Thinking about giving up...
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Thread: Thinking about giving up...

  1. #1
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    Thinking about giving up...

    I have, for the last 10 years or so, successfully earned a living as an artist in one form or another. (Initially game design, then Architectural Visualization and now game art again). But to be honest I've pretty much had enough.

    I'm currently working freelance at home for a games developer and I know it kind of goes with the territory a bit but just lately it seems like every single image I create gets sent back. 'Can you change this, can we try it like this...' etc etc and I've now got to the point where I just think 'whats the point?!' because nothing I do seems to be right. They'll give me a brief, which I'll follow and they'll initially be pleased with it but then a day or two later I get told to do it again differently and this goes on and on until I've done it maybe five or six times (and in my opinion to a lower standard than the original.)

    What little confidence I had to begin with has now gone completely as I feel that I really must be no good at what I'm doing, and now rather than enjoying being an artist, my heart is just not in it and I feel like all of my creativity has been drained.

    I'm typing this now rather than getting on with my latest challenge of making something vaguely presentable out of a publishers sketch. I've vaguely started doing what they want but its just not going to work and is going to look horrible and I am honestly on the verge of just quitting and going to get a job in a factory or something.

    Sorry.. bit of a rant... how do you guys cope?!?


    peace

    c

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    If they're constantly asking you to rework a piece, tell them to make the mother-fucking brief clearer or charge them surplus. Just because they're paying you it doesn't mean they're not costing you money. Time = money so each rework you do without pay is costing you. You should remind them that your time is valuable and that if they don't like what they're getting then they need to make the brief clearer, pay more, or hire someone else. Be firm with them and they will start respecting and trusting you. Don't let them push you around! For all you know they could be using each sent back image and pretending that they actually wanted something else. They're stealing your shit man!

    Another thing you should remember is that no piece of work can be perfect at first. A great piece requires constant reworking. It's like finding a rough rock in the sand. Right now it looks like shit - a piece of black ore. But when you polish it, and work on it, and give it love and etc. the ore will eventually reveal a gem. You have the ore so polish it! Of course, not every piece of rock you find will turn into a jem but that's why you carry on.

    Then again, if you're always finding bad rocks it's possible that you need to start searching in a different beach.

    But the fact that they're asking you to alter it means that they care. They're hiring you for several tasks aren't they?

    If what you make follows the brief and they ask you to change it, you should tell them "It fits the specification. If you don't like it, you're going to have to pay again." Take your lawyer out of your pocket and wave him around in their faces. If you're thinking of quitting altogether then you don't need to worry about a pissed off client. You might as well do it! You'll find a client you like and trust that treats you with the respect you deserve.

    The system specification is the legally binding document in the Software Development industry. For us, if the client wants some other features not in the specification, he's going to need to open up the bank!

    Last edited by M-Kaibigan; April 22nd, 2010 at 06:32 AM.
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    Smile

    I know how you feel cause somehow I've been through that situations and feelings before. Sometimes we are burn out of this circumstances as an artist we just give the best out of everything, we follow what the customers direction but we also give our own ideas on it. What I've learn is that even if it seems like they reject or they want to change many things with what we did. It doesn't mean that they don't like it maybe it's just that they can see more potential with what we have started. Don't feel bad keep on going what is important is that were doing what we love to do.

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    If your going to quit try painting what ever the fuck you want and call it fine art. Maybe you can move some canvases.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3v17c View Post
    how do you guys cope?!?
    By not caring about what other people think.

    Dude, seriously, you hate your job. I hate mine, too. I've spent 13 years working in kitchens. 13! People have served less time in prison for murder than I have spent working in kitchens. I hate cooking. I hate customers. Servers are the bane of my existence. Hosts are only good for hitting on. I used to like it, but now I don't even want to cook at home.

    So I'm in college now. Started when I was 27, and now I'm two weeks from graduating as a network administrator.

    You don't like your clients. Your job makes you depressed. Quit. Find something else. Do art for you, or for someone else who doesn't make you feel like crap. And for the love of the gods, charge extra for revisions.

    Your time is money. More importantly, it's their money. When they realize they're going to have to pay again to have something redone they'll start thinking twice about having it done again, or give you clearer instructions from the begining. I know web developers who do this all the time because J Random Luser doesn't have a clue what they want for a web site, just that what you've done isn't what they want.

    "Without angst, there is no art." - Fred Gallagher
    "Man, I'ma beat these zombies til my watch falls off!" - Ellis
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    There are some people who dither around and make life difficult and you will encounter them regardless of the field of endeavor. A strategy is to do what a couple of people are talking about and give customer whatever crappy thing customer wants as long as there is $$$$, followed by doing whatever you want in off time in exchange for pleasure/peace of mind.

