This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Why you're afraid to charge for your artwork

Making the transition from being an artist, to being an artist who makes money with their art, can be very difficult for some people. And while getting paid for the artwork you create doesn't mean that you are a great artist - many great artists didn't sell anything in their lifetimes - it's kind of nice. My experience is that it's all about confidence. And learning to accept criticism. Avoiding criticism is the number one reason why artists don't charge for their work. If you give your artwork away, you can expect praise. If you charge something, however trivial, you can expect criticism.

I learned to start charging for my artwork in high school. It wasn't money, it was things. When I discovered that my high school would supply me with art materials in exchange for my "volunteering" to help with the yearbook, I was thrilled. I did it for two consecutive years. I also did artwork for my friends in exchange for food, or in exchange for having them do my shop class projects (don't tell anyone!). The point is that I learned early to exchange my artwork for something of value. And I also learned about criticism.

No one likes to be criticized, and artists tend to like it the least. Flying off on a rage and saying things like *I can't work under these circumstances!* is pretty much expected of artists. In fact, so many people who hire artists are so prepared to have artists be uncooperative that, if you don't behave like an egotistical maniac, you can really be impressive. So this is what you do -

Be creative, not argumentative. If someone wants a drawing of a dog, don't try to argue them into accepting a drawing of a cat. If you're good at arguing, become a lawyer or something. If you're an artist, be creative. If you can't draw a dog, give them their money back.

Don't give the client what they want, even if it stinks. If your client could do it themselves, they wouldn't be hiring you. Listen to them, and if they don't like what you have done, do something else. Give your client options. And make sure they're good. Really good. If you're creative, you can do a lot of them. Get paid by the hour.

Remember that art can be your life without being your living. But I discovered the difference between working for minimum wage and doing freelance graphic design while I was still in my teens. I chose graphic design.

You can do this!