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As a freelancer most of your business takes place online, which makes it really easy
for people to rip you off. How many times have we seen the following scenario's:

1- Someone offers a descent payment for your artwork but wants you to do an art-test first.
after the art-test you're being told you're not good enough. Later you find out that other people
got to do different art-test topics and also weren't good enough. The client clearly ripped people off to get free artwork.

2- Someone offers good money for your artwork. The sketch gets approved so you continue working. Right when it's done the total image suddenly becomes a great disappointment and the client ends up not paying you.

These were just 2 examples of situations that happen a lot to freelancers. There are many more like it.

:bulletblue: How to detect if a client is a bit fishy...
Does their email address look professional? Some legit people may use their Gmail address, with their real name or nickname, those are questionable. But things that look like Richclient@weirdwebsitetitlethatdoesn' cannot be right.
If they provide a website or a company name, google it first! If this person is a scammer he or she might have used the same company name before on other websites.
How is this person's writing? Is this person being polite?

:bulletblue: Work with pre-payment!
Don't spend a single second n a sketch before you've received a pre-payment, This should be between 30-50% of the total sum. This way, if the person ends up scamming you after all, you don't walk away empty handed.
There are a few company's you can trust enough to wait for full payment at the end. these are usually big professional company's with a history of hiring artists. 

:bulletblue: Work with a contract to be sure! contracts can always be broken but at least it will give you some useful information. the following should be placed int he contract:

:bulletorange: Yours and the clients full name, contact details and address. 
:bulletorange: Payment terms. Saying how much the image will cost, and how much % will be pre-payment. Make a statement on the following as well:
When the client wants to terminate the image after prepayment and sketch, you keep the prepayment. When the client wants to terminate the image after it's done, the client is obligated to still pay you in full. When you the artist (you) want to terminate the contract after prepayment, with or without sketch, you have to refund the money. When the artist wants to terminate the contract after prepayment and delivery of the sketch, the artist gets to keep the money and has to send full resolution of the sketch. 
(This will protect both you and your client in a satisfactory way.) 
:bulletorange: Dates. Make terms on when you will deliver the sketch and the finished artwork.
:bulletorange: After approval of the final image (with watermark) the client has to transfer the rest of the payment, once received you are obligated ot send the client the full resolution piece without watermark.
:bulletorange: copyrights. Does the client get the rights to alter the image? To distribute it into infinity? To sell it to a 3rd party? do you still want to keep rights to showcase it in your portfolio. Would you like to be credited on every printed or digitally shown image? All terms you can put in there for your client to agree on or not. 

:bulletblue: Don't make art-test, unless for a big game company. Card games, book-covers, indie games, freelance illustration or concept art gigs.. non of that should require an art test! If your portfolio is good enough, the client should be convinced about your capabilities. Big game company's get to deal with a lot of applications, often with a bunch of people to choose from. This will often end of by having people do art-tests so they can pick 1 out of the possible group, that's okay.

:bulletblue: Royalties, promises of money after a Kickstarter or publishing. Those are risks. It's up to you to accept them or not. I've seen a lot of people ending up working for nothing. Yes 1 friend of mine has become pretty rich working for an indie developer turned out successful. So the rare chance exist... but ... will you risk it?

Let me know if there is anything in here I didn't cover or if you got questions :D

All my other journals:
The 5 bullshit myths of concept art.Concept art is getting bigger and bigger. More people know what it is nowadays, it gets shown in the media more often and more books get released. This automatically results into more people wanting to become concept artists. So many artschools are now creating special courses all towards game art or concept art. (Game art can also include UI design, 3D modeling etc.).
Yet it is a fairly new thing to most people and the idea of "becoming a concept artist" has grown rapidly over such a short time that a lot of people who are new to it seem to get a lot of misguide info. I am going to try to list this misguided info and direct you to the correct info.
(Again I would always advise you to do your own research and form your own knowledge and not just simply agree with what you read online, not from anyone, not from me. Even though i'm right ;) .. ofcourse. :P *wink *wink )
  Are you on the right track? + Fuck Talent!Am I on the right track?
This is a thing people often wonder and think it's a complicated to find out, but it is actually pretty simple. It's a different question you need to ask yourself based on different topics.
As for: Fuck talent! You'll find it if you scroll down :P
:bulletblue: Topic 1: Am I on the right track to becoming a better artist?
Does your work from today, look closer to your initial goal than your work from last week? (this needs to be both in skill and idea.)
:bulletgreen: Good skills: Honing your technique, training you muscle memory, being more knowledgeable about your tools and art rules. With art rules I mean: Perspective, form, light, texture, composition.
:bulletgreen: Good ideas: Storytelling, characteristics, charm, emotion and design. Not just making things look polished but also convey something more, something that brings it to life and speaks to pe
How to win Art-contests! (+ Caldyra winners!)Let me start by saying how incredibly happy I am with all these amazing and inspiring entries! This definitely calls for doing another such contest soon!
Most of you have really tried their best and it shows! I couldn't have asked for better or more, choosing the winners among these was already aching my brains.
This journal will show the winners and the special mentions but also a bit about how to higher your changes on winning contests (maybe good for the next one).
This was my contest for those interested:

