Monthly Archives: August 2009

working for free

I didn’t write this. I found it online while searching for tips for writing an effective design proposal. I did what research I could to find the original author, but met a dead end with an anonymous losangeles.craigslist post that dates back to January of 2007. It’s pure gold. If you ever hope to hire a web designer, graphic designer, seamstress, pinstriper, writer, photographer, illustrator… anyone working in a creative field, or if you work in any creative field yourself, you need to read this.


Every day, there are more and more posts on here 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 here 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.

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. Say NO to free art.

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.

If you agree with the above important information, please pass it along. The more people know, the faster we can correct this.



Filed under for doing the right thing., Thank you, the office

Unrelated to anything: My Most Embarrassing Moment

Side Note: Those hands-free mobile phone headsets? They’re very good at transmitting the caller’s voice, and also at voiding out most background noise like traffic, other passengers in your car, and the radio.

Once Upon A Time, there was this guy I liked. Giving you some background but maintaining his privacy, he’s a fairly successful local musician/singer/songwriter, and you can buy his albums on CDBaby and eMusic and iTunes and Amazon. For the rest of this story, remember that he’s a professional singer.

Okay, so we’re hanging out at his place one night, and he asks if he can kiss me. Asks. If he had just leaned in and DONE it, that would have been one thing. But no, he asks. Now, I had only very recently broken up with a long-term boyfriend, so I was still reeling from that. And even though I WANTED to kiss this guy, I fumbled and sputtered and told him “not yet” and blathered out some incoherent, long-winded explanation and when the dust settled and I wanted to curl up into a ball and die, we continued to stay in touch. I wasn’t sure if I’d blown it or not.

But that’s not the embarrassing part. Oh, no.

One night, I’m driving a coworker/friend home from the office. There is an AMAZING moon on the horizon, and I pop in my headset, flip open my phone, and call this guy to alert him to go outside. I get his voicemail. I leave a quick message, and flip the phone shut. My pal in the car and I start singing “I see the moon and the moon sees me…” and when we’re all done with the song, maybe a couple of times, we turn on the radio, where we start singing along with Linda Ronstadt, belting out “When Will I Be Loved.” I’m pretty sure that we got through the whole song by the time I hear my phone beep, and realize that my headset is still in my ear. And discover that my phone does NOT hang up the call when you flip it shut if the headset is plugged in. And that I have just left a 10-minute voicemail serenading this guy, asking When Will I Be Loved. Because he CANNOT HEAR the radio, or my passenger, and does not know that any of this was unintentional.

I never heard from him again.


Filed under big fat mouth, friends, music, romance, relationships, Ultra Maroon

Twerps. Twoids?

Snippets of information that WOULD be tweets if I could squeeze them into 140 characters. But I talk too much.

  • I smashed a large, lumbering, pesky fly last night. Whacked it a few times to make sure it was good and dead. Didn’t rush to dispose of it because 1. euw and 2. it wasn’t going anywhere. But 15 or 20 minutes later when I decided to do something about it, it was gone. I’m hoping that one of the housecats got it, but I don’t recall seeing either of them in the area. I’m waiting to be attacked by a giant and vengeful fly, hopefully in my sleep.
  • Mom brought over a DVD of Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas that she borrowed from the library, which reminded me of two things: 1. The library is a wonderful resource for obtaining books and music and movies FOR FREE and 2. I am not in the mood for watching a Christmas movie in August.
  • Yes, I was in Sacramento for Midnight Mass. Yes, I had a wonderful time. No, I didn’t take a single, solitary photo. Not even with my phone. My friend Rich posted some, though, so here’s a link for those. Nick took some pretty nice car photos, when he sobered up enough to figure out how to focus Rich’s fancy camera, and those are posted here. I’ll be heading back to Cali for a friend’s birthday at the end of the month, and I’m toying with the idea of heading out again in September for Billetproof.
  • After a few people put the idea in my head that I should consider going to school for hair cutting/styling, combined with the dismal print design jobs being advertised (or even whispered about), I decided to contact a local reputable-looking school. According to the enrollment gal who called me back, Colorado requires 1800 hours of combined training to get a cosmetology license, which works out to going back to school full-time (Mon-Fri from 8:30 to 5) for 11 straight months, or choosing the part-time option which is “only” 4 hours every weeknight except Friday, plus all day Saturday, for two years. We didn’t even get around to discussing the cost, beyond the application fee. I’m just not that serious about it, I guess, but that’s not a time commitment that I’m ready to make right now.
  • I’ve posted a few vintage patterns on my etsy store (more to come as I get the pattern pieces counted and envelopes scanned), and I woke up one morning thinking that one pattern, which was in my size, was just too pretty to let go. Of course, that was the one that had sold overnight. I did my best to make a hurried copy of the pattern before I shipped it out, but it’s not likely I’ll get to it in the near future. I have too many other unsewn patterns!
  • I have a basement full of stuff that I need to photograph and get listed in the shop. It takes an enormous amount of time; I’m sorry that I haven’t been better about it. If there’s a particular item that you’re waiting for me to list (I know there are a few of you waiting for specific dresses) then please harass me about it and I’ll get to those first.
  • My radish garden was a waste of soil this year, but my cherry tomatoes are doing well in their EarthBox. I’m also growing artichoke leaves (no actual blossoms yet) as well as Brussels sprouts and cauliflower in there. SOMETHING is chewing holes in the leaves of the cruiciferous plants, but I can’t find any bugs. Hopefully whatever it is leaves the actual veggies alone.

I need a nap. I’m cranky. I hope you all are doing well, please drop by and visit!

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Filed under blogging, friends, gardening, sewing, vacation