Who, What, Where, When and Why? I do not know.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Disturbing Trends In Independent Contracting

I started out in advertising, doing paste up. I worked for a mid sized agency and worked my way up to Senior Art Director pretty quickly. About once a year, inquiries would come in from all the art school graduates for reviews. I didn't go to art school, I started at the agency when I was eighteen and by the time I was 21, I was second only to the Creative Director. These graduates would come in, most of them older than I, and I'd look at their books. I recall more than one instance where some one would beg for a project and even offer to work for free on the first job! That always bugged me.

When I began doing illustration on the side, this mentality continued to show itself. I don't know how many times I heard an artist tell a potential client, they would work for free just to get published! Face palm. Not only does this make it difficult to dig yourself out of a hole, it makes it harder for all artists to get a decent amount of pay for the work they provide.

I was a full time illustrator for a several years until the gaming market crashed back 90's. I had to go out and get a 'real' job. Now, being unemployed again, I'm trying to reestablish, reintroduce and rebrand myself. In addition to looking for another 'real' job (whatever that means), I've been looking around on the interwebs for some additional contract work outside of the sci-fi, fantasy field. I figured I could maybe snag a couple of jobs here and there while I looked for other opportunities. What I've been seeing is really sort of sad.

In my opinion, sites like Odesk and Freelancer actually hurt the market more than help it. In perusing the job lists, I am astounded at the amount of work people want done and the paltry amount of money they will pay for it! I actually saw one posting where a company was looking for someone to work 7 hours a day for 5 days every week and they were going to pay 1 to 3 dollars per hour! They also wanted DAILY updates sent to them, probably just to make sure you were working hard for that chicken feed!

I've been telling aspiring artists this for years. DON'T work for nothing! It hurts everyone!

Rant of the Week......


  1. You are so right, and it took me so long to learn!

  2. Not only are the contracting and low pay hurting. Graphic Design and production work is now being outsourced to groups overseas. When a company thinks only of the surface appearance of cash flow, and not of possible problems, you bet they are going to contract with the lost cost. Never mind the translation problems, etc.

    Roy Coker