ANDY FISH is a comic book artist

Sunday, November 24, 2013


If you're trying to make it as an artist, writer or photographer in the Big Woo and all you are concentrating on is the Worcester Market there is a fabulous chance that you actually pay your bills by bagging groceries thirty hours a week at Price Rite, because there just ain't enough business here to support you.

Worse, the city (Boston too so don't feel too bad Worcester) has too many amateurs.

Why are amateurs bad you say?

Because they are so anxious to get noticed that they will often work for free.

Here's how it works:

A business, let's call it WRIGHT BROS needs an artist for a project, and they want professional level artwork, the only trouble is they can't understand why a project that takes roughly 100 hours to complete costs more than $125/USD-- I'm certain all the folks at WRIGHT BROS are all working for $1.25 an hour so why shouldn't the artists right?

Some of my favorite comments both to me and to fellow artists who have related stories through the years (yes we talk about what idiots a client can be).

"But you just have to draw something-- you do that, like, for fun don't you?"

"I want something completely professional, unique and totally fresh, something like the new Coke campaign-- have you seen that?"  Yes I have, and that cost $125,000 to an ad agency just to develop. "I'll go as high as $40."

"We can't pay you but you'll get a lot of exposure."  Yes the light company allows me to pay my electric bill the same way.

"I can pay you in free lunch." So $7.95 for 100 hours work.  Excellent.

"I know we can't pay you but we assume you'd be thrilled to work with us."  Yes!  Please!  I love working for free, doesn't everyone?

So WRIGHT BROS can't afford the quote I give them, or any other professional, so they turn to the Amateur who agrees to the project at the price they offered.

Here's why the PRO turned it down;  We ARE pro's because we make a living doing this.  We can't make a living doing work at sub-standard rates, or sub minimum wage rates.  That's what makes us Pros.

The Amateur accepts it "for the exposure" the only trouble is because they are not getting paid, or getting paid enough, they have to work another job while they are on this project, and that means this project ain't getting done on time.

Eventually WRIGHT BROS comes back to me and explains they were unhappy with the amateur and asks if I can recommend someone to them, someone like a student of mine.  In the old days I did, but no longer.  I don't think students should be accepting work at below pro rates either.  Bad lesson.

Finally WRIGHT BROS either abandons the project they had wanted to do or they pay my rate, while also losing the original money they paid the amateur AND putting the project behind months and months.

All because they didn't want to pay a pro.

Would they do this same thing with a plumber or an electrician?  Likely not.  They don't in New York, Los Angeles or London where they recognize the value of a professional, and which is where the vast majority of my clients are.

Wanna learn how to avoid these types of clients?  Take the class.

Call WAM at 508 700 4406 and tell them you're going to change the course of your own career.
If you have the balls.