Welcome to Sh*t Artists Deal With.
Here, we look at all the nightmare stories, the horrors, as well as just annoying bits of life that artists go through.
This one comes from Brynne Johnston. She’s a great artist, she publishes Woods & Bramble on Tabulit, and she also has her share of stories from the dark corner of her history of freelance work.
This is one particularly about her last gig, before she finally decided that it wasn’t worth it.
So it started out pretty normal. She got a request for a job, and she accepted it. The pay was by the hours worked, and a time frame for the completion of the job was discussed. Until this part, it all looks pretty good.
She got the job done, as detailed by the client. And then she got a response. The client requested a whole bunch of additional images. Workload was way beyond what she expected at first. Oh and the best part? No additional fees for the additional work (and they said it was hourly pay), and it still needed to be done by the deadline.
At this point, Brynne wanted to contest this. This was completely unreasonable. But her employers were adamant, and they even mentioned that this would be ‘good for her portfolio’. (Yeah, they pulled that card).
Brynne just went ahead. She knew that her employers would withhold the pay for all her work so far, if she refused.
In the end, Brynne did way more work for what she is paid for. This experience basically turned her off from accepting any other freelance work. Since then she has gotten a job, and is not accepting any freelance projects. She doesn’t even want to accept commissions anymore. When asked she answered, “Just the complications of people.”
Yeah so at that point when I finished hearing her story, I thought I’m going to probably have problems with my blood pressure levels while I do this blog series because,
WHAT THE FUCK MAN?!
Okay first of all. It’s really important to clearly know what you want before you go to an artist to ask for the job, because if not it’s very easy to run into this situation. You clearly outline what is needed to be done, what images are required, how will these images be used, what dimensions, resolutions, etc etc. Do your goddamn homework, it’s your project after all. The artist is not going to ‘work it out with you’, unless you’re hiring that artist on a salary based contract, which I believe, most people requesting for this kind of jobs don’t have the budget for.
And before any of this, research the artist first. Just because someone’s a doctor, that doesn’t mean you can ask the person all kinds of health related problems. A cardiologist may not know very well what to do with your skin condition. Same thing with artists. Artists are very differentiated in their crafts. Research their portfolio. Does their style jive with what you want to achieve? Is there something about the artist’s work that you particularly like?
Like, you wouldn’t hire a corporate lawyer that mostly deals in contracts to contest for your speeding ticket offence. There are lawyers specialized for that. Oh and not to mention, let’s say you say to your lawyer AFTER he preps for the court, ‘oh it’s not actually a speeding ticket offence, it’s a DUI.’
That’s basically what you’re doing when you go to an artist without not really researching the artist first, and also knowing what exactly you want from the beginning.
And even if you don’t like the outcome of the work, that’s work already done. So your lawyer loses your case (not because of the lawyer’s incompetence clearly). Do you not pay the fee to that lawyer? No. You pay. And then you pay more if you want additional work done. You renegotiate, go through the proper actions to get your work done.
This is what I don’t understand. Why would you want to skimp out on art that you’ll probably be using to represent your brand? And not just the money, the time and effort. Don’t just throw a project to an artist and say, “eh just show me whatever.” Why? That’s bad. Not for the artists, but for you the client. It’s bad for your business, and it’s just pure laziness. It's a sign that you’re not serious.
Artists don’t do some ‘art magic’ to get stuff done. It’s all hard work, a lot of time invested, not to mention the time and the money that was invested to hone the artist’s skill. Oh, and did you know? Equipment costs a lot. You need good drawing tablets, all kinds of software subscriptions.
Respect the time and the effort that goes into a creative project. That shouldn’t be that hard.