Illustrators, this one is for you! ✍🏻 If you haven’t seen my IG Stories (now a ‘highlight’ on my profile so they’ll stay there), yesterday I received yet another request for free work, so this is how I replied, below. The support I’ve received since sharing this has been incredible, & after 10 years on Twitter it has become my most liked & shared tweet ever! 😮 Please feel free to use my response as a template for your own emails if you encounter this problem. It’s always hard to know how to phrase something like this, so I’m happy for you to use mine if it helps. ✔️
THE ORIGINAL EMAIL:
“Hi Natasha, just seen one of your lovely pictures that might work well for a poster advertising our choral society Christmas Concert and I was wondering if you’d object to us using it? We have no spare money I’m afraid, so I’m just asking as a favour really! Many thanks”
“Thanks for contacting me; I'm pleased that you like my work! However, I no longer allow people to use my artwork for free as it's the only way I make a living, so I always charge a fee which varies depending upon the usage. I've looked at the choral society's website and I'm certain that they wouldn't perform concerts for free, and the printers who make the posters or any other advertising material wouldn't work for free either. Using artwork to promote a paid event, with the image being something that draws people in and helps to set the tone and sell the tickets, but not expecting to pay the artist is unacceptable. This is my job, and it has taken years of hard work and financial hardship to finally get to the stage where I can make a living. You wouldn't ask a plumber to come and fix your leaking pipe "as a favour" would you? It's the same thing. I don't wish to seem harsh but you must understand how frustrating it is that artwork, which takes years of practice, skill and talent to produce (not to mention costly art materials) is sometimes so undervalued.
Very best wishes,
I tried to be polite but firm, & handle it in a professional way whilst explaining why this type of request is not ok. This is part of a larger problem within the illustration industry; more on that soon. ✍🏻