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    If you are freelance, (which if I read correctly, you are), then can you not change your contract and say that you will only do 1 revision, or else prices go way up (so they will never ask, and if you do then you will be rolling in the bucks). If you are thinking of terminating the contract anyway, then you might as well.

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    I say it would not hurt to take a part time or full time "real job", you might be surprised to find that you enjoy it. Or it might be so godawful that it makes doing art super sweet and you go back to it. It's not like you have to tear up your art membership card and throw all your brushes in the trash once you accept a paycheck in another field. One way or the other, I'm sure that a little break and some perspective cannot hurt. And if you find a job with some customer service component, it might drive you back to art while giving you new tools to deal with clients.

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    From what you write, I get the impression that you 1) get a brief, 2) hand in a finished piece of work, and 3) the client wants some changes made.

    There's more than that, right? Between stage 1 and 2, I mean?

    In the future, everyone will have 15 minutes of privacy.

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    Jovian M is offline HOW MANY PUSH-UPS CAN YOU DO? Level 7 Gladiator: Samnite
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    Oh no, you have to paint for a living.


    Set a limit of how many changes they can make to each piece in your contract.

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    hey thanks for all the replies.. i was just kinda ranting with my original post.

    i am freelance but at the moment am doing all my work for one company and get paid a set monthly amount so they are paying for the constant amendments they want.

    I think one of the problems is that all their games are budget titles on a really short development cycle so there's no proper initial design work done and the artwork is kind of made up on the fly. Also I'm dealing with 2 people: the game designer and the company director/lead coder who both seem to have completely different ideas of what they want stuff to look like. For example I was recently doing some speedometers/rev counters etc for a racing game. Game designer wanted them distressed/grungy looking, coder wanted them clean and clinical, so no way I can please both at the same time!! Ended up doing them about 10 different times before they both agreed on a design.... which will still probably come back for changes!! Aaaargh!

    Anyways, keep on keeping on I guess, and yes I know many people would love to do this for a living.

    @Qitsune - i actually took a temp job in a bookstore over Xmas as there was no other work about, and did quite enjoy it! Made a pleasant change to be away from a computer screen and to actually be out in public!!! Pay was rubbish though!

    peace

    c

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    Just be happy you can draw. It really is a pleasure to draw and drawing well is even better. Drawing is fucking awesome. Maybe your clients suck, but there will be others. Just keep an eye out for job openings at studios you'd rather work for.

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    Arshes Nei is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    It's called WORK for a reason.

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    I'd give almost anything to be a freelance artist. ;_;x

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    That's exactly what I have been experiencing recently. Some people do not have any clue of what they want, so they want to gather as many ideas as possible, I just give them quick sketches of different ideas, clear sketches, values or lines only, so they communicate clearly to the client but are also easy and fast to do. So that helps me not to work too much on something that may be rejected, there is not so much wasted time this way.

    For one of my latest client, I have done 72 sketches until they decided something final. It was a fun exploration process. But the hardest thing is to get into the mind of the client. Many times they do not know what they want so I just need to give them ideas, lots of them, until they understand what they want.

    The worst thing for me is when they choose something that looks bad. Like, I give them a super cool/fun design but they choose the more "standard/boring" looking, but at least the process of coming up with lots of different ideas was really fun.

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    I just intend to become so fucking awesome that asking for revisions would make their head explode from how badass they all are.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3v17c View Post
    i am freelance but at the moment am doing all my work for one company and get paid a set monthly amount so they are paying for the constant amendments they want.

    I think one of the problems is that all their games are budget titles on a really short development cycle so there's no proper initial design work done and the artwork is kind of made up on the fly. Also I'm dealing with 2 people: the game designer and the company director/lead coder who both seem to have completely different ideas of what they want stuff to look like. For example I was recently doing some speedometers/rev counters etc for a racing game. Game designer wanted them distressed/grungy looking, coder wanted them clean and clinical, so no way I can please both at the same time!! Ended up doing them about 10 different times before they both agreed on a design.... which will still probably come back for changes!! Aaaargh!
    If they're paying on a monthly basis for ongoing work regardless of how productive the work really is, that's a GOOD thing. I've had some jobs similar to what you describe here, where I'm paid on a time-and-materials basis and the client makes endless self-contradicting changes (often going full circle and ending up where they started!) When I'm on a job like that, I survive by constantly telling myself "gettin' paid by the hour, gettin' paid by the hour..." Maybe you just need to remind yourself you're gettin' paid by the month, and stop caring about the silly changes...

    If they're compromising their own deadline with silly changes, (and oh boy do clients have a bad habit of doing this,) then you should warn them every time they ask for a change that's going to affect the deadline; "Sure, I can make that change, but it'll make the project X days late." Of course this may lead to much wrangling and re-negotiating and compromises... Such is life...

