because they have no originality or talent of their own, reproduce that same work,

or even just make slight modifications to it, and claim it as their own. You will NOT be paid, you will

NOT win the contest. The only people who win, here, are the underhanded folks who run these ads. This is

speculative, or “spec”, work. It’s risky at best, and a complete scam at worst. I urge you to avoid it,

completely. For more information on this subject, please visit www.no-spec.com (http://www.no-spec.com).

So to artists/designers/illustrators looking for work, do everyone a favor, ESPECIALLY yourselves, and

avoid people who do not intend to pay you. Whether they are “spec” gigs, or just some guy who wants a

free mural on his living room walls. They need you. You do NOT need them.

And for those who are looking for someone to do work for free… please wake up and join the real world.

The only thing you’re accomplishing is to insult those with the skills you need. Get a clue.

05/02/2007, 18h48
Good art ain't cheap and cheap art ain't good. :)

One of my best buddies does graphics professionally and I do work for him on the side, mostly 3D work because he works in web, print and Photoshop and some Maya (his 3d skills are pretty limited). I've heard all the stories he gets from people about how it will help him build a name and yada yada,.. He has real talent when it comes to printing and using Illustrator and Photoshop and does beautiful professional grade brochures and catalogs and things like this for the medical community and also car dealerships and things of that nature. It's not glimmer and glamour like a lot of pro artists, but is an art all to itself and requires a lot of hard work. Not to mention he has professional grade printers and copiers, 20k plus equipment and a couple of g5's to drive it all and family to feed etc.. I like seeing this kind of post because it's true. The community at-large tends to abuse the little guy, who is in reality not so little at all.

06/02/2007, 03h46
This whole situation bugs me too. It's not just CG, this type of predator is lurking in all artist/craft industries. But I can't really blame these peckerheads for posting their "opportunities". Lots of suckers out there. I see it all the time where some interns work 20-40 hours a week for 3-6 months FOR FREE. At that point it's not an internship anymore, it's a full time job for $0. And it's abusive. But people feel it might be their only entry point into an industry. and it has a very negative snowball effect. Eventually, it lowers the earning potential of the real working artist. And if these people are good enough to become a pro someday, then congratulations to them, they've helped to reduce their earning potential...

I personally have been offered a few jobs recently by 2 companies. One was engineering a saftey device which they needed a more ergonomic shape, and the other one had developed a new sytem of architectural materials and they wanted me to provide renders for the website). each of these companies had probably invested $50,000 -$100,000 into the projects already. For some reason, they were thinking I'd be cheap because i was only to provide concept shape models and renders. They didn't want to pay what the jobs were worth, so i let them keep walking. Maybe they are posting those non-paying "opportunites" as we speak...

06/02/2007, 11h52

Doctors do internships in hopes of getting hired into a large hospitals or medical centers. Most auto mechanics work on cars for free as part of the class assignments. Many dental schools offer free check ups to people and the dental students do not get paid.

I had a paid internship for the city and was later hired on full time. I know other folks that worked for GM as an unpaid interns and were hired full time after about six months. Some internships can get you free training on good equipment. It pays to work for free at times as a young student trying to get started in the professional world.

If you are a good freelance artist you should be able to show them your portfolio and based on that they will pay you what you are worth. I worked for a graphics arts center kind of like a Kinkos except we had more talent in general than most Kinkos. I told the customers we charge 90 cents a minute for graphic art work. During slow times I would tell them we could get something started. If they did not like what they saw after about 30 minutes they would not have to buy it. On the other hand if they like what they seen they would have to pay the asking price. I never had a customer walk out the door with out buying the product. We did business cards, flyers, spiral booklets, posters etc. We were all real fast at making mock ups and then fine tuning the product. I admit I could not do a mock up video project in 30 minutes.
On a side note. My internship only paid $7.00 an hour but I got to use some highend equipment. I finally worked my way up to $20.00 an hour after being hired full time for about 3 years. If given the chance to work on the the Next Pixar Movie with out being paid I would take it.

07/02/2007, 12h08

I don't see much wrong with working for free...I *do* have a problem with the assumption that many companies seem to have; that is, "Well, he's new so he doesn't know what he's doing". The major problem with that assumption is that if they are convinced the intern doesn't have a clue...why the heck are they putting him on a team dealing with a $250,000+ project? :huh:

It's like they look for someone with talent, who knows what he/she is doing...and then try and convince that person they "have no clue, so shouldn't get paid". This makes no sense.

Now, what I've been doing lately is the "IOU" style work. I get asked for some basic game models for some Indie developer guy/team. They ask for stuff like "A medieval kitchen scene; tables, chairs, eating utinsils, mugs, candles, etc....but we can't pay you." I usually reply with "Ok, I'll do it, but if you do sell the game, I want credit in the credits, and you can pay me when you've made some money." Now, without a full email/document stating this, I'm still just 'trusting their word', but at least it gets them thinking. I think interns should get this. If they do work as well as a "newly hired regular", they should get paid as such. For each 'milestone' that they miss or produce unusuable results, that amount of payment should be reduced by xx%.

On the other hand, I can see why companies/businesses try and get 'free work'; the amount of money some modelers/animators are asking for is just outright insane. "I've been at this for over 5 years, I want $150/hour" (ok, maybe a *little* bit exaggurated...but only a little). Why do they ask for this? Two reasons: Greed and software is just too damn expensive!. For $3500 I can get a smokin'hot system that will last me years and years...or I can get a 'one version' of C4D Studio. The cost of doing business within 3D is WAY to high, if you ask me. I think a decent wage should be in line with other professionals that don't deal with life and death (ie, somewhere around the $22 to $26 per hour mark); a lot of money, as long as you don't try and live like a king (or an idiot) buying two SUV's, 2 dogs and a $600k house, a 24' boat, a cabin on the lake a couple of ATVs and snowmobiles, and expectations to vacation in Grand Cayman for 2 months every year.

