Welcome to Stephen Silver’s Art Inspiration Channel – Protect your art career

Welcome to Stephen Silver’s Art Inspiration Channel – Protect your art career

It is time to spread this message. I just recently posted about giving your
art away for free, and your time and effort for free,
where a lot of people do this. Companies out there that are calling people, And I even get calls where people just kind
of say, “Hey, you know, can you do us a favor?” Can you, you know, can we use this information?
Can we use your image?” to promote whatever it is that they need
to promote. And I’m talking big companies. And this happens with many different companies,
and a lot of different people are getting called. And I get messages from students who say,
“Stephen can you tell me kind of what to do? I have a company who’s asking me to do some
work for free, do some animation for free, just do some designs for free, because
they may pick up a show or something may happen for me to do it for free.” And it’s just ridiculous and it’s just
not the right thing to do, and it’s got to stop. And the only reason and the only way it can stop
is if we stop and you stop as any individual, as young artists, old artists, to stop giving
away your time and effort for free. One of the things where people say to me, “Can
you do it? You know I don’t really have a budget. You know, it will take you too long, right.
You could just whip it out right?” It’s like no, for me in order to do that drawing
that you need, even if it takes me 10 min. to do You know the reality is it’s taken me
40 years and 10 minutes to do. because of all my experience, and that’s
what’s so important to understand that this is your energy, this is your time
and you don’t go and ask, you know, people, plumbers to come to your house,
“Can you fix my drain?” You know, it’s just, “Maybe you could learn
something by fixing it” or have an attorney think they’re going
to do something for free for you, or anyone else is going to do something for free. And these people who are asking you to do
this stuff for free, are they getting paid? Of course they’re getting paid. And when these
big companies from Warner Brothers to Disney, to you name it, and I’m not just talking about
them, I’m talking about everyone as a whole who comes through and thinks, you know, “Can we
just…can we use this?” and for nothing. It’s like, it’s ridiculous. When this happens and people do this, this is
why there’s so many starving artists out there. This is why people complain that they’re
struggling and they can’t find work because people are willing to do stuff for free,
and the reality is they talk about, “But it’s good exposure.
You’re going get good exposure.” You know there is nothing with that.
You create your own exposure. You want to get exposure? You create your
own blog, you create your own Facebook page, you create your own website. You do whatever it takes and you create the
exposure and you get the opportunity to put out the good work that you want that people
will see, and your name will be all over it because the reality is
you name’s not even a show up. And also the reality is no one’s going look
at any of the stuff that you do and go, “Oh my god. Did you just see his credit? Wow!
Oh my god, I’m really going to start… I’ve got to hire this guy. I’ve got to have
this guy on my team.” You know, we’re going to do this.
It just doesn’t work that way. What it does is just that expression we’ve
heard it, “All artists are a dime a dozen.” Why are artists a dime a dozen?
Why does that even exist? Because we let it exist, and we need to
stand up and stop this from happening, and the only way to do is to spread this message
and to get it out and to let everyone know is just to stop this with trying
to give away your free work. Because when you start and have the integrity
and the belief in yourself and if someone asks you to do something say,
you know, it costs whatever your hourly rate is, even if it costs $20, it’s $20, and for them
it should be worth it to pay that $20. And if they don’t, run for the hills,
because I have found in my experience if you DON’T get paid, or people don’t pay you,
they treat you with very little respect. They’ll probably never even use your artwork. They don’t give a rat’s ass about you,
and that’s not what you want. You want, as an artist, you want exposure. You
want to be known, sure. But how do you do that? You start developing your own projects, you do
your own things, you take the bull by the horns, you do it yourself. You self-published, you
create apps, you do whatever it takes. You know, you could go to any sort of store. I used to go around and create my own work at
at local stores where I used to live. If it was a pet grooming place, and ask him
if they needed a cat or a dog drawing for an advertisement, and I got paid for it. Sometimes they didn’t want to pay that much,
but at least they would pay. But if someone says you know, “Just do this. You
know, draw the cat and dog for me and we’ll put on our flyers and we’ll spread it out, and
if we get response maybe we can use you again.” No, bullshit. No. You don’t do that. You say well
thank you for your time. My time is valuable too. I’m sure you get paid for what you do,
so I want to be paid for what I do. And we need to start this
and you have that mindset, you’ll start to see that people
won’t take advantage of you. But get this word out and let it be known
because too many people, too much lately have been telling me that people are
asking for stuff for free, and you are destroying the industry
as a whole and you do not want this. Trust me. It is going to keep you down in the dumps.
If you’re down there. If it’s just someone, if it’s friends and you guys are working on
your own personal project for the achievement of trying to work something great, you do that. There’s certain things you do for free. Someone had mentioned on one of the writings,
you know, if it’s for a charitable cause, if it’s for something where it’s going
to help benefit someone, you do that sort of stuff for free.
If you understand and you believe in that cause. But you just don’t do it for nothing just
because, because trust me, these other people are lining their pockets and these other
people aren’t starving and they’re taking advantage of you,
and when they take advantage of you, they disrespect the art form and they
disrespect everyone else. So do yourself a favor, don’t give away
your time, your talent for free. You are better than that.
You deserve better, okay That’s my rant. I had to get it out.


