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SourRobot
12-29-2011, 09:23 PM
I've tried asking on some other websites, but other people tend to be rude and very unhelpful. Maybe I could get some help and advice here?

I was wondering how I could go about freelancing. It's one thing I wanted to start doing so that I can make more money aside from working crappy hours in retail for little pay, and build up my portfolio with more work. I do graphic design, but like to do illustration even more. I was wondering if any of you people here do a lot of freelancing, and if there are tips that could help me out. I was thinking about finding projects to do on certain websites, Elance being the main one I want to use. Do you any of you guys use that website to get clients? Does it work out well?

I also thought of going back to making jewelry again as a side project/business. I did that a lot in high school because I couldn't get hired anywhere, and I made some money from that.

houdini
12-29-2011, 10:13 PM
The first place I'd look for that sort of thing is the Writer and Artist's Yearbook - I don't know if there's an equivalent that focuses a lot more on illustration etc, although the WAAYB does cover a lot of art. They have advice on their website as well - http://www.writersandartists.co.uk/

As for jewelry, I know a few people on Etsy who have found it very good and flexible for selling stuff they make in their spare time, and not too expensive with fees etc.

Apart from that, good luck! Following a dream is always very rewarding :)

SourRobot
12-29-2011, 10:18 PM
Oh, thanks for that! I'll have it bookmarked.

As for Etsy, I have heard very good things about that, regarding selling things that people make, and I'd definitely like to try out that website if I get some things finished. I've never sent packages, so I know absolutely nothing about shipping them. I'm going to have to learn about that stuff.

trailerparkmedic
12-30-2011, 04:06 AM
My husband does a fair bit of freelancing (he's a copywriter). He decided that freelancing wasn't worth it to him unless he made $60/hour, but with his clientele and experience, had difficulty getting that much. He tells his clients that he charges $30/hour and doubles the estimate of how long it will take him to do the project so he still gets $60/hour. (Basically, he says the project will take 2 hours at $30 but it really takes him 1 hour so he makes $60). This works well for him mostly because he works much faster than most people expect, so doubling his time doesn't seem suspicious.

If you freelance, keep great records of your business costs for tax time. Save some of the money you make for taxes so you don't get shocked by your tax bill. I'm sure TaxGuyKarl knows the specifics--all I know is that part of our internet and cell phone bills get deducted some months but hubby keeps at least 25% of his freelance money set aside for tax time.

Always have a contract before starting work that includes your pay rate and a due date for payment. Hubby is often paid in a lump sum--he says "I think it will take me 10 hours at $30/hour so you owe me $300." If you do it this way, put a limit on the number of revisions ("I will only do 2 sets of revisions at this price") and hours ("I will only spend 3 hours on revisions for this price"). That way, they don't go "Oh, we liked it, but this needs to be changed. And that. And can you redo the whole thing without any extra compensation?"

Most of what I know about freelancing is based in the advertising world. That might not be a bad thing for you--even if you weren't trained as an art director, you can still do ad work and it's decent money.
Some tips for the ad world.
-Print out your portfolio on the good paper from Kinkos and keep it in a good portfolio folder.
-Having your own domain name isn't expensive and makes you look more professional. Godaddy.com isn't bad. Keep separate websites for each type of person you're trying to reach--don't put illustration and jewelery on the same page.
-Don't be afraid of spec work (stuff you make up, like a school project or just something you did on your own). Good spec work is way better than bad professional work, especially when it's bad because the client wanted it that way.
-Network, network, network. If your city has Ad Fed (advertising federation) meetings, go to them. See if there are interesting groups on Meetup (http://www.meetup.com). Email companies in the area who look like they might need graphic designers.
-Keep up relationships with people who might have an in for you in the future. My husband got his most recent full time job by calling an old client. He has gotten freelance work by keeping in contact with former coworkers at a quarterly happy hour someone organizes. He sent work he couldn't do to an old college friend who sees us a couple of times a year.
-Make sure your business cards are distinctive--my husband has Moo Cards (http://us.moo.com/) but when he didn't have money to spend on cards, he took cool cardstock paper and printed his own business cards (6 per page). Ignore the "standards" and make your thing look cool.

