But then I watched the newest Doctor Who, and yeah, it was a good episode, a nice throw back to the history and setting for the future, but then Mr. Tom Baker came on screen and my heart skipped. He was the Doctor I grew up on, he is the Doctor my mom and I would watch together before she died, he was the Doctor I pretended to be when I would play. I wanted the scarf, I wanted the Tardis, I wanted K-9 (in the WORST way!), and after seeing him again, I know that I still do. He is that part of me, that part of my past, that part of my childhood, that still has the same magic, that same emotion that it did way back then.
They say you can't go home again but seeing him, seeing all the Doctors together, DID take me back home. They took me back to a time when life was good and simple, before the weight of being an adult, losing my mother, dealing with my depression and borderline, all the worries I now carry. And yes, it touched my heart seeing Tom Baker again. I felt a brief pure feeling of joy.
Some may say that it's sad that some old television show could do that to you, that some old geeky show could impact me like this, and you are right. Because it is more than a television show, it is that one crystallized part of my childhood that is still pure and happy and hopeful. And it was so nice to see that again.
So thank you Doctor Who, all the actors, producers, directors, writers, etc, who have worked over the years to provide us with such an enduring and wonderful show. And a special thank you to Tom Baker. You are the embodiment of all the joys I had as a child and thank you for all the good you brought to me as a child that has helped form me into the man I am now.
And to all of you, I hope that there is something, some show, song, movie, book, something, that is still a perfect, unspoiled, wonderful part of your childhood that can still bring you joy.
But I have had and seen a few comments made by people asking how they are to get their ideas made if they have no money to pay the artist. Well, there is no one perfect answer. But I will try to cover some ways that it could be done.
1: Know your artist. Really. NOTHING is worse than some random person coming out of nowhere wanting you to do art for free. And don't JUST make friends with an artist expecting something. We can usually tell if you really want to be a friend or if you are in it for something. Just talk to them. Treat them as a real person. Show them respect and interact with them. Most every artist is on social media, follow them. Look for similar interests you share and talk to them. If over time you become friends there is a decent chance they may be willing to help with your project. But know, most of the time pay work is going to take precedent. So understand if they need to jump on and off your project when they have paid work. Bills have a habit of coming up over and over.
2: Ask yourself if you really CAN pay. I know this is not true for everyone, but there may be some things you could give up (at least for a while) to save money to pay. Are you a Starbucks guy? Give it up for a few months and keep that money. Give up buying your video games for a while. Give up restaurants for a while. Have some things you really don't need? Sell it to add to the artist payment. People like Kevin Smith sold his comic book collection and maxed out his credit cards to get Clerks made.
I can hear some of you now, 'THAT IS NOT FAIR!' But this is what every artist does to do your project. They have to give up all this stuff if they are spending their time doing your stuff for free. But this is YOUR project, YOUR passion. YOU are the one who gets the big windfall if it takes off. If you are SO sure your project is a can't miss, are you not willing to give up some stuff to get it made? Of course you don't give up things you NEED, food, car, medicine, rent, etc, but really be honest and see if there are things you could save money from. Maybe even do some odd jobs on the side to save up to pay an artist. Sure, at the end of the day there may not be a lot, but if you come with some respectable money and the artist understands what you gave up to get them, they may be willing to join in.
3: If you can't do that then ask, is there anything you are great at that you can exchange services with an artist? Are you a great writer? Offer to edit the artist's project, or offer to write something if the artist has little writing ability. Are you a repair guy? Offer to fix anything that breaks in the artist's home for the next year. (If you are close enough.) Are you a programmer? Offer to create an app for the artist. Web-designer? Do a site for the artist. The artist is providing a service, why not offer a service back to the artist? At least both sides could get something back for the effort.
