Me and the lovely Kate Farina [http://www.katyfarina.com/] had a quick-shot convo about artists. It has inspired me to write this for all of you who are starting in this amazing path that is ART [regardless of your professional level or skill set]:
ALL ARTISTS SHOULD FOLLOW THEIR HEART!!
You guys might feel humbled when someone gives a compliment or asks about your commissions situation. I can relate how shy or baffled you must feel, but also respect your craft and be enthusiastic about your skills! Believe in yourself and believe in your skills! Which also means…
DO NOT UNDERSELL YOURSELF!!
Everyone is looking for the most bang for their buck. EVERYONE. But also you should educate yourself about what rate is best for your current time and skill. That way the industry and those big fat cats will stop undermining us for our talent AND we stop comparing ourselves with others, thats never healthy.
But also, that way you can…
BUILD A REPUTATION!!
Meaning that you will be fair in your prices and also receive a fair amount of attention [results may vary]. You should never be afraid of gaining a level and upping your prices as your tools also need renewal or a special situation appears! Remember all work leads to a portfolio!
DONT BE AFRAID OF ASKING!!
If you know fellow pros, dont feel afraid of asking for help or guidance in Prices, skills, how to improve or anything similar. One thing people feel is that the industry should be more of a big family rather than a hierarchy like if you where in a payroll, which means…
DONT BE AFRAID OF SAYING NO!!
Dont feel bad being the “starving artist”, but if you aren’t in that situation, you should definitely NOT accepting some contract because it undersells your skills. Work around it and work for a way to make sure its fair for both you and your contractor. And to know this…
EDUCATE YOURSELF AND FELLOW ARTISTS!!
Dont know how to price yourself as an amateur? Ask your friends! Dont know how to price your skills as a professional? I really recommend checking with fellow workers and also reading some books about it. The best book I can recommend you is The HANDBOOK OF PRICING AND ETHICAL GUIDELINES by the Graphic Artists Guild. Give or take a certain percentage of their numbers according to your own guidelines [or country of origin, keeping in mind dollar exchange] and you have a VERY solid idea of how to value yourself.
In the end, If we all join together and start seeing each other as support, we can begin to build a complete community thats aimed to educate, help and just be enthusiastic about our craft! Competition should be in spirit only!!