  1. This! I am so sick and tired of losing contracts and jobs because a student or a hobbyist has offered to do the work my client has asked for for free. I totally agree, a piece of music may take an hour for me to write, but it took me 30 years to learn how to write in that hour, really they are paying for my 30 years and an hour.

    I wish there was a way to stop this – it's a vicious cycle and it hurts legit artists

  2. Mr. Steven Silver, do you have any thoughts on how this could apply to musicians? My buddy and I started a small band, and there's a lot of pressure to put our music on youtube, soundcloud, etc. Even though we don't foresee this being our means of providing financially, per se, should we be more stingy with our art? Where is the line between publicity, and simply giving our art away for free?

  3. it is a real case of following your heart and your gut. you need to become aware if a gig you are doing is real worthwhile exposure and you can sell CD's or are you being used. Putting work on youtube and creating a youtube channel is a good way to promote your music though.

  4. just enable ads! if your putting up your own original content on youtube.. let youtube pay you for it! don't give it to youtube for free! (i even put ads on my stupid pet videos 🙂 ) and its not that irritating for the viewer.. they do get the option to skip/close it don't they.

  5. Your awesome Stephen Silver!
    so many people expect me to charge less because i'm Indian >: or a freelancer >:

    so irritating. and then i get asked by my juniors/proteges/interns if they should do stuff for free.. 😛
    will now just send them this video.

    If your good at something.. don't do it for free! nobody will do that for you!

  6. Bravo Stephen! You can extend this conversation to art internships as well! There are over 216 job descriptions that encompass artists. Everyone, just stop giving it all away, and we will start to be paid.

  7. So the skills, energy, talent and countless hours practising and gaining the experience needed to make that "10 minute drawing" are worthless in your opinion?

  8. true words.
    I've been used before but not anymore ~
    they come to you with a big fake smile and ask you to do it
    people forget about you as soon as they get that free piece of you.
    you think they are your friends but they are not.

  9. Thanks for this – as a creative freelancer in film/TV/Video for nearly a decade now I couldn't have said any of this more perfectly.
    If you charge full industry rates, people treat and respect you as an industry professional.
    Not just on the issue of being completely unpaid, but I also think being undercut by whatever the going industry rates are when you can do as good a job as anyone else is also equally as bad and damages the prospects for the rest of us.

  10. If you don't put yourself out there it doesn't matter how good you are… a career in drawing? Don't you mean design or illustration? Other than that, there is no career in drawing. If your a fine artist you should be good enough to get representation, if not, then you're not good enough. Work on your ideas.

  11. I've met so many guys like you and you're all the same and you all end up the same… dig your own hole but don't send all these bitter noobs with you…

  12. you just said everything I said but nicer: "the value of the experience." Not always the value of the piece, by your estimation.

  13. What are your thoughts on "Advisory" panels where big companies like Disney or Marvel or whatever calls people and milks them for ideas in exchange for $20 of product?

  14. Yeah, I modeled a bit for a "free" project.. and found out later that the people doing sound and music got paid. That was a pretty big insult.

  15. Hang in there. I know that feeling.. and I've taken so many blows to the ego over the years. Most of the people I know don't consider creating art a "real job"…but.. they sure do love movies and comics and games, etc.

  16. As a 3D modeler for VFX just graduate. This happens to me with promising my name gonna be expose :(((( . It is too late because I already accept before I watch this video. Thank for let people know about it.

