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  1. #1
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    Apr 2006
    San Diego
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    Asking for free art

    I'm just wondering what everyone's views are on this. In what contexts is it or is it not okay to ask for free art? Why does it seem that art is more often expected or asked to be given for free in oppose to something like legal help? Should artists give out their work for free?

    I know that there are contexts where it's justified. Free workshops, or help with youth art programs, etc. But there are definitely contexts where it can be a bit insulting, and i know there are people out there who know what i mean.

    Any stories or examples of extreme cases one way or the other would be interesting to hear. I was inspired to ask these questions by an anonymous post that shouldn't have even been in the lounge saying "I am looking for donations of concept art to use for a web-based RPG that I am working on." Not that I'm implying anything but he went on to say he'd be making money off of it by ads and all the artists would get was "credit". There was another similar post a week or two ago, and this seemed like a good debate topic. So when is it okay, when is it not okay, when is it insulting, etc? examples? stories?
    "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
    --- Frank Herbert, Dune - Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Virginia, USA
    Thanked 408 Times in 235 Posts
    I'm not even a professional artist and the requests in the lounge make me snicker. It's not that they are asking, but rather the fact that they do not bother to look for/post in the correct place, and the posts usually aren't very professional. For example, when I read "idea stage" that makes me think it's not a very dedicated project. You can get a lot of the settings, plots, and mechanics laid out with no art what-so-ever. At least that is my experience with creating dice based rpgs.

    This guy asked for art the right way: He showed his dedication to the project, posted lots of images, and offers exchange of knowledge. If I thought I could help that guy I would.

    To be fair...I can sort of imagine the thought process of people who come here and ask for free art. There is a ton of art on this site that most of us prob. weren't being specifically paid to create. They're creating a game that they aren't being paid to create, and most likely aren't considering potential financial gain from the finished project. I've had friends ask me for art for that exact reason... they think they have a cool idea, and they want to put it into motion for their own fun and the enjoyment of others. Needless to say I've never actually had to do any art for said friend projects...the creator always flakes on the entire project eventually.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Thanked 2,279 Times in 625 Posts
    Attachment 663879

    you'll notice the more attractive the client is, the less it will cost them. near the end of the graph we see the attractiveness take a sharp incline, please note that this portion of the study is merely for theoretical purposes and i have yet to find a girl who falls into such a category.

    you may wonder why there is a temporary increase then decline in the initial segment of the level of attractiveness. this first peak of data refers to the maximum capacity of another guy's ability to charm a discount out of me. it only works to a slight degree before i wise up and realize i'm getting the moves laid on me by another fella'. we can also read from this data that a modestly decent girl of fair appeal has the ability to coax me out of work for a moderate luncheon. as she gets more seductive my expectations of a return is lessened, until she doesnt even need to acknowledge my efforts and a 'thanks' is more than enough.

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  6. #4
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    Aug 2005
    Philly PA
    Thanked 1,478 Times in 470 Posts
    my opinion, people can always ask, it's people who truly expect free art (anything from a random doodle to a fully finished painting/whathaveyou) that are a problem. Most cases (and this is more for a sketch at a convention or something), the more entitled the person seems to feel, the less likely I'd entertain the offer, which I guess comes down to an question of respect

    You can always ask someone a favor, it doesn't mean they'll grant it. You can never demand one though.
    "Every little step considered one at a time is not terribly daunting" - Ethan Coen

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  8. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Sarasota, FL
    Thanked 346 Times in 130 Posts
    Dave hit the nail on the head with that one. All the people I work with want me to design them something or draw/paint them something. But when I say it's gonna cost them, they are APPALLED and/or OFFENDED I'd dare say that! Have them pay for my time?!!?!?

    "That is preposterous, sir. Nay, heinous!"

    Some people cannot wrap their heads around that drawing them something takes time out of my work. Not only personal work and studies, but clients who do actually pay. More or less, I just egg them on if whether or not I will get paid and that usually shuts them up for a couple of weeks. But alas, in a a fortnight's time, they will be back again, badgering me if I can draw their new ankle tattoo.

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  9. #6
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    Jan 2009
    Arizona, USA
    Thanked 632 Times in 355 Posts
    I don't mind people asking me for free art at all. My friends do it all the time and when I have time to I will draw them something. It only gets annoying when I'm on dA and I see a long post detailing the most boring character design of all time with a "please have it done soon" tacked on at the end. I remember someone wanted me to draw their character that was basically Squall from Final Fantasy VIII and they detailed their was horrible and I kindly said that I couldn't and they called me a snob and said my art wasn't worth money so they are entitled to it for free.

