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Free art pieces, or always going to get paid?

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Peppermint
LV 11

So, as an  @Artist especially if you are doing it as a freelancer, do you ever do free art? Is this art only personal, or ever as a client to artist arrangement. The need to be paid for effort is always important, but I wonder if as an artist you have ever done work for free, and what drives that decision?

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Silver
LV 2

I give free art on a personal basis to friends, or people within my community, or as an apology if I had to delay a project. The art I give for free is almost always just sketches, chibis, and cute, feel-good things. Without a paying commission, I do not and will not produce my highest quality, 12-16 hours work. Free work should only take a maximum of 2 hrs, though most only takes half an hour. Sometimes, as special holiday gifts for friends, I will put in around 4-6 hours. There is no way I will devalue myself or the illustration business to give away a week's worth of work. (I can't do the 12-16 hours in one go, that's several days of 4hrs at a time, so that I do not inflame my wrists, hands, or fingers with tendonitis, carpal tunnel, or arthritis).

I'm not going to say that a professional artist shouldn't ever give things away for free.
However, I do agree that you should NEVER work for free. There is a difference.
A gift is one thing, but if you feel you are doing WORK, then CHARGE MONEY.

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I don't ever do free art as I no longer have the time. The only exception are collaborations, however I always consider this as my own project as I normally take full control of the art direction. I do consider myself a perfectionist, so I put as much time and effort into collborations as I would any other job. However, I hardly create personal art due to lack of time, let alone free art.

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Unknown
LV 1
38 minutes ago, Nobody said:

...I'm not going to say that a professional artist shouldn't ever give things away for free.
However, I do agree that you should NEVER work for free. There is a difference.
A gift is one thing, but if you feel you are doing WORK, then CHARGE MONEY.

^^This is incredibly important. I feel a lot of potential buyers believe that art isnt work, or that it's very easy and doesnt take long to do so shouldnt be paid for because 'the artist enjoys it' - At least a lot of the people I know think this - and that an artist can therefore 'just quickly throw some art' someones way for free/supercheap. It's especially difficult to convince people to pay good money for good art when it comes to digital art in my opinion.

Personally, as I'm still learning, I tend to do a lot of art to practice certain techniques or whatever and then (if I feel it's good enough) that is sometimes given away to my friends for free. When I do charge, it isnt anywhere near what a professional would/could charge but that is like any job in my opinion. What you charge is directly related to your skill level.

I also dont have a problem working for free for a short time on something new given that that means more practice for me and a possible job down the road. It's like an apprenticeship or work experience. Lastly, I also work for (sort of) free if I'm going to get another benefit that would have cost me money to obtain.

As I say though, I do believe that different skill levels have different 'rules'.

 

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Noelle
LV 4

The only art I've given away for free is to friends and family, and usually that's some of my traditional practice pieces or crafts.  I currently have no time to do a lot of art because I'm in college and working, but all my digital art has been going into making my own game art.  I have very seriously considered some of the art positions and jobs I've seen posted on this site, but I have not applied because I know that very soon I'm going to be doing an internship, and I don't want to bite off more than I can chew.  I think it would be an honor to have a paid position on a pet site, or even to freelance a few paid pieces, but it would be impossible to work for free as I need to eat and pay bills.  I also have carpal tunnel, so I have to choose wisely how to apply my time.

I agree with what other artists are saying here that buyers think that art isn't work, or that they charge too little.  Non-artists have no idea how much work can go into some things, even simple things.  If something takes an hour to create, and you only pay a few bucks for it, that's less than minimum wage for that artist.  There has to be a proper balance in there.  It's also getting harder to find good pay when third world country artists are selling things for far less than minimum wage in your own country.  This is definitely killing digital art wages.

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Sy
LV 4

I've done some free interface work for game jams for small games.  I've also done free work that I had no idea that the other team was getting paid, I thought they too were doing it for free since the owner didn't even mention it.   I was promised the finished game and back then, I didn't think the company would fall apart so I got nothing out of my 70$ work nor did I demand it since I had signed a contract.  It was entirely my fault for being suckered in.

I even do some free pixel work for friends though I was commissioned for a big pack years ago. 

It depends on how large it is for me and I agree that the majority of people think that art isn't worth to be paid.  I still see people on another forum (not for pet sites) I go to saying "__should be free since I can't afford it." or something close that entirely disrespects our work saying "Oh I can't afford it, therefore it should be free."  I've even had one client complain about prices despite it being laid out right in my ad and I had to be firm.  It's just sad to see as an artist and consumer.  I once had to step up for an artist when someone complained about their prices and the artist thanked me and I've also PMed several on dA telling them to please up their prices since they are under pricing themselves just so they can get commissions.  The latter was even said to me and it's just heartbreaking to get a reply like that.

 

Edited by Camy

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Unknown
LV 1

I do some free art for some people at random, mostly people on Discord chats.
Mostly as an excuse to practice something or that I got my hands on new materials to play with.

The least I ask for is credit for my art, whether it was a sketch or something completely finished. That's all.

 

As for getting paid for art... Well, when I start doing commissions again I guess.

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Silver
LV 2

This is going slightly off topic, but please let me ramble...
The minimum wage thing is a huge issue of discontent for me, and something you should all consider.

Where I live, minimum wage is $10 an hour. So consider this...

I charge $5 for a sketch that takes me 1/2 hour. That's $10/h: perfect. Go me.
I charge $10 for a chibi that takes me 2 hours. That's $5/h: half minimum wage.
I charge $25 for a flat color that takes me 5 hours. That's $5/h: half minimum wage.
I charge $60 for a full color that takes me 12 hours. That's $5/h: half minimum wage.

My prices aren't awful, as long as I don't decrease them, but I'm still selling myself short. 
I should be charging twice as much, so that I earn a fair, honest living with my work.
It's not good of me to price my work at only half minimum wage, especially with my education.
I hem and haw and tell myself that with how slow I have to work I can't charge fair, full prices.
But I know that I am just making things harder on myself to survive, and I'm hurting the industry.
Minimum wage isn't enough to afford both rent and food where I live, so my prices are impractical.

WHEN YOU ARE DECIDING WHETHER TO WORK FOR FREE, OR FOR CHEAP, CONSIDER THE WAGES.
Compare your price versus how many hours it takes to do the work, and compare to minimum wage.

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Unknown
LV 6

I do not work for free, but I do turn my art into gifts for friends if I feel that is something that they would like, which to me would be the equivalent of buying them a $20 (or whatever) gift. There are occasions where I will do small things for free, but it's very rare, usually it's something like adding a touch of shading to a flat commission, nothing major, and nothing where the person asked for it for free.   

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