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Why Artists Shouldn't Do Art For Free

Journal Entry: Fri Aug 30, 2013, 1:15 AM

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I'm seriously not trying to come off as an asshole, or to call anyone in particular out. But this is something I seriously need to get off my chest, as it is a subject that is very important to me. If you value me and respect my work, you will read it, and hear me out.

I am an artist. Yes, that means I create art, whether it's digitally, or traditionally. With a camera, or with paints. I love what I do. I have been blessed with a talent. A skill. A trade. Even with this, I go to school, for years, to refine my skills and master them. Much like any other person in a profession.

Does not a mechanic work hard, and had to learn quite a bit, accumulating knowledge pertaining to their profession over many years? Sometimes even a life time?

Or how about a Lawyer? Do they not spend years, and take on incredible debt, to get their degree, and to practice law?

Or what about a doctor? A chef? A teacher? A plumber? A construction worker?

So what's my point? All of these professions/career fields I listed, are all respected jobs. And they get paid for their work. Their craft. Their trade. Their skill set.

So why does everyone take a shit on artists? Why do you all ask us for free art?

Do you people realize, that when you do this, it's like asking a psychologist for a free professional opinion? They did not go to school, to give you what they worked hard for, for free. God bless those who do, and do so in 3rd world countries, but most of society doesn't roll like that. And here's why:

There are these things called bills. Artists have those too, as well as families to take care of in regards to health insurance, providing food, clothes, and shelter. I'm sorry, but I don't have time right now, to make you 'free art' because you are:

A.) Family
B.) An In-Law
C.) My Friend
D.) Because you feel as though art should be free
E.) You presume that since I like doing it, I can do it for free for fun
F.) You presume that what I do, is simple, and thus it won't take long to create

And I'm going to break this down to you guys so you can clearly understand where I am coming from.

:bulletblue: A- Family
You ain't paying my bills, buying my food, paying my mortgage, my car note, ect. Fuck you. Pay me. I still love you, but if I give my shit to you for free, then I shouldn't have the right to sell to anyone else who isn't of 'blood.'

:bulletblue: B- In-Laws
You aren't blood. Sorry, but if I got a divorce tomorrow, you guys wouldn't be there to help... nor do I expect you to. Fuck you. Pay me.

:bulletblue: C- My Friends
You fuckers already know, I know you ain't paying my bills. You probably know me from the 'hood' or from the Corps. So you assholes know how it is to work hard for your shit. Fuck you. Pay me.

:bulletblue: D- Because you feel as though art should be free
You're an asshole. Fuck you. Pay me.

:bulletblue: E- You presume that since I like doing art, I can do it for free
Yes. I like to do art. I like to communicate through art. And yes I can do it for free, just as easily as I can tell you, "Fuck you. Pay me."

:bulletblue: F- You presume that what I do is simple, and thus won't take long to create
Yes. It's simple to me. Wanna know why? Because I worked my fucking ass off to attain the knowledge that I have about art. About art composition, color theory, design, technique, etc. I've spent not only money on supplies, tools, and instruction, but time. Time is non-refundable. And yet, because to me, my art is simple to create, or rather execute, it doesn't mean that there isn't a process that involves planning, drafting, and working out many times, before the resulted 'finished product' that I present. This takes time. It's tedious. And thus, FUCK YOU. PAY ME.

I swear to all of you, you ask me, one more god damn time, for free photos, free art, or free whatever, because of whatever obligation you think I have to you, I will make an example out of you, in the most embarrassing way possible, it will be hilarious, and then promptly put on blast on as many social media's as I can conjure, including /b/. Why? Because you are an asshole. I don't go around asking you for free work. If anything, I'd ask for a favor, and offer to pay you. Either with currency, my time, or other services.

Also, don't ask any other artist for free art. That is incredibly rude, and insulting. If you want something, offer to pay.... something! And don't pressure them, or guilt tripping them into doing art for you either. That's so fucked up and manipulative, no matter who you are asking.

Lastly, you little fucks who give away your art for free. FUCK YOU! You are the very reason why I have to explain myself in the first place! You devalued, not only yourself, like a little art slut, but everyone else who uses their talent's as their bread and butter!

Stop asking artists (i.e. ME, LYDIA LOVE COLLISON) for free art. I am in college, trying to earn my degree. The art I make and post here, is for my degree. I've worked hard to maintain my GPA of 3.6, and to really be the best artist, and person, I can be. Don't insult me, and disrespect my talents, just because you are ignorant as to what my job/skill set pertains to.

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KariKaibaWheeler Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2015  Professional Writer
EthericDezigns Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Great Write man, you hit it right on the nail!
Ezri-Krios Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2013  Hobbyist Writer

I can't believe I'm reading this. I am half way through a journal for my group #Sci-Fan-Horror saying EXACTLY THE SAME THING! Ok, not exactly, but I use similar examples and wrap people on the knuckles and suggest people use the barter system much more.

I'll link this to my journal if that's ok? Just as another example of what I'm trying to get across. :highfive:

warui-shoujo Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Oh wow, please do! The more the word gets spread that artist are hard working people, and should be respected just like any other tradesman, the better for all. Equality is all I want here. Being taken advantage of, and watching people take advantage of others becuase they can, really pisses me off
Ezri-Krios Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2013  Hobbyist Writer

I agree!

I didn't post links to anyone in the end, there were too many artists I could have cited. So, in the interests of equality, I kept it simple. Please feel free to link your journal in the comments,… 

You're welcome to add this it to our group journal folder too. It's an important and on-going issue that really needs stamping out.

Cheers! :-)


FacePalmNinja Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
As I put it in Lord-Fsan's copy of your journal entry (but in shorter perspective, I suppose. :P):

I mostly agree with you. Art shouldn't be done for anyone who's constantly buggering or demanding a free sketch.

