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Author Topic: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)  (Read 13109 times)

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opt2not

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The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« on: May 24, 2013, 04:44:32 pm »
Right. So I've been getting a lot of members in the last few months messaging me with their artwork needs.  I'm not going to call out any names in this topic, nor am I going to divulge any of my price quotes and history as I think that is confidential between me and my clients.  But there has been quite of an influx of people that are not artistically skilled at what they have planned to really "art-up" their projects, and think that it is an easy or cheap thing to do. It is not!

Now I want to explain something to those who are not familiar with the art process, I cannot speak for the other artists here that supply artwork, this is coming from my perspective -- I do custom artwork, built to your specifications and creativity from scratch. I do not handle the printing side of things (been there, done that, not doing it again), we're just talking about the content creation. Not clip-art, not licensed artwork grabbed off the net.  But art that is under the "artist interpretation" status, similar to what you'd find on deviant art or other art-community sites.

(to my past clients: I thank you for your business, and understanding of how much work is involved with art. I commend you guys, and have had a lot of fun working with you to get your projects to shine!)

On several occasions I would receive a PM from members new and old, looking to fulfill their project vision and asking me to quote them on the cost of completing that vision. Only to be snapped into reality by the cost. There seems to be quite a bit of ignorance as to how long, how much effort, and skills required to create your custom tailored visions. This topic is going to be my go-to link in explaining why custom artwork costs the amount it does.

"Why does it cost so much? I was looking to spend x amount of $$$ on this, you're just drawing it up right???
Just. <sigh>

Creating artwork is practically equivalent to the entire effort it takes to construct your project. Cutting, painting and wiring up your project is only about half the work, the other half is art.
It takes just as much planning, skills and execution to complete a piece of art, but unlike physical construction where you can watch a youtube video to figure out how to cut something, having an artistic-eye and drawing skills to creating a compelling theme is something you cannot just watch a video about, and takes YEARS to master.

"Where do you get your price-point from?"
Let's compare this to tradesmen, something that most people can relate to.  It takes a few years to become say, a carpenter -- a proper one, not some dude who just has tools and a truck and learned most of his stuff on-site.  But someone who's knowledgeable from training and schooling, does good work and has proof of said work through recommendations and examples.

Carpenters make what, average $60 an hour?  And their jobs take hours of work!

Now compare that to an artist. Artists are basically tradesmen!
It takes even more time to be an artist, who is skillful at not only creating the art, but also knowing what the right choices are esthetically and has the design sense to put together something that is appealing to the audience.  Not only do you have to have the techniques to create the art, but you also have to possess the knowledge of what works together and how to arrange and compose an image.
It takes years to master!

So why would someone like a carpenter, cabinet maker, or a plumber be any different than an artist in terms of pay?  Why is art something people regard as cheap labour?  It takes just as much time, skill and knowledge to be one. And the actual projects creation takes just as long in terms of hours to create something from scratch!

"But as an artist, isn't this fun for you?"
Sure, it's fun. But because I have fun doing it, does it mean I should be paid less for it?  No. That's called taking advantage of someone.

"But I already paid x for my build, artwork shouldn't cost that much!"
Well you may have not planned your project out, with including the cost of custom work.

"Maybe I'll just do it myself. I can download a copy of photoshop and I think there are a bunch of Bob Ross videos I can watch. I can learn how to become an artist like you in hours!"
Be my guest.
This is like saying to a mechanic, after he assessed your car fixes and gave you a price that you have tools at home and can probably just "read the manual" to fix it. That's like one of the biggest "diss".

I can guarantee you that it will take more than a few hours to do what us artists do (time=money), and in the end, you'll end up with an outcome that is "good enough" rather than "that's totally awesome!". Sure you'll save actual money, but to get there you'd have to go through a learning curve that some people just don't have time and patience for.


"I want to have a bunch of characters from all my favourite games featured on my cabinet. But I've got a small-form/bartop/mini cabinet, so is the price the same for something smaller?

Yes. The price is the same!
The artwork doesn't change just because the print-size is different. The content is still just as involved to create on a full-sized cabinet as it is on a small-form cab.
If someone who was building a full-sized cabinet wanted the same amount of artwork (same amount of characters, effects, colours...etc) as a person building a bartop, it would take the same amount of hours and effort to make. 

"What is actually involved, so I know what I'm paying for?"

