A few days ago I received an email wherein the sender told me how much they like my art, and they wanted me to be involved in their project. This was all very nice and I love to hear that people are enjoying my artwork. Since I am a freelance artist, I am always ready to become involved in a paying project. The problem is this-the person never told me in this email what they wanted. They did not explain a thing. They simply said:
"Hey Dan, I have this project and I would like you to be involved. I love your art."
That was the message. I know that first contact with an artist may be a bit intimidating if you do not work with us all the time, however, I must say that if you really want to pitch a project to an artist (or to anyone for that matter) you have to include as many details as possible in order to "sell" the project. Simply saying you want us involved and you love our work is just not enough. Not enough to even warrant any type of interest, at least not on my part. Here is the thing, I receive countless emails from people who say they have an interesting project, and it may be as interesting as they think it is, however if they do not share the details of it in that first email how am I to know it is a project I would like to be involved in?
When the word "payment" is involved, then of course I am more interested. Whenever I receive an email about an "Interesting project" and it does not mention payment or any monetary recompense within the body of the email, I am pretty sure it is a project I will not involve myself with. Also, the term "Good exposure for you" is not payment. Nor is it really that much of a benefit unless you are a world famous celebrity where the exposure may be worth something. But then, if you were such a celebrity, payment would be no problem. Therefore anytime I see the term "Good exposure" I naturally assume that no matter how interesting your project may be, you must have no budget and therefore are unable to pay for my services. I am sorry, I just do not waste my time with such.
While I support people in their varied interests and projects, I must be concerned with recompense for my time and energy. I am contacted daily by many people with interesting projects.......but no budget. As a freelance artist and illustrator, time is money to me, each project I undertake must have a benefit to me as an artist, and monetarily. I am sorry, but real world mechanics dictate that we must eat and pay our bills. I must support my family. I can not donate art for free, nor can I take time away from paying projects. Do I sound harsh? Am I an asshole? Nope. Just pragmatic and realistic.
So when you decide to contact an artist, please pitch your project to them just as you would any other professional person. As artists we may look different, and we think in different ways than normal people, however, we are not the extremely laid back beatnick who ends every sentence with "man.........." and hangs around dark alleys. Most of us are actually quite professional. We want, and deserve to be treated as such.