How to win contests?!
The change on winning a contest always gets smaller based on the amount of people joining in, however this doesn't mean that your work will be diminished by the numbers.
Here is a list of tips and tricks to make sure that your work gets into the top 10 !
:bulletblue: Triple read the contest's description. Make sure you got every detail right.
In this case it was pretty important that the Skyworm loo
A big black hole called: Procrastination.Procrastination is an infinite cycle that becomes bigger and bigger the longer it's there and the time wasted being sucked into it is a dark matter of nothing.
:P hahah I figured this was the most dramatic way to put it, but yeah, it's real and it sucks.
For those who don't know what it means: Procrastination is the practice of carrying out less urgent tasks in preference to more urgent ones, or doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, and thus putting off impending tasks to a later time, sometimes to the "last minute" before the deadline.
We all suffer from procrastination. It is pretty innocent when you have it with household chores or packing your suitcase before you go on a holiday. 
But it becomes a serious problem when you do it with the important things in your life. I take it you're an artist if you're reading this and the biggest aim of being an artist is to be an even better one.
As shown in previous journals there are many
What to do as an artist in training.There are many ways to Rome they say. But I meet a lot of aspiring artists lost and asking me for guidance
and this is what I tell them.
(This is a revisited version of an old journal with new and updated guidelines/info)
Find out what you really want to do with art, there are so many different professions or hobbies to take on.
Graphic designer, Concept artist (mobile and high end), Illustrator of book covers or for card games and so much more.
Once you can make your pick, or at least pick 1 or 2 you must do research on the most valued artwork from that niece. 
Find out what makes the best artist of your favorite field the best artist. What do they paint? How do they paint it? With knowing this you can find out about the things you need to study.

The most basic study aims are the following:

:bulletblue: Lighting.
What forms of light art there? And how does it influence things?
The book Color and Light by James Gurney will
Where to get started before you can apply for workThere is no such thing as suddenly knowing when you are ready to turn your
passion into your profession. But there is a way of measuring your chances on being
able to get work and eventually sustain a living from it.
Accepting commissions or freelance for low payment won't help you. You can think any penny counts, but it will lower the worth of your work and damage the market.
:bulletblue: How to measure that you are ready?
You probably have high goals, but they are usually not your first step. You must search out the clients who can be that first step. Often found in the card game industry, book cover illustrations and smaller game company's. 
Look at the artwork shown by a company such as the card game company: Fantasy Flight games. Compare your skills with the average of their artworks. If it matches yours, you will have a chance. However, keep in mind that those artworks had been done in a limited timeframe, usually within 12 hour
This is why you (and your art) get ignored.People often get the sense of being ignored in the art-scene, especially here online. We all try so hard to get our foot in the door, it's like trying to stuff yourself in an overfull bus like a sardine in a can.
Sometimes you just want to socialize with other artists you admire and you seem to be talking into a brick wall or perhaps you've send your portfolio to a company over a dozen times and still don't even seem to get the smallest response or feedback. I will try and tell you WHY you get ignored and HOW you can get noticed instead.
I will go through the following cases of being ignored:
:bulletgreen: Your comment.
:bulletgreen: Your art.
:bulletgreen: Your Portfolio.
:bulletyellow: Do know, that even though being ignored feels very personal it's hardly ever personal at all! 
:bulletblue: Your comment(s) gets ignored.
It happens ever so often. You notice an artwork or a discussion and you weigh in with your opinion or admiration, perhaps even some feedback? T
The problematic behavior of online artists.There is a bunch of things online artist do terribly wrong on a regular basis. Some of it might be directly aimed to you and some might be things you from others. 
:bulletblue: Way too little time spend on painting/practice.
:bulletblue: People making nit pick pointers.
:bulletblue: The extreme fuzz about labels and methods.
:bulletblue: Witch-hunting/ talking smack.
However I'd like to start with a totally opposite note:
This year I've also experienced great support from the art community for which I'm dearly grateful for.
:icontituslunter: got me an amazing birthday gift(video), made by him and fellow awesome artists:
And the support I've had this past week with the event of my sisters death has been incredibly helpful. (Thank you for all the donations, there are no more worries about money anymore thanks to you awesome people!)

:bulletred: (most of) You seem to spend way to li
Don't let the crap of the internet brainwash you.warning: This journal is my opinion and my view on things. I support open-mindedness and the possibility of anything.
The internet is full of it: People with strong opinions. Usually about 'how to do things' and 'how to absolutely not do things'.
Ask any given person this question: What is good art?
They will all give you a different answer and some of those answers are waaaay to specific for their own good.
Meaning they have a very specific view on what is good and see other work that does not meet up those qualifications as: bad, fake or cheating.
It is natural to have a preference toward certain topics or techniques when making art, but it's wrong to push those ideas upon others as a set of rules. (kinda like forcing someone into a religion)
Art should be a free medium for people to express themselves, even if this means their work goes against your standards or deems unpleasant for your taste.
(Child pornography, animal cruelty etc not included, there are limits to

The stuff that artists go through.There are so many pro's and con as to being an artist, professional or as a hobby. 
It feels nice to be able to express yourself through something you make and when that something turns out to be looking good we get this sense of accomplishment. 
Most of the time though there are bad feelings mixed with the good ones.
:bulletblue: Not being understood. Those moments where your friends or family does not understand that you have to desire to be alone and work on your art. Those copious amounts of hours you spend working and they wonder why you wouldn't rather be outside relaxing in the sun or hang out with your friends.
The only people who will ever fully understand this are other artists or simply very understandable people. It's important they they will eventually understand so there wont be any hurt feelings. Try to explain ti as calmly and rational as you can, perhaps with using examples in terms they would understand.

