Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login

on spec work

Thu Sep 17, 2015, 3:45 PM



with like. a recent influx of art contests on deviantart this got me thinking and remembering a really good fucking article ive seen recently

www.popsci.com/no-spec-work


trust me, read this. admittedly it does focus more on corporate spec work, which can be said to be the greater evil honestly, but the concepts are similar nonetheless

do not trust people trying to get you to work for free. while its true, sure, some of us are perfectly fine with working for free! that doesnt make it acceptable to perpetuate wide swept negative treatment of artists that we are essentially machines perfectly happy to work with no compensation

it breaks my heart and makes me furious to see that most of these shitty "draw my oc!" contests on deviantfart are often targeted at younger or more naive artists. yall stop that. youre fucking shitty. i dont give a single fuck if you assure something like 100 usd for the "winner", youre still fucking scamming dozens of other artists OUT OF THEIR TIME AND HARD WORK for the mere sliver of chance that you might pay them. is that like....do you not see how scummy that is? youre essentially telling people to draw for you for a chance that you might pay them.

if youve been saving up your money just for this chance to pay someone, go and actually fucking commission someone. dont drag around young hopeful artists, dangling money in front of their faces to goad them to work for you for free. actually use your fucking money if you were planning to. find an artist you like who does commissions, and pay them for their fucking work. dont be a greedy piece of shit and shovel free art into your mouth, youre disgusting

stop treating artists like shit



INFO + OTHER LOCALES

COMMISSIONSSociety6FYI+FAQ
TumblrTwitter ‧ knife pixel by milkboys


Add a Comment:
 
:iconstitchy-face:
Stitchy-Face Featured By Owner May 28, 2017  Professional General Artist
Yo this is like really well put, you mind if I share this to get more people reading it? 
Reply
:iconvcr-wolfe:
VCR-WOLFE Featured By Owner May 28, 2017   Filmographer
yea sure, go right ahead
Reply
:icondeer-dog:
Deer-dog Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2017  Student Digital Artist
Yes !!! Thank you !!! I've been trying to find a way to explain this to people for years.
I've always thought those 'draw my OC' contents were total bs, the only real winner in them is the person getting a bunch of free art of their OCs. 
Reply
:iconbuttwingss:
Buttwingss Featured By Owner Edited Jul 21, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm curious about your opinion on things like MYO slots where you pay someone else in order to get a chance to design something yourself.



At least contests are voluntary. You enter with the knowledge that winning is unlikely (depends on skill, number of entries, etc). Yes, it is certainly incentivized work, but ultimately voluntary work. If you don't want to draw that shitty OC, no one can force you to draw that shitty OC, even the million dollar prize pool.

Personally, I think contests are nice if you don't feel like taking requests but you do want to try something new/don't know what to make next.  You can make as shitty a product as you want and there's also a chance you might win something. There's no obligation to do anything. That's kind of cool, given that personal art is unlikely to earn you a penny and commissioners tend to be few and far between for the unpopular. It gives you a chance to stretch your creative muscles if there's a particularly interesting prompt or OC that catches your eye.

As a contest creator, you can crank out a large volume of art of whatever it is you want for pretty cheap (compared to commissioning people, especially if the grand prize is $100+), but you also don't get to chose whose art you get or what sort of art. With commissions, you get significantly more control. 



I can see the scummy side of the argument too. You ARE exploiting artists and cheapening their labor by likening it more to a hobby than a respectable profession (you wouldn't have a bunch of doctors compete for 300 points and a doodle over who can best bandage a broken ankle (but then again, you do get baking contests, engineering contests, programming contests, athletic events...)). The implication is that you should be pleased to work for what is usually a pretty meager pay-out, some experience, a chance at exposure, and perhaps a portfolio-worthy piece is pretty awful.
However, I would like to respectfully disagree for the most part. (THOUGH THIS IS ASSUMING YOU DON'T LAY CLAIM TO ALL THE ART PRODUCED BY THE ENTRANTS, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT THEY WON. DOING THAT DOES MAKE IT IMMORAL X100 RED FLAG)



ANYWAY. To get back to the first question: what is your opinion on MYO adopt slots?
Reply
:iconvcr-wolfe:
VCR-WOLFE Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2016   Filmographer
voluntary or not, the people holding the contests are still encouraging people to work for little to no compensation. you may choose to participate in these contests, but by doing so youre also contributing to keeping up the ideas and practice that its fine not to pay people for their work and instead hold over them a chance at being paid, or that age old shit of "exposure" (exposure and the chance of being seen is not the same as being paid and supported for your work, it will never be the same lmao)

if you want to pay someone to get one of their species adopts, fine, if you want to pay someone to design that species adopt for you, also fine. youre paying for a service
Reply
:iconbuttwingss:
Buttwingss Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, I can see that.

Technically it's not even a service. You're paying to design your own member of their species.
Reply
:iconvcr-wolfe:
VCR-WOLFE Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2016   Filmographer
youre paying for someone elses intellectual property, so yea, youre getting something from them

if people want to monetize their art, thats up to them and their right. if yall dont like adoptables you can simply just not buy any
Reply
:iconbuttwingss:
Buttwingss Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Haha man I have nothing against adoptables, closed species, or the like. Heck, I make and buy adopts myself.
As for monetization, every artist has a right to charge however much they want (especially if there's an ability and willingness to pay (even if it's hundreds of dollars "for a chibi dog" -- good going, man!)).
It's just that MYO things have always been a bit of a mystery to me, though I don't have anything against the people that buy them.
Reply
:iconxxdaisyforeverxx:
xXDaisyForeverXx Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2015
What if the person is just holding the contest so their followers could just have fun? Yeah sure its can be something with a scene about maybe a story they are writing about an oc or something, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's cause they want to see people just draw their oc. I wouldn't say all contests are like that, I'm sure there are some that people take advantage, but not all are doing the contest for their benefit. Some just host them so they could have their followers have fun and get a prize if they win. Sometimes the prize can even be A LOT of things and not just points. Idk some contests would be only for fun. You can't really go around accusing all contests of being scams.
Reply
:iconraylotic:
RAYLOTIC Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Funny enough, there's a contest that I was invited to just a few days ago on a pet breeding site. The user wanted people to draw their oc in exchange for the chance at getting in game items. So not even real money. Ive gotten scammy vibes from them before and this only seals it.

