Protect Yourself Against Choosy Beggars

I am sure you’ve experienced being asked for free Art or not getting paid for artists from any discipline. Here are five tips to help protect yourself.

1. Barter

Friends and family will ask you for free Art. It is tough to say no to them. Saying no makes things uncomfortable, I know! Next time they ask, barter. It is one of the oldest forms of trading! Find an equivalent exchange if possible. Is your friend a baker? Makeup artist? have something you want? Ask! 

If you are on social media, a common complaint is people asking for free artwork in exchange for exposure. A common tactic is to call them out passively. Tell them that if X number of followers give them a discount code to use or tell them to get your business first through referrals by x amount of people is another example. Specify the number of people, and if they do follow on their end, their artwork will be free. 

2. Contract

You do not have to be a lawyer. Although I wish I were one, I am not smart enough, but I digress. Some main things you need to confirm before working are:

Set the numeration/payment: It is so important to know what you are charging. There are a lot of great videos on youtube advising on how to set pricing, including deposits.

In the movies, when some assassin, or illegal work, they would always ask for 50 percent or a deposit. It is a good rule of thumb too, and standard practice among many professions. Though, with less blood and crime. 

Getting the deposit helps to mitigate the cost, and even if the projects fall through, you still were able to protect yourself and not waste your time. That is just one way. Of course, if you do not have to do this. Just make sure you price your hours as best you can and have that number on hand.

Set the number of revisions: Revisions eat into your profit, so set the number of allowed modifications. Ensuring the client thinks about the piece they want you to create and does not waste your time.

Set the timeline: This is good for both parties; it sets expectations and allows you to schedule yourself properly. 

3. Watermark your artwork

If you have Photoshop, Paint, Microsoft, heck, even online, there are many free programs you can use. Watermark. Watermark is when you place text all over the Art in a low opacity. Reducing the chances, they will not just run off with the Art.

Although, there will be people who just use the watermark artwork. 

Yeah, the point is to place enough barriers between you and getting ripped off.

4. Send LQ version of the Art

In the same vein, send an LQ version of your artwork. Again, with any photo editing program, make the file smaller, stretch it out, reduce the quality. The goal is to render the artwork primarily unusable. 

Scammers may use your artwork, even with the watermark or LQ version. It has happened before, but at least it isn’t the HQ version. 

5. Just say no 

Your time and artwork are worth something, not nothing. It will be uncomfortable to say no, but the more you say it. The easier it gets. It is something you just have to get used to saying, unfortunately. In an ideal world, everyone would be honest and friendly.

6. Send an invoice for $0

An additional tip! If you still want to give free Art, may I suggest one last thing? I saw this tip on Reddit. And Oh my gosh, is it such a good tip. When you send an invoice for $0, include the original costs and the discounts. It shows the client what your work is worth, especially useful in non-profit.

These are just some tips you can implement. Good luck on your art journey, and I will see you next time.