  Overcome your unfair obstacles.We all have certain obstacles that gives us the feeling of: 'This is so unfair!.'
To me it's one of the most annoying feelings in the world because in general we don't really know how to deal with it. One little part of us says: 'Don't whine about it, you are just being jealous.' the other part of you tells you: 'If I didn't have this obstacle or disability I would rule the world!!'
So you bounce around anger, sadness, hopelessness and envy. 
If you were just sad about something or simply angry it would be a lot easier to deal with, you cry or you just vent a bit towards a friend. 
But how to deal with he feeling of unfairness? 

:bulletblue: There are many things that can form this unfair obstacle for you.
Physical obstacles such as: MS, Lyme disease, Arthritis, Color blindness, missing fingers?
Mental obstacles such as: Depression, being a procrastinator (yes I'm naming it because it's a mental blockade that keeps you fro
Fast lane to becoming a better artist.I often get this very question: How did you get this good this fast?

Now as I consider myself not being as good as people tell me, even struggling quite often with being an artist in general. 
I do know how to get better and how to reach it fast. I'm still growing as I go and it's the main thing that keeps me going.
You need to get into the right mindset and the rest will follow. With the rest I mean:
1. Willpower.
2. Endurance.
3. Positive energy.
4. The NEED to draw.
:bulletblue: Seeing growth in your work gives you the courage to work harder. You know that feeling when you're just about done with an image
and feel like this image is better than your last one, that great feeling. Use it!
:bulletblue: Do studies! Lots of them!! Make film shot studies, live object studies, master-painting studies. They will teach you a lot about composition, lighting, colors, shapes storytelling etc. 
You will hardly notice that you are learning thing
Why it's so important to unite as artists.We are with many though yet we are with few. We're all divided over little subgroups such as, fantasy illustrators, concept artists, comic book pencilers, photomanipers, techartists, anime drawers, realism sketchers etc. You might even find your place at multiple sections.
I found that the biggest united groups on Deviant Art are mostly evolved around fan art, such as Sonic, or My little pony. 
Observations aside, I think the good thing about those groups is that they serve for companionship. Being an artist all by yourself with no one to share/talk about/discuss your work with can feel rather lonely. And that lonely feeling is not encouraging at all. Most of us keep a lot of things taboo as well, like techniques or rates. If we were more openly with these the changes of being underpaid or missing out on a job because someone else does it for hardly any money at all will grow slimmer. People should know what they are worth and not be afraid to ask for it.
When I joined Deviant Art
Are you being honest with yourself?As part of becoming good at something you need to be able to reflect upon yourself. Judge your own abilities and work and consider the possibility that what ever you have been doing it wrong all along. Or perhaps you're actually being to hard on yourself and you're better than your conscious is telling you. (This is bad too because it leads to insecurities.)

Signs that you might overestimate your current skills.
Do you often feel these things when you look upon work from good artists?:
I can totally do this too.
This is not so hard, I can do this faster.
My work is way more interesting.
It's not fair that this person gets way more attention than I do.
Why am I not being recognized for my skills.
This other technique is cheating! (photo-bashing, using reference, filters, effects etc)
I don't need to draw and learn all day to become this good.
I spend 2 hours on a painting, Masterpiece!!
Signs that you might underestimate your skills.
Do you ofte
When someone brings your art down...Putting our art out there makes us very vulnerable, especially when you've made something close to your heart. Perhaps something of your own fantasy, a story, a fan fiction your passionate about?
As much as most of us really want to improve, we also simply want to make art because we love it and when we share it there is a slight hope there is someone out there who will love it too.
There are all kinds of ways other people can bring you down by saying something about your art, or by doing nothing at all! Perhaps YOU are even part of making someone feel down and you're not realizing it!

:bulletblue: The harsh critique.
This person might want to help you or simply likes to bring you down. In either case this person will write in length about your lack of technique, uniqueness and/or skill. 
:bulletred: Respond option: Thanks but no thanks! Tell this person you appreciate the time spend on their post, but you rather hear constructive c
How to deal with or get feedback.Getting feedback or critiques may be hard for people.
Some people want it really bad but can't seem to get it, at least not from the people he/she is hoping for.
And other get it all the time but feel a little attacked or bullied by it.
Pretty much anyone with eyes and some intelligence is able to spot mistakes or irregularities in someone's work. This person doesn't have to be more skilled than you. 
However, this person... might be wrong.... 
:bulletpurple: How do you judge a critique?
You initially made your artwork according to the knowledge you currently have. Leaving room for mistakes in the elements you're not trained or knowledgeable in. Or perhaps you think you know something and you are not aware that it's wrong.
When someone gives you feedback, even though it might feel incorrect. Take a little time to do some extra research on the matter. 
:bulletblue: You can ask others if they agree with someone's feedback.
:bulletblue: You can search online (with anat
So tired of not achieving what you want?So tired of not achieving what you want?

