Friendly reminder to all working artists or (especially) aspiring artists.
If a client says they can’t afford to pay you but you’ll get good exposure, one of two things is happening:
1. They are lying. They can afford to pay you, but they are choosing not to. They will pay the printer to print the books, they will pay the mail service to deliver them, and you’d better believe they’re going to pay themselves for sending you an email explaining that they can’t afford to pay you. They think you are a sucker, and if you take the job you’ll be telling them they are right.
2. They are not lying. They have zero budget, no audience and no real distribution system. They’ll still be paying the printer and mail service because people who work in those professions don’t work for free just because someone promises them a recommendation. But they aren’t paying themselves, they’re running on an incredibly small margin, and there’s a good chance they won’t exist as a corporate entity in a few years. Publishing your work with them will give you less exposure than putting it on tumblr or Instagram for free would. It will never lead to a paying job.
If a client starts ranting about the “short-sightedness” of artists, or otherwise complains about artists in general in their opening offer to you, run. Run as fast as you would run if a blind date spent the whole of dinner ranting about how horrible your entire gender is. Yes, there are doubtlessly clients who’ve been screwed over by artists in the past, but the ones who complain about artists in general will not respect you, they will not treat you well.
Working for free does not prove that you are passionate about something. It proves that you do not need to be paid for your work. How many doctors went into medicine because they are passionate about saving lives? Do you think any of them are asked to perform heart surgery for free?
No one will ever pay $50 for something if they can get something similar for $5. When you charge next to nothing for art that you’ve worked for hours on, art that required years of training to create, you are telling your client that it is worth next to nothing. They will remember that the next time they want to hire an artist.
People who are looking to exploit artists know that artists are hard on themselves. They know that most artists don’t think their work is good enough to charge top dollar. They know that artists have been told from the first day they started taking their art seriously as a career that they’ll never make any money off it, that it’s not a real job, that it has no value to society. They know how to push artists’ insecurities about their profession in order to convince them that that demanding fair compensation is unrealistic and uncooperative.
If you’re just desperate for a job in the arts, any job in the arts, give yourself a job. Start a webcomic, or give yourself illustration assignments that you post on social media regularly, create work for a gallery show even if you don’t have one yet, or make a book. Give yourself a job. If you’re going to work for free, you may as well be working for yourself, setting your own hours and following your own interests. Having original art with original characters and ideas in your portfolio, and making sure your art is visible online will get the attention of publishers who are actually looking to hire people for good jobs. Drawing a shitty comic for a defunct publisher based on someone else’s shitty ideas will not.
Protect yourself, because no one else will. Protect yourself, because no one else will. There are people lining up around the block to exploit you. Protect yourself because no one else will.
Are there any resources you recommend to aspiring artists? I'm interested in what an art teacher with your style would recommend!
~ Heya, dear Anon ♥ Maybe not really what you’ve asked for ? I am not really the one to ask for “modern” resources, actually. But I always say to my students to train their eye before their hand, looking at the real life around them, the shape of real people, hands, clothes, or objects, the lights and shadows of every little thing in the same room. Museums are also a wonderful place to train the eye, so I put there some paintings I really like since I was a teenager. I am a “old-paintings” lover, and all of this gave me the wish to draw and paint, years ago.
I know everyone and their mother seems to be screaming about this show right now - so for those of you who don’t watch it, I’m sorry, just bear with me a sec. I’ll try to keep things vague for those of you avoiding spoilers.
But you know the one thing about Yuri on Ice that gets me?
How normalized everything is.
For example, that moment in Episode 7 where Viktor very openly expresses his affection for Yuuri in front of an international audience? I was honestly expecting shit to hit the fan in Episode 8, at least to some degree. Here is a male celebrity (a Russian male celebrity, for that matter) at the peak of his career and with a large fan base… some of whom blame Yuuri for taking him away from them in order to coach. I was sort of dreading the backlash that they might face as a result or at the very least the judgmental glances they may get from assholes who don’t approve. The figure skating community alone is known to be pretty damn hostile toward even the mere suggestion of homosexuality.
