Came across this rant today on Craigslist. It's in response to someone posting an ad requesting illustrations for the book they're working on. The gist of the original ad was - please do ten illustrations for this book that I'm writing, and I might pay you if/when it gets published. It's a "small" book, so ten drawings isn't very much work, right?
Re: zombie and children's book illustrator (east/van)
Students, hobbiests, or professional artists (me) all deserve compensation for their time. Say that each illustration takes them a min. of one hour. You should pay them a min. of $200- that's only $20 an hour - for something that not very many people can do. Its a trade- you can't do it, that's why you're looking for someone. $200 wouldn't get you sh*t with me, maybe one illustration, depends on the detail and TIME.
WOULD YOU PAY A PLUMBER OR A MECHANIC NOTHING FOR THEIR TIME? Like: my car needs work because I'm going to sell it, if it does sell, then I will compensate you.
Besides, you obviously don't know what you're doing [name], because when you have a book illustrated, you generally buy the images outright. You own the rights to the characters - you can use those images and characters for any and all merchandise thereafter. That means to pay - and you pay extra since someone is literally selling the rights not just the drawing and their time. That way you don't have to keep track of these artists to pay them when/if your book ever gets published. This is your 'baby', your project. If you want to spend your time on it that's fine, but you can't expect other people to invest/waste their time in a project they don't believe in.
If someone isn't willing to invest a few $ in their own project- I have no faith in that project ever getting published.
ARTISTS: DON'T TAKE THIS BS. IF NOBODY UNDERVALUED THEMSELVES AND GAVE THEIR WORK UP FOR FREE OR DIRT CHEAP- THEN PEOPLE WOULD KNOW BETTER THAN TO OFFER SO LITTLE FOR IT. DO NOT BE FLATTERED TO BE PART OF A PROJECT- DO NOT DO WORK TO 'EXPAND' YOUR PORTFOLIO- UNLESS YOU SUCK. IF YOU HAVE REAL TALENT, YOUR WORK WILL SPEAK FOR ITSELF. ACCEPTING LOW PAYMENT FOR YOUR TIME AND TALENT DRIVES THE PRICE DOWN FOR US ALL. - DEMAND CONTRACTS AND COMPENSATION
I understand this person's frustrations. I've only casually looked at ads for freelance illustrators, just to kinda see what's out there (I realize Craigslist is not the best place to look for work, but it's pretty entertaining sometimes). And a lot of the ads listed online are offering squat for compensation. Professional artists should be treated the same as any other profession: with professional pay. If I spend 20+ hours on a project, I would like to be paid money.This is also a good reminder for me to be confident in my abilities and not do work for free just because I am still a student. It is tempting tho for the "experience", but probably not worth all the effort for zero compensation.