Ok, the meat-and-potatoes.
Here is an excerpt from my standard policy that I send to those interested in commissioning me:

  • I take as much information to start-off as possible. Theme info, reference images, plus dimensions of the CP (Button/joystick placement needed), marquee, etc... There is some time needed for research in art-style, or subject matter before we start.
  • Then a rough penciled First-pass is generated, I get you to comment on it, change/add anything you want me to. There is time involved in getting your vision together, and a lot of communication in-between.
  • We do a Second and Third-pass, these are clean-up stages where things like line-weights, composition, scale sizes are tweaked and cleared up. More communication is needed here where you can critique, suggest changes based on what you want. Sometimes I throw rough colour onto it to get an idea of the colour scheme,  before moving onto the proper colouring pass. (this is subjective to the art-style of course, i.e. Cartoony, realistic, comic...etc.)
  • A Colour pass is then completed (shading, shadowing, outlines, etc...)
  • After that, a Final-pass and vectorizing is then completed - this adds sufficient time to finalize, but you can opt for a non-vector'd image to help speed up time (be sure of this, as a non-vector'd image will only look good at the destined print-size. Vectored images can be scaled infinitely without any loss to quality). Finalizing the image can also take a little bit of extra time to complete

In the end, this takes many hours.  I do this as a service to the community, on the side of my fulltime job. Time away from my friends and family, so that you can have a pretty looking cabinet for you and your family to enjoy for years.  Sure I take a commission for it, I have to, 'cause with the amount of work involve I cannot sanely do this for free. There have been cases where I would do a bit of art for people here for free, but that is mostly small effort things like a logo, or a card for their mom. And mainly for members who have been active contributors to the community.

Years ago, I saw a trend of people being frustrated with the idea of having to create art themselves. You see it all the time now, people who post their CP or Marquee designs in this forum, asking people for critique and help, 'cause they don't know what direction to go in, or what to add/change/replace...even for tips on how to actually use photoshop or sketch-up or whatever software package.
I figured I'd use my god-given and years-of-trained-skills to supply a service to people here so that the hassle can be eliminated, and the outcome is professional and completely fitted to your needs. And in return, the pay helps keep my arcade hobby and collection going.

It's a fair trade. I do not gouge you on the prices. You get a very good rate in consideration of how many hours and skills it takes to make.

Lets compare this to artwork already being sold for cabinets.
Say for example, thisoldgame.com. (no slight on Rich -- I love his work and his shop -- I'm just breaking down a comparison) Rich has reproduction side artwork listed anywhere between $100-200.  You get 2 physical sheets of printed art. Now depending on the quality of print, the actual cost of materials can vary. This is for artwork already out there, created for dedicated cabinets of their types.

The average cost printing of quality paper for side-art that I've seen is around the $100 mark for a full sheet. So say you're paying another $100 for the actual art content, and that's for existing art!  Now add  the cost of custom creating and communication time, and my prices are not that far off!!


"If you don't print, what do I get then?"
Some people do print as well. I personally don't because it's a huge hassle that I do not want take on again.

  • You will get a high-resolution digital format (PSD, AI, or vector-form PDF -- customer's choice) that is entirely owned by you. It's the easiest transaction. I hold no ties to the artwork, as far as I'm concerned it's completely yours to do with what you want...make t-shirts, print out posters, tattoo it to your forehead...this is Artist Interpretation art, so licensing is not an issue nor applies. It's equivalent to those tee-shirt shops that have reproduction images of bands, videogames, products.  You see them all over the place in malls, and those images are not licensed to those shops.
  • The work will be exactly fitted to the cabinet dimensions that you must provide, all you have to do it get it printed. I size it exactly to your specifications, it's a no-hassle feature that all you have to do is hand a printer the file.

Hey, the CPO/Marquee/Sideart/etc looks too plain...can you add/change x?
Sure can! In the end the artwork is your vision. Sometimes less is more.
But there are things to consider when designing your art-set:

When creating a full cabinet of artwork, you have to balance the amount of detail when looking at it as a whole.  This goes for any project that requires multiple components of high-level detailed art to work together.  Most inexperienced folks treat each individual piece of art as it's own self-contained image, not taking into account the entire project's aesthetic and how it balances out.  For arcade art, the key is to take a step back and analyse the cabinet altogether, how each part works with each other. This is one of the reasons I tend to "mock up" the cabinet by photoshopping these images onto a photograph of the cab, to see how it all fits together.
Also, using the old painter's "Squint" technique is incredibly useful. By squinting your eyes when looking at the art, you can get a sense of where the details should be amped-up, or taken away. This is incredibly useful for clarity of the image, and balancing contrast. Because when looking through squinted eyes, you get the core essence of the image. Similar to sketching, where you breakdown the elements into primitive shapes to figure out proportions.

