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So You Say You Have No Budget for Art by kelleybean86 So You Say You Have No Budget for Art by kelleybean86

Ever been contacted by someone, asking you to work on their thing for free? Apply the Peppermint Monster Principle: either this person has money, but just doesn’t want to pay you. In that case, they don’t respect your time and effort. Or, they don’t have money to pay you, in which case they also don’t have money and resources to create the project they’re talking about.

Do not feel that you are missing out on any real opportunities by turning these people down. You can be certain that their project, whatever it is, is not going to happen. Because people who are unable or unwilling to invest in their own product, going around the internet asking complete strangers to work for free, is not how bestselling books and big hit tv shows are made.

EDIT: Of course, if you want to take on an unpaid, collaborative, mutually beneficial project with friends or other artists, that's totally fine. What I'm talking about here are total strangers asking for favors from artists.

EDIT: If this flowchart offends you, and you feel that people should care about your project regardless of whether or not you have money, I recommend reading these two articles: www.cracked.com/blog/6-harsh-t… and medium.com/life-learning/why-i…

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:iconnosmit:
Nosmit Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2015
Yeah, I had the same problem recently. I wanted some building work doing. Imagine my horror when the guy wanted to talk money! So depressing.

And then I remembered that he had his own bills to pay and that time spent on my work (for nothing) was time not spent earning money to pay his bills. In the end, we agreed that I would either save up, or take out a loan to pay him for his services. Because that's how the world actually works.
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:iconjanainaart:
JanainaArt Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2015
That's it, you are completely right!
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:iconaaronmiller:
AaronMiller Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2015  Professional General Artist
a million times yes.
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:iconpachabel:
Pachabel Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2015   Digital Artist
A previous boyfriend of mine had an idea. He was super passionate about it and I agreed to help him with it on one front: He put in just as much unpaid time and effort into it as he was wanting me to.

Not surprisingly, he never even put his (writing, he wanted to make a video game) pen to paper to do ANY of the unpaid effort and in turn, neither did I.

That said, I agree with this flowchart wholeheartedly. I'm really scared by all these 'So $$ is all that matters???' comments because....are you really taking as much risk as I am if I do 40+ (on the low end) hours of unpaid work or is your ass still covered by you paying your own bills while asking me to go out on a risk limb for you?
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:iconraingnome:
RainGnome Featured By Owner Edited Dec 8, 2015
If they won't pay for art and go around trying their luck to get it for free, then they most likely carry that attitude in almost everything else they do.  The type of person who tries to find fault with a plumber's work once it is finished in order to pay less, or haggles incessantly over the smallest amount of money.  It simply isn't worth the hassle.
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:iconphelorena:
Phelorena Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2015  Student Digital Artist
this is so important.
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:iconsetius:
setius Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2015
i want everyone to see this
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:iconcan-cat:
Can-Cat Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2015  Student Digital Artist
You're right. Some people don't value art work. As if it's done by magic.
Well, if it's magic, magicians deserve to be compensated for their time and work.
Everyone has bills to pay.
Once, I was asked to work on something for a pittance of what they were paying others; and then told that 'a monkey' could 'scribble things out'.
So, get a monkey.
No doubt artists are glad to contribute to a project, when everyone is pulling together, or trade services, if they have time. 
But, no one likes to be made to feel worth less. 
No one can afford that.
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:iconmyrth1:
Myrth1 Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2015
This seriously need explaining?
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:iconolooriel:
Olooriel Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2015   Digital Artist
Judging by some of the comments here, apparently it does.
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:iconmyrth1:
Myrth1 Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2015
In such situations I'm loosing my hopes for humanity as a whole. This is pretty much the same level of incompetence as people who can't assemble Ikea furniture sets
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:iconcoralstriker:
coralStriker Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015
I've been a "yes" person before..I've worked with people before on things for free and they were successful for what they were (they weren't HYOOOOOOOG things but yeah)

But there were also plenty of people that took advantage of me, even one guy that tried to guilt trip me because I said I didn't have enough time for free side projects. He made it sound like all artists are greedy for thinking about their own well-being and refusing to work for free. Come on! Sigh

It really has to do with your passion for the thing, I guess! If you're super into a project who knows, maybe it will pay off. That's sorta a risk you take in doing any hobby or thing that doesn't net you a profit, right? And maybe if it was someone close and/or trustworthy that asks you to do a thing for them...I think that would also be an exception

But otherwise you are right, don't sell yourself short, people! :( People WILL try to take advantage of you, if not now then later down the line. People will approach you for things you will have to compromise security on, and it's up to you to decide which roads are worth driving down
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:iconkelleybean86:
kelleybean86 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Great point, coralStriker. It's fine to work on collaborative projects with people that you are close to/know are trustworthy, or on a project that you are really passionate about.
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:iconjayceel:
Jayceel Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
I am quite .....shocked at some of the comments here.....it can be easy to get taken advantage of if you don't put your foot down, and say you must be paid or no-go. Besides, why should we work for free? It took us just as long as doctors took to become doctors...perhaps longer. Yet, no one is suggesting they work for free. Or any other profession. Well, maybe with the exception of comedians.

