I normally just ignore requests asking to use my artwork for free (but they’ll credit my work? Really?!? Like I'd seriously let them use it without a credit?!).
But, as it seems to be happening more and more, I thought I’d go to the effort of actually posting about it and, hopefully, it will save me getting irritated with future requests. The text below is a shortened mash up of a fabulous post from Craigs List in the US on why it’s ridiculous to ask an artist to work for free. Enjoy.
“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?
In this country [US], 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 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 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:
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
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.
For those who are looking for someone to 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.”
So, just to be absolutely clear, it doesn’t matter how lovely you think my artwork is, or how amazing it would be to use it for whatever it is you want to use it for. If you want to use it, please respect me enough to pay for it. That way I get to pay my bills AND create more fabulous artwork for you to use, right?