Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Funny for the day

Email to well respected illustrator I happen to know well. Paraphrasing:

Dear Artist,
15 color paintings, multiple figures
30 days
Response (also paraphrasing):


Kyle T. Webster said...

Thanks, Irene. That did, indeed, give me a good laugh!

Irene Gallo said...

Sadly, it's a cool project.

Even sadder: Someone will take it on, making it seem like a reasonable request.

Jim Di Bartolo said...

Well, thank you for being an Art Director who acknowledges that this is an UNreasonable request. I mean, it CAN be done, but why dump a giant job on someone's head when even a couple more weeks could have made it at least SOMEwhat more possible. Yikes.

Anonymous said...

Where's Bob Ross when you need him?

Neil said...

I could do it, but the paintings wouldn't be very good. Does that matter?

; )

CGriffin said...

Well, shoot, doesn't everyone know art springs, fully formed, from our foreheads? Like the birth of a god? Silly, silly...

ces said...

That's $500 a painting.

I would think that a "well respected illustrator" would want MUCH MORE (and be worth MUCH MORE) than that!

Chris Buzelli said...

This is all too common, especially recently. I'd like to send that client the Gary Taxali finger - check it out. http://www.drawger.com/taxman/?section=articles&article_id=7693

Unknown said...

What can you do but chuckle a bit then feel a little sad because $7,500 would be nice right about now. Seeing things like this coming from you is why we respect you so much Irene. Thanks for the laugh.

Nicole Cardiff said...

Jesus. Yeah, *someone* will take it, but... all I can think of is "Good, fast, cheap: pick two."

Irene Gallo said...

Hi Eli,

7,500.00 is nothing to sneeze at, for sure. And there are many good reasons to take a on a project that isn’t ideal. But something has to make this fair.

I’m assuming these guys are clueless, not ruthless. But simple math says that this is a painting every two days, including weekends. It would be hard to do sketches (AND get approvals on them) in that time frame, never mind collect reference, finalize drawings, and finish a painting.

This is setting someone up for a world of hurt. If that’s the case, then they should be paid more than 500.00per for the pleasure. Or, if the company is that strapped for cash, then they should let the artist take their time and do a project they can be proud of. It could be a nice vehicle for someone starting out, but it shouldn’t come under these conditions.

mike said...

that really is hilarious, and sad. thanks for posting irene.
thanks for being such an advocate for artists, btw. there needs to be more ad's like you out there.

C.R. MacTernan said...

This is extremely eye opening. Thank you for sharing this. When you hear about well known artists having similar problems it makes you feel not so alone.

Anonymous said...

Re: the Taxali post at Drawger. Important issue, but the message is strident and juvenile. That mucks things up. Giving the finger to those that hire us? Really?

Eric Braddock said...

For someone like me who hasn't been out of school for more than a year, a project like that with that kind of pay is something to drool over. However yes, the sketch approvals and references wouldn't leave much time for each finish...buuuut it is still tempting. haha... makes me want to know more about the project.

Craig Elliott said...

This reminds me of a guy I saw at a recent convention that had a sign that read:

Will draw ANYTHING - $5

oh dear.

Unknown said...

Sadly my first thought was - a painting every 2 days - no sleep for a month - it could be done... I expect there will be plenty of people, like me, desperate to crack it in this business who will put their hand up in a heartbeat.

It creates a huge dilemma of course: sets disastrous precedents and makes it even harder for fellow illustrators to ask for what they are worth.

Allen Douglas said...

You think that's funny? I've seen (from an unidentified textbook company) 16 illustrations in 2 1/2 weeks for $3,200... all with multiple repeating characters wearing historically accurate clothing. Now that one really made me laugh.

Tristan Elwell said...


What will probably happen is that they'll find someone who'll SAY they can do it, and end up with substandard work, a seriously blown deadline, or both. Which hopefully will be a learning experience, but more likely will just sour them on using illustration at all in the future.


Irene Gallo said...

"...but more likely will just sour them on using illustration at all in the future."

