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Thread: Life of a Freelancer - cool or not so cool?

  1. #1
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    Life of a Freelancer - cool or not so cool?

    Today I've read these blog entries and they made me think.

    http://daarken.com/blog/2011/02/27/d...-one-and-done/

    http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2010...-face-instead/

    I pretty much started freelancing out of art school and ten years later I still do it. On the one hand I'm still thinking: Is this really the right thing to do? Don't I need a job with a monthly paycheque? On the other hand I got offered very good contracts which I didn't sign. Yep, it's a tad bit schizophrenic.

    My conclusion after these 10 years: As a Freelancer you are the king of the world or you are the only idiot in the room. The king and idot-situations happen frequently with unkown duration.

    The first 2 rules for me are: First: If you get big chuncks of money - save them for not so good times and second: keep your fixed costs low (very important for me).

    What do you think about the Life of a Freelancer?
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    Well both of them are right, it is same situation with me(almost word to word). But i am loving it. Being your own boss is very satisfying, for me at least. Organizing my own time during day is also something i like. There are days when i don't wanna draw so i can relax on those days(maybe because of that i will need to work harder tomorrow, but it is good to have that feeling of freedom).
    At the end you can always have hope that one day you will have better payed jobs so you don't have to work as much as before.
    There are some days i think i am siting by my computer almost from morning till i go to bed(funny thing is that i usually do) and that some of those days are so repetitive that i am not sure what happened today and what happened yesterday.
    Also i find it very interesting what kind of project i will work next, it gives me boost, and creative energy.
    Will see to edit this post if i want to add something more to this subject

    M
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    i seem to have a love/hate relationship with the freelance life. the constant lonliness, long ass hours, the drain of having to be 'on' all the time, never really making as much as i'd like, etc...vs...being able to draw all day long, coming and going as i please and ultimatley making a living doing something that satisfies my creative urges.

    it's not for everyone i guess....
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    I hated freelancing. I did it for a few years at the beginning, then took a corporate gig. I imagine most in-house art departments are pretty awful, but mine was (mostly) enjoyable and challenging. My immediate boss all that time was very good, so that probably made the difference. No doubt I was under-compensated compared to what I could've made as a freelancer after a couple of decades, but everything is trade-offs.

    It's all temperament, I guess. I'd rather take orders and not have to worry about things.

    I'm back to freelancing now, but thank christ I'm not the main breadwinner.
    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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haha, these posts make me feel like my experience so far has been way too good.

I'm 18, my portfolio is a step from mediocre, (really beyond mediocre if you compare to the pros on here) and work finds me more than I find work. (I actually haven't sealed a single big deal by APPLYING to somewhere yet. Only small projects this way) I study half-time and I'm still making more money than my parent is. And this is only months and a few bumps in my thread here on CA.org into it. I don't even have a .com domain yet.

Will definitely keep in mind this advice though, especially coming from someone like daarken
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    I've been freelancing for a little over two years now and the thing I find worries me is things like pension you know? Like, am I doing the right thing for my old age?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dile_ View Post
    haha, these posts make me feel like my experience so far has been way too good.

    I'm 18, my portfolio is a step from mediocre, (really beyond mediocre if you compare to the pros on here) and work finds me more than I find work. (I actually haven't sealed a single big deal by APPLYING to somewhere yet. Only small projects this way) I study half-time and I'm still making more money than my parent is. And this is only months and a few bumps in my thread here on CA.org into it. I don't even have a .com domain yet.

    Will definitely keep in mind this advice though, especially coming from someone like daarken
    Hey, just checked your porfolio, great stuff.
    I am 20, and worse then you. (You can check the facebook page link in my sig to verify)
    Also self tought. I have been selling posters of my artworks, greeting cards and notebooks for the past 6 months or so, with limited success. It has shown me how hard it can be.

    If what you say is true, then I congratulate you. Keep it up, that is some boss shit.
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    I think it would be very interesting, terrifying and stressful. Not that working for a company isn't those things but still. The nice thing about what I'm doing now is that work ends, and I can go home and mostly do whatever I want during my free time. On the flip side, there are times when I hate what I do and what I have to put up with, especially the drama that goes on with large groups of people.

