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The thing about custom artwork (FAQ & rant)

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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.

--- Quote from: Well Fed Games 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...
--- End quote ---

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!

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.

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!


--- Quote from: yotsuya 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.

--- End quote ---

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

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.


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