Illustrators Don’t Work For Free

September 16, 2009

This article was first posted on Craigslist and later flagged/removed… but not before someone caught sight of it and re-posted it on his blog.  I read this courtesy of my colleauge Jerry Teo, and I’m doing the same by reposting here.

Special thanks to my former Prof Kathryn Adams for bringing this to our attention.

Original Post on Position Relative “Craig’s Pissed January 23, 2007

I’m a self-employed graphic designer. In the old days, when I was greener than a leprechaun’s testicles, nothing would make me consider suicide quicker than a potential client who was, in fact, just some deluded jackass. The hook was usually, “If you do this job cheap, I’ve loads more work for you!” and I bought that line more times than anyone with an ounce of sense ought to have. This morning, the following was posted on CraigsList. It’s been doing the rounds on design boards and blogs in a big community whoop because it captures and excoriates so perfectly the ignorance and arrogance inflicted on designers by design morons. The post was quickly flagged and removed (i.e. censored) by CraigsList users, but not before it became the gift that keeps on giving.

Who was that masked crusader? Designers everywhere owe him a hot coffee and a big hug.

Post from CraigsList

“Every day, there are more and more Craigs List posts seeking “artists” for everything from auto graphics to comic books to corporate logo designs. More people are finding themselves in need of some form of illustrative service. But what they’re NOT doing, unfortunately, is realizing how rare someone with these particular talents can be. To those who are “seeking artists”, let me ask you; How many people do you know, personally, with the talent and skill to perform the services you need? A dozen? Five? One? …none? More than likely, you don’t know any. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be posting on craigslist to find them. And this is not really a surprise. In this country, there are almost twice as many neurosurgeons as there are professional illustrators. There are eleven times as many certified mechanics. There are SEVENTY times as many people in the IT field. So, given that they are less rare, and therefore less in demand, would it make sense to ask your mechanic to work on your car for free? Would you look him in the eye, with a straight face, and tell him that his compensation would be the ability to have his work shown to others as you drive down the street? Would you offer a neurosurgeon the “opportunity” to add your name to his resume as payment for removing that pesky tumor? (Maybe you could offer him “a few bucks” for “materials”. What a deal!) Would you be able to seriously even CONSIDER offering your web hosting service the chance to have people see their work, by viewing your website, as their payment for hosting you?

If you answered “yes” to ANY of the above, you’re obviously insane.

If you answered “no”, then kudos to you for living in the real world.

But then tell me… why would you think it is okay to live out the same, delusional, ridiculous fantasy when seeking someone whose abilities are even less in supply than these folks? Graphic artists, illustrators, painters, etc., are skilled tradesmen. As such, to consider them as, or deal with them as, anything less than professionals fully deserving of your respect is both insulting and a bad reflection on you as a sane, reasonable person.

In short, it makes you look like a twit.

A few things you need to know;

1. It is not a “great opportunity” for an artist to have his work seen on your car/’zine/website/bedroom wall, etc. It IS a “great opportunity” for YOU to have their work there.

2. It is not clever to seek a “student” or “beginner” in an attempt to get work for free. It’s ignorant and insulting. They may be “students”, but that does not mean they don’t deserve to be paid for their hard work. You were a “student” once, too. Would you have taken that job at McDonalds with no pay, because you were learning essential job skills for the real world? Yes, your proposition it JUST as stupid.

3. The chance to have their name on something that is going to be seen by other people, whether it’s one or one million, is NOT a valid enticement. Neither is the right to add that work to their “portfolio”. They get to do those things ANYWAY, after being paid as they should. It’s not compensation. It’s their right, and it’s a given.

4. Stop thinking that you’re giving them some great chance to work. Once they skip over your silly ad, as they should, the next ad is usually for someone who lives in the real world, and as such, will pay them. There are far more jobs needing these skills than there are people who possess these skills.

5. Students DO need “experience”. But they do NOT need to get it by giving their work away. In fact, this does not even offer them the experience they need. Anyone who will not/can not pay them is obviously the type of person or business they should be ashamed to have on their resume anyway. Do you think professional contractors list the “experience” they got while nailing down a loose step at their grandmother’s house when they were seventeen? If you your company or gig was worth listing as desired experience, it would be able to pay for the services it received. The only experience they will get doing free work for you is a lesson learned in what kinds of scrubs they should not lower themselves to deal with.

6. (This one is FOR the artists out there, please pay attention.) Some will ask you to “submit work for consideration”. They may even be posing as some sort of “contest”. These are almost always scams. They will take the work submitted by many artists seeking to win the “contest”, or be “chosen” for the gig, and find what they like most. They will then usually have someone who works for them, or someone who works incredibly cheap because they have no originality or talent of their own, reproduce that same work, or even just make slight modifications to it, and claim it as their own. You will NOT be paid, you will NOT win the contest. The only people who win, here, are the underhanded folks who run these ads. This is speculative, or “spec”, work. It’s risky at best, and a complete scam at worst. I urge you to avoid it, completely. For more information on this subject, please visit www.no-spec.com.