edit: When I was talking about spec work, I meant don't be afraid to put spec work in your portfolio. DON'T do spec work for companies, because legit companies won't expect you to work for free. You can offer a new client a one time discounted rate, but don't make it too low and make it very clear that it is a one time thing that will not occur in the future. Even with that, I'd be very careful--a legit company will pay the right price for good work and most people who are hard core haggling aren't worth your time. The only time my husband had someone break their contract was a company who had begged for a lower rate for the first job so they could "try him out," with the promise of vast amounts of work at his normal rate coming in the near future. They got his work and then he never heard from them again.

Also, if you're being paid by check, don't spend the money for a few days. Give it time to bounce, just in case.

Kanalah
12-30-2011, 03:58 PM
Etsy is one of the better sites I've used to sell stuff. The fees are pretty low, and it's an instant storefront.

I don't pay extra for advertising, I rely on word of mouth and I pass out business cards/flyers at shows and when I'm out and about.

I think I'm one of the few self-employed people I know personally that can have a normal conversation without trying to sell something :shrug: I'm like the hank hill of quilting.

ShadowBall
12-30-2011, 06:18 PM
Freelancing is fun, but all I can say is to not expect to make much. A vast majority of clients and potential clients are the cheapest of cheapskates and will want you to do professional-quality work for maybe $1-$2 a hour. That's just in my experience anyway, and I've been to many freelance sites. I gave Elance a shot and I found it to be a big waste of time. Sometimes you can get good stuff on CraigsList, but most of the time, people will run for the hills when you say you expect payment or you want them to sign anything.

I'm also a designer-leaning-more-toward-illustrator and I can count on one hand the number of legit and not-cheap clients I have had in the last seven years. I had a profile on ODesk.com and said my rate was a mere $6 an hour - the most common reason people rejected my applications was that I charged too much for my services.

Soooo if you're okay with doing creative slave labor, by all means go for it. If you don't mind doing an entire website for $5 and other similarly low-cost projects, I recommend ODesk - it's work, but you'll be busting your ass for pennies.

As said, though, I speak only from my own experience. I actually turned to freelance writing because it has gotten me far more work than art, but I still was working at slave wages (like 50 cents an article). I am doing articles for more now, but it takes my client for-fucking-ever to review and accept submissions.

What I have found over the years is that no one wants to pay for artwork - they think you take the idea, put it in Photoshop, press two buttons and the computer does all the work for you, so why would you need a ton of money an hour? :rolleyes: If you charge upwards of $10 an hour for your services, expect about 99 percent of all potential clients to laugh right in your face, and the remaining one percent will probably argue over prices with you.

What will probably get you more money is doing fan work - draw pictures of someone's favorite character or their fan-character. From my own observations, no one gives a crap about original art anymore - they all want fanart or rip-offs of other designs that they can call their own. Very best of luck to you in your creative journey, though. I've been trying to be a successful freelancer since I was a freshman in undergrad and I haven't accomplished a damn thing despite selling myself more than a hooker.

Sapphire Silk
12-30-2011, 06:59 PM
SourRobot: market yourself. Hit local conventions (all kinds) and show your portfolio to people there. Try to include pieces that would appeal to business people; graphic art good for advertising, for example. Figure out what your audience and market are.

Have a list of what you charge for a quarter page, half page, and full page size graphic. Talk to other free lancers to get an idea of what the going rate is.

Look into contracts. Doing work on spec is fine to get a foot in the door. After that, always do work on contract or you'll never get paid.

Don't expect to make a lot at first. It'll take a while to build a reputation. How much work you can find depends a lot on your willingness to market yourself aggressively. It takes time and effort.

I know two graphic artists. One has done very well in the gaming industry, even though he's not that great an artist (he can do very good work when he has the mind, but if he's not being paid what he wants, you'll get sub par stuff from him). The other is a very good artist who does his best once he agrees to the deal.

