There is a really problematic culture of artists underpricing their commissions online - though I’m sure this practice extends towards the ‘real world’. A fun fact before we start: the internet is actually part of the ‘real world’. If you don’t think that industry artists are also underpaid and undervalued, then I’m not sure what to say to you and you should probably quit reading while you’re ahead.
Pricing low in and of itself, isolated from the context of the kind of expectations that accompany low pricing for artwork, is not really problematic. What IS problematic, what MAKES it problematic is the fact that (as far as my experiences and the experiences of artists I know have made clear to me):
- People expect cheaply priced artwork to be the norm.
This raises all kinds of issues:
Because of this belief, it is then only reasonable that people tend to strongly believe that appropriately priced work - and I am talking about when an artist decides to price themselves according to a standard minimum wage, while also accounting for their time, effort & level of skill - is actually overpriced.
This lends credence to the very popular (and unfortunate) mindset that art is not a ‘real’ job. It is a real job. But you, as a client or a consumer, probably find it difficult to even entertain the notion it is a real job. Why? Because if you have ever bought artwork online or otherwise, you will have never paid for a piece as if it was the product of a ‘real’ job or service.
When worth and value in our society is tied so closely to money, how can you think art is a real job when what you pay does not even come close to approaching what you would pay others for a ‘real’ job, a ‘real’ skill, service, product (all of which art is?) You are even afforded a choice to continue to believe that art is not a real job. There might be one artist charging appropriately for their work, but hundreds of others aren’t. I doubt one in a sea of many is enough to convince you of the worth of art.
I feel artists charging so lowly for their work breeds an attitude of entitlement in clients. This manifests in the messages artists receive begging them to lower their prices, telling them their art isn’t worth x or y, showing shock at the extravagant amounts that artists ask for their work (‘extravagant’ often being ‘enough to buy one meal in return for six or seven hours of work’). It does not help that art is often marketed as ‘cheap’ therefore worth buying (‘you should commission this artist, their work is so cheap and affordable!’) versus the fact it is worth buying because it is beautiful, custom-made, one-of-a-kind, everything else that art is and can be.
It is absolutely demeaning and almost humiliating to be at the whims of clients who ask for a thousand changes to their commission, who are picky, fussy, disrespectful, and who are trying their utmost to get their money’s worth, when they have paid you $10. $10 for work that is already going to take you a good 3 or 4 hours, and then you have to spend MORE time on top of that dealing with their difficulties. The worst part is that most artists expect this. That this is the kind of client you must cater to when you’re working for $2 an hour (if you’re lucky). I know artists are terrified of raising prices because they fear they will lose clients, but are the literal scrooges of people the kind of client base you want to build?
“Finally, don’t work for cheap people. It is widely agreed among artists that the majority of the time, the less a client pays, the less they respect you and the more they will dick you around. If somebody thinks that image, which I’d guess to be at least an hour or two’s work, isn’t worth paying the measley sum of $7, which is like, what, the price of a bowl of soup and a coffee at a cafe? They don’t value your work and are not worth working for.”
Then there are absolute illogicalities that arise in pricing due to the pressure of keeping prices low. Why on Earth, for example, is it that almost every single artist will charge less than double the amount for a piece that involves more than one character? Almost every artist I know has confessed that it is more difficult to draw two characters interacting in the same image than it would be for them to draw two entirely separate, singular characters in different images. And yet everyone charges 50% of the base price for an added character. How does that make sense?! It doesn’t. Think about it. I think this example speaks a lot about how art is valued (the fact that it isn’t).
The lack of appropriate monetary value assigned to art also makes it broadly valueless in other areas. There is this uncomfortable attitude that art is not a real job, that anyone can do it, that it is wrong for artists to profit off their own work, that it is wrong for artists to own their own work. Do you think I am being melodramatic?
This kind of unsettling, depressing culture is played out on Tumblr almost every day - artwork that is reposted, edited, unsourced. The deletion of artist comments because what we say about our own work doesn’t matter. We don’t matter. Art is only of value when it is divorced from its creator.
I don’t think people think a lot, or much, or at all about the process of creating artwork. Maybe if they did they would understand that there was a PERSON who poured some of their time, effort, and skill into it. I think people have some kind of disconnect between artwork/artist, as if artwork is produced separately from the artist. This is just a theory, but since I struggle to understand why some people are so adamantly against paying more than $20 for a piece of quality work, this is the best explanation I can come up with. I can understand, because if people think that art is separate from the artist, why bother paying the artist or giving credit to them? If they exist as separate entities, why even care?
I’m not suggesting that there are any quick-fixes to these kinds of problems. There isn’t. I’m not encouraging artists to raise their prices or people to pay more. Though both those things would be very nice, I don’t feel it really addresses the underlying issues. What came first, underpriced art or undervaluing art? Who knows.
I think people are in need of an attitude adjustment, more than anything. I think I would be far more comfortable with artists charging lower prices if people actually acted in a way where they realise that it is a privilege and not a right. That it is a privilege to be able to buy art, which is a LUXURY - it is not a right afforded to you. You do not have permission to act like a spoilt child because you cannot afford someone’s work. You do not have any right to assign arbitrary values to someone’s art according to your own ludicrous attitudes to the worth of art.
I would also be much more comfortable if I knew that all artists were also acutely aware of the culture of underpricing, especially so that they know that they do not have to put up with the poor attitudes that often accompany clients that pursue cheaply-advertised artwork. If these two things worked in tandem, I am pretty sure that everyone would have an easier time in regards to commissions.
Lots of artists have talked about art pricing, and I suggest these for further reading (especially as they complement & provide further understanding about the issues I’ve raised here):
- Art, Mass Production, and You
- Why is Undercharging a Bad Idea?
