One possible test is whether or not the work involved would or would not be illustrated in the absence of the freebie, but even then, I feel the freebie is justified ONLY if you feel strongly (and I emphasize “strongly”) in the project.  I recently illustrated a book on an issue I have devoted  years of effort to, because I wanted it to look good.   Mind you, even then I stipulated that I retain the originals, most of which were saleable so I did make a modest profit; also, that the interior illustrations be in colour, even though they were reproduced in black and white, because a colour drawing takes no longer to do, and is far more likely to sell. 


But while people buy paintings of birds, they are less likely to be interested in an original illustration of the inner ear or a cross section of a lizard’s torso or variations in wing structures of fruit flies (although such art can be quite wondrous).  


There are times, not many, when I have donated original art to a charitable cause I support, figuring that I would do the same if I made its value by selling the original (again remembering that I am not in the position of doing non-saleable paintings), and were I to sell it, and donate the money, I’d be putting a painting into a patron’s or collector’s possession, thus reducing the likelihood that she/he will by another.  


But usually, when asked for a freebie, I just say no, explain that it is how I earn part of my living (I also do environmental and animal protection work). 


I also hate to be asked for paintings that didn’t sell, or sketches, or “just something simple”, since it does, in the outside world, represent my work.   Even a “simple” drawing takes up a of time, and materials.   I think some folks have seen too many movies where an artist picks up chunk of charcoal and in a few moments creates a beautiful and complete drawing.  It’s not that simple.





Barry Kent MacKay

Bird Artist, Illustrator

Studio: (905)-472-9731
[log in to unmask]




From: SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Bruce Bartrug
Sent: May-02-14 10:49 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [SCIART] Work for free is not confined to art


I have no answer for that, Anne.  How many pretty young women go to New York to be models and come home six months later broke and, maybe, wiser.  (Hmm....same business that began this thread.)  Supply and demand are always an issue in any line of endeavor, but if artists of any genre refused free work, those that stay in the field would have a easier time.



On Fri, May 2, 2014 at 10:44 AM, Anne Runyon <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


All I know is that it just keeps on keeping.




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