Another component when deciding a vision for your artwork is taking into account how arcade games were handled in the hay-days. They were meant to sell.
Side art was primarily the most "flashiest", while Control Panels and Marquees were the most informative.  When creating a marquee, artists had to make sure the title was clear and concise, without clutter so that the audience could easily read and recognize what game it was among all the other cabinets around it.  This is why you see a lot of classic marquees have much simplified graphics than side and control panel art.
_____________________________________________________

Artwork makes a project complete, it's a vital part of an arcade's appeal. Lots of folks underestimate the creativity and time it takes to get artwork looking good and "non-kitchy".
It's the difference of making your cabinet look "cool", to making it look "holy cow, that's fricken awesome!".

Anyone who wants to dispute any of my statements above, please do so. I would happily argue my case, TO THE DEATH, so that everyone can have a clear, educated idea of what these commissions involve.

Thank you.  :cheers:
« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 10:15:19 pm by opt2not »

mcseforsale

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2013, 05:40:17 pm »
I'd say those who hassle graphic artists about price should look into the price(s) of the tools used to create decent art.  Multiply that times the amount of training it takes to be good at it (which as a 24 year IT guy was ASTOUNDINGLY hard to learn even basics that I used), then raise that to the power of the creativity that it takes to make a vision and then execute it within these difficult tools and you will come up with a price that is several orders of magnitude larger than the quote you were probably given.

There is a reason why people do this as a full-time job.  Because it is difficult to do well.

AJ

drventure

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2013, 06:00:34 pm »
I'd say those who hassle graphic artists about price should look into the price(s) of the tools used to create decent art.  Multiply that times the amount of training it takes to be good at it (which as a 24 year IT guy was ASTOUNDINGLY hard to learn even basics that I used), then raise that to the power of the creativity that it takes to make a vision and then execute it within these difficult tools and you will come up with a price that is several orders of magnitude larger than the quote you were probably given.

There is a reason why people do this as a full-time job.  Because it is difficult to do well.

AJ

Amen to that. Just getting the little bits I do in PS or whatever takes ages. Course, that's mostly because I haven't invested the craploads of time it takes to get proficient with those tools, but hey, that's not worth anything, right  ;)

opt2not, Ond, topjimmycooks, and there's a ton more here that dang well have the chops for art that I definitely do not.

You get what you pay for. Just watch an episode of bad ink sometime  :D

yotsuya

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2013, 06:44:18 pm »
Hear hear. It's like when people want you to build them a cab and then balk when it's not $200.
***Build what you dig, bro. Build what you dig.***

Well Fed Games

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2013, 06:56:19 pm »
Opt, I hope you didn't feel dissed when I approached you but decided to do it myself... in my case, I did some light graphic design at a previous job but wasn't sure if I wanted to refine those skills; once I decided to pursue game design I decided I needed to learn Illustrator better (and I have been... I actually have a fluid grasp of the pen tool now!) and arcade art was the perfect excuse. Of course, if I had hired you I could be applying art right now...  :banghead:  ;D

Opt's work speaks for itself, but after doing some initial communication about a commission I can say he is great to work with, too. 

Custom art is so much cooler than arcade character clip art all over a cab!
Completed projects: Pac bartop (Plug & Play), 30th Anniversary Pac cab (MAME), Point Blank (PS1), Centipede (arcade hardware- light restore), VS. Super Mario Bros (arcade hardware- light restore) Tetris Cocktail (SNES), Arcade Classics upright (60-in-1, then MAME), Multi-Raiden (arcade hardware). Pac Man vs.(Gamecube),

Working on: Pinball Re-theme, Homebrew arcade arena shooter

opt2not

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2013, 07:38:20 pm »
Thanks for the support guys.  :notworthy:

I'm trying real hard to keep my PM responses tactful.
It's frustrating sometimes, so by starting this thread, at least there can be some light shed on the issue rather than a lot of back-door discussions of me trying to explain the process effort.

It's good to have some of the more experienced guys like yourselves, chime-in and vouch for not only me, but for everyone who does commissioned artwork.

Opt, I hope you didn't feel dissed when I approached you but decided to do it myself...

No, it's cool brother.  I wasn't offended by you, 'cause you were actually really nice about it all. Both you and Le Chuck were very understanding and respectful about the work and prices.  <hugs>

I've had a few people reply along the lines of "it doesn't seem that hard to create myself", or "you shouldn't be charging this much, if it's something you do all the time anyways". 
And of course a slew of people message me, we exchange some PMs back and forth till I pull out the price quote, then it's *crickets*...this is mainly from newbie members.

Thats why now I pull out the standard price list right away, to save on the PM'ing time back and forth. No point in discussing it further if they don't like the starting price-point. Nip it in the bud!