  10. #7
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    Apr 2009
    Thanked 16 Times in 6 Posts
    My artwork is no where near professional caliber, but i like to think i'm relatively decent, if not better than my non-art practicing friends. More than once my friends have asked me to draw a tattoo for them or other type of illustration. Normally i have no problem with this, but its when they start to get impatient with me, especially only after a few days, and sort of start to demand i finish their tatoo, that it starts to get to me.
    My Sketchbook - Comments and Crits always welcome -

  11. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Thanked 491 Times in 271 Posts
    Well if it's a close friend then i'll ask the to take me out to lunch or dinner. But if it's someone that I barely know or some random ET on the net then it's a " Hi yeah....noooo"

  12. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Thanked 458 Times in 338 Posts
    When my relatives ask, it's always yes.

    I was watching my niece and nephew and sketching, a little dude came up and asked if I could draw him a bunny. Of course.

    I've gotten free drinks in a bar because people ask if I'll draw them - I was gonna do it anyway.

    Basically, anybody who's not looking to make money off of my work, it's cool.

  13. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    New Haven, CT
    Thanked 974 Times in 521 Posts
    98% of the time I won't even consider doing free work. I have no shortage of my own projects I don't have time to do, I certainly don't have time to work on someone elses. I'd certainly rather take a low paying job that I know will see publication than a free one, and I'm starting to put serious limits on even those.

    The 2% of the time I do free work is always for a friend who has an activity or event that I support. For example, every few months I may do a bout poster for my friends at the Connecticut Roller Girls (roller derby). They of course toss me free passes and Tshirts, but it's pretty much just me volunteering my time to help out. Recently though they had a big bout coming up (double header), and they really liked the poster I did for them, so they asked if they could do Tshirts (and I'd have to simplify the design down to a handful of colors). This, for me, was where I felt I should start talking about a fee. Bout posters? Sure. Making money directly off the artwork? That's when we need to start talking money.

  14. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Alberta, Canada
    Thanked 355 Times in 267 Posts
    On dA, I often see people asking professionals (or people that are of professional calibre) if they can have their shiny desu character drawn, or asking 'do you take reqeustss!??!!?', or even 'yo man us brothaz gotta stick together draw me a tatttoo thansk'. It gets pretty ridiculous.

    I, myself, do take requests on occasion. Generally, when people ask for something, I'll just tell them, 'yup, sure,' and usually I will do a little doodle of whatever they're asking, but won't scan it/photograph it. Not to be a dick, though, I just end up forgetting, or it comes out bad and I don't feel like sharing it with the world.

  15. #12
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    Mar 2009
    Thanked 186 Times in 109 Posts
    The big no-go has always been the time people are making money with my work.
    Next on the list are people who expect the quality I deliver for my job for free.
    I might deliver that, but don't expect it and don't complain if it isn't.
    My job pays the mortgage, free work doesn't.

    But if someone needs a little help or needs something small for personal use I might as wel help out. It's still practice.
    The one exception are relatives.
    The lesson here is: never charge them and never do anything with them that even looks like business (so no free commercial designs and that kind of stuff).
    I've seen the amount of trouble that can get someone into and it's not worth it.

  16. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    West Midlands, UK
    Thanked 188 Times in 115 Posts
    As I'm not yet in the industry, doing art for free isn't that big of a deal to me yet... although I will only do artwork for my closest friends, aquaitances (sp?) I won't, I will just tell them politely that I don't have the time. For example, one of my friends has asked me to help her decorate her room, and she saw some of my bone studies (such as the hand) and asked if I would do a few for her room. I said I would gladly, as she is buying all the things I'll need, such as canvases, paint and drawing equipment and I will get some extra practice out of it.

    It's a whole other story when somebody asks me to do their artwork for them. Oddly enough, I have had this happen in art classes several times, where people will ask me to do their work for them. I tell them that they are here to learn, and they won't learn by making others do the work for them. If they bother me again later, I tell them a blunt "No". The people that do that, I have no time for really... they just get to me on so many levels.
    However, I agree with that everyone else has said here, it's just not that big a deal for me yet as I'm not working, I expect it will once I am working in the industry.

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