Everyone has something they really want dearly, a career, to have a certain loved one, to be able to make certain things...
The most common one among us artist are:
- I want to be able to draw better
- I want to be able to draw like "this"person.
- I want to earn money with my drawing.
- I want to be able to draw what I imagine in my head.
- I want more people to appreciate my art.
- I want more feedback from artists I admire.
- I want more..
- I want better....
All this wanting.. dreaming of... hoping for.
How about doing it!! With these sort of "wants", it's a matter of DOING IT!
How? You ask?
There are many ways, but the usual and only answers to those desires are: 
- Spend the most time you have on drawing/painting.
- Go and ask people for help, it is okay to do so!
- Look at that amazing artwork and try and figure out how this person made it, perhaps he/she will tell you? Perhaps this person has made a video or tutoria
Avoid getting ripped off by a client.As a freelancer most of your business takes place online, which makes it really easy
for people to rip you off. How many times have we seen the following scenario's:
1- Someone offers a descent payment for your artwork but wants you to do an art-test first.
after the art-test you're being told you're not good enough. Later you find out that other people
got to do different art-test topics and also weren't good enough. The client clearly ripped people off to get free artwork.
2- Someone offers good money for your artwork. The sketch gets approved so you continue working. Right when it's done the total image suddenly becomes a great disappointment and the client ends up not paying you.
These were just 2 examples of situations that happen a lot to freelancers. There are many more like it.
:bulletblue: How to detect if a client is a bit fishy...
Does their email address look professional? Some legit people may use their Gmail address, with their real name or nickname, those are questionabl

The emotional shield that prevents hurt.Being an artist = Being sensitive.
We all know it. Making something and then showing it out there makes you very vulnerable, emotionally.
What if people think it's shit? What if they think it's weird... what will they think? Will that reflect on how they think of me as a person?
I know what some of you are thinking right now... 'You should care less about what people think of you or you art.'
In a sense you are right.. than again, you SHOULD care what people think of you and your art! They are your market and potential clients.
It's easier when you're already doing your dream job and couldn't care less for other potential directions... but most of us will always stay interested in new opportunities.
They= Everyone who see your personality and/or artwork.

Being an artist = Being lonely.
Artists of a certain type tent to stick together. Industry veterans seems to ignore the public eye and the internet fully. Some artists in the making clut
Being a miserable artist = being a bad artist.I recently felt it being one of the most important things, not just for an artist; being happy with what you do. No one wants to get up every morning thinking.. shit .. another work day. Of course there can be days, maybe even a full week of that, but the majority of your time you should be feeling content and happy even.
With that lack of love and enthusiasm it is most likely reflected into your work.

Now it's not always your own fault that your work doesn't make you happy and doesn't feed your creative monster. But it can be in these cases.
You make your OWN workday miserable when:
:bulletblue: If you don't speak your mind and stand up for your opinion and values.
:bulletblue: If you're not open minded regarding feedback and new techniques.
:buletblue: If you don't aim for improvement. (though aiming for perfecting all the time can be stressful)
:bulletblue: when you allow yourself to work under stressful circumstances for too long.
These are
Timing fucking matters.Time does a lot of things, it makes you older, it gets you to places, it never stops going forward. However you control when and how you use it!
Everyone makes choices on a daily bases, most of them are actually done with your auto-pilot function out of habit.

Most people usually sit in the same spot on the couch, chooses what to wear based on previously made combinations and so on, unless they consciously become aware of their action and might decide it's time for a change. It can be a small thing that makes people aware of their options
You can count that pretty much every person out there works like this and YOU often depend on THEIR choices.
My point of this journal is saying: Use this in your advantage!
Time can be compared to a diet. Eating to much bad stuff will make you unhealthy and feel bad, while eating healthy things will keep you going and feel good. So time can either make you feel stuck in one place, maybe even going backwards (ageing already does that for you) or
Things I learned at: The Industry Workshops 2014Holy shit amazeballs... this past weekend....
But let me start of by shortly telling you what the industry workshops actually were.
(The artwork in this journal are from some of the lecturers.)
:bulletblue: What is: #IW_14?
The Industry workshops took place last weekend August 29 to 31 2014, at 2 venues both located at Hoxton Square, London United Kingdom.
It was organized and hosted by a group of industry professionals in the fields of concept art, matte painting and illustration in film, games and freelance.
Let me name the people that profited the lectures and demo's from 10 in the morning to 8 in the evening, ending with a 1+ hour QA session as seen on the picture below.

(Not in the same order as the picture)
Alex Brady, Alex Heath, Alex Negea, Andrei Riabovitchev, Björn Hurri, Dave Neale, emrah elmasli, Jama Djurabeav, Jon McCoy, Jonas De Ro, Kan Muftic, Levi Peterffy, Mark tompkins, Nadia Mogile
When inspiration is far to be found...We all get these anoying times when we really want to make something cool, get inspired and work that magic. We see everyone around us (online) do it, but how come we are not?
So we look for ways to get inspired, we ask around, find these usual answers: go watch a film, listen to music.. take a walk...
But even when we do that, we still end up stuck most of the time.
Part of the solution is knowing WHY we get stuck and this is my theory.