Ond

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2013, 10:31:50 pm »
Well said!  I am 100% behind this.  I was recently asked to do some arcade related artwork on commission (not by any member here to my knowledge), I quoted an amount which was way below any hourly rate I could ever live on (if in fact I had to do it for a living) and the 'customer' balked at it but indicated I should proceed.

Long story short, I produced a draft release for a final fixed price i.e. not to exceed a quoted amount even with revisions and then heard nothing further from the customer. Nada.   Nice one.   It's why I generally prefer to do the occasional art gratis for members here just to give something back to the forum.  I recently showed some artwork I did for a member here to a work mate who has another mate (in full time graphic design and drawing)  to get an idea of what would be charged in the market place.  The designer said he'd charge ~ $2000 for a similar effort!

My drawing methods may differ from opt2not's,  he hand draws the initial concept and then develops it from there.  I generally generate objects from scratch using software and then digitally paint & texture over etc.  Either way, it's a whole lot of work and time.

Whilst I have done some repro artwork on request for folks here, the bottom line is, fully custom drawn, original, commissioned artwork is just that, a one off, unique, with long term value well beyond the prices folk like opt2not charge.

shponglefan

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2013, 10:50:40 pm »
Ex-freelance web & graphics designer here, so I can totally sympathize with the OP!  In fact, the whole customer part of the trade is one of the big reasons I switched careers.

One thing I would comment on is the "fun" aspect of it.  I went from things as a hobby to pro and found while things were fun as a hobby, they became much less so professionally.  I think it's a combination of doing work for other people, doing it all the time, and taking money for it.  Being subject to client deadlines and demands (and lord help you if you get an "endless revisionism"-type client), adds pressure and stress.  And when you start doing the tasks over and over and over... it really does start to feel less enjoyable and more like work.  And I don't know what it is about doing something for money, but that also seems to take away enjoyment.  Something to do with the psychology of intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation perhaps?

At any rate, that was a good read and good luck, opt2not!

Sjaak

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2013, 08:26:17 am »
Hear hear. It's like when people want you to build them a cab and then balk when it's not $200.

I get that all the time, $200 doesn't even cover the material cost

mgb

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The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2013, 09:56:16 am »
Very well put Opt.
  The thing is with a carpenter, they learn they're trade during 8 hour shifts and maybe some trade schooling but art is a life style and while yes it is fun, it's still a lot of work.
Keep up the good work.

Le Chuck

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The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2013, 10:08:31 am »
I think Opt's prices are more than reasonable based on the quality of his work.

The cab fell through so his commission fell through FWIW. People that can't see the value of artistic effort frustrate me to no end as well.

Right on Opt!

mgb

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The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2013, 02:03:46 pm »
Unfortunately the whole idea of expecting five star meals at McDonald prices spills into most trades.
  I have a side business doing security systems, cctv, etc. and people go and see these cheapy systems for sale at Costco. Then they call me and wonder why my price would be so high.
  I get the same thing on arcade repairs too.

opt2not

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2013, 04:51:08 pm »
Long story short, I produced a draft release for a final fixed price i.e. not to exceed a quoted amount even with revisions and then heard nothing further from the customer. Nada.   Nice one.   It's why I generally prefer to do the occasional art gratis for members here just to give something back to the forum.  I recently showed some artwork I did for a member here to a work mate who has another mate (in full time graphic design and drawing)  to get an idea of what would be charged in the market place.  The designer said he'd charge ~ $2000 for a similar effort!
Thanks for chiming in Ond!
One of the things I do before I start anything is collect a 50% non-refundable deposit at the beginning. I've been burnt like this a few times before, and it really sucks after spending all that time and effort. This deposit is for payment security and solidifying my time working on this, as well as showing a token of commitment to completion from my clients.  A safety-net if you will. ;)

My drawing methods may differ from opt2not's,  he hand draws the initial concept and then develops it from there.  I generally generate objects from scratch using software and then digitally paint & texture over etc.  Either way, it's a whole lot of work and time.

Whilst I have done some repro artwork on request for folks here, the bottom line is, fully custom drawn, original, commissioned artwork is just that, a one off, unique, with long term value well beyond the prices folk like opt2not charge.
:cheers: Kind words from a an amazing builder and artist!  Thanks!

One thing I would comment on is the "fun" aspect of it.  I went from things as a hobby to pro and found while things were fun as a hobby, they became much less so professionally.  I think it's a combination of doing work for other people, doing it all the time, and taking money for it.  Being subject to client deadlines and demands (and lord help you if you get an "endless revisionism"-type client), adds pressure and stress.  And when you start doing the tasks over and over and over... it really does start to feel less enjoyable and more like work.  And I don't know what it is about doing something for money, but that also seems to take away enjoyment.  Something to do with the psychology of intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation perhaps?
I feel that way sometimes, but luckily with this type of artwork, most of my commissions were fairly open to my design. I mean, there is a bit of a vision that most people have, but on many occasions I've had a lot of freedom with how I interpret their vision. Which really keeps it fun, and less constrictive!

