View Full Version : Seeking Advice

04-27-2016, 11:17 AM
This may be a strange thread for this forum, but there are many contributers here that I admire and would like to hear their thoughts on the following subject.

I draw/paint for pleasure alone, and mostly in my journals. I would call myself a hobbyist. I have attempted to do "commercial" art, but find absolutely no pleasure or motivation to do so. However, when others see my work, most often they want to use my talent for their own self advancement. I get requests all the time for things such as... collaboration on books, drawings for various printed items, signs, and even was asked once if they could use my journals for a class they were teaching on journaling, etc. It seems that the moment someone sees my work, they want to use it to their advantage, and they want it for free. This is most frustrating, and makes me want to throw in the towel.

Have you experienced this? How does one handle this dilemna? Become a closet artist and never share their work? But then doesn't that partially defeat why we do it in the first place? Or I get the feedback that unless I can make money with what I am doing it's not worth doing. I am feeling very confused. :confused:

04-27-2016, 03:29 PM
Blooming, first of all every artist is asked to give their work away for free, yet at the same time not considered a "real" artist unless they are making money (preferably all their income) from their art. People don't see the irony of that. I will tell you that we all face this as artists.

My response to people who want me to work for pennies or nothing doing my art is to tell them that I am not available to do that work. I am courteous and smile while politely telling them no. For those that actually want to buy my work at less than the cost of the materials, I tell them that it is not for sale. Even on the very rare occasion where I am offered a good/decent/reasonable price for a piece, if I don't want to sell, it's not for sale.

For those that say if you can't make money at it, it's not worth doing, I feel sorry for them. Art is the expression of the soul. It is saying something that cannot necessarily be said in words. It matters not if it is sold. What matters is that it is expressed. For those that rely on money to define success, they are failures. They fail to see life is more than financial in nature.

Unfortunately, you are going to continue to deal with those that see your art in the light of what they can get out of it. It doesn't matter, that is their problem. Your art is part of you being expressed. You are a beautiful soul and should do art just as you want to.

Please do not become a closet artist. Or worse, stop doing art. The world needs art, yours included. The fact that you don't want to sell, or work commercially, has nothing to do with whether you make art or not. I hope you keep making art because you want to make art.

Deborah Susan Hill
04-27-2016, 06:32 PM
Never give anything that you have worked long and hard at away for free, unless of course it is something you are deliberately working on as a gift for someone who is special to you. When people want your artwork for nothing , simply ask them to come over to your house and clean your basement, attic and garage for free... or some other equally hard task.

Your talent and artwork are generally the result of years of hard work and most people simply think that it was a gift from god or some such drivel..When they try to say something like that to me, I ask them if they would spend several days working pro bono for me in their chosen field ( Especially if they spent years in college honing those skills.)

That generally will get them to back down. Or you can tell them you'll work up an estimate for them at a professional commercial artist's rates as well as a contract and get back to them. That is usually enough to send the freeloaders packing. Your pen and ink sketches are really nicely done Roxane. If someone wants you to work up illustrations for a book you really need to charge commercial rates for it. It is much harder to please a paying customer, so make sure that you ask what you think is a fair rate, then double it for the headaches you will have dealing with that person.

Make it worth your while and be sure that you hang onto your copyright. You need a contract drawn up to be certain that the illustrations will only be used in the book and not branched out onto mugs, decorative prints, stationary, etc.. Otherwise you will see someone cashing in on your hard work while you sit uncompensated for it.. This enters the realm of contract law etc.. Or you can smile and just say no, my work is personal and private. I do it for my own enjoyment, and let it go at that. As Always, Deb Hill