In one of my online rants ‘So you want a creative career’ I had brushed on the idea that most people do not want to pay for art because they think of it as something that we do for a hobby. Others don’t want to pay, well because they can; because they find people who will do it for free. Today I found a video by Stephen Silver a freelance character designer in the animation industry that I highly respect. In the video he speaks specifically about this issue, where he urges artists to not work for free because rather that giving you exposure, it is more likely to destroy your career. Artists who are just starting out can easily make the mistake of doing work for free because it will give them ‘exposure’. Trust me this exposure is so not worth it.
Working for free destroys the artistic industry, so when you work for free you are not just damaging yourself, but you are damaging everybody else. Some art / design students make the mistake of working for free whilst they are studying, so they can get a college portfolio & a work portfolio. What happens when the student becomes a professional? The same companies will be working with NEW students who are working for free rather than paying the student who can now create professional work. Therefore not only are professional artists suffering and getting payed less because others are working for free, but the general industry is using work that is not up to standard because it is not paying for it.
Here are some character design tips by Stephen Silver, followed by his advice on how to ‘Protect your Art career.’
Here’s another related video that you might enjoy: