I’m going to move back to doing requests for no payment. Here’s why.
I started doing requests out of the sheer joy of making art for other people. This worked spectacularly well: it substantially improved my quality of work between May and October of this year. I can now genuinely state that I am satisfied with my art and that I intend to continue improving.
In October, I decided to turn these into donation-based commissions based loosely on how Tod does Icon Day: freebies with something nice if you tipped a bit extra. There isn’t much financial incentive here: I just wanted to see if freelancing were possible for me while recovering some of the costs of ink refills and other art supplies.
Across all of these, I made $165 (gross). In terms of recovering costs, I’d call that successful. However, this had the effect of substantially slowing down my artwork: the time commitment of doing business, added to my regular day job, commitments to my home, and schedule of producing art, took too many hours of my day, causing me to sleep at best six hours a night.
I managed this fairly well at the beginning. But as my sleep schedule ebbed further, I couldn’t really make this feasible a month or two later, frequently taking days off to recover. Since then, I’ve been struggling with what to do with the remainder of my art time, dreading the idea of continuing to do business even before considering changes in legal compliance and pending legislation like VAT MOSS.
For the past month, I’d been trying to figure out exactly what to do with my art. Then I saw this comic from Zen Pencils and realized that, perhaps, I’d been right at the start: the most important thing to me isn’t the money or the fame, but rather, the sheer joy of making something for another person, putting my all into the process of just making that art.
So for now, I’ve decided to stop taking payments for my artwork. This is something I have the luxury of doing: I have a sustainable, well-paying job that keeps me supplied beyond my needs, I can afford my material costs and the costs of my time, and I can take requests that are within my means. I will not begrudge people from continuing to send tips and donations my way, as they encourage me to keep making things for all of you. But I literally do not have enough hours in my current day to formally do business, and I need to act accordingly.
Through the end of this, I want to emphasize that this is a decision based solely on my personal needs. I want to encourage any artist that supports themselves through your trade to continue doing what you do, because you are awesome and we need more people like you to exist. I especially encourage people reading this post to keep supporting these people, because they struggle to inspire us all and bring worlds to life that we literally would not dream of if not for them.
Thank you for reading. Please note that this is not an art request thread, so please, do not request artwork here. I’ll be starting a separate thread on various social media when I begin taking requests again.
Love you all.