“The best things in life are free, but your hard work shouldn't be.”
This post might be a bit of a rant, but I just wanted to get this thought off my mind. I'm speaking to the artists who are trying to get recognition for their work. This is especially important for young artists in the making. If you're fresh out of college or going to an Art school, I'd like to give my advice:
Don't fall for the spec work disguised as a "contest." I'm sure a lot of the people running those contests have good intentions. Maybe. If it's a business looking for a logo, website designs, book covers, etc. be careful. They are making money off your work, so get paid for your work! If they're getting paid, why shouldn't you?
My friend Will Terry has a great video series on YouTube for beginning illustrators. He's got some golden advice there too. Don't devalue your work by giving it away.
DON'T BE A SLAVE, GET PAID!
I'm not against doing free work at all. Heck, I do it all the time. I do free work for a couple reasons: I know the people I'm doing it for and I know how my work is being used. I usually do it for a good cause. It's part of giving back to the community. I encourage it. What I don't encourage is people being taken advantage of. I see this all the time. It's especially true of artists. Don't keep that cycle going please. Make your work valuable and people will value your work.
Also watch this
Need more reasons to not work for free?
Jessica Hische has a diagram to help you decide. Check it out at http://www.shouldiworkforfree.com/
Connect with me on twitter @ArtofNor.