The first guy gets lots of work because he's good at marketing himself. He's a good smchoozer as well. The other guy gets less work because he is not good at marketing himself . . . and he freely admits this.

trailerparkmedic had great suggestions.

I wish you the best of success :)

SourRobot
12-31-2011, 03:43 AM
Warning: Long because I'm trying to reply to everyone.

My husband does a fair bit of freelancing (he's a copywriter). He decided that freelancing wasn't worth it to him unless he made $60/hour, but with his clientele and experience, had difficulty getting that much. He tells his clients that he charges $30/hour and doubles the estimate of how long it will take him to do the project so he still gets $60/hour. (Basically, he says the project will take 2 hours at $30 but it really takes him 1 hour so he makes $60). This works well for him mostly because he works much faster than most people expect, so doubling his time doesn't seem suspicious.

I think that is very clever. It's such a great idea! I think I'll try something like that.

If you freelance, keep great records of your business costs for tax time. Save some of the money you make for taxes so you don't get shocked by your tax bill. I'm sure TaxGuyKarl knows the specifics--all I know is that part of our internet and cell phone bills get deducted some months but hubby keeps at least 25% of his freelance money set aside for tax time.

That's what I'm doing now. I'm too scared to spend any of the money that I've made so far, so I deposited my earnings in a separate bank account, and I'm not touching it until tax time.

Always have a contract before starting work that includes your pay rate and a due date for payment. Hubby is often paid in a lump sum--he says "I think it will take me 10 hours at $30/hour so you owe me $300." If you do it this way, put a limit on the number of revisions ("I will only do 2 sets of revisions at this price") and hours ("I will only spend 3 hours on revisions for this price"). That way, they don't go "Oh, we liked it, but this needs to be changed. And that. And can you redo the whole thing without any extra compensation?"

I make a proposal and an estimate sheet (separate). The proposal is basically the contract that the client and I have to sign, and the estimate is just showing the work involved and the estimated time it will take, then the estimated total cost so that the client can get an idea of how much it might be. I make sure to note that it's only a rough estimate and may change depending on several factors. I already do the revision thing where I charge after like, two revisions. So far it hasn't gotten too bad.

I get paid at certain stages of the project, usually in three payments. I get a deposit at the beginning, and then I will get to work.

Most of what I know about freelancing is based in the advertising world. That might not be a bad thing for you--even if you weren't trained as an art director, you can still do ad work and it's decent money.
Some tips for the ad world.
-Print out your portfolio on the good paper from Kinkos and keep it in a good portfolio folder.
-Having your own domain name isn't expensive and makes you look more professional. Godaddy.com isn't bad. Keep separate websites for each type of person you're trying to reach--don't put illustration and jewelery on the same page.
-Don't be afraid of spec work (stuff you make up, like a school project or just something you did on your own). Good spec work is way better than bad professional work, especially when it's bad because the client wanted it that way.
-Network, network, network. If your city has Ad Fed (advertising federation) meetings, go to them. See if there are interesting groups on Meetup (http://www.meetup.com). Email companies in the area who look like they might need graphic designers.
-Keep up relationships with people who might have an in for you in the future. My husband got his most recent full time job by calling an old client. He has gotten freelance work by keeping in contact with former coworkers at a quarterly happy hour someone organizes. He sent work he couldn't do to an old college friend who sees us a couple of times a year.
-Make sure your business cards are distinctive--my husband has Moo Cards (http://us.moo.com/) but when he didn't have money to spend on cards, he took cool cardstock paper and printed his own business cards (6 per page). Ignore the "standards" and make your thing look cool.

edit: When I was talking about spec work, I meant don't be afraid to put spec work in your portfolio. DON'T do spec work for companies, because legit companies won't expect you to work for free. You can offer a new client a one time discounted rate, but don't make it too low and make it very clear that it is a one time thing that will not occur in the future. Even with that, I'd be very careful--a legit company will pay the right price for good work and most people who are hard core haggling aren't worth your time. The only time my husband had someone break their contract was a company who had begged for a lower rate for the first job so they could "try him out," with the promise of vast amounts of work at his normal rate coming in the near future. They got his work and then he never heard from them again.

