Ask the Art Professor: How Do You Explain to Potential Clients That Artists Need to Be Paid?

July 2, 2014 11:48 PM

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Ask the Art Professor: How Do You Explain to Potential Clients That Artists Need to Be Paid?

I've been getting into Illustration and Motion Design, and one of the hardest conversations that keeps coming up is about money. Or really, people assuming you'll do something "for your resume." I think there must be some business textbooks out there repeating "You can get artists to work for free, it's great for their portfolio." It's easy to shoot off an angry response, but in real-world situations, you may not want to burn bridges, or the person asking may not really understand just how uncouth what they're saying really is. Do you have any advice about how to tactfully explain to people that we need to be paid for our time, in a way that builds understanding?

I get emails all the time from people asking to use images of my artwork for free. Most of the people who ask are independent artists or people from small nonprofit organizations. People have wanted to use my artwork on T-shirts, a band's album cover, book covers, textbooks, and much more.

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