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Advice for building a career as a freelance artist

by Dave Roman, former Nickelodeon Magazine cartoonist and freelance author. lots and lots of good stuff on several practical issues, even for guys like me who ‘only’ write. I specially like this one, regarding illustrators:

it’s yaytime!
Arguing with someone who hires you is pointless.
If they ask you to change something, you have to do it–even if you don’t agree with the change. That’s why they are PAYING you. Complain to your friends and family all you want. But do whatever it takes to finish the job first. I’ve had to fire artists in the middle of big multi-page assignments because they had too many issues, constantly questioned the notes, or were just stubborn about having to pick up a pencil again. As an artist myself, I am usually sympathetic and try to make my freelancers’ lives easier whenever possible. But if I’m juggling too many stressful deadlines I can lose patience like anyone else, opting to continue with someone more flexible and easy to work with. I have freelancers who have redrawn entire characters or panels over several times because of wishy-washy editors or outside requests from legal departments of corporate heads–and they actually do so enthusiastically, and say things like “these changes have made the comic so much better now.” I’m sure the artist secretly hates my guts and wished that they got everything perfect the first time, but the fact that she/he UNDERSTANDS THAT THIS IS A JOB and is willing to do what we ask with a smile on their face (or email) makes me want to pay them lots and lots of money and recommend said artist to every person in the world.

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