Saturday, November 2, 2013


I am posting this link because we have all had this experience.

Bassically this illustrator received an email from a Creative Director asking him to do work for one of his multimillion dollar clients for free, claiming he would win awards and all kinds of "exposure".

 We have all received notes like this and I find it shocking that so many people even in creative fields think that what we do is easy and should be done for no compensation.

I had a high circulation magazine ask for some of my art for its cover for no pay and their email actually asked me to send a hi-res image! (Several times!!!) When I said absolutely not they tried to position it as a "free advertising opportunity". The periodical had no art connection, but even if it did.

And I have heard from agencies asking for free work...

I think at best those who do this are ignorant of the amount of work and perseverance it takes to run your business as an illustrator/designer/creative. At worse, it is a cynical practice to take advantage of those who do not know better.

What are your horror stories?



  1. I still like Jerry's response to the guy complaining about the woman he was drawing.

  2. I don't have a horror story Christina, but there is something I should confess:

    Many moons ago, when I handled the e-mail announcements (before you started this great blog) I got requests from various people looking for illustration help —much the way you do now. I was once approached by someone representing the local performing arts, they wanted a full-page illustration to put in the local paper to highlight their various institutions. They offered no pay. I gave them every chance to sweeten the pot with free tickets, etc. Still nada.

    I was amazed that someone representing one group of artists felt they should be lifted up by other artists with no reciprocation whatsoever. Granted, this was just one thoughtless person who had to get a job done, but it left a bad taste in my mouth.

    So, I apologize to anyone who might have done the piece strictly for exposure, but passing the "job" notice would have amounted to endorsing the "offer", which I couldn't do.

    I think it's great to give generous rates to fellow artists and startups and pro-bono work to good charities, but when the good will runs out and freebies are just expected, I draw the line.

  3. BTW, the full post on Travis' blog is worth reading to the end.
    The director representing the agency found Travis' art in 3 minutes on Behance —a free portfolio site.

    I understand that you need to be super-talented to rise to the top on a site like that, but it shows that we don't need to do thousand-dollar jobs for free to get exposure (I even question that exposure when agencies usually don't let artists sign their work). With the internet, we can get it for free, we have total control over how our work is presented and we have the benefit of hot-links as well!

  4. The demand that this agency made is ridiculous, plain and simple. Doing paid work for most agencies can be trying but at least there is solace in the fact that you are being compensated.

    Even if one was going to fall for the lie of exposure, often these types of projects do not lead to a good portfolio sample. I'll bet they even would make you sign an NDA for this type of project.