:bulletblue: ADT - Attention Deficit Trait.
'Experiencing an inner frenzy of distractability, impatience, difficulty in setting priorities, staying focused and managing time. Those are our biggest enemies as they all end up cluttering your head and keeping you from spending quality focused time on a singular topic.
Everything we do now a days is based around multitasking and it is giving us a constant overdose of information. Let me elaborate.
How many of you travel daily by public transport and don't look away
A simple guide on: Commissioning an Artist.It's often not as simple as one wants it to be when both artist and client want it to be: Cost efficient, time efficient and quality efficient.
I've often spend my time discussing the best way to handle commissions with clients and artist friends that I came to the conclusion that clarity and understanding is key.
I will divide the guidelines I work with based on 3 commission types.
:bulletblue: Character commissions.
:bulletblue: Book covers ( or illustrations)
:bulletblue: Concept art.
Reading all 3 parts will give you the full scope as a lot of it applies to one another as well.

:bulletgreen: Character commissions.
:bulletblue: 1. Reference board.
If you as a client have very specific characteristic features all set and done for your character it can be very useful for the artist if you'd make them a reference board of art and photos that portray these things.
:bulletblue: 2. Personality.
The artist does not wish for a life story of your cha
The Key to keeping yourself motivated properly.Let me start off with telling you what motivation is and why you need it.
A motivation is a reason behind doing something a certain way to work yourself up to a certain goal. Just having a goal but no understanding of how to get there, means you have no way to motivate yourself and your goal will be hard to reach. 
Therefore motivation is needed desperately in order to become truly good at something.
The motivation to eat is the feeling for hunger and the end goal of ending the hunger and feeling healthy and energized. This type of motivation is a feeling. 
Which brings me to: Intrinsic motivation and Extrinsic motivation.
Shortly explained:
Intrinsic motivation: Is a drive that comes from within the person itself. It's a self-desire to seek out new things and new challenges to see how far you can reach to observe and to gain knowledge. This person can enjoy the struggle towards a goal absent the reward. 
Extrinsic motivation: This is a motivatio

Thanks for all the comments! I will do my best to reply to most of them, even if it sometimes takes a while, reading these always cheers me up a lot! :D (Big Grin)

Wanna ask me direct questions? Come hang with me on Twitch sometime where I paint and give feedback :)

Suzanne Helmigh Twitch channel

Disclaimer: The artwork posted in my journals are not (always) made by me but artists I admire. This is my way of sharing their incredibly work with the rest of you. All these journals are based on my personal experience and that of artist friends. English is my second language and I have dyslexia so do note I am prone to make mistakes. I write these journals to remind myself of the things I've learned.

Thank you!
Add a Comment:
GigabyteXX Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Most of the times I'm really confused of how to set rules for clients, especially if I'm in a competitive bidding for a job.

If I take a look around people who bid, say, they offered an average $50 for the fee. My usual price for that particular piece is $60 (not include fees & any additional charge that may occur during process) so sometimes I would humble myself bidding $50 so I can get the job, because I know my artworks might suit more to the taste of the client compared to others. And it did worked, I got the job.
Then this client explained everything he wanted to make which are:
- He wanted the canvas size to be at least 5000px, PNG format (that didn't mentioned in the original job thread)
- He gave references for the artwork that are wayy too complicated (which results I got multiple revisions)

So I said that there will be extra charges for that, because first; my regular canvas is up to 3000px (A4) also originally he wanted less than 3000px in the thread. Secondly, he nitpicks a lot of my sketch (the character's eye needs to be bigger like 2mm, there's a line in the ear that is looking funny, etc etc) and I was being pressured to finish the job faster. But he refused everything I said because maybe he thought there's no difference between 3000px and 5000px; my sketch is not perfect therefore a lot of revisions; and most annoying thing is he said that I shouldn't ask client to cover the fee because it's supposed to be included and he wouldn't pay more than $50 for a single commission because it's exceed his budget. In the end my paypal showed $48.25, because he didn't pay the fee.

I need someone to tell me if I did wrong. So many potential clients lost just because I ask them to cover the fees, but if I bid $53 in the first place then I reduce my chance to get the job. Some also runaway when I mentioned additional charges such as above, eventhough I have never charge more if there's no issue with the client. Please let me know how you guys set up rules for clients?
AffanIndo Featured By Owner May 3, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wait, found the video…
hope that's help you
AffanIndo Featured By Owner May 3, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Not a professional myself. But I've seen professional artists require clients to sign a paper. On that paper there is included what will client get and how will they work. Basically on that paper it says "I will give you 3000px png image" so client will know what they are expected and they are not allowed change their mind because paper legal stuff... basically all the things you mentioned. And you should put rules too, like revision 3 times maximum or so. In that way, client have to accept your agreement in order to commission a drawing for you
blurhead Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Very wise words, particularly important is to carry out as much research as possible on the potential client.
Granitoons Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
This is great advice. Well written.
TheDarkHeretic Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2015
Thats so helpfull, many thanks for doing that :) Hug Clap Clap +fav !
Creme-de-Menthe Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
As someone who's commissioned a few, I would say that I agree on the 50% pre-payment. Only one of the several artists I've commissioned has done it that way, but I felt it was the most comfortable way for me. Paying in full before any work is done is just as risky for me as accepting payment after showing the finished project is for the artist. I've been lucky in that the people I've commissioned were honest.
The full contract with real names and contact info I feel is going a bit far, given I'm not entirely comfortable giving those out to random people, plus I prefer not to go by my legal name online, even when talking with people I know and trust. Dates? I know art is a finicky thing, and conforming to certain deadlines isn't always possible, so I'm not worried about it. I would rather the artist enjoy what they're doing and not feel pressured to get a piece done on a certian timetable. I expect it to be within reason, of course, especially if I have to pay upfront, but I account for the artist being busy with a lot fo commissions/other work, having to start over, or things like that. The longest I've had to wait is a little over a month, and that was largely because I ended up as slot 11/10 for a month after having previously discussed doing the commission with her and while I didn't submit my request quite in time, she offered to slot me in anyways. She was also the one that had me pre-pay 50%, but I would've happily paid it all upfront for her because it was an artist I've seen good work out of and still consider my favorite artist a year or two later. She kept me posted on her commission progress for the month, and it wasn't a surprise for me when she was running behind.
Main point there is communciation is a big thing. Let the client know when you start, if you hit a snag, or need help.