I know a lot of people have ideas they would love to get out there, but do not have all the skill sets to get them done. I know there are times you may NEED to have someone else to come along side you and help out. I know you believe in your project, it is your passion, it has been something you have dreamed of for years, and you would do anything to get it made. But you need to understand for anyone you ask to help you does not share those feelings. For them it may just be a job. Don't go in thinking that any artist is going to love your project like you do. So to get someone to join you, you need to provide something to make it worth their while.
And lastly, collaborations. I know a lot of people want to get a collaborator to work for them because they believe in you and/or the project. But you need to know that is going to be a rare thing. It CAN happen, but go in knowing that is going to be a hard sell. But there are some things you can do that may make it a bit more appealing to the artist to join the team.
1: Be as professional as you can be. Do the research. Know as much as you can about what you need to do to make your project happen. The quickest way to scare off a collaborator is to have no idea what you need. Know your jobs.
2: Be willing to have a partner. If you get an artist interested in being a collaborator be willing to allow the artist to have input in the project. Real input. Not stuff like, 'You can decide the hair color of the character' but real input. If the artist is putting in things they care about they may be willing to work with you.
3: You need to share. The artist needs to have a portion of ownership in the project. Not a huge chunk. But something worth the time and effort.
4: Have real means to succeed. If you want someone to help you do your game, make sure you have actual means to make it. Have industry connections, have a record of success, have a following, something that shows the artist that working with you is worth the shot. If you have never done a game and know no one in the industry, the odds are so against you the artist may not think it's worth the try.
5: Promote. If you get the artist on board make sure to promote him in everything you are doing. Make sure the artist knows he is valued by you. And the artist will most likely return the favor.
So there you have it. It IS possible to get an artist to work for you with little to no money, but know it is a hugely uphill battle and the odds are not in your favor. But if you are passionate about your project and are willing to give everything you can to it, there is a chance.
Best of luck and I hope it helps!
Dear person asking me to work for free,
About your offer for me to provide my art for you project, where you offer me the wonders of having something 'cool and new' to work on, something I can add to my portfolio, gaining exposure, tell your friends about me, and gaining experience, in place of any actual form of payment. I think I speak for all us artists when I say thank you. Yes, thank you. Why am I thanking you, you ask? Simple. Allow me to explain.
Your offer to work on something 'cool and new'? Wow, how great is this? As you can imagine, as an artist who has studies dozens, if not hundreds of amazing things ranging from books, to shows, to movies, to games, I have never had a single idea of my own. I have sat in a creative vacuum hoping for the day to come where someone would step in and give me an idea of SOMETHING to draw.
Your offer to add your project to my portfolio? Aww, thank you for giving me the right I already have as the actual copyright holder for the art I create that you can only prevent me from doing if I agree to sign a contract that forces me to wave that right, such as a non-disclosure contract and I agree to sign you the copyright, which is actually an additional fee. Plus, I am sure you understand, as an artist I have done thousands of pieces of art in my life and therefore have nothing to add to my portfolio. So yay!
Gain exposure! Boy, I am so glad you were able to find my art so easily on Deviantart, CG Hub, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Shadowness, Facebook, my blog, etc, to make me the offer to get my work out there. Because as you can see I can't seem to get anyone to see my work exists! And to be tied to a project that can't even afford to pay the artist and therefore probably not have any money to do any proper advertising, will surely make me super famous!
You will really tell ALL your friends about me? Little ol' me? How there is an artist who is doing all this work for you for free? So clearly they will come running to me and just throw THEIR money at me wanting art! Just because you pay nothing doesn't mean they won't pay me, right? SCORE!
Gain experience? Wow, this is amazing! I get to work with you, who I would assume, has no real knowledge of art direction or professional production understanding, guiding me?! All the things I will learn! Sure, I have to know the dpi you need, I need to know if you need the files in CMYK or RGB, if the file needs to be a tiff or a pdf, because you have no idea. You are just the 'idea' guy. Heaven's know I could never learn all this doing my own project!