Except they didn’t. The story just continued.
And now in Episode 10… that moment in the restaurant where the congratulatory announcement was made after a misunderstanding? No one questioned it. No one second-guessed it. A whole restaurant of strangers clapped for two people they presumably did not know but could clearly see sitting at the table and no one batted an eye at the fact that they were applauding for two men.
While there is definitely a need in fiction to explore the struggle, the backlash, the hatred and homophobia that same-sex couples face… when I think about it, that narrative has dominated almost every piece of LGBTQ fiction I’ve personally encountered, to the point where I feel like it can overshadow the relationship at the center of it all.
But in this show, it doesn’t. You just get to enjoy them for who they are and how they care about one another and celebrate each step they take along the way.
Does political correctness in fiction really make a difference?
There is a trend I noticed on tumblr, especially in the webcomic and askblog genre, that deeply annoys me. I think there have been multiple complaints about it already, but I doubt any of them had a solid explanation why it is so making people feel that way. When someone tries to address it, they get shut down very quickly and called all sorts of names and get accused of being apologists for rape, sexism, racism and all sorts of other stuff.
I’m talking about self censorship and political correctness. This has been talked about by many people, and lately it has been used by politicians like Donald Trump and thus criticism towards political correctness has been labeled “a right-wing thing to do”. So, let’s talk about that.
I think political correctness is important in politics. You are ruling a country? You better talk to your people properly. You’re on the internet discussing with others? Stay respectful and don’t use slurs or make jokes that could hurt the other. So yes, that’s settled. In real life, political correctness has its place and it shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing. So, what about fiction?
This is where I see a problem. Many artists on tumblr see themselves forced to construct their stories in certain ways to please their audience. You can’t have your characters use offensive language, be racist, sexist or homophobic without people assuming the artist shares those beliefs.
Only villains are allowed to show those flaws.
This ruins good story telling and I’ll show you why: what tumblr is focusing on is a Disney-esque story telling with the bad guy and the good guy, where the good guy should teach you a lesson by displaying admirable behavior while the villain personifies all the evil in the world. Thus, the protagonist - who is usually the good guy - displays the author’s beliefs on what is right and wrong and therefore is not independent from its creator. Iget no kicks out of reading a story where the main goal is pushing certain ideologies down my throat with the subtlety of a Jehova’s witness.
This doesn’t mean I don’t want meaningful stories that teach the audience a lesson. On the contrary, those are one of my favorites - but they have to be approached a different way. I’ll show you a positive example: Gomorra - La Serie.
This is an Italian show discussing the Naplitan mafia and its structure. This could easily be a boring thriller about cops chasing down criminals, with the occassional moral question. But what does this show do instead? It’s told from the Mafia’s point of view.
It throws you right into a mess of questioning yourself and your own view of these people by simply showing you the reality of being a mafia hitman, No policing, no political correctness. Racism and sexism and all that other nasty stuff are all over the place and yet this show will teach you more about those things than most “friendly reminder"s on tumblr dot com.
It doesn’t give you a safe moral ground. There is no “This is right and this is wrong” indicator. You are constantly forced to zoom yourself out and in again to understand these characters and why they are acting that way, they make you think and ask “Wait a second, am I rooting for a brutal killer?” when there is an epic chasing scene.
You finish this show and you’ll hate the mafia, its structure and what if forces people to do, but this is your personal lesson because you thought about it during the whole watch. Did they need to make a character say “don’t say nigger, that’s bad”? No. They researched tons about the mafia instead and tried to make it as close to reality as possible. This is the real horror of the story. I don’t think this show would have worked with political correctness and self censorship, because it takes so much away from the world building.
Fear, anger, crime, bigotry …those ugly things make your story real because people who use slurs and are sexist exist and they aren’t even “villains”. They’re just characters. This also works in reverse.
