A client and an artist get in touch. The client wants an image of his RPG character and his magic Pegasus, his magic sword and this great background… or maybe is a portrait of his wife and his three children… or perhaps a doll to dress up and commercialize in a game. The artist evaluates the task at hand and asks for $X, half as a down payment and half after the work is completed. The client insists in having the sketch down and then pay after he can see if he likes the sketch.
a- If you are hiring the artist, then you know that you like the style, you know how the artist work. You do not need a sketch to get an idea of if you like the art or not.
b- When an artist asks for a down-payment is because sketching is probably the most important stage of the creative process. And it is work. Not a lot of people would work for free… artists are part of that group that rather to eat this month. Sketching is not something that “it’s easy and takes 5 minutes!” as I’ve heard over and over. Sketching is defining the basic elements of your future image, it is creating a composition, flow, finding what elements will be included and what won’t in the image, etc. It does not take five minutes. A good sketch takes many minutes of just thinking, even hours! Many times it also involves research about what we are going to draw. And it is not easy. If it was easy, you, the client, could do it yourself. But as an artist you studied for years before getting to the stage in which you can sell your art.
c- Please, do not offer me $5 as if you were doing me a favor. $5 is a latte in Starbucks, less that a day’s food in my house… and I am a frugal cook! I understand that there might be artists that live in other countries for who $5 is quite a bit, I live in Pittsburgh, $5 is not much really, just taking the bus to work is more than that every day.
d- Art is a luxury, not a necessity, if you cannot afford it, it is OK, you can skip it. Don’t lie to the artist into drawing for you and then you’ll never pay. Please, think that we also need to pay bills!
e- Don’t have the money and still want the art? That is fine! You can do a few things.
1- You can save. I save to buy the things I want.
2- You can ask the art for your next birthday, or the money that you can use to buy the art.
3- Still no money? You can get creative. Maybe the artist would want something that you want. You have a restaurant? Offer a coupon for a nice dinner. You are a web designer? Design their web as an exchange. Many artists would have no problem with this.
The important point is to know that the artist, as you, needs the money for paying bills and eat. Artists are not happy being poor, as they show in the movies, we rather to have a decent life. Respect the artist, as you expect your boss to respect you.
Do you have any experience you want to share? Feel free to comment, I would love to hear it!