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Submitted on
August 29, 2013


14,406 (16 today)
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Sometimes, fresh grads would approach me and ask, "What are your secrets? How do you get your gigs?".

You see, I don't have any secrets to keep when it comes to my craft. I actually tell a lot provided there's time for a lengthy conversation. And why not? It's not like you can steal another person's career simply by knowing what he does and how he does it- at least not in this kind of profession. If the opposite were true, then all the artists out there who post free tutorials on YouTube or on their blogs, or those who publish how-to books should have been broke a long time ago. But that is simply not the case.

Being informed of how something is done and being able to do it are two different things. That's why we practice. The more we practice, the more gigs we get and the more gigs we are able to sustain. No magic. Just dedication.

Another question I am frequently asked is, "How should I price my work?" This is a bit challenging to explain to the younger ones. Most of them would say, "Well, I'm a newbie so I should probably charge low right?" Then there are those who would ask, "At what point do you transition from newbie rates to pro rates?"

Talking about this part of being a freelance illustrator could get tricky sometimes. Many professionals believe every time you sell your art cheap, you are actually destroying the industry because you are telling your clients it's okay to get low pay for hard work. While that does sound unfair, there's this notion of having to settle for less that's prevalent among many fresh grads who ask me about this topic. Still, there are those who think that having the lowest commission rates is something that would give them a competitive edge.

My take on this? I am in no position to tell you how much you should charge for your work. In fact, I don't think any professional has the authority or validation to dictate such things. So instead of asking me what sort of price-range I would recommend, how about asking yourself this: What rates will sustain me AND keep me happy enough to keep doing this kind of job? I put emphasis on the word "and" because I believe it's pointless to have a job you're not happy at all with.

That kind of makes sense to me. :)
  • Mood: Daily Needs
cluedog Sep 11, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
These are wise words, indeed.  Alas, success has eluded me thus far.  Still, I suppose, the thing is to never give up trying.
fantasio Sep 2, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Really agree to most of your opinions. When it comes to ask for pricing, instead of asking yourself what rates are good for a long  run it helps to get information on what clients or prospective clients want to pay or are able to pay. If you are too expensive they might go elsewhere, but that is also not true. If you find a price thatīs right for both parties, actually no one can be disappointed. With a good negotiation skill you can push yourself further than with a strict pricelist. 
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