Also, if you're being paid by check, don't spend the money for a few days. Give it time to bounce, just in case.

Spec work is pretty much what I might need to do, just to add a bit more to my portfolio. I'm trying to get some requests on DeviantArt so that I can improve my illustrations. My mom got mad at me one day because she saw something that I had done for someone, and when she asked how much did he pay for it I told her that I did it for free. I can see why that upset her, because I'm supposed to be making a living with this stuff.

Etsy is one of the better sites I've used to sell stuff. The fees are pretty low, and it's an instant storefront.

I don't pay extra for advertising, I rely on word of mouth and I pass out business cards/flyers at shows and when I'm out and about.

I think I'm one of the few self-employed people I know personally that can have a normal conversation without trying to sell something :shrug: I'm like the hank hill of quilting.

That's my problem, I don't understand how people start conversations like that that ease into you giving someone a business card or promo piece. I've done it a few times because I managed to get lucky, but I have no idea how to start a conversation that will lead to me talking about the stuff that I do.

Freelancing is fun, but all I can say is to not expect to make much. A vast majority of clients and potential clients are the cheapest of cheapskates and will want you to do professional-quality work for maybe $1-$2 a hour. That's just in my experience anyway, and I've been to many freelance sites. I gave Elance a shot and I found it to be a big waste of time. Sometimes you can get good stuff on CraigsList, but most of the time, people will run for the hills when you say you expect payment or you want them to sign anything.

I had a friend who had small projects on Craigs List. I haven't found any projects there. Maybe I'm looking at the wrong time.

I'm also a designer-leaning-more-toward-illustrator and I can count on one hand the number of legit and not-cheap clients I have had in the last seven years. I had a profile on ODesk.com and said my rate was a mere $6 an hour - the most common reason people rejected my applications was that I charged too much for my services.

Soooo if you're okay with doing creative slave labor, by all means go for it. If you don't mind doing an entire website for $5 and other similarly low-cost projects, I recommend ODesk - it's work, but you'll be busting your ass for pennies.

As said, though, I speak only from my own experience. I actually turned to freelance writing because it has gotten me far more work than art, but I still was working at slave wages (like 50 cents an article). I am doing articles for more now, but it takes my client for-fucking-ever to review and accept submissions.

I have no idea what freelance writing is about. Every time I search for freelancing advice freelance writing links take up most of the page. I don't know I'd be good enough to be a freelance writer, but I guess that's up to the audience to decide, right?

What I have found over the years is that no one wants to pay for artwork - they think you take the idea, put it in Photoshop, press two buttons and the computer does all the work for you, so why would you need a ton of money an hour? :rolleyes: If you charge upwards of $10 an hour for your services, expect about 99 percent of all potential clients to laugh right in your face, and the remaining one percent will probably argue over prices with you.

I know, it's so frustrating. What I charge is way below what I should be charging (part of the reason why I did it was because I'm starting out and I want to see how well it goes), and yet there are people telling me to lower it even more. You'll see it happening a lot on Deviant Art in the Job Offers forum, and every now and then the stinginess gets so out of hand that an artist posts their own thread explaining how the client is being unfair. Like you said, some people don't see all the hard work that goes into illustrating or designing something.

What will probably get you more money is doing fan work - draw pictures of someone's favorite character or their fan-character. From my own observations, no one gives a crap about original art anymore - they all want fanart or rip-offs of other designs that they can call their own. Very best of luck to you in your creative journey, though. I've been trying to be a successful freelancer since I was a freshman in undergrad and I haven't accomplished a damn thing despite selling myself more than a hooker.

Fan art is an iffy thing for me. I do get a lot of those requests, and yet I don't charge because it's not really my work. I mean, I drew and painted it, but it's a character that was made by someone else. I don't feel right making money off another person's character. Unless there's something I'm missing.