One thing the money aspect does for me, is it motivates me outside doing my fulltime job (with OT!) to come home and work on during my free-time. Without that carrot, I would probably lag a bit on the work time-line.
Great feedback!  :applaud:

I think Opt's prices are more than reasonable based on the quality of his work.

The cab fell through so his commission fell through FWIW. People that can't see the value of artistic effort frustrate me to no end as well.

Right on Opt!
Unfortunately the whole idea of expecting five star meals at McDonald prices spills into most trades.
  I have a side business doing security systems, cctv, etc. and people go and see these cheapy systems for sale at Costco. Then they call me and wonder why my price would be so high.
  I get the same thing on arcade repairs too.

Cheers bros! This is something I combat all the time, but it's refreshing when I get people that approach me who really do understand the value of hard-work, and skills needed for something like this. And I do tend to give those people a bit extra, including consultation of their actual project build.  When I do these types of commissions, I get down-right obsessed with them and really put all my soul into their work. It tends to be a lot of energy, but when I see the artwork applied to the cabinets, it really makes it all worth it!
 :cheers:

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2013, 01:36:01 pm »
  The thing is with a carpenter, they learn they're trade during 8 hour shifts and maybe some trade schooling

Just to nitpick and not to try and get off topic.

Only the :censored: ones learn their trade during 8-hour shifts. My father was a carpenter/foreman and worked for some big and famous names back in the day. The man had zero time to teach anything to anybody while on any job. If you wanted to work for him for good money, you were going to go to school for that trade, period.

Otherwise :cheers:
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 01:38:18 pm by SavannahLion »

mgb

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The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2013, 05:37:50 pm »
  The thing is with a carpenter, they learn they're trade during 8 hour shifts and maybe some trade schooling

Just to nitpick and not to try and get off topic.

Only the :censored: ones learn their trade during 8-hour shifts. My father was a carpenter/foreman and worked for some big and famous names back in the day. The man had zero time to teach anything to anybody while on any job. If you wanted to work for him for good money, you were going to go to school for that trade, period.

Otherwise :cheers:

Yes, that is true. And to everything there is an exception.
In my trade, I'm always trying to learn more, whether during the work day or not.

But with art, it often seems like its a life calling almost.
It often seems like an artist starts as a child with this love for their art and it just grows and grows into a career and much more.

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2013, 04:49:28 pm »
Thanks for the support guys.  :notworthy:

I'm trying real hard to keep my PM responses tactful.
It's frustrating sometimes, so by starting this thread, at least there can be some light shed on the issue rather than a lot of back-door discussions of me trying to explain the process effort.

It's good to have some of the more experienced guys like yourselves, chime-in and vouch for not only me, but for everyone who does commissioned artwork.

Opt, I hope you didn't feel dissed when I approached you but decided to do it myself...

No, it's cool brother.  I wasn't offended by you, 'cause you were actually really nice about it all. Both you and Le Chuck were very understanding and respectful about the work and prices.  <hugs>

I've had a few people reply along the lines of "it doesn't seem that hard to create myself", or "you shouldn't be charging this much, if it's something you do all the time anyways". 
And of course a slew of people message me, we exchange some PMs back and forth till I pull out the price quote, then it's *crickets*...this is mainly from newbie members.

Thats why now I pull out the standard price list right away, to save on the PM'ing time back and forth. No point in discussing it further if they don't like the starting price-point. Nip it in the bud!



So what is your standard price list  ???

opt2not

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2013, 05:14:02 pm »
  I'm not going to call out any names in this topic, nor am I going to divulge any of my price quotes and history as I think that is confidential between me and my clients.

If you'd like a quote, send me a PM with the details of what you're looking for.

AGarv

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The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2013, 09:10:15 pm »
When they ask what $50 brings, send over a montage of clip art arcade characters from different systems and eras.  The donkey kong / Killer Instinct / Mario / storm trooper mash up on a star field background.  Maybe throw in the chef from Food Fight too, you can never have enough arcade characters on your bezel.

jibmums

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2013, 12:41:38 am »
I could not agree more with all the above posts.  As a graphic designer of screenprinted garments, I get to deal everyday with "artists" who own a bootleg copy of Illustrator or Photoshop (or as they usually call it, "Adobe") who snag a few low-resolution jpegs from online and throw them together.  When I inform them that it will take 1-2 hours to make their artwork usable for screen printing, they indignantly want to know why their "camera-ready" artwork is unusable as-is.  Perhaps I will point them to this thread, same basic concept, different medium.