Oh wait, what's that? You come back with news that you will do a profit sharing?! I can get 50% of profits? Wow! So after the few dollars you pay for your product to be created, produced, packaged, all documents filed, shipping, distribution, (hopefully) advertisements done, not to mention stuff like paying for returns, lost shipments, damaged goods, etc, how can there NOT be a huge profit?!
Thank you so much for coming to me, of all the artists in the world, with all these wonderful things to help me make my dream come true, to validate all the years I have spent training and practicing my art, all the money I have spent learning and creating the work! This is such a special moment in the life of an artist! But I will need to pass. You see, as amazing as all this is, my art is my work. And I work to do silly things like pay bills and buy food and other necessitates. So until you can pay me actual money, I guess I will need to do all the things you offer to give me on my own work so it at least means something to me. But best of luck!
All artists in the world.
Garfield, Odie and Jon are sort of avatars of a person's nature. Think about it.
1: Jon. A guy who tries to live a good life. He works hard, tries to have friends and always wants to have a significant other.
2: Odie. A dog that just wants to play and be cared for. Wants the simple carefree life.
3: Garfield. A cat that cares for nothing but his personal needs. And those needs are around being lazy and well fed.
Jon is the sort of everyman. He goes about his life trying to meet the goals he has for his life. But Garfield always prevents him from doing it. He is always the voice of failure, the voice that always talks him out of trying.
Odie is the side of the everyman that wants to have fun in life, take the risk, do the dream, just do what ever you want to do in life. But Garfield beats him up. He is always there to prevent him from doing the fun thing he wants to do.
Garfield is unstoppable. No matter the effort made by Jon (the responsible man) and Odie (the fun man) to get Garfield to go out and live his life, Garfield always finds a way to be lazy or to feed his needs. Often the only thing that can get him out of bed is the need to sabotage Jon or beat up Odie.
So Garfield is an allegory of how man is always trying to be a fun and responsible man yet those efforts are almost always thwarted by our lazy needful nature. No matter how hard we plan to do great today we are always battling our lazy and greedy nature.
Yep. I over-think most things. But I found this interesting.
Really, think about it. Where would you try to get work? What work would you chase? Clearly think of it. Be honest with yourself. Don't say a rockstar if you honestly know nothing about music, but look at who you are and your knowledge and skill sets and talents and ask, if I give my all, where do I want to be? Where do I want to be? Take some time to allow your mind to go to that place and see it. Go ahead, I will wait.
Got it? Take a step to go there. I know what you are thinking, "But it's hard.", "I don't know how.", "I can't do it.", "The odds are against me.", "I don't have everything I need to get it.", "I don't have the money.", "I don't have the connections.", "I (fill in your own reason to not try.)" But lets go back to the idea that you cannot fail. Because the honest truth is, so long as you try, you are willing to work, you are willing to really give your all to it, if you are willing to push through the rough times and times where you need to grow, learn, save, scrape, step outside of your comfort zone, and if you are willing to invest the time needed to get there, you cannot fail.
Honestly, all the people who say it is too hard and quit are the only ones who fail. Success is not always getting what you want the instant you want it. Heck, if that is the measuring stick for success, no one is ever successful. Success comes from sticking it out.
So sit down and plan what you want. Be specific. For example, not that I want to be a comic book artist. Be specific. Say I want to be the artist on X-Men. Better. But be more specific. I want to be the artist on X-Men and change the way comics are seen because I love comics so much I will go everywhere I can as an evangelist for the X-Men and comics! There you go! Dream big! Know what you want specifically. Now move toward it.
Odds are you will not make this claim and instantly be the X-Men artist, odds are you won't even be a Marvel artist. BUT, you take steps toward that. Not just anything, but toward the dream. Submit TO Marvel. Your submissions SHOULD be X-Men. Don't stop there. Do your own stories of the X-Men and post them. (Don't try to make money on them or try to make them look 'official', make sure it is clear this is fan work.) All your effort has to be toward the dream. One of the ways to lose the dream and/or your drive is to do things that have nothing to do with what you want to do. Then work on the next step. Be the evangelist. Go to cons and shops and share your art and love of comics. Do a podcast or blog talking about comics and the X-Men. Talk to others who love them. Talk to others who don't. Promote people doing what you want to do. They may notice and return the favor. There are always ways to go out there and make a mark. If you stay at it, soon editors remember your name, maybe pros doing it may remember you and promote you. And just maybe Marvel may think, this guy loves comics, loves the X-Men, his fan work and samples are good, he works hard. Let's give him a shot.