SourRobot: market yourself. Hit local conventions (all kinds) and show your portfolio to people there. Try to include pieces that would appeal to business people; graphic art good for advertising, for example. Figure out what your audience and market are.

Have a list of what you charge for a quarter page, half page, and full page size graphic. Talk to other free lancers to get an idea of what the going rate is.

Look into contracts. Doing work on spec is fine to get a foot in the door. After that, always do work on contract or you'll never get paid.

Don't expect to make a lot at first. It'll take a while to build a reputation. How much work you can find depends a lot on your willingness to market yourself aggressively. It takes time and effort.

I know two graphic artists. One has done very well in the gaming industry, even though he's not that great an artist (he can do very good work when he has the mind, but if he's not being paid what he wants, you'll get sub par stuff from him). The other is a very good artist who does his best once he agrees to the deal.

The first guy gets lots of work because he's good at marketing himself. He's a good smchoozer as well. The other guy gets less work because he is not good at marketing himself . . . and he freely admits this.

trailerparkmedic had great suggestions.

I wish you the best of success :)

Thanks! Those graphic artists you described sound a lot like me in different ways. I've found that I can do great work when others request it, because I want to make them happy, but when I'm trying to do my own thing I struggle and can't come up with any good ideas. I'm also socially awkward, so that isn't helping me market myself face to face with others.


Thanks for the replies guys, keep 'em coming!

ShadowBall
12-31-2011, 05:09 AM
I hope I didn't rain on your parade too much. I'm not trying to be a pessimist - just describing what I have found through my own experiences. My only art client is actually someone I found on Craigslist; the project was meant to be a one-time thing doing illustrations for a book, but the publisher liked my style so much that they decided to have me illustrate all subsequent books in that series as well as a couple covers.

So don't rule out Craigslist totally - yeah, about 95 percent of the jobs there are listed as "no pay" or are scams, but if you dig a bit, you can find a legit one. Don't limit yourself to your local area either - the client I mentioned above is on the complete opposite side of the country from me.

It's also good to decide what area of design or art you want to focus on. I personally do a little here and a little there - I can do basic web design and print design, a little ad design, alright logo design. I find I have trouble focusing on just one because I want to shout out, "Hey I can do everything! Lookit meee!" but I guess it might seem like you're just mediocre at everything rather than being really good at one or two things and clients will prefer an expert.

Hell, I focus more on illustration than anything else and my style is just all over the place. I do vector pieces and ink drawings, life drawing, cartoons. Truth be told, I'd love to do comics/graphic novels but I just haven't been feeling the love creatively for the last year and all my ideas for web comics and comic books are just that - ideas. I digress.

Also, a good free domain to build off is Webs.com - it doesn't have to be an uber-long name. It could just be MyPileOfArt.webs.com. Short enough for a business card, even. Oh, and don't do a Flash-based site because you will want to commit seppuku trying to make it work right.

And yes, people on DA are CHEAP. They only want people to draw stuff for free - not even in an art trade. They just want free drawings that they will no doubt tell everyone is their work. I made the mistake of doing charity work on another art site many years ago and I immediately regretted it. I had like six dozen people ask me to draw their idiotic fan characters. Right now, I'm asking a measly $3 for original or fan character drawings on DA and I have yet to get a request. That's how cheap people are there.

I've been told asking a partial up-front payment is good in case the client decides to take the work and run (have had that happen to me a lot). If you request this, expect to put up a fight; the client assumes you will try and scam them out of money and then won't do the work, so they'll tell you they want the work first and then the money. Don't back down - I've had so much work stolen because I was a noob and trusted the client to be honest and they took the pieces and never contacted me or paid me. Even when I just sent them low-resolution watermarked thumbnails, they'd take those and run too.