  17. This video really gave me a boost.
    Its ridiculous sometimes, I went to a convention in Taiwan, browsing stands, and I see this one stand that has some of my art and stuff made into pillow covers, stamps, buttons, for low quality. i don't know how my watermark off. I asked where they got it from, they said they had an artist draw it especially for them. I said, "BS That notebook the print is something I drew for my FRIEND as a giftshe said no, said she bought it, like she owned it. 🙁

  18. Not necessarily, I mean you can ask for some partial payments. Simply stop work, say you need so and so materials or have a new paying gig (true or not) and don't move another muscle on their piece until they pay up. Or refuse to send the final deliverables until paid. Contract is not necessary, just being cautious is. If the deadlines are clean (for both product AND payment) then that takes a lot of guesswork out of it.

  19. I want to quote another of Stephan's comments here, "yes, you draw draw draw, but you dont have to draw give all your art and ideas away to line someone elses pocket to improve your skill." And I think this applies to you as a musician as well. Choosing to give your music away for free in the way of your choosing is so much different than allowing a company to make money off of it. Also, I feel the youtube ads are a tradeoff that is equal to possible hosting costs if you hosted separately.

  20. Great message. I don't think artists understand how to appropriately do free exposure for themselves (such as sharing on an art site, blog, or social media site). Good free exposure is completely different than allowing companies and individuals to profit off of your work. When you encouraged artists to make their own exposure is some of the best advice in the video. Artists should always maintain control of their creativity and art; and never allow other people/companies that control.

  21. Expecting an artist to work for you for free is like expecting a prostitute to have sex with you for free simply because you two were friends at school or something.

  22. Great message and it applies to puppetry as well. Many professional puppeteers receive phone calls asking them to do free shows. Often, well paid other professionals complain that the fee for a show is as much or more than they make. They do not realized the life long training, expense and skill that goes into preparation of a thirty minute show. Abe Lincoln said, "I'm not paid for my time, I'm paid for what I know!" Amateur puppeteers that do free shows ruin the profession.

  23. Thank you very much for this message, I'm starting to look for some work experience next summer and until now my thoughts were "even if they don't pay me I just want to get in".

    If they truly appreciate your work they will be willing to pay for it. Thank you again.

  24. Man, you are so on the money, THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! Every artist needs to listen to this. THis is going on my FB at the top for several weeks. Thanks!!!

  25. I don't draw seriously, it's a hobby. But no matter what kind of artist you are people need to see this because it's wrong in my opinion to expect someone ti just drop everything they are doing and make something for you for free.

  26. what if i want to make art for free and have a side job?
    i just make my anime, graphic novels and web comics. put them up on my DA and youtube. then do free commissions but have them sign a contract saying they cant use it for anything.

  27. LOVE this. Ive gotten offers like that. The people im working on a comic with tried to get my shit free when they first asked me to work with them.
    Since there arent a set amount of pages I made a deal with em for my laptop and program for the comic(which ill use for my own comic as well).
    Screw doing that free. Its a lot of work!
    I bust my ass to get my work out there and it has proven to be WAY more worth it than taking those 'exposure' offers that i had taken when i was younger.

  28. You're great man!
    Artist should never work for free, they actually should ask for way more than any other profession, you know why? Cause art(real, made with effort and studies, doesn't matter in what field) is the top (summa, in latin) of everything else.
    Undersell your stuff or giving it away for FREE means only that you consider yourself GOOD FOR NOTHING, and people would threat you like that.

    You studied for years you need to ask to be paid for that

  29. Plus when you get money you can reinvest it to take the Character Design class of Silver, and ask for more money on the next job 🙂

  30. Personally my method for "pay or for free" is
    1) Is this a charitable cause you would help deal out flyers or wash floors for?
    2) Does everyone else involved in this work for free (everyone!)?
    3) Did they treat you nicely?
    4) Do you have ample time to do this?
    5) Are you given complete artistic freedom?
    6) Is it your mom asking you?

    If the answer to any of these is "no" then I don't do it.

  31. dear friend -and all the buddies here- I completely agree with you, it's a shame some customers come to you asking "is this (project) fast, right? it will take to you only 10 minutes (because you are super good) right?" …because for a producer, FAST means MONEY, selling you that "easy for you" means you are "good", paying you with smoke medals.

    please check on google "vfx-in-los-angeles-100-hour-weeks-homeless"

    cheers from Barcelona!