Excellent point, Tristan.

mike said...

ditto what tristan said, and unfortunately that is most likely the reason that most ad's nowadays don't use as much illustration.

but what can illustrators and artists do to combat this type of thing? is it a need for better education and encouragement of more collaboration between art school majors to help this trend to stop?
i mean, how do we combat this trend?
i don't know...

Frame Theory said...

Yo let ME, get that gig. Joking of course. But in my view at the moment, cash like that can solve a lot of my problems. I'm no stranger to hard work and insufficient pay. People will do anything to survive.

Anonymous said...

From the Well Respected Artist...

They came back with a better proposal: 10 illustrations and 10g's. Hmmm, lessee....that makes it 3 days a painting, for all sketches, approvals, painting time, photography time, ship time. Not possible...unless one is supplying very loose pieces from their head.

I know this sounds intriguing to all of the new artists out there, but this is a job where no one can win, not even the client. And on top of that, they'll take 90 days to pay.

But someone may take it, and just blow the deadline. Then illustrators everywhere will lose out because, yet again, another client will use stock art the next time.

Truly: good, cheap, or quick....pick two.

Patrick j Jones said...

Ditto Irene: take it on and they'll think it a reasonable request.
As a young guy working back in the last recession I took on a desperate overnight commission of six abstract paintings for an ad agency ( I can still feel the sickening sleep depravation ). I hung around my agent's studio the next morning certain there would be changes to do and she came back with six further commissions! Same deadline! Lord!


Kurt Ankeny-Beauchamp said...

I did something pretty similar for my first paid gig. Ooo, I was so excited. 7 full color illustrations, multiple figures, 14 days to do it in. I was working in a cartoony style, pencil sketches, ink lines and computer colors. The AD changed her mind every two days about some piece.

Did I mention this was for a regional interest magazine, a brand-new regional interest magazine?

My pay for the 14 day, 7 illustration, multiple-figures-in-each-one gig? $750.

Kinda soured me on magazine illustration, lemme tell ya. My own damn fault for taking it in the first place, though...

Anonymous said...

This is fun...here's another one I had to turn down years ago, but ended up helping the client find a budget:

American History Mag: we need a cover (possibly), a full page portrait, 2 half pages, a double page battle scene, and a map...it's about the US Calvary fighting Native Americans in a famous battle. We have $1200. and 6 weeks.

First time I ever chuckled to a potential client. But I told her politely that I would chew that much up in just research time within the first 3 days. (Of course they wanted everything to be accurate, too.)

We actually laughed about it together and then worked out a way for her to get most of it accomplished by working with a friend of mine. This led to a long term relationship between the magazine & my artist buddy who needed the work. And they eventually raised their prices for him.

ces said...

Now I'm REALLY curious who the "well respected artist" is!

This is the most participation I've seen here in a long time.

Dave Seeley said...

Its only natural that young-and-hungry will take the crazy ones... they don't know they're crazy until they learn the hard way. There have also been plenty of young-and-hungry that have made their first marks that way. Again crazy...to be angry at them.

I decided NOT to talk to students about the dollars and SENSE...part of the biz...because if they really had a sense of it, they wouldn't jump in... and they needed to. Say you get 3k per jacket illo... and you can max your schedule with assignments (you can't) for the 50 weeks that you're not on vacation. It takes me about 3 weeks per-minimum including marketing, contract, sketch, ref, crank and repro.. 50 weeks/2.5 x 3K = 60K (max schedule in publishing work). My overhead including studio, materials, equipment, and advertising is at least 20K with no major new equip. Ask a grown-up with a family and health insurance if they can do it on 40K. Some artists are faster... Some live with their parents. Plug in your numbers and see how you do...

Then take the crazy jobs, and watch what it does to the math...

Patrick j Jones said...

Nice dose of reality, Dave.

I reckon every would be illustrator out there that sees this business as a get-rich-quick-scheme just hit the floor, and those with no sense just cried, whoo hoo, 40K!

You have to have the love for it, rain or shine.

By the way, it was great meeting you at IlluXCon...

Good luck,


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