Images From Around this Blog!

14 March 2017

New Work on Society6

I've kind of been going nuts lately with postings on Society6, uploading both original work and designs made from public domain art.  I'm mainly doing it for the fun of it, but if sells a few T-shirts, who am I to complain?

Check out some cool shirts, prints, mugs and more here:

Art Prints by PaladinFreelance | Society6

10 March 2017

Boing Boing on Fiverr

I've got a problem with this article on Fiverr, and with the reaction to the service in general:

Fiverr's new recruiting ad promises to literally work you to death / Boing Boing

I am, clearly, an illustrator.  By far not the best, but by the same margin not the worst.  I get some work, but I can't yet make a living at it.  Good for you, those of you who can.

I do work on Fiverr as a character designer.  For a few bucks, you can buy a black and white drawing of any character you care to describe to me.  For a few bucks more, I will color it, and for a few bucks more again, I will give you revisions on the drawing and allow for multiple characters.

It doesn't make me a ton of money, but it makes me enough money to make it worthwhile.

So, it bothers me when I see people like Nick Mamatas, whose work I respect,  slamming the service.  Nobody's forcing me to work there, and I do the work on my own schedule, so I don't need people attempting to shame me for making some money doing the thing I love.

Here's the thing:


I've had work published by several publishers, both in print and in ezines.  Some of them have paid me fairly for the work, but a lot of it has been done for free, or for "the exposure".  Even markets that were paying the authors at the time were not paying the artists who illustrated the work.  Even though I've largely stopped doing that kind of comp work, some of those markets still use my work prominently on their product and in their advertising.

Just for example, and without naming anyone specific, there's one publisher, who currently seems to be doing quite well, who has had multiple illustrations from me created specifically for them.  My work has been used to illustrate stories, as book covers, for a podcast, and in their advertising.  Never have I been offered any form of payment from them.  To be fair, I never asked for any - I was aware that I was doing the work for the exposure, and hoped that it would pay less tangible, long-term dividends.  Fool. 

The only time I was offered anything (aside from a few comp ebooks, which I do appreciate) was when I inquired about purchasing advertising on their site.  The publisher offered me a space for free to promote a book published through AIM Comics, which I thought was very generous.  I formatted an ad that I thought was suitable and sent it off.  To never be heard from again.  The publisher didn't respond and didn't run the ad.

The one time I had a shot at doing paid work for this publisher was when there was a call for submissions for illustrations to go in an anthology of work.  I submitted a piece that I was assured was accepted and would be used either in the final book or to promote the final book.  The illustrators were given a choice of cash payment or a comp copy of the printed book.  The art that was accepted was never used, nor was compensation ever offered.  That is the last time I have done work for that publisher.

Now, compare that with my experience through Fiverr:  I have over 300 positive reviews on over 400 jobs, each of which I have been paid for, and many of them at well above the $5 basic rate.  Many of those jobs have also received "tips" from satisfied customers.  Each finished job and each positive review not only means more income earned, but also helps build promotion of my work for the next person to discover my profile.

Most importantly, while the majority of the jobs I have done on Fiverr have been one-offs, some of them have led to recurring work from the same buyers, and turned some of those buyers into regular customers.  Thanks to Fiverr, I now have several people outside that service who see me as the "goto" person for their art needs.  I've done book covers, album covers, posters, band logos, character designs and other work at professional or near-professional rates for people who started out buying from me on Fiverr. 

So with that kind of experience, what's my choice?  Continue to work for free, in the hopes that maybe one day I will get paid for my work?  Or go to a market where I know I will be paid for work that I can do much faster and can turn a portion of that work into a more long-term profitable income stream?

Any artist will tell you that a lot of people - and this includes publishers, unfortunately - don't consider art "work" in the same way that they consider writing, or editing or publishing.  As a result they don't have any qualms about asking artists to do work for free or "for exposure", whereas they would never ask the same thing of a writer.  In a market that thinks like that, an artist has three choice:  do the work for free, hold out for "professional" rates and starve while waiting for work, or go to where the money is and attempt to turn a small income stream into a larger flow. 

I've clearly chosen the latter, so frankly it burns my biscuits when I see people taking potshots at my industry.  That time and energy would be better spent insisting that publishers offer fair compensation to their artists.

OK; done airing my dirty laundry.  It's just my opinion, which I hold to be as valid as anyone's, so take it for what it's worth...or not at all if you choose.  Feel free to fire at will, but don't expect much of a response...I'm going to have a coffee for lunch and get back to work.