On a related note, I highly suggest the "clients from hell" website for stories & anecdotes in a similar vein: http://clientsfromhell.net/

twistedsymphony

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2013, 09:06:30 am »
I've done a lot of minor graphic work myself but when I need a really professional looking logo or a bigger project done, I get myself to a graphics designer... in my experience it's worth every penny.  :applaud:

opt2not

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2013, 01:29:10 pm »
On a related note, I highly suggest the "clients from hell" website for stories & anecdotes in a similar vein: http://clientsfromhell.net/
:lol
Awesome site! The guys at work and I are having a laugh. :D

On the topic of bootlegged PS version: I should mention, anyone looking to get a legit copy I suggest watching eBay for them. You can usually find complete suites of CS3 or 4 (which are just as good) for pretty cheap. Adobe sometimes has upgrade deals as well, so you could get a pretty up-to-date version for MUCH less than retail prices.

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The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2013, 02:52:26 pm »

On a related note, I highly suggest the "clients from hell" website for stories & anecdotes in a similar vein: http://clientsfromhell.net/

I lost two hours of productivity today thanks to that site. Thank you! 😄


Sent from where ever I happen to be.

SNAAKE

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #22 on: June 03, 2013, 01:24:20 pm »
what I do is ask my customers what the budget is and kind of requirement they have. if I have to vectorize anything then Id ask for more $. otherwise its exactly what my thread title says. photoshopper for hire. you want bunch of things put together and you dont know how then you hire me.

this exactly how I got into this mess in the first place. back in the day I emailed like 20 people to see if I can get someone to put something together for my cabinet but never got a reply. had to learn things from scratch.

 I try to use very high resolution pictures and vector backgrounds. usually people are happy with the result. you are not paying for any of the source material, you are paying for the time and effort(and all that email reading) which is very very reasonable.

Ive done things for like $20 before lol.. (was fun..I dont mind)
« Last Edit: June 03, 2013, 01:28:52 pm by SNAAKE »

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #23 on: June 03, 2013, 04:11:38 pm »
This is an excellent rant and should not just be limited to artwork.  The way I see it is someone is offering you a service and you should, as a "customer", be willing to do anything to help out who is providing this service for you and accept what they are charging for their work.  Keep in mind there are people out there who are going to rip you off but with a little research you should be able to see if someone is truly ripping you off.  And chances are the people on here are not doing this for a living.  They are doing this in their spare time.  Be patient with those who are willing to help you(which seems to be everyone) and with a little negotiation you should be able to walk away happy with what the person on the other end has to offer.  And keep an open mind.  You may not be able to do artwork, or have an extra 200 dollars laying around for said artwork, but may be a wiz at something else like wiring.  Offer trade to the person willing to do artwork for you.  As my father always says, "Communication.  It's a beautiful thing."

mgb

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The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #24 on: June 03, 2013, 04:29:44 pm »
One of the funniest things I hear from time to time is " I'm not sure what these things cost, but that seems too high"

Maximus

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #25 on: June 03, 2013, 05:43:08 pm »
Great rant, it's the reason why I changed from 20 years in advertising as a Creative Director to a network administrator.

20 Years of talentless individuals hiring me (my company) to do work they cannot, then tell you how to design (we'll call that 'customer revisions') like....   

Make the logo bigger...
But with more white space
Can you make it 'nice and clean' looking
And add these 455 elements we all thought of in yesterday's latte-fueled brain enema meeting.
It's going to cost how much?
Can't we just use stock photography?
Here's an image I found on Google can we use that?
What does "only 10 DPI" mean?
Can we blow it up bigger?
We think it should have a Facebook Logo on it, and our URL, and phone number, and P.O. Box, and this small Bible of legal disclaimers...
But make it look cleaner.

Needless to say it's the same reason I refuse to do design work for anyone any more, family, friends, paying strangers - like a beaten dog I know when to quietly slip out of the line of fire when people start looking around for someone to 'just whip up a design' for them.

These days I'm a network administrator "Hrmmmmmm, have you tried turning it off and on again?"