  32. 100% agree, well said!  Haha you're accent's one of the oddest I've heard though – guess it's the London / San Diego mix?

  33. I love this! Like, while I never had an issue with people asking for money for what they do, this gave me a whole new perspective on just how valuable it is to have compensation for requests.

  34. Finally saw this! Thank you Stephen. I'll bet all the thumbs down are the companies & swindlers that do this kind of thing. Great points all across!

  35. this is so REAL!!!! i got SOO many stories of doing art for low life shady unappreciative muthefukkers in the past!!!!! silver u beat me to it man! this was a great video for motivation for those who know and dont know its a great reminder!!!! btw i think im gonna go sign up for ur classess too i could use the critique! :n)

  36. and shout outs to all u artists on here its hard to find people who really wanna build their skill check me out on fb a1kustomz and feel free to drop me a shout peace to u all!!

  37. @Stephen Silver This is a small story I would like share about my bad experiences as a child artist dealing with liars and users.

    Wow if only I understood this or had someone taught me this when I was a child. So many people took advantage of me including both children and adults! They made me feel good about myself and gave me compliments as if I would become this girl who would one day grow up and become this famous artist in the spotlight. Children bullied me in school to force me to draw for them or they would trick me and pretend to be my friend. So they would brag how much of a good artist I am and I would smile and take the student's request. I would spend multiple hours getting each drawing done as I skip out on homework and class work. Whenever I got done, I was rewarded with a simple pat on the back and that person would just go about their day and don't ever talk to me again. Until a few days later I would find the drawing on the playground or in the halls, balled up, torn, dirty, defaced, damped with water or spit. And the student I made the drawing for would be right their pointing and laughing at me with their friends. Yeah I cried whenever it happen but hey I thought my drawings brought me friends so I continued doing it until I reached middle school.

    In Middle School I learned how to draw Manga by reading and studying how to draw books from the school Library. In high school I came a long way and teachers started to notice my talents. So they would beg me to do posters or signs for events at the school only for the students to vandalize my artwork and deface it. Each time it happen I would just sit there starring at my posters halfway ripped with shoe marks on it. While each teacher would apologize, and lie to me that they will find the students who were responsible. The next day my poster is in the garbage and whenever I asked about my poster I am silenced, with a, "I have a class to teach, I am sorry but it's not my fault and I understand how much time you put on it blah blah blah." You see asking for money was a big no no in the schools I attended because I am no different than a street hustler except I'm hustling with MY OWN ARTWORK. But my grade was raised in class so I can quit complaining about the stupid posters. Aww teachers how they can just teach a student how to bribe!

    Now that I am in college, I learned a lot from my past! Though I did try to sell my artwork in high school I never made sells because students thought my $10.00 artwork was to expensive. Teachers thought they didn't have to pay anything since I suppose to draw from the bottom of my ass heart and accept their request. I hope someone read this and wish for you or your child artist don't have to go through what I experienced as a child. God bless and good luck, everyone!!!

  38. So true.
    If you work for free expecting exposure, you'll only expose yourself as an artist who work for free and you'll never ever get paid for your work.

  39. Artist shouldn't do art for free. They should be paid for it. Even if it's just a sketch. Art is only a hobby for me, but I respect, and admire those who want to make a living of it. They should be paid for their work and hours just like at any other job they would be paid for their work and hours. They are NOT a dime a dozen. You want their work? You pay for it, like you would pay a plumber, or an electrician, or a lawyer, or a baby sitter. They're doing a service.

  40. That's a pretty good point. I am not an artist, so I don't really know how things work in those circles. When it comes to commercial use of someone's art it's absolutely clear, the artist should require payment for it.
    As for non commercial use, I would not be as strict. There are people who like to create different projects as a past time and they might want some artwork with that stuff, then I would not find it aberrant if the artist asks only for acknowledgement. But then again ultimately it's up to the creator of the art to ask whatever compensation he wants if someone else wants to use his work.

  41. I completely agree, Silver! I have up to being fed up of schools and companies saying the very thing you say. I saw your encouraging video and thank you to your amazing words, I realize my worth is not to work for free and I declined. Thank you so much for putting this out there for the sake of all the artist, writers who kept getting taken advantage of.