you certainly cannot wait until the project "gets off the ground" and hope and pray you...may...get paid some....time. We have bills to pay, and bellies to feed, if they don't respect us enough to pay us, then they don't deserve our services.
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:iconkelleybean86:
kelleybean86 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
I think people are taking this message to mean, "Don't help other people unless there's something in it for you." I don't think they understand that asking an artist to "help" them is asking an artist to forgo paid work and provide valuable services for free. So they think that, by refusing to work for free, the artist is the one being selfish, not them.
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:iconjayceel:
Jayceel Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
That pretty much sums it up right there.
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:iconoly-rrr:
Oly-RRR Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Professional General Artist
This! :nod:

Now I just need to learn how to not take cheap jobs - my reasoning is that a bit of money flowing in as long as I have enough time left for personal art is better than no money and ALL the time for personal art, but I'm kind of stuck in a cycle lately... Times are hard, I guess.
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:iconkelleybean86:
kelleybean86 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Well, I think that cheap jobs are ok to take if they're not using up too much time you could have spent improving your portfolio and pursuing higher-value clients. As long as the prices aren't ridiculously, insultingly low. We all gotta pay the bills! Just remember to keep working towards bigger things!
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:iconoly-rrr:
Oly-RRR Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Professional General Artist
Good point! :) I guess this is what I'm doing for now...

I'm surprised by the amount of comments defending not paying artists - people seem to be utterly confusing the idea of friends/like-minded people teaming up for a mutually beneficial collaboration and one stranger needing something from another but not wanting to give anything valuable for it. I know a lot of people doing zines together because they have similar interests, and then I know too many people who think artists owe them free services because they happen to have a novel/script/concept/site/channel... :roll:
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:iconjayceel:
Jayceel Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
I agree with Kelley, you hit it nail in the head.
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:iconkelleybean86:
kelleybean86 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
"people seem to be utterly confusing the idea of friends/like-minded people teaming up for a mutually beneficial collaboration and one stranger needing something from another but not wanting to give anything valuable for it." Couldn't have put it better myself. I really have nothing else to add because this is so concise, lol.
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:iconsmojojo:
smojojo Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
The amount of comments defending the idea of not paying an artist for their work is rather worrying. I'd never see comments like that associated with other jobs such as a dentist, electrician, real estate agent... passion alone doesn't pay the bills and feed you. Why are artists constantly expected to give away their skills for breadcrumbs?
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:iconkelleybean86:
kelleybean86 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Honestly I'm kind of surprised by the response too!
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:iconpoliticalpip:
PoliticalPip Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I submitted this to a group for you.
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:iconkelleybean86:
kelleybean86 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks!
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:iconpoliticalpip:
PoliticalPip Featured By Owner Edited Dec 7, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I do admit I apply under the "No Budget for Art" as I only have 142 points and it may be awhile before I can buy some points.

But What If I could do something that may save people a lot of money worth more than the money one could use to get 1,000 DeviantArt points. I want to be a famed let's play personality specializing in mods and having more completist runs than many of the famed let's play personalitites you see and raising awareness of mods or good internet games that don't cost money while players get into out-waste contests in freemium games buying more stuff with in-game currency, exchanged from real currency to beat players that are doing the same.
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:iconkelleybean86:
kelleybean86 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
So why should an artist work for you for free? Because you want to be a famous let's play personality?
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:iconpoliticalpip:
PoliticalPip Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
This is about something more important than one person. What if I could help people extend the life of their games with some mods or even free flash games. If you care about the days of gaming where there was far less freemium please listen to what I have to say.

I honestly see freemium games as a scourge that needs to be dealt with somehow. A entire episode of South Park pointed it out. The more recent Call of Duty games have over 100 dollars worth of possible DLC (these same games tend to have mixed Steam reviews). Candy Crush makes over 500,000 dollars A DAY. Games openly sell shortcuts that allow you to get a powerful class or item much quicker than through normal gameplay; and The Sims 4 has even openly remove a feature from Sims 3 and sells it back as DLC on current game.
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:iconkelleybean86:
kelleybean86 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
So you're saying that an artist should work with you for free on altruistic grounds, for the good of the gaming industry?
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:iconpoliticalpip:
PoliticalPip Featured By Owner Edited Dec 7, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Well... Sorta, I also put political messages in my stuff and tend to use political humor. I may commission you someday, assuming you do point commissions.
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:iconkelleybean86:
kelleybean86 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Try to see what you're saying from an artist's point of view. A professional artist has people offering them money - real money, not Deviantart points - to do work. Then you ask them to work for you, for free, because...because you want to be a famous online personality...no, because it's for the good of the games industry....no, because you're kind of political. Those things are meaningless to an artist, or really just anyone who doesn't know you.
It's great that you want to do something positive for the games industry, and it's ok to want to be an online celebrity. Those things are fine. But artists have to pay the rent, just like you do, and we can't pay the rent with your dreams and ambitions.
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(1 Reply)
:icondruidpeter:
DruidPeter Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015
Oh ho! Interesting... and yet I feel that, perhaps, you have missed one other option in your flow chart, kelleybean86: Are they willing to do all of the work themselves, and are they determined for the project to get off the ground, with or without the help they are asking you to give them?