(Sorry if the post isn't entirely comprehensible, I'm pretty sure I'm drunk right now and I'm defniitely falling asleep in my chair.)
AoiKita Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2015  Student General Artist
I noticed there are "startups" and "new companies" that don't share a thing about themselves, nor seem to have a name of any sort and quite vague about everything.
Then there are those who write so poorly, their age and ability to even comprehend their own project comes to question...especially when it is needed "asap".  Also, the ones who make no effort to describe the job in any way sound quite like they would bail out. I won't even get into the photography ads for the individuals only wanting females to work with them...on...who knows exactly what.

Those are all on listing sites so far in the gigs sections. I have indeed fallen for being tricked by bailers on DeviantART who never paid me and probably stole the tattoo designs (I was still a teenager, after all-got too excited about a 'commission'). Thank goodness they didn't take much time to make....I am all for upfront payments and contracts...and throwing watermarks all over samples and downsizing the files. The question of course is, do they trust US to not steal money without doing artwork?
Suzanne-Helmigh Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
ugh yeah I always avoid potential clients who suffer from the things you mention.
As for clients trusting artists, I think it should work the same way. When an artist uses their own name, and is found easily online they seem to em most likely to be trustworthy. It's always good to run a quick google search on them too. 
AoiKita Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2015  Student General Artist
On note of like things, I ran into "" yesterday. Signed up, not really knowing what it really was....and was astonished at the idea of bidding; feeding people a meat called "a project" while letting them all fight over it like starved animals-it is the image I get. I am still a start-up, but I will be avoiding their worker abuse traps. 
I struggle with figuring out what to use for my artist name, really. I use my real name sometimes, but I figure I should use my new stage-sort name for illustration products or simply because my last name is....well, nobody can even say it right lol, let alone spell it. 'Mirrortail' on the other hand, much easier..and no competing for it when i sign up for anything.
Suzanne-Helmigh Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Oh yes that website is the worst! I used to get some gigs form a similar one called: which i only got because people approached me on there instead of me joining in on the bidding. It will tempt you too much to bid for low just to get it, as it seems like such a competition. 
I have the same problem with my last name, but I use it never the less :) At least they get the gist of it. What is your real name?
The problem with nicknames is that clients cannot really take you serious that often (until you reach rockstar status) but until that time it's really hard to use when you're just stepping in.

An do-able option would be to make it shorter and catchier while still containing a bit of your name.
Suzan Helm would have been an okay option for me.  
AoiKita Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2015  Student General Artist
They say competition is good, but savage competition makes people only lower their own standards and act desperate. I tend to avoid any sort of competition where I think the chances of success are slim-better off finding areas less people flock to before they get there ;p....and for my sanity. The first comments I read, actually, were awful. It was regarding a contest for Game of Thrones, and it seems the 5-star winners were cheaters abusing existing concepts, stated by several users. Naturally, the site makes some kind of "apology" statement about how they "do their best".

Angela Bueckert is my real  name, it is german. Often though, people call the house for a "bucket" or "buck-ert". I also got "puke-ert" in school, last time I ever played volleyball in my life...girls there are so cruel to quiet folks. It's a tough name to work with, but at least the only other one of my namesake who has much publicity is a kayaking guide.
palowsky Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I have a friend of mine whom I made a pinup of him and 2 of his other friends in brush and ink. I charged him $50 (reasonable amount for us both) and he kept saying that he'll give me the money given time. It's been about 5 months now, and I still have the piece he asked for. He has told me repeatedly to hold on to it until he had the money, and I still haven't gotten payment from him. I made a promise after this that I will only accept payment before I actually work on anything, to ensure honesty and that I have been compensated well. 
(He asked me online but had to get the exchange offline. I don't do online work for security reasons)
What do you think? Is my friend swindling me? I think I've been swindled.
Game-Central-Party Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
After many moments of fruitlessly searching on Google for answers, I finally find sage advice right here! 

I loved reading the entry and reading other people's comments here- very insightful! :)
KatrinaTheLamia Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014  Professional General Artist
Something to review.
soulessrobin Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Professional Photographer
Very Educational. I've always wondered about this process. Thanks for sharing!
MissLemons Featured By Owner May 9, 2014
Favourite Staring this one too! I found it helpful.
SavageFrog Featured By Owner May 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I noticed a typo in the section labelled as 1; it's written as "descent" instead of "decent".
KeremGo Featured By Owner May 8, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Good info! Will share this on twitter... 
Suzanne-Helmigh Featured By Owner May 8, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you very much! :D
Archsider Featured By Owner May 3, 2014  Professional General Artist
heheh , xD put a huge watermark when showing it to clients xDD
Suzanne-Helmigh Featured By Owner May 8, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
yes :D keeps em from using it before paying ^^
Archsider Featured By Owner May 10, 2014  Professional General Artist
yeah, this saved me from a scam just last week, :D
The guy ordered and then vanished(Didnt agree for upfront pay, neither did I removed my watermark B) )
Lunalight Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2014   Digital Artist
Thank you its helpful,i want to start to go a more pro way but its still hard,without Clients  ( it you have many crisis in your life)
AnimatedMadness Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2014
Wow you are just full of advice and knowledge! I read some of your other articles as well and thank you very much for all of your advice!
giorgiobaroni Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
well now this is a great post!
i've been struggling a lot in my early years as a freelance, and i learnt pretty quickly that nothing has to be left unsaid.
i agree on everything, and this you wrote is exactly what i usually do.
every freelance should keep this in mind and apply it every time a client gets in contact.

one thing i want to emphasize is keep away from art tests.
those are just a waste of time, as long as they're for free.
if a client sees your portfolio online and take the time to send you an email, there's no reason in the world to ask for a test.
he already knows how you work, he knows your skills and your style, he saw it your portfolio, so asking for a free art test is just asking for some probably good idea to 'steal' and have it done by someone else they already choose.
i never seen my art stolen, but it happened to me that they asked for a free test while i already knew a friend of mine was already working on it with a signed no thanx, i don't have time to waste with you cheap people.

another key point is copyright transfer:
when you 'sell' an image to someone, you're not actually selling it, you just get paid to give permission to the client to use YOUR image, because the image will always be yours, for a specified period and for a specified purpose.
this is exactly what copyright transfer is.
so an illustration that is worth 1000 as a book cover, might be worth ten times if used for the cover and the promotional stands in the bookstores, and as advertisement on buses, and as advertisement banners around the city, and on the homescreen of the publisher website etc.
everyone should be aware of this.
it's not the difficulty or the size of the illustration that makes the price, but the copyright transfer related to it.

and last but not least, never ever give the full copyright transfer to anyone, as long as he's not willing to pay you tons of money.
always specify the amount of time and the precise purpose of the image.

and just to be safe, always specify in the contract that the copyright transfer will be active when the artwork will be paid in full.
this just to let them know that you're ready to take (legal) action in case they don't obey the which case you will get all your money and a lot more.
copyright infringement is serious least where it's applicable..but this another chapter.

Lamplighter1968 Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2014
As several people have commented, the potential for scamming and being scammed is definitely a two-way street, and while your suggestion to use contracts has great merit in cases where "for profit" projects are involved, there's a whole underground art industry to which it's not really applicable. I have been a collector of custom art for about 20 years, and the vast majority of my collection consists of works involving copyrighted material and characters. Since both parties involved in such projects are technically in violation of laws, contractual protection is pretty much a moot point, leaving much more to chance and trust. While both the artist and the client (or potential client) are at risk of being scammed, the artist actually has a slight advantage in the trust game. Artists obviously have their portfolio to serve as both their resume and their "this is why you should hire me" job interview, but all the client has is his/her reputation.
As an artist faced with a new potential client, take a moment to browse their website or DA page. They will most likely have previous commissioned projects showcased, along with comments on them, which can give you an idea of the opinions previous artists have about dealing with them. Multiple commissions by the same artist(s) lets you know that at least some artists who worked for this person in the past have been willing to do so again.
A client's reputation is actually more important to them than the artist's reputation is to them. An artist with skill and talent and a portfolio which shows it will always find clients, even if they're known to be a pain to work with, but a client with a bad rep is screwed. If someone hires you and tries to screw you over, expose them! Write a journal naming them with as much detail as possible to make them recognizable if they try to create a new identity. When you read posts from other artists naming a scammer, pass it along on your own page. Furthermore, if you start to have problems with a client, let them know you're not afraid to shout about it from the rooftops.
super34sonic Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2014  Student Artisan Crafter
Well, I want to sell art online, and this kinda helped me on what I'm going to face (even though I'm not old enough to get a job.....) So, thanks for making this journal it's much appreciated! 
NewYorkRod Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2014  Professional General Artist
I've done a lot of work for comic book companies and they always want to see the artwork before paying. So I would throw several sheets of red paper into the printer and send them those. Then I make a wide marker "x" over the whole sheet. Why? Red photographs the same as black, either in a copier or at a printer for plates. Scanners will copy it as red and black but you can't print it. If someone tries to drop it into Photoshop the "x" prevents them from eliminating the red without a lot of work. They see the art. They approve it. They pay me. Then I send them the disk.
Crelcreation Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2014  Student Interface Designer
Right, but they can steal your idea too ? (I'm a beginner, clear my mind if i'm wrong)
NewYorkRod Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2014  Professional General Artist
Sorry for the delay. Here's the story on ideas. Yes, anyone can steal your idea but first you have to give it to them. Until then it is all in your head. Once you commit it to a medium, it is under the protection of the copyright laws. Then even if they wee it and try to copy it, they are breaking the law. They must change it by at least 20% for it to escape prosecution. Bringing a case is rather hard. you do have to show that your work came first. That's why some people mail a sample to themselves and keep it unopened so they can present it in court if needed. But that is not needed to establish the copyright itself. I use my iPhone and place a newspaper next to the work with the date showing. Concerning ideas: remember that a lot of people have the same idea. Yours has to be unique. It is not enough to have the idea to show a vore victim in the mouth of an alien blob. You must make the blob unique, the girl unique in some way (an original costume design helps) and hopefully a narrative; meaning there is a story explicit in the drawing. Most people who copy also trace, so there is little argument there.
Rod Norman
Y-N-1-F Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2014
Sage advice, from a wise lady. Thanks, Suzanne, these are great tips and tutorials.
ArkaDark Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
something really useful for new artists :D
Sol-Caninus Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2014   General Artist
Good piece, Suzanne.  :thumbsup:  I don't know why people do business without knowing with whom they are dealing - without a last name and complete contact information, including an address that tells the person's physical location.  Never. Never. Never do that!  
pancakesandhalibut Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2014
interesting and good to know
MD5K Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hello im in the process of trying to be a free lance artist.  I have a facebook page and a da page i believe you seen my gallery.  I actually made a album cover for one of my friends band.… But I didnt charge him any thing for the cover but now he says he needs art for the inside sleeve The only thing i said I wanted him to do is put my name on there some were for recondition.  I just need an opion  If i should charge him cuase it more work than i thought or should i continue to do it for free for free cause hes a friend 
Suzanne-Helmigh Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Yes! Definitely charge him! He might be your friend who you'd like to support, but it should be visa versa, you are his friend as well and he should want to be supporting you too!
You can work with a friends discount, but as you already did the cover for free I'd say let him pay full price for the inside sleeve. This way he still had 50% off.
MD5K Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ok thanks for your reply. fallow up question i looked up the price to charge to make art work for album covers and there were different quotes  how much should i charge for a friend price vrs normal price 
Suzanne-Helmigh Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Thats really up to you, I'd say a 50% discount.. But he already got a free artpiece form you, so you got to do these inside sleeves full price.
giorgiobaroni Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
i'm for the payment too!
you know what?
being a freelance illustrator for the past 9 years i've seen, and tested on my skin, so many things you won't even believe..
let's say first that i don't like working with friends, and i mean real work, a commission is ok, but i hate having to deal with them on a two way professional relationship..and i knew even before being a professional since my dad is an architect so basically a freelance artist.
back on point, yes ask for money.
you just gave him a free sample of your work, now it's time to make some cash, no discount.
i read this example on the web so many times: you're a car dealer, and your friend wants to buy a car from you.
would you gave it out for free?
i don't think so..even if he promise to say the whole world where he got his car from, you want your money, you sell a product that people needs to pay, even your friends.
yes you can apply a discount, or add some extra for free, but you can't let your friend get your car for free.
so why do it with art?
people don't understand this is a job, a real job, and they act surprised when we ask for know it's just a drawing..ok then, sell your album without art, it's just a drawing..
sorry if i sound a bit rude, but this is the right way to keep going on working for free forever.
don't be ashamed to ask for money for your art, keep always in mind this is your job, and every job leads to an income.
simple as that.
i have been in the same exact situation in the past, i was 14 and i was naive, so i made an album cover for my friends, for free.
and guess what?
their demo tape was chosen by the record label because of it's cover!
i mean they're not the rolling stones, but they recorded three albums and toured half of the country just because of my art..and guess what i got from all this..
YourCottonmouth Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
"How to do business with a client, professionally. " that's exactly what I wanted to ask for!
Thanks a lot, Suzanne. These journal entries are great! :)
Suzanne-Helmigh Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
thanks!! :D!!
Maffoo Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014
Re the email addresses -  I'm more comfortable doing business with someone with an email address of  than someone with
Aside from that, this is all really sound advice, and if I was able to favourite a journal entry I would with this. :)
Suzanne-Helmigh Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Quite often, especially when working with writers, you will be mailing them through a personal email address.
Some writers are not part of a company and only represent themselves, they can still be very legit costumers :)
Maffoo Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014
True enough. 
Maffoo Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014
Well what do you know? It turns out I can favourite a journal entry :D
Suzanne-Helmigh Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
yay! :D thanks :D

I believe it's a new feature actually 
Ellixus Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Nice entry!

I believe the most important thing is communication, that is, discuss every single thing before committing to a job. I usually ask the client for as much information as I can, and I only take commission through e-mail. If the client is legit, most likely they'll have some webpage or maybe a kickstarter, etc. 

I don't ask for payment until my work is done, then I send a low res version and if the client feels is ok, I send the high-res after payment is confirmed... so far this has worked for me, and I believe it's a fair deal for the client too...

About doing tests, well, it really depends. I agree there's no need to do a test for a single commission, but for an in-house job you may need to do one, even if it's an indie company. The key here is what they ask you to do: if they're legit they'll probably will ask you to do a version of a game they have already published, also, also, they'll want to evaluate is your speed (if they like your style they can tell by your portfolio), so test probably won't take more than a few hours (usually no more than a day of work, although there may be exceptions, specially if you're a 3D artist)...

Also, unless you're invited to an extremely mind-blowing project and you have full trust on the client... never work for free. The first step to be professional is taking yourself seriously, if you don't no-one will...
Suzanne-Helmigh Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Some clients tent to give too much info though.. than it suddenly becomes a lot of work to find the important elements if you've been send pages of text.

What happens if you finish your image without downpayment and they don't pay you in the end?... you would have wasted your time. I'm, happy such a thing hasn't happened to you before, but I do advise you to start working with downpayments now, before it actually WILL happen. 

I agree with the art-tests bit. and totally it should never be more than 1 to 2 days of work total! EVER!
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