- Commissions, Pricing and Why It’s Unfair
- Viivus explains why she charges what she does for her commissions
And since I feel a lot of my gripes with underpriced artwork (and what artists have to put up with as a result of that) can be alleviated by manners, here are some articles on commission etiquette:
Bleach fabric drawings. To Do It Yourself you just need: - bleach - pencil with a an eraser - fabric
➡Don’t miss our new craft finds, inspirations & DIY ideas! Let’s crafthunt together!
this. is. legit!
Though Dual Destinies is currently slated only for a digital release, Capcom’s Chris Svensson has acknowledged that the door isn’t fully closed on a physical one. Posting in the Capcom-Unity forums, Sven had this to say:
In the days after we announced AA5 for the West being digital only, and the requests of others for a physical release, we mobilized our US team to put together possible options that may address the concerns.
As a part of that process, Eshiro-san and I have met mulitple times, including the morning where he gave the interview where he made the statement above. I was not quite ready to open the possibility to folks until we had a few more ducks in a row but Eshiro suggested he mention the potential in an an interview he was having that afternoon.
So, if you’d like to be heard, you can post on this thread (I’ll leave it open), PM me on Capcom-Unity or hit up my twitter (@chrissvensson) as many folks already have. I need some additional ammo and these requests fit that need.
If things go well and demand is there, in a few weeks I may be able to present an option that puts the ball back in the fans’ court (in “tennis” terms, not “of law” terms). I want to stress the word “may” so as to not misrepresent the situation or promise anything. We are trying. Again, timing and pricing would be at a disadvantage to the digital option as an assumption you should make.
On the AAI2 front, Eshiro is very much a man who could push make that happen so I’m glad who whoever asked that question, did so, but I’ve got nothing more I can add there. I feel the point above is valid.
Again, it’s worth stressing that this is no guarantee of a physical release, even if there’s fan demand - however, the fact that Sven has provided an official route to requesting it, as well as held ongoing discussions with Eshiro, is encouraging.
If you want to show your support on Capcom-Unity, you can do so by posting in the topic here; otherwise, hit him up on Twitter and keep spreading the word. Who knows what might happen?
Pro Tip - # 6
When you’re looking into buying a sewing machine, you may think you need to buy the newest, most expensive machine with as many features as possible. However, unless you have years of experience, you may be looking at more machine than you need. If you’re just a beginning sewer or costumer, consider buying a simple machine with just a few functions to keep from being overwhelmed too quickly. Also, check thrift stores, close-out centers, or even see if a friend or family member that used to sew has a machine that they no longer want. In that case, you can save some money and it’s a win-win!
Do we really have to take this?
A friend of mine was moving from her apartment. She asked me to look after some of her things. I agreed and not too long after she asked if her daughter Frances can come pick it up. I agreed and she came over with her boyfriend, who was also the father of her baby. I helped them carry the stuff down to the car, and during the whole visit exchanged possibly 10 words.
Next day I received these texts. I had to created a fiancee I didn’t really have in order for him to stop.
I never told my friend what her daughter’s boyfriend did. Now they are expecting a second child, so as you all see, there was no break up.
So Do we women really have to take this kind of attitude?
Do we have to invent things and people in order to be left alone.
I don’t want to have my titties banged.
I am not an easy lay.
I don’t deserve this.
Why do I go from being called “cute” “smart” and “pretty” in the beginning of the conversation, to “fatty” “bitch” and “ugly” in the end?
Reblog if you are against sexual harassment.
I really like the phone accessory from Think Geek. It looks more like ‘classic’ radio. I know I’ve dealt with that 2 prong radio plug before and I left my own and just stick it inside the pouch whenever I use it. For colored contacts - ciba vision
Ah, you know somehow it all seems really reassuring to get advice from you one way or the other :’D
Thank you, though! A friend of mine suggested PinkyParadise contacts but I’ll look into the ones you suggested too!
Heh… Not a problem. :) I’m always glad to lend a hand, and I know just hearing a bit of encouragement can do the trick to put you on sure footing.
Ciba Vision is a brand I’ve used previously, you can easily order them through your eye doctor (which means you can go to the office and try them on to see what they look like for yourself), and their colored contacts work really on dark eyes, especially on individuals of color. They work much better than the Acuvue 2 Colors, which usually get really poor ratings (one of the African American nurses at my eye doctor was extremely helpful when I was looking at them, and this is the same advice she gave to me). I know, in the past, I’ve had problems finding colored contacts, and blues are very hard indeed. They have a light (icy) blue and a dark (sapphire) blue. One is a daily/disposable contact and the other is a monthly, but I cannot at the moment remember which is which (I think the lighter one was the daily, but don’t quote me). Even with the disposable ones, if you take good care of them (look into peroxide cleaning kits) You can keep them for about a month or so safely, possibly longer. Both colors I liked for very different reasons and the feel of both wasn’t terribly different from my normal contacts (Acuvue Oasis).
On my eyes, when I tried them on, the darker blue was rather subtle and natural looking while the lighter blue was very bright and noticible, working better for those more stricking, piercing gaze without being too overpowering or unnatural. For the character I was looking into them for (my Big Boss costume) I wanted to go with the lighter blue because he’s said to have a ‘sharp’ and ‘clear’ gaze. I probably would suggest the darker blue for you, since you’re going for a more natural look. For my Sgt. Calhoun, BTAS Robin, and some of the other blue-eyed characters I have in mind, I would possibly look at the darker blue contacts; I don’t want to look like a demon possessed, through that may yet work for Calhoun.
In either case, their contacts are super comfortable, and I highly recommend them. Not to mention they come in a huge variety of colors. I know I used to wear their gold, grey and amethyst ones in high school for cosplay a lot and I really enjoyed them.