One mustn't forget the lone wolf geniuses of the world, kelleybean. Never underestimate the crazy ones, as they often find a way to get through, despite all obstacles put in their path. What's more, then tend to have long memories, and be much more generous in distributing thanks to those who have helped them.

Food for thought. ;)
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:iconkelleybean86:
kelleybean86 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
If someone really is that determined and willing to do the work to get their project off the ground, they will also find a way to get the money to hire the very best talent. If someone insists that they have no money, and cannot get any money, and will never have any money to fund their idea so you should work for them for free, they're NOT a "lone wolf genius" who has found a way to get through all obstacles in their path, have they? Instead of trying to figure out how to work around the lack of funds, they're trying to transfer the burden of working without funds onto someone else. That's not "doing all the work themselves."
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:icondruidpeter:
DruidPeter Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2015
But...but.... you make it sound like I have no intention at all to raise such funds! :stinkeye: 

;)

lol. I never said anything about excluding "finding money" from the possible paths around obstacles. Indeed, I feel "at all costs" covers that quite nicely, don't you think? Maybe you simply don't want to take the time to update your nifty chart, no? :meow:
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:iconkelleybean86:
kelleybean86 Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
If you intend to raise funds but don't have them yet, that situation IS actually covered on the flow chart.
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:icondruidpeter:
DruidPeter Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2015
So it is! So it is! :D Very well then, I shall have to be patient. ;)
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:iconkaizenkitty:
KaizenKitty Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015   Writer
:iconbwavoplz: a standing ovation from me
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:iconchanelathena:
ChanelAthena Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Excellent points. Thank you for sharing this.
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:iconrachelillustrates:
rachelillustrates Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
This is glorious. Thank you.
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:iconkelleybean86:
kelleybean86 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
You're welcome!
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:iconstanto:
stanto Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015
Actually, you're not correct in your assumptions. A person can have the resources to make a project but not the money.

Let's take for example, authors. Often they don't have the money to be one as a full time job, and they could do with artwork for the book, but they could be sat on a best seller. Terry Pratchett was a journalist before being an author full time.

Or if I am a programmer, I could have the structure of a game made for a demo that I have made for free aside for my time and if an artist joined me then an agreement could be made for a share of the profits when the demo is put forward and/or it makes a full game.

Context. Money isn't everything and its arrogant to assume that because monetary worth up front isn't offered that a project isn't worth your time.

Equally its worth being cautious over those who choose to profit from your given free time and not give you your dues or credit.
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:iconkelleybean86:
kelleybean86 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Yes, it's true that many authors can't afford to work full-time. What does that have to do with anything?

I agree that an artist could choose to work for a profit-share deal under certain circumstances, if they know the person personally and have confidence in the project. But asking a complete stranger on the internet to work for free is an entirely different deal.
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:icondruidpeter:
DruidPeter Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015
And here, I thought my reply was original! :stare:

lol. I'm glad to have stumbled upon your post, stanto. We need good people like you in the world. :D
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:iconolooriel:
Olooriel Featured By Owner Edited Dec 7, 2015   Digital Artist
ressources=money, not ideas or work that you put into the project yourself. An author might have a whole book written, and sure it might be a possible bestseller, but he still needs money to print it and advertise it so people know about its existance. If he can't afford these things, then the book isn't likely to be a bestseller if he's self-publishing, even if it is a good book (and if he isn't self-publishing, he needs to convince a publishing company of its worth, and then the publisher will pick and pay an artist for it).

And if you think about the other side of the argument, if being an artist is your full time job, then you need to be sure that you'll be paid, because you've got bills too and they won't accept a "maybe, hopefully, sometime", even if you believe in the project, you might actually not be able to afford working on it, when you could spend the time working on something that you know will pay.
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:iconjayceel:
Jayceel Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
Thank you!
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:iconmaedeer:
Maedeer Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
:thumbsup:
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:iconsakpalamey:
sakpalamey Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
They have this understanding that artists are just too lazy to take up normal jobs.
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:icondarya87:
Darya87 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
*applause*
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:iconmathieu-r:
Mathieu-R Featured By Owner Edited Dec 7, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for all people like myself who really can't afford to pay artists but would use some help for their projects...

Not like I wouldn't want to pay for someone's help... but, hey, what can you do when all you have is the ideas you got in mind ?... Not worth your time, yeah, I got it...
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:iconkelleybean86:
kelleybean86 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
That's what publishers are for. If you have a great idea, send it to a publisher. If they also think it's great, they'll pay for everything: the art, the printing, the distribution and shipping, and you'll get a cut of the profits.
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