 :soapbox:

SNAAKE

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #26 on: June 03, 2013, 06:10:16 pm »
this goes for my xbox modding too

dudes have NO idea what kind of work is involved and the cost of parts. they'd offer you like half the $ :banghead:

Maximus

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #27 on: June 03, 2013, 06:13:19 pm »
And don't even get me started on 'hey I want an arcade machine like yours, will you build me one'  :dizzy:

Le Chuck

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #28 on: June 03, 2013, 06:15:35 pm »
this goes for my xbox modding too

dudes have NO idea what kind of work is involved and the cost of parts. they'd offer you like half the $ :banghead:

I heard it was really easy, I'd do it myself but I'm lazy.  Will you take $40 shipped?   :laugh2:  :laugh2:  :laugh2:

















Is mine done yet  >:D

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #29 on: June 03, 2013, 10:31:57 pm »
Heh...


he



You know I as kidding, right Snaake?



Right?


Don't torch my box man!

SNAAKE

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #30 on: June 03, 2013, 11:17:53 pm »
 :laugh2:

naw you are good and yours is easy anyway. xbox 360 is like 10x harder. I will have it out probably wednesday when I go to the post office after work.

jdbailey1206

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #31 on: June 04, 2013, 07:43:19 am »
Maximus-

I agree with you.  (Le Chuck don't read this next part)  I went to school for Digital Animation.  I had started drawing when I was 12 idolizing all the big names in comic book illustration.  I proceeded to teach myself how to draw by these guys (perspective etc.) and I was super excited when I was 18 to be accepted to 4 major art schools through the country.  By the end of my 1st semester of my senior year I came to the conclusion that I couldn't use my "talent" for someone else and just gave up on it.  It really bothers me because I feel like I have neglected my art because, like you said, everyone was forcing me to do what I didn't want to do and it ultimately grew sour on me.  (So sour I now work for a demolition contractor.  NO WE DON'T BLOW THINGS UP!   :laugh:  )  Now 15 years later I don't think I could draw a stick figure and I begged an "unnamed source" (seriously Le Chuck why are you still reading) to make my CP and it has made me a hypocrite because 15 years ago I could have done it in my sleep.  Anyway.  That's it.  Sorry for sounding like a 12 year old emo kid.

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #32 on: June 04, 2013, 08:09:36 am »
In 2002 I was at a bus stop in Monterrey CA at 6am in my Army class B uniform.  I was travelling under orders at that time.  Two old scraggily looking dudes came up and asked what I did.  I told them I was a sculptor.  They both kinda looked at me funny and like an idiot I said, "oh, you mean for the Army?".  They laughed and told me that I was "---smurfing----a right" to think like that and to never stop following my passion.  Not bad advice from a coupla grungers out beach bumming it.  Fast forward more than a decade, I'm still rocking the uniform and am proud of my profession but I'm still an artist (I'm just old enough now to know not to introduce myself as one - such a self inflated little ---steaming pile of meadow muffin--- I was  ;) ).   Never stop making, never stop creating.  Not everything I do is show room worthy but every now and then I get lucky and something awesome falls out of my head.  That's what keeps me at it, the thrill of creation. 

TopJimmyCooks

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #33 on: June 04, 2013, 08:59:41 am »
opt2not, Ond, topjimmycooks, and there's a ton more here that dang well have the chops for art that I definitely do not.

Uh, I appreciate it Doc, but one of these things is not like the other . . . I'm the background + clipart + text hack guy, not the real artist like opt, ond, pixelhugger, etc.  I only take other people's stuff and remix it - I know I'm not a true content creator. 

I'm usually too cheap to buy custom art but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate what goes into it and the skills and experience it takes. 

jmike

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #34 on: June 04, 2013, 09:24:43 am »
:laugh2:

naw you are good and yours is easy anyway. xbox 360 is like 10x harder. I will have it out probably wednesday when I go to the post office after work.

 :applaud: :applaud:

I hope that's not the one I was looking at   :bat
PM sent

 :cheers:

Maximus

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #35 on: June 04, 2013, 12:14:21 pm »
Never stop making, never stop creating.  Not everything I do is show room worthy but every now and then I get lucky and something awesome falls out of my head.  That's what keeps me at it, the thrill of creation.

This.

SNAAKE

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #36 on: June 04, 2013, 12:42:51 pm »
:laugh2:

naw you are good and yours is easy anyway. xbox 360 is like 10x harder. I will have it out probably wednesday when I go to the post office after work.

 :applaud: :applaud:

I hope that's not the one I was looking at   :bat
PM sent

 :cheers:

its not, he sent his in. yours is still on the side. I will PM you when I have info on that too.