But in the end, I can honestly only say the only way to get lots of client work is to sell yourself cheaply - selling yourself in general is good, but people are gonna look at the price tag before they look at the quality of the work. Do stuff cheaper than the other guy and you'll have people flooding your email looking for work. It won't be worth it at all, and everyone will get all butt-hurt if you raise your rate so much as a few cents, but if you want quantity over quality, working for next to nothing is unfortunately the way to go.

taxguykarl
01-01-2012, 02:44 AM
I see my handle came up;), so here we go:
If you freelance, keep great records of your business costs for tax time. Save some of the money you make for taxes so you don't get shocked by your tax bill. I'm sure TaxGuyKarl knows the specifics--all I know is that part of our internet and cell phone bills get deducted some months but hubby keeps at least 25% of his freelance money set aside for tax time.You're right about the records. Especially, if you consistently post losses as that is near the top of the IRS's red flags.That's what I'm doing now. I'm too scared to spend any of the money that I've made so far, so I deposited my earnings in a separate bank account, and I'm not touching it until tax time.I'm glad to see you've been keeping records. If there is an area of your residence where you exclusively run your freelance operation, you have some reading to do. (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p587.pdf) You can pro-rate utilities and other household expenses towards your business.

In your case, you have 'til 1/15/12 to pay your estimated taxes. (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040es.pdf) Unless you have an income stream (with withholding) that covers the likely profit and self-employment tax (in a practical the later is the social security & medicare that would otherwise be withheld).

Read up on Schedule C. (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040sc.pdf)

Yes, you are welcome to PM me with whatever tax query you have.

SourRobot
01-01-2012, 05:06 AM
@ShadowBall
Focusing on one thing is somewhat difficult for me, because I try to do a bit of everything. However, I've been thinking more about it and going back over past works to see what works best for me. I like to draw people, and find that portraits are very fun to do.
It's funny that you said something about designing in Flash, because that's what I had used for the first version of my website. I quickly abandoned that method when I found out that I couldn't view it on mobile devices. Also, certain things that used to work would just stop working for no reason. Now I use Dreamweaver, and although very frustrating and tough to learn and to work with, I don't have to worry about messed up buttons and viewing the website on devices other than the computer.

I've been wondering about just starting out cheaply. If I can get a lot of work, maybe I can balance out the profit (if I don't work myself to death first). Eventually I'd increase my prices if people like my stuff enough to pay for it.

@Taxguykarl
Oh my gosh, taxes. That's going to be fun. I am definitely going to read about that stuff. Thanks for those links. I will be looking them over. Teachers had said a bit about what you mentioned, but didn't get too much into the details. I wish there could have been a class that taught us more about that stuff.

ShadowBall
01-01-2012, 07:58 AM
Ugh, my old site was Flash-based and had a very simple design and despite the coding being perfect, the gallery never worked right. I designed a very simple HTML-only site for a friend a few years ago and I am definitely going to do a strictly Dreamweaver site for my new online portfolio. I'm kind of considering having several sites due to have much stuff I do - like one for cartoons, one for other illustration/graphic design, and one for my writing. Maybe have them all link together somehow.

Personally I'm a cheap bastard and I refuse to buy a domain because I don't see my art yielding any money, so why spend $100+ a year to keep a site going when no one buys anything from me? There would be no way to make up for what I lose annually, so it would be nothing but lose lose lose.

I've also heard Artfire is a good site to be on - Esty is good, but it's more about crafts than drawing. I also tried selling customized portraits there and I never got a single request. Even though I was offering to do pieces that take me days to finish for $5 apiece, no one wanted it. I swear I think most of the time, the only way an artist can get any work is to do nothing but charity projects. And I don't mean just temporarily to get your foot in the door - I mean forever. If you charge even a few cents for an artistic masterpiece, people develop a major vicegrip on their wallets.

spark
01-01-2012, 08:44 AM
If you don't mind animal, anthro, or "furry" art, furaffinity can be a good place to pick up commissions as well. It's not quite the cesspit of porn some people insist it is, though unless you're into that you'll probably want to leave the adult filter turned off. :) But it's where I get quite a lot of my own commission work from, and I'm strictly PG-rated only.

