I know, I know...
I haven't entered a post into my blog for ages. But I'm back...
WHEN ASKED TO DRAW FOR FREE.
At some point as an artist you will be asked to do art for free, especially if you do custom commissions. People have many different ways of asking this and many of them have these beautiful or sometimes sad stories behind them. They tell you this story and your heart starts to melt and you can tell that they really want an art piece from you. This does make it very difficult for an artist to say no because you don't want that person to feel despondent or saddened due to a subtle rejection. These people admire your work and your followers mean everything to you so how can you make them understand that you just cannot do art work for free especially if it is what you are trying to do for a living?
IS IT OKAY TO ASK FOR FREE ART?
A dear artist friend of mine said something very true. She said that the general public would never ask a musician to compose and produce music pro bono, nor would they ask a writer to write an autobiography for free. So why is it okay to ask a Fine Artist to draw or create for free.
I personally think that the general public don't often see art as a means to make a living but instead see art as only a hobby. I think this is why it is easy for someone to just ask an artist to create for free because subconsciously they don't think of art as more than a hobby.
UNDERSTAND WHAT IS BEING ASKED OF THE ARTIST.
So, when someone asks you to create for free, don't get upset because they probably don't quite understand exactly what they are asking from you. This is where it is up to you as an artist to give them a clearer understanding of what they are asking.
The most common size drawings that I create are 12" x 16" and on average these drawings take me between 20 and 40 hours to complete depending on the complexity. So lets say, as an example, someone asks me to create a drawing that I know will take me 26 hours to complete. We all know that most people work 8 - 10 hours per day. By asking me to draw for free is like me asking you to go to work for three days without getting paid. Not very fair is it? If you take the time to explain this to the individual who asked for free work you are not rejecting them but merely giving them an understanding of what they are truly asking from you. You will find that they will understand, and in their minds they are probably saying "Oh, I didn't think of it that way." You will still have a supporting follower and you wont have to feel bad for saying no.
WHEN SHOULD YOU CREATE FOR FREE?
Followers are most important to artists. If you have many followers who support your work and show admiration and affection for your work why not surprise them with something for encouraging and supporting your work? Do a monthly give-away or nominate someone for a free custom drawing. Give them an opportunity for discounts and rewards. This is when doing free work is wonderful and rewarding to the artist and the followers.
I like to create a weekly YouTube video where I answer the questions asked by my followers. On Patreon (www.patreon.com/sheldenefineart) I reward my supporters with in-depth tutorials, advise, free custom drawings and gifts in the post. On Periscope (@sheldenefineart) I draw live and answer any questions in real time. These are examples of when an artist should do work for free because both parties are receiving what is beneficial to them.
Long story short, it is okay to do art for free but it is not okay to be asked to do art for free.
Here's my YouTube video talking about this question: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfihy-zTI-8
Thats all from me today.
Have a beautiful day.