Drawn: Alec Longstreth On Spec Work
Why should a freelance artist absorb the risk for YOUR concept? Whether or not your idea is going to be successful is YOUR gamble, not ours. If you want talented people to develop good ideas (and increase your chances to be in the 1-10% of profitable content) you should pay your creators. Even…
(EDIT: I don’t know if it’s Tumblr or my iPad, but sorry for the block of text.)
Fuck. Spec. Work.
This is something that has infuriated me since the day I started trying to earn a living with my pencil. I’m not saying you shouldn’t hook your friends up from time to time, if you can. Or that the occasional low time-investment “gratis” work is a bad idea if you’ve got nothing else going on.
But I can only think of one or two writers who approached me in that first year who’d even considered trying to pay me what my time was worth -and I’ll be honest, I didn’t think my time was worth very much back then.
Look artists, I don’t care if you are a 40 year vet or just out of school and still rough around the edges. Your time is valuable. Your work is worth getting paid for. You are a crafts-person, but unlike a plumber or a cable guy, what makes your work worth paying for cannot be taught in ANY school.
No writer, no matter how emotionally invested they are in their ideas, or how passionate about a project they are, will ever spend a fraction of the time that you will, turning those ideas into comics. The standard deal for you should be money for your time, determined by your skill and experience, AND 50% ownership of the IP, because if you have any talent at all you are going to bring things to the table that the writer never even considered.
Good writers who are also good people know this. Writers who think you are just some meat-sack with a pen dangling from one end can go fuck themselves. And there are plenty of those. Trust me. I’ve gotten more pitches from those guys than I can count.
I’ve also been blessed to work with some quality writers. Men of the finest quality. And I consider myself a better artist for having worked with them.
The only projects you should be working on for spec,my dear fellow art monkeys, are your own.
i added that bold there for emphasis.