I could go on and on, but the bottom line is: Paying someone for something you KNOW they can do is good, paying someone for something you DON'T know they can do (when you are taking all the risks with the project)...should be paid after they proove they DO know what they are doing. Even then, the intern should get minimum wage if ANY of their work can be used in the project, but you still had to give them the boot.

07/02/2007, 13h29

Most interns now they will get offered a paid positon or staff position if they prove themselves worthy other wise they would not do it. There are a few that will do it to make their resume look better. That is needed sometimes to help new graduates compete in the work force. I have freelanced a little using a combination of 2-D, art 3-D art and video production. I am learning web desing next. I doubt I could make a living just doing 3-D art work but others have.

sailor-ed do you have a website that we can visit to see your demo reel? It does not bother me if people want free work. I know I will not do it unless it is for Pixar or ILM.

07/02/2007, 13h53
Working for free ?
NEVER ! or else.. it's "notre plaisir".

07/02/2007, 20h59
I NEVER do free work.
I even bill my church... but with them i write a check for the same amount and drop it in the plate in Sunday.:happy: and that's about 30K a year
Donated labor is NOT Tax deductible, but a monetary donation is.

The problem i have seen in my area is that Art Majors are graduating without a portfolio. I always thought that was the whole point of going to art school?
I've got kids banging on my door begging for free work just so they can build their portfolio. I usually turn them away because I don't have time to teach them the basic "graphic design" stuff they should already know e.g.. typography.

A Funny thing about Charging:
A few years ago I got Way too busy, so I upped My rate to $85hr, hoping I would loose a few clients, but could still make about the same amount of money... Still busy so then $95... Still busy, so then $125. Now I can't go much higher, but I have not lost a single client because of $$ and if I did, so what. The clients I have, value and respect what I do, and therefore have no issues with paying for it. The higher rates have also had an other positive impact... My clients, have their S%*t together before they even call me, because they know i will bill them for research:p

08/02/2007, 14h50
Well I have let people use my existing work for free if I feel it is for a good reason etc. Ex. Someone once commented on a picture and liked it wanted to use it on their web site or in a book I said OK the work is done.(this happened a few times) But working long hours on a project that is not of my own choice requires payment.

If I have some relationship with soemone and there is a speculative project I woudl do some free work on the chance of future payment. I would have to know someone personally.

08/02/2007, 15h43
rickei..You post WAS (is) important to me.

Do not feel any shame. We are allowed to express our little stories.

08/02/2007, 16h22
thanks... I feel no shame.

the reason I didn't think is was important, is that this thread pertains to ARTIST being paid
I am a small ad agency and not an artist, so my pricing works a little different. I didn't wan't to sound like I'm making all of this money:blush2:

I will say that in my area, I have found that many "art", and "graphic communications" majors, are graduating without portfolio's. That is the fault of the school.
I've got graduates coming to my studio all the time begging for the "opportunity" to work for me for free, just so they can build their portfolio. It's a catch 22.
They don't have any real examples of design experience, so I am wary of hiring them even if it is free. but they cant have examples without someone hiring them to do some work.
I am very busy and don't have time to "teach" them what they should already know. Mainly things like Typography, and simple print stuff(bleeds, trapping, gutters, etc.) I had one graphic communications graduate, who didn't know what CMYK meant! Thats something to be ashamed of!
I would have to put a lot of this on the schools, as I though that is why you spent all of that money on college?? For a business Major, a Diploma on the wall may be enough, but for any "creative" degree, the purpose is to learn that trade, and the goal is to graduate with a portfolio, showing that you understand what you have learned.

When you have a kid come to you that actually has some creative talent, and they want a job, but all that they can show you are some pencil sketches, of their girlfriend, and a few Prismacolored drawings of Xmen... You have to wonder, what did they do for 4 years in school?

11/02/2007, 12h26
rickei: I agree with Piem, your post is important. It's the same for all the "industries"!
Do I put your post back?

11/02/2007, 15h53
Sure put it back up...I didn't know you could, or I would have asked you to

11/02/2007, 16h08
This post has been restored :

12/02/2007, 00h04

I have seen art students go to college and do exaclty what the teachers have asked. Those students will have mediocre portfolios. The top ten students will push themselves farther than what is expected because of their love for creative arts. I had an interview for a graphic arts position and I had to put together a mock brochure within an hour. That is what I would use as a benchmark. I have seen web designers needed at monster.com. They have stated that part of the interview will be to make a mock website. Interstring but effective I think.

13/02/2007, 15h49
Here is an illustration...

13/02/2007, 15h56
Davidoff: so true...

13/02/2007, 16h24
Well there you go. I did read thru the thread at CG talk. I agree that no everythign that is free is free. Ex. do some work for a friend well you get to call on them for a favor later. Work on a collaborative project where noone is getting paid then that is ok. but work for a comapny that wants you to work for free so they can profit from your generosity well won't happen with me.

13/02/2007, 17h05
Davidoff,... A+ :)

13/02/2007, 18h11
Here is an illustration...

lol lol lol lol

13/02/2007, 21h15

Found this link on craigs listing posted from a fustrated freelacer Graphic Artist who tried to survive off leads off of the listing under, "Why not get payed for what your worth ." This guy was so fed up of listings for freelance gigs that pays $10 - $15 an hour and competeing with non pros ,students and wana-bees who undercut all industry pay scales .
Looks like he landed a job in the ever expanding snow board , skate and design field with companies such as Billabong etc. etc.
This site also has a job search for designers, web site builders, graphic artists fashion designers and many others with major corperations , he was so happy with his new job find he decided to spread the wealth by posting the job link over craigs listing.:hi: