ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

3 False Beliefs About Art and Illustration

Updated on August 19, 2019
PAINTDRIPS profile image

Denise has been studying and teaching art and painting for 40+ years. She has won numerous prestigious awards for her art and design.

My self-portrait in charcoal
My self-portrait in charcoal | Source

False Beliefs

Art and illustration is a business like any other business but it seems many people treat it like a hobby that should be available to any and all for free. I find it so difficult to overcome the overwhelming false beliefs and negative premises. Here are a few things I have come across that keep people from working with me as if I were a real business.

If it (painting) weren’t so difficult, it wouldn’t be fun.

— Edgar Degas
Collage Illustration of a writer
Collage Illustration of a writer | Source

1. My Daughter Can Draw

One of the main disabling attitudes is the idea that anyone can do quality work for them. People think if they have an artist “in the family” that the never have to pay a professional for illustration work. I had one lady tell me that she needed a cover illustration for the book she had finished writing but when she learned to cost of a professional, she decided to have her daughter create something for her. There is nothing wrong with wanting a family member to create an illustration for you. You do need to keep in mind, that you get what you pay for. Unless your family member has been educated in illustration, you won’t get the best work.

Another time I did some preliminary sketches for t his book on baseball pitches and after working for a week on his book illustrations he paid me a little and said that he had decided to let a family member do the work for him at a lesser price. I appreciated him at least giving me a closing fee because I had put in a weeks work. I hope he will be pleased with the work he gets from his family, but doubt that it will be quality.

A man throws himself out of the fourth-floor window; if you can’t make a sketch of him before he gets to the ground, you will never do anything big.

— Eugene Delacroix
My daughter can draw
My daughter can draw | Source

Problem

The other problem with this attitude is that every artist is different. We all have different genres, preferences, expertise in different mediums and styles. No two are really alike. You can ask your family member to give you a realistic style illustration, but if they are used to doing work in Manga, you will probably get your illustration or book cover in that style, whether you like it or not. It is best to hire an artist with the style and expertise that you like and not try to force an artist who works in another style to do what you want.

Have you ever hired an illustrator?

See results

A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.

— Colin Powell
My diploma
My diploma | Source

2. Education

I’ve heard it before and I even thought it myself for a while: artists don’t need an art school education. I was a self-taught artist for most of my life. How I wanted to go to an art school but I got married and college was the dream I left behind. Unfortunately, the marriage didn’t last, but with two little girls, I couldn’t go back to college. It wasn’t until the children left home for lives of their own that I wanted to get back to my dreams. I tried to break into illustration without the education and I did get a few pieces published but mostly I met a closed, brick door. When I discovered I could complete my schooling with a prestigious art school online, I jumped at it. I thought that it would be a piece of cake since I had already been doing art for 20 years, but the school pulled out of me things I didn’t know I possessed. Good enough was not good enough. I had to work on pieces I thought were good, over and over again. My art improved immeasurably. They taught me the particulars and rules of certain kinds of illustration that I didn’t know before.

Yes, I could have done the art without education, but I got much better with education. Yes, I could have decided I was fine with the few meager pieces that got published in children’s magazines but I wasn’t happy with that. I wanted more. Yes, I could work a little in art programs, but I never could master them without the education the art school classes gave me. It is the education that made all the difference. Of course, I’m late coming to the party, but I’m not dead yet and I feel assured that I will be doing art till they pull the paintbrush from my cold dead fingers. Grandma Moses painted till she was 105 and that will be my legacy as well.

Don't listen to those who say you're taking too big a chance. (If he had), Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor.

— Neil Simon

Online Classes

Since those days I have found there are some places that offer specific classes in many art and illustration related fields without the art school price. Just a few are Creative Live and Skillshare. Skillshare is a subscription-based educational platform with thousands of classes and skills to offer for about $10 a month. You can take classes in drawing, painting, book illustration, book cover illustration, and much more. There are classes on everything from cooking to sewing to technical programs like movie making, After Effects, Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and more. It is well worth checking out. I also noticed many famous artists are creating and selling teaching packages online for those who want to see how they do their illustrations. There is a wealth out there for the discovery.

Collage illustration of my grandfather at 90 years old.
Collage illustration of my grandfather at 90 years old. | Source

3. Hurry Up

It is just as ludicrous to call up an artist and expect hours/days of work done over the weekend or by the next day. This happens all too often as well. Magazines are notorious at this but they aren’t the only ones. “How fast can you get this done? We need it by Monday.” It seems to me that if they really needed it that soon they would have scheduled it better. Still, many of us will try to accommodate good customers and companies by working all night or all weekend for a project. The biggest problem is that it cannot be our best work when we do that. I have done it before an was sorry because if I had had more time I would do the work so much better. Art is not something we just turn out by magic. It takes hours of skill and eye-blurring focused work. Sure, we can do the work faster than your daughter, Joy, but we still need time.

Collage Illustration for Children's Book

Never Again

I have come to the place that I won’t take a rush job anymore unless I’m sure I can focus on it exclusively. If there are any other projects on my artboard, I just won’t divide my attention anymore. The last time I tried it, the customer was unhappy with the outcome and they canceled the project in favor of asking some other artist to do the job. To me, that meant, first I had wasted my valuable time and effort, and second, that they had more time available to them than they first told me. I just won’t do that again. If you want my services, give me the time I need to complete the job.

The artist must train not only his eye but also his soul.

— Wassily Kandinsky
Collage illustration of best friends
Collage illustration of best friends | Source

Final Thoughts

What are your thoughts on the issue of hiring an illustrator for a job? Do you have any phobias about them or problems with the industry? I’d love to hear your take on it.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      5 months ago from Fresno CA

      Cynthia Zirkwitz,

      I'm so glad you would consider hiring an illustrator for a book. I'm also happy you are using your friend's talent and compensating her for it. You will have more enjoyment from that wall hanging than if you bought it at some corporate chain store. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • techygran profile image

      Cynthia Zirkwitz 

      19 months ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      Denise, I agree with the others that you have provided a lot of information about the industry in this article, and your illustrations are beautiful.

      I have not thought about hiring an illustrator before, but I am currently in the process of commissioning an "art quilt" from a friend to hang on my livingroom wall. She does beautiful work. I have a cousin who is a textile artist/instructor in an art school, and I seem to be drawn to that medium more recently. I bought a hanging from another friend and we spent hours with youtubes mounting it and hanging it, another unknown art.

      If I ever write a book I will hire a professional to do the illustrations.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      20 months ago from Fresno CA

      Devika Primic,

      I'm so happy you like my work. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      20 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      This is amazing about your work. You are talented and an inspiration.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      22 months ago from Fresno CA

      Lawrence,

      It is so true, you do get what you pay for. I have found that you can buy an older version of Photoshop from eBay that will work fine with older computers (but not with newer ones). I have an old Adobe Creative Suite 5 on disc that has Photoshop, Illustrator, Premier Pro and about 10 more Adobe programs. Or when the time come to create your own cover, you could just subscribe to the Adobe Creative Cloud Photoshop for one month or two and then unsubscribe. You aren't really made to pay for a year unless you want to. That would make it more affordable. I think one month of Photoshop alone is only about $20 or $30. It is certainly more affordable than paying an illustrator $500 to $1000 for an original creation book cover. However, you must know that those of us who do this for a living are having to pay those prices on an ongoing basis. Just a thought. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      22 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Denise

      This was a very enlightening piece. I'm not in a position to hire an artist or illustrator for my work, but from what I've picked up from the 'Indie' community I'm involved with it's a case of 'ABSOLUTELY'

      We work hard on getting our writing 'just right' and making sure we get all the details right, then blow it on a cover that just isn't right for the book!

      So far I've used images that I've found on the internet, and that's been 'okay' for where I'm at right now, but part of my learning curve (as soon as I can afford to get the program) is I want to get either Publisher or Photoshop and some instruction on what I can do with them.

      Truth is, you get what you pay for with these things.

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      2 years ago from Gondwana Land

      Thank you Denise. I will keep you updated.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Rose Upshur,

      That is very sweet of you to say. I do strive to be an inspiration to others. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • profile image

      Rose Upshur 

      2 years ago

      I think what you do inspires a lot of people. When you do something special, you yourself become special. You are special!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Denise,

      I'm so happy you liked my videos of my work. It takes a lot of work to tape and edit those and very few people subscribe to my YouTube channel. Sometimes I wonder if it is worth my time to create those. But I like watching them. Thank you for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      John Hansen,

      It IS a shame Amazon has lost its friendly former attitude. I'm pretty disappointed with it. Thanks for the update about your book. I do hope the publishers accept it. Still, I haven't been able to get the story out of my head. I see so many pictures in my mind's eye for it. That makes it a memorable book that has real saleability. I'm glad you are using Lulu too. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Lori Colbo,

      Thank you so much for your response. I appreciate that you honor your friend and her art. You may ask her about your cover art anyway though, we artists love to be treated like a real business with the kind of awe you expressed. You may be surprised by her price because you are a friend. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      My daughter and I enjoyed watching the videos. You are a very talented artist and teacher. Thank you for your wisdom and insight.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      2 years ago from Gondwana Land

      Denise, thank you very much for the offer to negotiate the price of illustrating my book. I had been hopeful of a lucrative writing project to fund the illustrating but that fell through. I decided to send the poem/manuscript to a children’s book publisher who would, if accepted, have it illustrated. However, I don’t find out until late August if they accept it for publication. If not, I may get back to you.

      Funny you suggest Lulu to self-publish as that is where I published my poetry book due to the fact that Amazon will not pay royalties to an Australian bank account or PayPal. They would only pay by check and charge $8.00 US for processing and sending of each check. Hardly worth it if you only should one or two books per month.

      It is a shame Amazon are not children’s book friendly, or Australia friendly.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      2 years ago from United States

      This was very informative, a look into the life of an artist. I get that a little from writing but not to the degree. People are always asking me to write their biography (for free of course) and with one exception I always say no. Mainly because I am not gifted in biographical writing. I absolutely hate it. I promised a friend on her deathbed I would write the story of her and her husband's love story. She just passed and her husband is not ready yet to give his side.

      Make greeting card and love the growth in my creativity and skill and hope one day to be good enough to sell them, but I would love to draw and paint. You are quite amazing.I have a dear friend who is a children's book illustrator and she blows me away. People have said why don't you have her do your book cover. I wouldn't dream of asking without paying. I can't afford her so I am doing my own with stock images. As to your parting question, I would hire someone if I had the money but I would have to be very certain of their work. I would hire my friend in a heartbeat if I had the money.

      I like that you don't do rush jobs. That's not fair to you, so good for you for not compromising on that. I hate deadlines of any kind. That can be a good or a bad thing. Keep on doing what you love the way you want to do it. Thank you for sharing your work and perspectives.

      As to your question

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Mary Norton,

      I'm overjoyed that you like my collages so much. It takes weeks to complete one because of all the pieces but I find it challenging and fun. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Mary,

      I think you are right that artists and writers suffer the same challenges. It is indeed a global market and there are probably between 11 and 20 artists wanting the job for every illustration job available. So it is very competitive. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      John Hansen,

      I totally get it. I think it is one of the reasons I love this writing community so much. You writers are artists and you understand the challenges as much as I do. About your book, I would love to negotiate and even consider doing fewer illustrations for much less. I think I gave you a sort of standard quote thinking if someone is really serious they will continue the dialog. As for sales, self-publishing is very difficult as marketing is totally up to us. And really, what do we know about marketing? So I have been fighting with my children's book self-publishing platform. I wanted my illustrations to be full double-page bleed (all the way to the edge of the page and no margins) but Amazon refuses to carry it on their platform unless I create gutters and margins. That would destroy the images altogether. They don't get children's books. So although I've published the book, it is only available on Lulu and not on Amazon, where everyone shops. I'm a little depressed about that but I've sold a dozen or so books. Not much but it's only been out 3 months. Perhaps you can try Lulu. Thanks for being my friend and commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 years ago from Fresno CA

      Chitrangada Sharan,

      Thank you so much for your affirmation. It has been quite a journey for me but I still love art and plan of continuing until I can no longer live my fingers to the work. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have most of your collages etched in my mind. I find them really excellent. The way you lay out the paper makes for a very interesting design.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      2 years ago from Brazil

      Because it is now a global market, earning what we are worth can be difficult. This goes for many fields, including writing, art, and many more I suspect.

      As you say, you get what you pay for. Your work is brilliant and full of heart.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      2 years ago from Gondwana Land

      Denise, you know how much I value your work because I asked you for a quote to illustrate a children’s book. I know what you quoted was more than a fair price for the work involved but unfortunately was out of my budget. My only attempt at self-publishing a poetry collection was unsuccessful selling a total of five copies, so even though kids books may be more popular than poetry I am reluctant to invest much in the endeavour. I wouldn’t insult you by asking you to do it for less.

      I hate it when clients ask me to write a story or poem and then after maybe working on it for a week I show them the draft or final product and they either want to change almost everything and tell me virtually what to write (makes you wonder why they don’t write it themselves) or just say it’s not what they had in mind and refuse to pay...a no win situation. I know it would be as bad or worse for an artist.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      A nicely written and valuable article for the art lovers and also for those who want to make it a profession.

      Turning one’s hobby into a profession and earn money from it, is the right thing to do. And, there is nothing wrong in taking specialised training for the same.

      I agree with the points you make here.

      Loved your paintings and portraits. You are a talented artist. Keep up the good work.

      Thanks for sharing this excellent and informative article!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://corp.maven.io/privacy-policy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)