But I wouldn't particularly agree with myself being to blame for having given away free art in the past, and here's why:

You obviously are a much more experienced, much more tenured artist. You have access to tools, and skills that I do not, you have put in your own money, your own time, and your own energy to become better, and more proficient at your craft, and I would not say otherwise. To expect some kind of trade is... expected (for lack of a better word).

I, however, was mostly self-taught, have only ever been self taught, and did not get a degree toward Art. I guess you could say I went to ITT Tech (because they said they did Game Design), got me and my Mother into debt because of it, and now I'm in the military, attempting to pay that debt. Whatever "dreams" (I suppose) I used to have are probably gone now. But I digress, I'm not looking for pity. I'm long over it, moved on to other plans and what not. But being that my art has only sentimental value, I don't think it's on par with a lot of people on here who commission their works, make money off of what they do. They're great artists. You are a great artist. I consider myself an... "Okay" artist... freelance. Doing it for the lulz, as it were. I wouldn't give my art away to some ass clown wants a picture of course, but if someone I vaguely know wants a pic and I have the time I wouldn't mind doing a sketch for them. And I've done it before.

At the same time I have given away my art for other things.... but I've never given my art away for money. At least I haven't yet. (Mostly because I can't figure out the damn pay pal... or more like... I'm too lazy to. :P)

In anycase, I agree. I just wanted to defend my right to pass on free art, as a personal artist. It's not like I do it for everyone who asks, I guess it might fall under the whole "family" clause you expressed. The people you know and trust are the ones you don't mind dealing with. :P
hbrika Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2013
I learned a few photoshop tricks and man did people take advantage of it.

I did a piece for my daughters figure skating club and after that it was non stop.

It got to the point where I would go watch my daughter skate and the people running the club would run up and say, "we need a banner asap
Has to be to print in a few hours"

Ridiculous, after that one I quit.

I didn't mind doing it one in a blue moon but to be ordered around like a servant and not be able to watch my kid skate.. Not happening.

Funny about inlaws, mine stuck by me after the separation :) I count that as one of my lifes rare blessings.

I love your revenge idea. I've threatend to draw people blowing Santa because they bothered me.

Funny they were dumb enough to tell me that I would not do it. ;)

The only time I think for free is good is when I do it for a gift. And that is because I want to honour the person

Like say drawing my daughter for an anniversary present.  

I'm nowhere near your level but like you mentioned above; Time is precious.  

If I am giving up time with my kid, or pets, or loved ones it had better be for a good reason.

And yeah for the people who want it for free FCK you pay me :)
warui-shoujo Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I love that idea of revenge pieces that are outrageous. Any in my 'real life' (outside of the internet) should know me well enough, that I would draw something repugnant. :lmao: I just never knew to do it to the next asshat who asks me for free art. I was just going to verbally abuse them. HAHA!

I think those that don't understand the concept that , "Time is precious" don't live on their own, and most certainly don't have kids.

I'm glad my usage of the Goodfellas' quote is turning into a running joke with folks now
skysoul25 Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2013  Student General Artist
disagree on the family issue unless they ARE paying for your collage, etc then its more of an obligation, it will still cost them but tis more of a deal thing, you know? as for the rest, I Agree. [why do you think i don;t use the download button] however Art is not simple, in fact alot fo the work i would do for peopel would end up in either  free sandwitches, or socks, or other things liek that. 
warui-shoujo Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Well congratz on those spoon feed by mommy and daddy. There are many who don't have this privilege, and earn their shit, by the sweat of their brow. And even if that was the case, that mommy and daddy are forking the bill, I think it's appropriate to put your foot down and say, "FUCK YOU. PAY ME." since after all, you are in school to get your degree, not to make art, or whatever your major is, to provide your talents to them for free...

They don't have to pay you with money... they can pay for your talents with food. Christ. And I hate this obligation bullshit. That's extra stress that nobody deserves. Fuck that.
skysoul25 Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2013  Student General Artist
i don;t have a dad, so thanks for bringing that up, nor that even i paid also for college myself [for the classess i could get] with my mom what little money we can actully get, heck alot of he art i do [that i don't put up on here] have been paying rent,etc, and makign deals for food, help me save moeny for payign off college. actully i;m ouit of school got my AAS Degree in graphic design, its ahrd to find a job,but hey iat least i;m doign things. 

its never for free theres always a balence, something that i don;t think you truely understand. of course they don;t have to pay you with moenyt hats what i said, thats why i make deals. i'll do this for you if you do thsi for me. simple deals are made for survivior, but tis sitll never free. of course i neve rhad a dad, maybe you did,in your happy fuckign little house.

warui-shoujo Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Um no. I didn't bring up your father in particular. Please, re-read my post, before you get defensive over something I didn't say. And you are presuming that, I do not know how to barter. Bartering is rendering services for something. It is not the definition of 'balance' as you put it. Bartering is legit payment. I never said that it wasn't.

Also, could you try to type as though you have a degree please? It screams, "I didn't really get a degree. And my reading and/or writing level is below average... and borderline full retard."
Lord-FSan Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
No need to be insulting.
She never was insulting to you. If anything, her comments were meant as general speak.

You just completely proved her point, and agreed with her while saying that you don't agree.
Her point is, don't do it for free. "Pay me" doesn't mean "give me money." It means "give me something in return." You even said it yourself, and it's something you apply yourself.

Lastly, you may have a AAS Degree, but you can't type for shit. If you want to be taken seriously, at least learn to express yourself correctly.
Maybe there is a reason that finding a job is hard for you. Just saying.
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August 30, 2013


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