    Freelancing would end the group problem, and it would hopefully be more interesting but you also have to rely completely on yourself and if you aren't motivated enough to get stuff done, then I expect it's a easy to screw yourself.

    Realistically, there will always be issues and crap, and stress no matter what you do because people have to find a way to earn money. I wonder if the best compromise would be to be able to do artwork for a really great company that allows for creativity but still provides benefits ect. But I don't know if jobs like that even exist. XD

    It will be years though before I can even think of freelancing. And I don't know if I'm the kind of person who can make freelance work for themselves.


    Edit: Though I also wonder if it would be easier if you were married and your spouse could provide a steady income/insurance then it would be easier to freelance? Or at least take some of the frantic edge of it.
    Last edited by Reutte; February 28th, 2011 at 03:43 PM.
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    I was full-time for many years, and now I've been freelance for many years, I have to say I've been enjoying freelance more than full-time. The company I worked for was pretty good for the most part - but freelancing is turning out to be more my style.

    Mostly I prefer the freedom - I like making my own schedule (I hate having to schlep somewhere every morning. I'd rather work during whichever chunk of the day I'm most awake and alert, which might be the middle of the night.) And I love being able to pursue work in any area I want - one of the problems at my full-time job was that the company shifted focus over the years from things I was interested in to things I thought were incredibly dull - and being an employee, I had to go along with that.

    Income varies wildly as a freelancer, of course - some years I make more than I did full-time, other years way less. I try not to spend exorbitantly so I can save the money from flush years to get through the lean years.

    Being American, health insurance is a problem, no denying that (I think I'll just try not to get sick for the next few years...) For "retirement" I have several IRAs... (like I'm ever going to "retire"... ha!)

    But over all, I think I like the freedom and excitement of freelancing. And being in total control. And the endless potential. If someone is afraid of risk, or if they need structure and direction, then I can see where they'd hate freelancing. Me, I find the riskiness kind of exciting and I thrive on chaos, so it works for me.

    (Also I have no problem being alone all day, in fact I prefer it. Being interrupted by people at my full-time job annoyed me no end. But some people work better surrounded by other people, so I guess they'd be better off full-time.)
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  • Quote Originally Posted by Pavel Sokov View Post
    Hey, just checked your porfolio, great stuff.
    I am 20, and worse then you. (You can check the facebook page link in my sig to verify)
    Also self tought. I have been selling posters of my artworks, greeting cards and notebooks for the past 6 months or so, with limited success. It has shown me how hard it can be.

    If what you say is true, then I congratulate you. Keep it up, that is some boss shit.
    I'm not in a position to give advice really, but I think its harder to find work as a character designer/artist than for a matte-painter/illustrator/set-designer/environment-artist.
    Everyone does characters, and nobody does enviros/props etc.

    Anyways, thanks for your words, you got good stuff too, i think you need to target a bigger audience so to speak though =)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dile_ View Post
    I'm not in a position to give advice really, but I think its harder to find work as a character designer/artist than for a matte-painter/illustrator/set-designer/environment-artist.
    Everyone does characters, and nobody does enviros/props etc.

    Anyways, thanks for your words, you got good stuff too, i think you need to target a bigger audience so to speak though =)
    This seems really odd to me. I'd rather do environments than characters, anyday.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadlyhazard View Post
    This seems really odd to me. I'd rather do environments than characters, anyday.
    I'd rather do environments too.

    Well, environments and general illustration.

    I want to try freelancing, I don't know if my work is there yet though... or if there is even demand for work like mine.
    I'm anxious about the technicalities, contracts and such. But then again, I tend to get anxious about anything new really.

    How did you freelancers start out...
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    Environments can be more fun actually (and I love perspective )

    Nice articles. I haven't yet reached enough level to do full-time freelance but I want to give it a try. There are many things which ended a bit different than the way I imagined them so I'm not going to get discouraged from the start. It can equally end up as horror and some really positive experience depending on the luck.
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