(sorry little OT..go on with artwork rants)

mgb

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The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #37 on: June 04, 2013, 12:48:15 pm »
I'm one who's kinda getting back into the fine world of art.
As far back as I can remember, I was drawing. In school I was known as being talented in drawing and i expected to be in the art field when i grew up. Somewhere along the way after high school I just kinda dropped out of it.
   My drawing time, the time of day I was most inspired and really drew my heart out was from 11pm til 6 am or so.
 Give me a pack of Marlboros, a few Mountain Dews and Nick at Nite on the TV and I was good to go.
  Naturally I couldn't keep this up and raise a family.
Besides as soon as someone else asks for a particular drawing or in anyway sets the rules for the work at hand, it somehow voids the whole thing for me and I get creatively blocked.

I have always had the strongest need to create and after drawing, I think that's why I've headed into electronics.

Any how, I've been getting back into drawing a little bit at a time ( no more Marlboros though and less Mountain Dew)
I really enjoy doing graphics on the computer now too but a lot of what I do there is a bit more of taking what's already out there and mixing and changing.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 12:50:25 pm by mgb »

Vigo

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #38 on: June 04, 2013, 01:34:50 pm »
I just read this thread today. And to be honest, Opt. I really don't know how I can best comment. I feel I have to say something. I think you are overvaluing your artwork here. I don't even know what you charge, but if you think that your art is worth more than a person is willing to pay, then you just have the wrong attitude about your work. As an artist, your work is worth nothing, $0.00, until another person comes along and says it is worth money to them to have it. It is hard to explain, but it is sorta a zen attitude that I think any successful artist needs to have.

I come from an art family. My Mom's been a professional Artist on and off again for many years. My Bro is an art teacher. My sis-in-law has a radio program about art. I went to a college and have many friends in the art program, some went on very far, others failed and took work elsewhere. While I am not an artist myself, I have done a number of graphic design project professionally and will not take another job again because I know first hand how frustrating it is dealing with people in something that deals with personal taste so much. I have seen enough of your work to agree that you are extremely talented and your work is very good, and your talent is very valuable to this community.

I totally get your rant, really I do. At the same time, I have heard that rant from art friends what seems like 100's of times. Just being honest with you, my empathy meter almost always drains to empty when I hear the "They don't understand the value of art" rant. As I was trying to say above, your art is only worth what that person is willing to pay for it. They may only be willing to pay a measly $20 for it, well, that means your art is worth only $20, Even if it costs you $200 of personal labor and equipment expenses. That is the ---steaming pile of meadow muffin--- end of the stick that an artist has to live with. Doesn't mean you have to bend over for those people, but they are not at fault for not knowing how the process works. They just don't, and probably will never appreciate your work. Until you accept the truth that your work is both valuable and worthless at the same time, you are gonna be unnecessarily blaming a lot of people for not being experts in your field.

And I do understand you are in an horrid position trying to prove the value of your work. Custom work is easier to sell if you are a known artist doing work on a physical medium, but doing independent digital work in a graphic design word, that's a VERY tough sell.

I do have to point out, you are making things very hard on yourself by not revealing your prices at all. I totally get why you do it that way, but people who are not art savvy think there is not much to the process, and there is no variation in cost or time to you. I'm gonna say right here that people who don't get it are gonna keep letting you down unless you give them some expectations before asking them to PM you. You don't have bracket your work in exact prices, but I highly recommend you lay out some samples and their prices so people can get a ballpark, and you can point out exactly where price variances come from. I know before Melissa was doing carvings as a business, but doing work mainly here, I had a good idea of how much I could get for what prices for her work without needing a quote. Do yourself a favor and start doing that. It will cut back on the PMs that lead to no where.

Sorry if I sounded a bit callous, but that's the opposite of the truth. I have seen a lot of crazy good artistic talent in my life struggle to prove the value of their work. I think very highly of you and appreciate you are here and doing what you are doing. Don't let the PM's that lead nowhere get you down, man.  :afro:

Maximus

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Re: The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)
« Reply #39 on: June 04, 2013, 05:30:05 pm »
Vigo while your point is extremely well presented and obviously from experience I'd just want to point out that while the value of art as a 'product' for sale is subject to the value scale of a potential buyer, someone's time is something they can certainly place a value on.

I've only come to that conclusion over the years of being burned in the same way, if people ask me to do art, web, graphic, cab design etc etc I just tell them how many hours plus materials cost. Then when they ask me how much I charge per hour I tell them, this way they know WHAT they are paying for - my time - a tangible measurable line item. That dollar per hour cost factors in the skills involved and also the personality of the potential client (you get very good at reading that early on too).

Since choosing this route I find that I do very little (if any) design work for people as rates starting at $120 an hour tend to make people think about pursuing other options. But should the situation ever come around, there's no question between myself and my client what they are paying for.

If they don't agree to these terms, I don't do the job.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 05:34:45 pm by Maximus »

  
 

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