That will give you way more of a chance of living the dream than just being one of the thousands of others who just send random submissions once a year.
Do you see how working like you cannot fail, being specific, and knowing what your real dream is and how you can take small steps to move you that way can get you there? Good. Now plan out what your honest dream is and start on it. Do not worry about all the things against you or how hard it is. Give it all and work hard and dream big. Because if you are willing, you cannot fail.
You know... I am thinking I would love to be a doctor. It seems a great job. You have so much control over your life that way. And you can make good money.
So I am going to see if I can sew up some doctor scrubs. And I am going to look around on ebay and see if I can find some cheap medical equipment. And there is an awesome website where I can print out a cool diploma from any school I want with any degree. Then I am going to setup a website and do special medical stuff. Dude, it is going to be so easy to be a doctor!
...That sounds so stupid, huh? Well that is because it is stupid. No idiot would think it is so easy to be a doctor. There is more to it than having some tools, the right look, and some fake stuff to make yourself seem like you know what you are doing, without actually knowing anything.
Yet, there are so many people who claim the title 'artist' who do this very thing. They believe that they can just say they are an artist and do nothing but copy, trace, or (in an effort to add some form of worth) re-interpret another artists work. They do not learn, do not practice in any way to foster growth, or study. They simply steal. They take other artist's work and trace it, recolor it, add filters to it, or in some truly lazy cases, just claim it is there as is. But beyond the actual image robbery there are some who steal style, technique, or look of another artist. They see another artist doing great work and decide if I can mimic their stuff, I can get what they have! (Yes, there are times you do need to copy a style, such as if you are drawing the Simpsons you have to draw in that style. But that is more art direction that 'style'.)
But what is worse of all this is people who take existing art and sell it. You are literally stealing money, time, and worth from that artist. The artist you are taking work from have spent years of study, and practice, and all the stuff they gave up to pursue their craft to get to the point their art is in demand and they can finally try to earn a living doing art. You steal all that from them. It is no different than going into shop, taking things off the shelf and going out to sell it at a cheaper price. It is wrong.
Just because the art is online does not strip out the ownership of the artist. Just because you can right click and save the image does not transfer ownership to you. You buy (or steal) a car from Ford, does not give you ownership of Ford, the make or model of the car. You simply own that one car. You cannot buy a car then take thousands of the same car for free and sell them and say, 'Well, I own the same car."
If you are doing this and you really WANT to be an artist, then be an artist. You have more worth that just stealing. Do you really want to be nothing more than a less skilled version of the artist you are stealing from? Because that is what you will be. No matter how much you try, you will always be a less skilled version of that artist. You will forever be second place, at best. Why not put that effort in to become the best you can be? Find your own voice, your own style, your own outlook, your own products? Do you have any idea how much more in demand and therefor more paid than you will ever be as a ripoff artist? Yes, it is hard and it will take a lot of time and effort, but so does anything of any real worth in this life. But if you put your heart and the time in it, you will do it.
And if you are doing this and have no real talent, and have no desire to be anything but someone to capitalize on another's work and effort, you have nothing to look forward to than flameings, being yelled at, called names, being blackballed in the things you seem to love, hate from the artists you love, and legal nightmares. Is a few dollars made from this really worth it? Make deals with the actual owners, then you can use their actual names and fame to make money, not only for you, but for the artist.
All artists, remember, your art has worth. Money, yes, but worth in the sense of the time and effort you use to create the art. Demand that people show you and your skill the respect you deserve.