Also, if you use livejournal there are a ton of artist-oriented communities out there where you can find advice, though I've never had much luck selling through lj, the art communities are all over-saturated with sellers, and haven't got many buyers.

Honestly you can pick up opportunities everywhere and anywhere. I make a point to always let people around me know what I do. I don't believe in the hard sell, I don't push my work on people or spam advertisements, but how can they hire you if they don't even know you're for hire? I think I've sold things on pretty much every internet community I've ever been a part of, including this one.

And seconding the above, about Etsy being for crafts/jewelry and not for art. I personally don't use it much, but just about every crafter I know swears by it.

Oh, and this is just my opinion, but really you shouldn't do spec work. A lot of people asking for it are dishonest and abuse artists who don't know any better, I don't like to encourage that. If you need to practice and increase your portfolio there's no reason why you can't make things for friends, for family, just because, or even for imaginary companies you invented just to design for them. I'd rather do any of that than let somebody get into the habit of taking advantage of desperate new artists.

artcurmudgeon
01-01-2012, 06:16 PM
I have operated in the fringes of the art world for years and there are a couple of basics I want to throw in.


1)If you want to get treated like a professional, you have to act like a profession. You can work for cheap, but dont work for free. Have a Twitter/ facebook/email address with your name. It doesnt look good if you are hotcartoonist209348@hotmail.com.

2)Getting a domain and a cheap hosting site is important(name cheap has some great deals..http://www.namecheap.com/) because it is a great way to showcase your art. Nothing says amateur like a deviantart or a free website.

3)Define the market you are aiming for. If you are a webcomicer/cartoonist/comic book artist, read things like fleen & daily cartoonist. research the types of portfolios you need to have for a comic convention and put you work up to be seen. If you are looking for graphic design, start checking out the CG forums for info. Define you market and research it.

4)You are your own biggest cheerleader. In my experience, I have several friends who everyone thought just burst onto the webcomics scene, they didnt. They worked hard, promoted themselves and it took time.

5)Read a lot! Books by Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, & Chris Guillebeau. These guys have a lot to say about how to put yourself out there. start here, read this and see what you think.....http://www.scribd.com/doc/45533704/The-Unconventional-Guide-to-Working-for-Yourself-Chris-Guillebeau-2008

taxguykarl
01-02-2012, 02:50 PM
@Taxguykarl
Oh my gosh, taxes. That's going to be fun. I am definitely going to read about that stuff. Thanks for those links. I will be looking them over. Teachers had said a bit about what you mentioned, but didn't get too much into the details. I wish there could have been a class that taught us more about that stuff.A lot of adult education centers and junior colleges have such classes. You are welcome to PM me with your queries.

SourRobot
01-03-2012, 06:47 PM
Honestly you can pick up opportunities everywhere and anywhere. I make a point to always let people around me know what I do. I don't believe in the hard sell, I don't push my work on people or spam advertisements, but how can they hire you if they don't even know you're for hire? I think I've sold things on pretty much every internet community I've ever been a part of, including this one.

And seconding the above, about Etsy being for crafts/jewelry and not for art. I personally don't use it much, but just about every crafter I know swears by it.

Oh, and this is just my opinion, but really you shouldn't do spec work. A lot of people asking for it are dishonest and abuse artists who don't know any better, I don't like to encourage that. If you need to practice and increase your portfolio there's no reason why you can't make things for friends, for family, just because, or even for imaginary companies you invented just to design for them. I'd rather do any of that than let somebody get into the habit of taking advantage of desperate new artists.

That's true about Etsy. Most people who make stuff seem to have success with selling their crafts on that website, so I would use that for my jewelry business. I would go with another website for art, though, unless my stuff was already framed and ready to be shipped.

Spec work is something that is pretty iffy. I still don't know if I want to do it or not. I've heard more people talking against it than for it.

I have operated in the fringes of the art world for years and there are a couple of basics I want to throw in.


1)If you want to get treated like a professional, you have to act like a profession. You can work for cheap, but dont work for free. Have a Twitter/ facebook/email address with your name. It doesnt look good if you are hotcartoonist209348@hotmail.com.