So to artists/designers/illustrators looking for work, do everyone a favor, ESPECIALLY yourselves, and avoid people who do not intend to pay you. Whether they are “spec” gigs, or just some guy who wants a free mural on his living room walls.

They need you.

You do NOT need them.

And for those who are looking for someone to do work for free… please wake up and join the real world. The only thing you’re accomplishing is to insult those with the skills you need. Get a clue.”

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Inspiration from Viktor Deak

August 20, 2009

Anyone who’s as excited about the union between science and art as I am should certainly browse and appreciate the work of NY-based paleoartist, Viktor Deak.

Viktor Deak's Lucy

Viktor Deak's Lucy

I discovered his work after reading this blogpost, and was thoroughly impressed not only by his work, but also by the attention and publicity it has received. Now an internationally renowned paleoartist, Deak’s long list of collaborators includes many big names, institutions and companies.

For more info / content, click the following links:

interview w/ NY Times

Viktor Deak’s Portfolio

panorama of Deak’s studio


Toronto Life Magazine Feature

April 14, 2009

A month or so ago I uploaded a post that mentioned a photoshoot that I was involved in for an upcoming article in Toronto Life Magazine regarding the recession and how it has affected young urban professionals (such as myself). Now available for public purchase, the May 2009 issue of Toronto Life features a cover article called “How To Get Ahead in a Recession,” featuring my likeness on the magazine cover and within the article itself.

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Although the article itself is written from the slanted perspective of a generation Xer and the photography filters make the models appear rough and resilient, some of the arguments and points made are legitimately interesting comments about this important and difficult period.

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One major criticism I have for the magazine editor/Author of the article is that although the exposure for those mentioned/seen within the article is certainly a privilege, we models/consultants do not have our contact information or website links included anywhere in either the article or the edition itself. If this article truly was concerned about how to survive an economic recession, I think it might have considered including this info as an opportunity for networking and legitimate exposure (not to mention perhaps paying any/all models included from the shoot)….

So as not to make this post entirely about narcissistic self-promotion, there is also another interesting article in this edition called “A Mighty Wind,” regarding the issue of whether (and how to) implement the idea of integrating energy windmills into the toronto skyline. Enjoy!


Dinosaur Reconstruction: Sketch

April 6, 2009

On a lazy Sunday afternoon, I finally got around to some sketching that I’ve been meaning to tackle since I took reference photos at the ROM in 2008: dinosaur anatomy reconstruction, based on fossil evidence.

Dwelling on my pathological anatomy illustration experience during my time at the University of Guelph back in 2007 I decided to attempt a 2D anatomical reconstruction of a type of extinct raptor. Aided by  googled images of bird heads and musculature, anatomical textbook limb references, shots of various animal cadavers from the dissections @ Guelph and a few photos of my former pet iguana, I was able to produce a decent sketch of what could turn into a convincing, accurate series of renderings.

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Yes, I should have been spending this time working on my website layout, but no, that would not have been as entertaining. Although I like where this image is going, after considering the pose of the animal, I don’t think i’ll bother to render a final version of this raptor… however, with a better understanding of the anatomy, I might conceive a better composition later….


New Site Layout: Preview

April 2, 2009

During the last few weeks I’ve been rediscovering the loverly and meticulous world of CSS, XHTML, HTML and website construction in general, working to revise my own website. Since constructing the original last year, I have decided that the layout, colour scheme, graphic identity and page orientation no longer conveys exactly what I want, how I’d like to be received or exactly what I do (process and interpretive work?! why did i include these!?!).

As such, I have been working to redesign it based on a text-heavy layout vs. picture or flash: like many digital artists and webmasters, I’ve realised the unavoidable truth about website traffic: TEXT GETS MORE HITS. As many visitors browse sites based on keyword searches via engines such as google or yahoo, it only makes sense that the more active and available text keywords present on your site, the more hits your site will receive, as the site robots only understand text (and not images). This is probably the single most serious problem with flash and image-based website design, and a huge part of my decision to revise. I expect it will be some time before I complete and upload the new design, as I have been rather busy lately, but here are some previews…

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Old site:

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Spring Promo Campaign 2009

March 31, 2009

This week marks the launch of my Spring Promo Campaign for 2009; yesterday was spent composing various compilations for representation and exposure across the continent. I had hoped to have my new website layout completed and functioning before April; unfortunately, it will now be pushed back, hopefully uploaded within the next week or two (depending on workload). In the meantime, here are some of the promo image compilations for your visual enjoyment. Click on any one of them to access categorically selected works from my portfolio website.

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mattdanko_medical_promo

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