Some guys in Gomorra are nice to a trans kid one time when it got bullied, does this make them admirable? Not really, they’re still killers. When finding inspiration for your stories you will be confronted with all sorts of people with motives and behavior and beliefs that are too diverse to cut certain parts off to fit a politically correct narrative. Remove yourself from your story and think of the people in your story as real people, not as a cardboard outcut of themselves to project political ideas on. Like this, you’ll be able to challenge your readers, and write stories that leave them with a questionmark after their beliefs.
This works for comedy too: Just watch french movies like Qu’est-ce qu’on a fait au Bon Dieu? - “Serial Bad Weddings” in English. Lots of slurs, misunderstandings and prejudice, but in the end the character’s journey will give you enough thoughts about your own stance on racism and its consequences without appearing like a lecture - just by having the characters act human.
And even kid’s shows can challenge their audience by doing just that! Just look at Avatar - The last airbender. The character etablished as your stereotypical villain goes through a long transition, falling back and making mistakes all over the place. Saying nasty things and holding really offensive opinions - but behind this mask, we see a child afraid of being alone. So…what is he? Bad or good? This is up to the audience to decide until his journey is finished.
TL;DR: See your characters as human beings, research lots, try to make your fictional world real and don’t care for the Social Justice Police.
Hey, guys! I’m making a video for support the petition of the Winter Soldier solo movie. 274 people have supported this idea already. If you want to join us, please take a selfie with a piece of paper. Write or type “I’m with Sebastian till the end of the line!” Than write #Sign4Seb and id of your IG, Twitter or Tumblr account. Than write me a message and I’ll give you my email address. Deadline is July 8th, 3am EST.
Egalitarian, anti-feminist, anti-special snowflake. I work as a detective in a small ass town trying to have fun however I can so if you want to send me hate go make my day, your tears fuel me. You think you know more about the world than I do? Well I’m ready to prove you wrong, this world is more unfair than tumblr would have you believe and I’m here to give you the cold-hard truth. I’m also single and available, looking for a woman who would take care of a poor guy like me, knows how to cook and has basic decency unlike most women these days. Age is not an inconvenience ;) bonus points if you’re shy and timid. send me a fanmail if you’re interested.
what's one of the best things someone has said about you? :D
Oh gosh that’s hard to answer, I get so many lovely messages and really any one of them is brilliant I mean just random people saying nice things is the sweetest thing in the world and gosh I love you people, you know that? You should know that. I cry quite often about the nice things in my inbox. I’m going ahead and putting that on record for you I don’t have a shred of remorse about it.
If I had to pick an example from real life though I did once spend a long while talking to a complete stranger on an airplane (yay 14 hour flights), who looked at me very hard for a moment then told me “you know, talking with you is exactly how I imagine talking to Professor Layton would be.”
Your writing has caught my attention. I assume a large portion of the fanbase follows you, so this is where I'll leave this bit of information: Everyone needs to calm down. They're more worked up about this than Louis is right now. It's all going to work out fine.
Yeah, I’ve got a few thousand more followers on Tumblr than on Twitter, so that can give you an indication of my reach I suppose?
I have an idea of who this is given where I just submitted something but if you wanna be all low-key anon I feel ya. I’ve built a writing career on an anonymous alias over the past six years, so hakuna matata.
I actually started writing an article for Buzzfeed last August and how absurd this baby thing all was, but then assumed it would just go away, so when I saw @ Louis_Tomlinson tweeting about it yesterday I was high key like, ‘Oh, hell no.’
I like to believe that there is a plan, but to see such a blatant attack on someone just raises my hackles and I really fucking hate injustice and bullying. And that’s what this has written all over it. I feel like a very uncomfortable clench in my soul when I people can’t stand up for themselves, so that’s why I got all heated and put my investigative journalism hat on today.
Thanks for your message, though. Glad you enjoyed the article x
Stop making sherlock sound so defensless and weak by saying how "soft" and. "insecure" he is. That. makes him sound like a poor victim when in fact he's -a- fuckin 36 year old man who is stronger than have the TJLC part of tumblr give him credit for
how about you allow sherlock to be strong AND soft AND insecure, you’re the one associating that with weakness, not me