Photo Manipulation Week
I brought together a group of photo manipulators who have all freelanced in one way shape or form. Whether it be full time, part time, or just a few side gigs here and there! Thanks KirenBagchee
for giving me some of your time and words!
To start off, tell us a bit about yourself! How long have you been doing your art, both as a hobby and then eventually as a way to earn money? Do you have a specific genre you tend to prefer? Do you have any previous art schooling?
I have been working in digital art for approximately 10 years. I drew a lot previously, but it is thanks to the digital art that I was able to achieve my desires. Since then, it became a passion which occupies a big part of my life. I am self-taught, but I do have art diploma (although I have to admit that it did not bring me much, even absolutely nothing).
At the beginning, I did not intend for one second to sell my works. I was totally not going to earn money through my works because it was for me, my passion, my pastime, my small pleasure. I said "I would make none to order, I would realize artwork that is for myself and not for the pleasure of others!".
Over the years I evolved in my passion, and one day a group got in touch with me asking to use one of my artworks as their cover CD. It was not a commission, and there was no limitations, my artwork stayed my work nevertheless and I thus accepted with enjoyment! So, I began to see things differently and started to make small commissions here and there (whether of simple printing or CD covers)."
My name is Whendell, I am 25 years old and I live in Brazil. I started to become interested in digital art in 2009 as a hobby, and for about 2 years I have been working as a freelancer. I really learned everything I know about photo manipulation on my own, so I'm autodidact (self taught), but I will start studying something in the digital art and visual effect fields.
I've been doing digital art for over 15 years, give or take. Majority of that time, I spent countless hours experimenting with Photoshop. Up until the last 5 years, I realized that people were willing to pay me for my art. I prefer the dark side of art, I grew up watching a lot of horror movies which resonated with me. I did take a course in graphics and multimedia but the only thing it really did was spark my interest in digital art and not to become a better artist.
Speaking of schooling: self taught Vs. art school - do you recommend one over the other? Do you think some kind of formal schooling is integral to creating a solid art career, or is learning by simply just doing it the way to go?
I have to admit that I have a severe problem with the schools of art. I do not think that they can bring something bad... but according to my experience, schools try too many ways to format you, to change your way of thinking and of creating. They wish to make you a person whom you are not. And I have to say that I am in total disagreement with this kind of method. I have a rather severe opinion about it.
So there is no possible doubt for me! Nothing is worth more than being self-taught! If you are fascinated and motivated, nothing will stop you! If you want to forge ahead, if you overflow with imagination, ideas, and creativity let nobody bock off the road. Live your passion up to the end, share your passion, and do not hesitate to exchange with others! Communication is often a crucial element.
I am autodidact (self taught), but soon I will study something in the digital arts field, so if you have conditions for it - do it! You will only grow and enrich, increasing your work!
I've always been self taught so I'm a bit biased on that matter. If you can do both, that is, being able to afford school, then go for it! If not, I've seen plenty of amazing artists have successful careers with huge companies and as freelancers without art degrees. So, it really depends on what you want out of it, I guess.
When I, personally, show people my art and say I am a freelance mixed media artist I will often be asked "....so what do you DO exactly?". Where do you find you apply your art skills the most? Book, and CD covers? Posters and flyers?
At the beginning, I explained to people that digital art surrounded us completely today. Whether it is on a film poster, on a book or even a CD! Like I said earlier, I have never proposed my services. I refuse to take certain jobs because it does not interest me. So when they ask me that question, I answer that I make illustrations and that I can turn it into cover art (If I want to) because it is all ready what interests me. It all depends on the project, obviously.
I also hear this question a lot. I answer that I am a digital artist, I consider all art made from a software as digital art, the way I develop my art is from the photo manipulation technique, which is really what I can do better. For me it's really an honor to have a piece of mine on a book or CD cover, so I do not have a favorite physical media for my art.
I tell people I'm a illustrator, it's a broad enough term that most can grasp. As for applying my skills, I love working with bands and musicians. Being a musician myself and being in bands over the years, I really have a passion
to create art for them. Seeing your work as an album cover and having people connect that with the music is always an awesome feeling.
What prompted you to start freelancing? Do you simply decide one day, or did someone approach you with a job maybe?
As I explained, I had never intended to be a freelancer. All that I wanted was to make my artwork in my corner, in the peace. And a famous day, I was contacted for an album. Since then, I see things differently. I continue to put the priority on my personal works, but if somebody calls on to me and proposes me a very interesting project, I would take it!
Someone approached me with a job, it was to make a logo, which is not what I can do well, but as it was for a friend, I did, and it was really the first time I gained something in return for a work, and from there began to appear people interested in my work.
I got approached by a band wanting me to create artwork for their debut album. After finishing that, it really kick started me into the whole freelancing thing.
As someone who is providing a service, it's pretty important to keep the client happy...which can sometimes mean sacrificing your own sanity. Do you have any advice on how to keep both you and the client from wanting to pull your own hair out?
It is an interesting question! Because we are often confronted with this kind of problem I think! Personally, I have a very good secret about it...convince the person that your idea is better than his while telling him that he has all the same reason! Haha!
Yes, I know, I am not a good example. But I think that by communicating correctly with the person, there is possibility of turning the situation to your advantage. I think that there is nothing worse than creating something that does not please you for somebody else. I always considered that if the person comes to you, it is because she admires your talent and your artistic touch. Thus certainly, it is necessary to be open and to accept the ideas of the customer (because after all, it remains a collaboration! And the customer can very well bring very good ideas you may not have thought of!) but if he asks for something that you hate...it looks complicated. Then, as I said, I am a very bad example! Haha !
My advice is, from the first moment, make it clear to the client your terms, make a list with them, the time it takes you to complete a job, your rates, your methods of payment, everything should be told in advance to any avoid future misunderstandings.
Learning to let things go is one thing ha ha. The other is to have revision fees. I've made countless mistakes with not properly setting guidelines before hand and paid for it later.
Is there anything you know now that you wish you would have known when you first started freelancing?
Yes, when I started I did not know how much to charge for my work, I think that's the doubt of many here, so know that to value your art is very important, think of a rate that is fair for you and for your client.
I wish I knew about all the great online art communities, such as DeviantArt. I feel I started late in the whole social networking thing, but better late than never!
Do you have any last words or advice for someone looking to dabble in freelancing?
Remain yourself! Trust yourself and say to yourself that "Although l just arrived, this experience will be necessarily enriching!"
Do not force yourself to make something that does not please you and especially do not let you get walked on! Especially financially speaking. Digital art is complicated and rigorous work. Let nobody persuade you that it is something easy and thus cheaply paid. Say to yourself that if the person approached you, it is because they admire the art you made. And especially do not forget that the passion comes first!
Okay, here's a brief list of important advice:
- As I said earlier, make it clear to your client your terms.
- Get a down payment before you start to work or when 50% of the work is done.
- If you do not feel comfortable to do something, decline it. Do what makes you feel good.
- Use social platforms to your advantage!
- And always be professional.
If you have any questions and if I can help, feel free to send me a note.
Only pick jobs that you are excited about rather than how much you will get paid. Don't be afraid to turn down clients, as well. Your happiness (and sanity) are the most important.