12 Things an Artist Never Wants to Hear
Things an Artist Never Wants to Hear
I found this so interesting and struck such a nerve with me that I couldn’t resist sharing it. Dennie Bright on Twitter asked for people to post “Things an artist never wants to hear in 5 words or less.” A while back I published the first 11 things but here are 12 more of the responses that resonated with me most.
When you do digital art: “Do you do real art?”
Define “real art.” I honestly put more time and effort into digital art than I do in traditional painting. Usually, I can get better detail and more range of color variation and vibrancy with digital. Honestly, digital IS real art.
“I liked it better before.”
I had an instructor say this to me after having me make 11 edits to an illustration. It is a maddening statement. I’ve never had a client say it yet but knowing how I felt when the art teacher said it, I don’t want to. This is one of the reasons artists put a “3 changes only” clause in their contracts. After 3 changes to an illustration, we could and should begin charging more for our time.
“You should’ve done ___ instead.”
This statement usually comes from someone who doesn’t know art or doesn’t know my process. If a client says it, it’s time to cut them loose or start over on a new illustration.
“Can you do it cheaper?”
I’d like anyone to try saying that to a surgeon or a lawyer. Asking for a cheaper price is begging for sub-standard work. The illustration says it all when it comes to doing cheaper or faster work. The more time we put in, the better and more detailed the illustration. To do it faster or cheaper, you can’t hope to get top-notch work.
“Can I have that?”
I had that said to me more times than I’d like to say. When I taught senior citizens watercolor classes, invariably I would get a bystander who looked over my shoulder and asked to “have” my work. My usual response is “for a price.” That’s when they walk away. Why should art be free when I just spent an hour or two working on it. Your labor isn’t free unless you volunteer to give it away. Am I less valuable somehow?
“I have to pay you?”
The short answer is YES. Again, why should I give my art away for free? Most of my paintings have between 10 and 20 hours of intensive work put into them, not to mention a lifetime of experience in art. That’s not free.
“Draw me a tattoo!”
This statement is right up there with “Can you draw me.” Yes, I can draw a tattoo. No, you can’t have it for free. If you are talking about commissioning me to draw you something specific, then we can talk.
“Give me the family discount!”
I don’t mind giving the family a discount when it’s my idea and I have the free time, but I prefer not to have it demanded. Is that too much to ask? Many members of my family only claim my membership when they want something from me for free.
“Did you draw that?”
This statement is usually from someone looking over my shoulder watching me draw. The sarcastic part of me wants to reply, “No, the fairies drew it and I just now stole it to impress you.” But, I usually don’t say what I’m thinking. I usually just smile and nod.
“Is it worth it?”
Is breathing worth it? If you took art from me it would be like taking away breathing. I need to do it so, yes, it’s worth it. I love it with every fiber of my being. It is my fifth child and my other lover. How could I not embrace it daily? Do you find what you are doing daily worth it? If not, you should be doing something else.
“Can I get this free?”
This statement is usually referring to digital art like I didn’t have to work on it as on any other piece. What a ridiculous question. I do offer digital downloads of my paintings on my Etsy shop (Dancing Paintbrush Co) but they are not free. They are at an extremely reduced price but not free. With a digital download, I offer 4 sizes so you could print them yourself on a home printer or take it to a printing place and have it printed large on nice paper. I feel that for pieces where the original has already sold it is the next best thing.
“What’s taking so long?”
I’d like to hear you say that to a surgeon or a car mechanic and see if you get speedier service. Art takes as long as it takes for good work. Even when we budget our time for a deadline, we sometimes miscalculate and have to ask for more time to get it done right. It takes as long as it takes. Get over it.
Do any of these strike a chord with you? What would you answer someone with statements like these? I’d love to hear your thoughts or comments below.