2)Getting a domain and a cheap hosting site is important(name cheap has some great deals..http://www.namecheap.com/) because it is a great way to showcase your art. Nothing says amateur like a deviantart or a free website.

3)Define the market you are aiming for. If you are a webcomicer/cartoonist/comic book artist, read things like fleen & daily cartoonist. research the types of portfolios you need to have for a comic convention and put you work up to be seen. If you are looking for graphic design, start checking out the CG forums for info. Define you market and research it.

4)You are your own biggest cheerleader. In my experience, I have several friends who everyone thought just burst onto the webcomics scene, they didnt. They worked hard, promoted themselves and it took time.

5)Read a lot! Books by Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, & Chris Guillebeau. These guys have a lot to say about how to put yourself out there. start here, read this and see what you think.....http://www.scribd.com/doc/45533704/The-Unconventional-Guide-to-Working-for-Yourself-Chris-Guillebeau-2008

Thanks for the link!
I'm pretty tempted to make myself unavailable for free commissions on DA. I'm tired of doing work and not getting paid for it. I thought that by doing these free commissions, I would get more people to view my page or get the word out for me, but not much has improved. I do have a price list that I made a while ago, I'm going to start advertising that more.

And Taxguykarl, I just might send you a PM. I don't think I have any questions now, but I'm sure I will soon.

Seshat
01-04-2012, 01:22 PM
I haven't seen anyone mention this, so:

* Include the time and money spent on non-art work when you're figuring out how much to charge for pieces. If if takes you half an hour (on average) of other work for an hour's worth of art jobs, you'll want to make sure your labour-per-hour charge actually covers an hour and a half worth of working-time.
Let's see if I can make this clearer...
Your income-per-hour as, say, a fast-food worker, is $X.
Eventually, you'll want your income-per-hour as an artist to be at least $X. Preferably $X+Y!
If you charge $X/hour labour for your art, you're not getting $X/hour income - because you're actually working half an hour of not-actually-art-stuff for each hour of art. So you need to charge $X+(half X)/hour labour, to get $X/hour.
Make sense?

Similarly, you have to average out the costs of tax preparation, accounting, business cards, etc etc, and include the costs of those in the 'supplies' part of your calculation.

And don't forget depreciation!



Also, here's some thoughts:
And you thought pro writing was easy (http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2009/05/11/and-you-thought-pro-writing-was-easy/)

Underbilling doesn't do anyone any favours (http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2009/07/14/underbilling-doesnt-do-anyone-any-favours/)

SourRobot
01-08-2012, 04:55 AM
I haven't seen anyone mention this, so:

* Include the time and money spent on non-art work when you're figuring out how much to charge for pieces. If if takes you half an hour (on average) of other work for an hour's worth of art jobs, you'll want to make sure your labour-per-hour charge actually covers an hour and a half worth of working-time.
Let's see if I can make this clearer...
Your income-per-hour as, say, a fast-food worker, is $X.
Eventually, you'll want your income-per-hour as an artist to be at least $X. Preferably $X+Y!
If you charge $X/hour labour for your art, you're not getting $X/hour income - because you're actually working half an hour of not-actually-art-stuff for each hour of art. So you need to charge $X+(half X)/hour labour, to get $X/hour.
Make sense?

Similarly, you have to average out the costs of tax preparation, accounting, business cards, etc etc, and include the costs of those in the 'supplies' part of your calculation.

And don't forget depreciation!



Also, here's some thoughts:
And you thought pro writing was easy (http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2009/05/11/and-you-thought-pro-writing-was-easy/)

Underbilling doesn't do anyone any favours (http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/2009/07/14/underbilling-doesnt-do-anyone-any-favours/)


Okay, now that I hadn't even thought of. Well, I did think about some of the things I would need to cover while determining how much I should get paid, but I hadn't thought about the non art stuff that's related to the project. I will definitely keep that in mind and work it in my prices somehow.