  42. Good rant, Stephen. I've had to turn down a number of "clients" who start off wanting commissions or wanting me to design an entire cast. They were just simply wanting me to agree to anything without a clue as to what I would be doing. After drilling them enough, I would get more info along with how I would be paid by trade. What is this? They think artists work on a bartering system now?

  43. i'm not even an artist but i agree a 100% with this. People who make webites are kind of in the same boat. people want websites to be made for jack sh*t money at all. And all these free/very cheap template stuff are making it possible.

  44. I bitch about this exact thing on FB (Because I'm awesome) and non artists have no idea what we're faced with when it comes to money and budgets, and HOW many people think we should do their work for nothing.  It's freaking harrowing.

  45. Hi, to all. It is a misconception that you are being used this way. Actually you are not. Now that I got your attention 😛 let me just mention that whatever you do in life there will be people trying to get it for free.  Everything. And the thing is that they will tell that your work is worthless or genius based on what they payed for it. I heard such conversations. No mater what you do, carpentry, cook lsd or groom cats get payed.

  46. Couldn't say it better myself! If its for charity and a good cause and you believe in it do it. If there's $ on the table you should get a piece of the pie. simple as that. Very powerful statement we as artist always need these reminders. when we do something out of love its easy to lose focus on the big picture.

  47. Hi Stephen! This is the first time I write to you. As many people here (I think), I received the recommendation of your channel from a Will Terrel's video, so I'm very glad having come here 🙂
    Thank you very much for your great advice! I must add that I have seen the same advice from different artists, because as it seems it is a current problem… As you say, we must stop that situation and start giving value to our do.
    Thanks for sharing! Best wishes!

  48. Terrific post Sir .  I have experienced this many times  even from close friends  . I know how imp is to ask for Price and if You dont get it , say No ! Thanks . 

  49. Will lawyers work for free? Well, often a lawyer will give you a free consultation… and personally, I believe that's the only thing I would ask from an artist for free, either. A consultation. NOT free artwork for a product I was selling.

  50. Hi Mr Silver. Hope this is ok messaging here. I changed the way I do things regarding my art due to listening to Schoolism posts and particularly yours. I decided to get really positive and make a point of replacing any gripes with a solution with my art. I started to listen to Schoolism artist interviews whenever I could, even whilst working out, before sleeping, etc. I watched demos of yours and Bobby's. I took on board all the nuggets of advice and helpful insights into all the thought processes involved improvement. I started to think that anyone considering one of yours or another Schoolism course can come on here and start to listen and watch and see how they feel. There is a distinct difference to my online portfolio from earlier in the year to now , I think. I was a little surprised how character designing was helping me with my caricatures. Now I realise character design can be applied to everything and the whole concept itself is a major building block in so many fields of art. You are a great teacher, I have not enrolled in your classes yet but enrolled in a healthier attitude thanks to Schoolisms ethos and your helpful posts. If you got to the end of this, thanks a lot!

  51. THIS IS WHY SHOULD WE NEVER WORK FOR FREE. Every artists should listen to this. I am a 3D artist and I too have worked for free in the past but I will never again do that. I have shared this in my facebook page too. thanks for making this Stephen

  52. Yes, you're definitely right!
    Inside this tough "world" sometimes our community needs this encouraging words.
    Love your artwork.

  53. Hello sir, greetings from India. I am a working musician/producer, but i really feel that this applies to all art forms, music included! Working for free has never fed an artist's belly or clothed him/her. I understand that fully, as i have gone hungry and even actually starved, paid by "exposure"!! This video of 5 minutes and 51 seconds has inspired me to push on and not give up…. and definitely, to not work for FREE! Thank you sir and all the very best to you!

  54. I have been getting asked to do work for free a lot lately. Someone literally said "can you do it, it doesn't take you that long does it ". I had to tell them no multiple times. It gets me sad. This has been happening since i was in middle school. I went to college for art, and I'm trying to build a name. I really am but it seems impossible at times. thanks for the video Ill just keep working at it

  55. Appreciate u…
    My corporate restaurant wants me to do the break room… 2 walls… They said it's volunteer work… And I won't be able to clock in.. I'm the artist and I thinking we'll maybe I would get fetured on their web site… But I post on my page..but I feel like they should give me something…
    They just looking like I dumb….

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