    If possible, in the future maybe try to include time to develop a specification in your contract and/or schedule? Even small games really should have some basic spec, developing without a spec is guaranteed to be inefficient. I make a lot of Flash games of varying degrees of complexity, and I usually try to schedule time to develop a specification, and I insist clients sign off on the specification before I start real production. This helps save time and hassle in the long run, and if later on they ask for changes from what was specced, I have better leverage for negotiating more time and/or money. At the most basic, the specification may be just a written outline of the game functionality, or it may include a basic art direction/look-and-feel sketch, or storyboards showing gameplay, character designs if necessary, etc.

    If you're not in charge of the specification process, though, there's not much you can do except make sure you're getting paid for your time regardless of changes. And try not to do any unpaid overtime, that always sucks.

    Also, having personal side-projects that you can do for fun in between work craziness helps keep your sanity, and helps keep your enthusiasm for art. Works for me, anyway.

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    Oh yeah, design by comittee, it's never good. Gets on the nerves and usually dilutes the art.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian223 View Post
    But the hardest thing is to get into the mind of the client. Many times they do not know what they want so I just need to give them ideas, lots of them, until they understand what they want.
    Oh man, tell me about it. And some of them want something different every day (I swear I had one client who would ask for a change, and then ask to have it changed back the next week, and then ask to have it changed back again the week after that, and so on and on and on... It was like, "Make it blue! No, make it red! Uuuh, you know what, I liked it better blue. No wait, I changed my mind, I liked it better red." AAAGH! Luckily I was getting paid by the hour.) And then there's the fun of trying to get consensus from a committee...

    The worst thing for me is when they choose something that looks bad. Like, I give them a super cool/fun design but they choose the more "standard/boring" looking, but at least the process of coming up with lots of different ideas was really fun.
    They ALWAYS choose the most boring option. But at least you can use the fun options as portfolio pieces. And yes, it's fun coming up with them.

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    I haven't done much freelance work yet but I would try to find time to draw for myself some stuff. Just like in that Don Bluth video.

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    The current concepts I am working on are set out for a flat rate for rough sketches, then we negotiate a price for Developments and then we do a final, this is a good way of doing things and its very rare that my final piece needs to be reworked, it's much easier to rework a rough sketch than it is to rework a final peice, I can rework a rough sketch in a matter of seconds, try reccomending that way of working to your agents, it's a good way of working, when somebody has a solid vision of something it's very hard to get it across to an artists mind and have it look exactly how they wanted it.

    You have to remember that they are running a business, it maybe a game, a movie, but they have a vision and they want it a certain way, so if you are just reading a brief and going straight to final ninety percent of the time, it won't be what the person has in his/her head. That's why starting with rough sketches is a good idea, you can also get more money out off them by doing that and avoid getting work sent back.

    One more thing, You are a concept artist and you have to accept that your work is going to get thrown backwards and forwards, it's part of the job, just make sure you use lots of layers in your work that way making changes should not be such a burden.


    I hope all goes well.

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    My suggestion's already been mentioned, but I suggest you take a break from the commercial game design stuff, and try painting what you want as a "fine artist". This doesn't mean you have to follow traditional fine art stereotypes like still-life paintings or anything. It just means you create a piece to your own liking, and then sell it as-is (through a gallery or the internet). A lot of people sell limited prints too. Might be less lucrative, but it's more freeing.

    'Cuz life is full of your regrets, and I should be one...
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    As Christian said, do somewhat polished sketches rather than finished artworks so that you have to discard a couple of days' worth of work.

    And you answered your own question, it's not you that creates inadequate art, it's the employer that has inadequate vision.

    And yeah doing something different will take your mind off the things. Go for a horse ride or something if you can't get a part-time job. Join some kind of club.

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    It depends on your situation but: http://vimeo.com/22053820

    If it's an awkward client who is trying to avoid paying you etc then its a good video. If they are paying you fair rates for the work your doing but not using it then that's your having attachment issues .

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  32. #27
    kev ferrara is offline Registered User Level 17 Gladiator: Spartacus' Dimachaeri
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    I can't find your work. Can we see a link to your work?

    At least Icarus tried!


    My Process: Dead Rider Graphic Novel (Dark Horse Comics) plus oil paintings, pencils and other goodies:
    http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=101106

    My "Smilechild" Music. Plus a medley of Commercial Music Cues and a Folksy Jingle!:
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    this thread was created well over 3 years ago, so hard to say where he is now, I wish I got paid for drawing/painting and even revisions way better then the crap job I'm doing now, some people really don't know how good they got it...

    Last edited by halfdolla; September 7th, 2013 at 12:34 AM.
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