Mercenary written by ariokh
(Warning: Profane words in this piece of writing)
I do freelance as well as my full time job, and I am always setting up the next job. it's a safe bet, that if i'm breathing, I'm painting or hustling to get paid for more painting. That's what I do for a living. It's how I put food on the table, and porn in the bathroom.
That said, I thought it bore mentioning especially here on DA though, that I work for HIRE. If your sweet RPG project, or video game pitch has no budget at all for art, it will save both of our time if you don't try to tap me for artwork. I Do realize I'm passing up an amazing opportunity for me to make my portfolio way more awesome, and that I won't be getting that free publicity. It's a risk I'll have to take.
I'm not opposed to people making things out of their garage, in fact, I wholesale endorse it and want you to succeed with it. I sincerely hope your team is a massive success.
I can't work for free though.
You wouldn't ask a gardener to stop by your place to do your lawn for free because it would be really awesome for him. You wouldn't ask a chef to cater your wedding for free because you have the sickest idea for how the wedding will go, right?
You wouldn't send requests to a lawyer to hook you up with free intellectual property law consultations.
Just because I do art, doesn't mean my time is any less valuable than all of those guys. I spent just as much time in school. Quite a damn bit of money I'm still trying to pay off, and years of suffering through trying to get better and better.
When you pay an artist for their work, their prices denote not just the cost of their time, the materials, or the effort for your project. What you are paying for is the cost of experience. A lifetime spent perfecting a craft, and honing an ability. You pay for all the mistakes we won't make for you, because we've made them for ourselves already. You pay for the mind that has been training to deal with specific problems, and generate kick ass ideas, and original concepts.
These things are not born to us, they are learned. You are paying for the time you don't have to spend learning the craft. Just like you pay for pizza when you don't want to make it yourself.
Art is just like anything else when it comes to business. You get what you pay for.
I'm just not willing to deliver poor quality goods.
This is for you young or budding artists out there just starting to get into pro work. Be wary of requests made, especially through this site.
Firstly, to horribly misquote Stephen King when asked about when you are a professional writer, "When you get a check in the mail paying for your writing and you pay the light bill with it, you are a professional."
I totally agree with that dude. When you are even moderately confident enough in your skill and you start getting approached with just these kinds of offers, think about this rant. I know you will do a few anyway. Hell, I did. I've been fucked exactly three times by would be mega-projects that were 'good for my portfolio'. We all have to stick our fingers in the flames to learn. That's fine. But learn, please! Don't underbid yourself, don't sacrifice your wage for your work.
The formula is simple, and I have had to tell my students many times how this works, so pay attention.
How much do you want to make an hour? If need be, divide down from an annual salary you'd like. In freelance, work is peppered throughout the year, so compensate for projected downtime. Once you've worked out your hourly, estimate how long the art will take to make and bam. =h
How long will your part in the project take? =t
How many changes will they likely want, and make sure your contract has clauses for client changes(if you are smart set a limit to number of changes, and be sure to charge. Watch how much less picky they get when their wallet is on the line. Hahahaha!). =v
Are you being taxed? If you aren't. Say you are. =x
Cost of materials? =m
And here it is: h+t+v+x+m= I'm Rich BITCH!
It will be more than you assumed you were worth, I'm certain.
Now comes the time for dark self assessment. Is your art really worth that sum? Where are you in your career, and how far are you from where this number is at?
Start shaving it back down until you think that it's VERY good money for your level of work. Then make your bid.
If you are lucky your client will jump on it. Don't feel like you should have asked for more. Be proud that you got a lot more than you thought you were worth. This is awesome also because you've established precedence for yourself and now have a starting rate to build up from as you improve.
If your client haggles. Don't be afraid to haggle. Generally when a person counterbids, they drop down a chunk and expect you to meet them somewhere in the middle of your original bid and their first counter bid. If their offer is simply unacceptable after that, do not be afraid to walk, but definitely consider it and your skills honestly.
If your client laughs. Disconnect. If they come back, ask them what they think would be a fair rate for you. If they don't, ah well, no love lost. There will be more clients, and you can use that as fuel to work your ass off and get better, so next time they clamor for your skills.
I hope this helps clear the silly fog of 'don't share how much you make' shame.
Molest in peace,