This kind of stuff always disappoints me tbh.
Reply
:iconenigmaticwisp:
EnigmaticWisp Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2015  Student General Artist
This is a really fascinating outlook. I still feel as though the occasional contest can be nice, but it's dependent on the type of contest. Any contest that has you create a specific type of drawing that only the contest host can reasonably use (such as drawing OCs) should be looked at with skepticism. 
Reply
:iconreptonic:
Reptonic Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2015  Student Filmographer
This has really changed my perspective on contest, and I am really glad that I watch you. Otherwise, I would never known about this.
Reply
:icondreamsphereinc:
DreamsphereINC Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2015  Student General Artist
I honestly never thought of it like that, but holy hell motherfucking preach this shit.
Reply
:iconthemsjolly:
themsjolly Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2015  Student Digital Artist
My art club at school invites me to contest for companies all the time (nick, dreamworks etc). The winner gets money, and the entries get nothing, the artwork still belongs to the company even if you don't win. I am the only one who disagrees with these but every else looks down on me for not doing these things. Im sick of it. =/

I commented on a journal a while back asking "isn't this contest just for you to get free work" boy was that the wrong thing to say. I got tons of comments excuses from their follows.
Reply
:iconmonstachan:
MonstaChan Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think I understand, you don't like them because they can be harmful to younger / underdeveloped artist. Because by selecting 1 winner, which is the one with the best quality art, your telling everyone else their art wasn't good enough compared to this persons. All the while taking their art anyways
Idk if that's what your getting at but that'd what I'm getting from reading what you said and a few of the comments
Reply
:iconvcr-wolfe:
VCR-WOLFE Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2015   Filmographer
kind of, youre on the right track more or less

its not so much about picking the highest quality art so much as it is like. youre not paying these people for their work, and are only paying a select few. if you want to conscript someones services in art, do it fairly and compensate their time and effort, dont scam them into working for free :v
Reply
:iconmonstachan:
MonstaChan Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh alright, I see. I totally agree with you
Thank you for helping me understand better
Reply
:iconthedevilreborn:
TheDevilReborn Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2015
I take a look at it.
Reply
:iconkovii:
Kovii Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2015
can i share this on twitter?
Reply
:iconvcr-wolfe:
VCR-WOLFE Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2015   Filmographer
i mean if you want, idek how shareable my journal really is due to my rather coarse and grouchy demeanor when writing it haha
Reply
:iconunfortunatecorvid:
UnfortunateCorvid Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I can agree with this, for the most part. If someone's gonna hold a contest, just to get someone to draw their OC, then they should just go out and commission or trade or whatever from someone. 

Last time I held a contest, it was to redesign an OC of mine for a prize, cause I wasn't sure what I was looking for in the character and didn't know who I could commission for such a thing. However, I did say, in the rules, that the designs that didn't win could sell off/adopt out/whatever the design that they did. Didn't really get many entries, but the winner did get paid well and the runner ups got a little something, too, for their efforts.
I didn't know about the new dA policy, but it may have not been around when I did the contest (at least hopefully not). 

Either way, definitely don't plan on doing any "draw my oc" contests for such prizes. That does seem rather misleading.
Reply
:iconponacho:
Ponacho Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2015  Student Digital Artist
I agree to some of it but then again I also enjoy entering contests sometimes usually when I have free time or as a thing in between other stuff because I find it fun and good practice or warm up
I guess it just depends how some people feel towards it

Also usually whenever I've held a contest I've always tried to give out a few prizes, like a bunch of runner ups and stuff when I can
But I haven't held one in a while ;v;
Reply
:iconvcr-wolfe:
VCR-WOLFE Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2015   Filmographer
like its cool and all if people dont mind working on art for free, but like. the greater issue is the whole concept of conscripting artists to work for what is essentially no pay. thats the issue. its normalizing the idea that artists more or less just exist to be taken advantage of
Reply
:iconponacho:
Ponacho Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Yeah I get ya, I've seen other things on places like tumblr about this too
Reply
:iconvcr-wolfe:
VCR-WOLFE Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2015   Filmographer
yea tbh like. its more about the people holding the contests rather than the people entering them. its good to educate people entering contests but in the end stopping the people doing them is like, the ideal probably
Reply
:iconroguenova:
RogueNova Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I will still hold a contest for a prize =P As long as the person is clear that there can only be one winner and that it's up to you whether or not you want to devote your time and energy towards this arbitrary possibility then there is nothing unethical about it.
Reply
:iconvcr-wolfe:
VCR-WOLFE Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2015   Filmographer
lmfao have fun perpetuating shitty views towards artists
Reply
:iconroguenova:
RogueNova Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have no such desire to promote the idea that artists should work for free or that they are entitled to provide free work for the sake of "exposure". Artists should be free to do things on their own terms . This is especially true when there is an expectation that this effort will pay off. Note the 9th word in that last sentence.

This is precisely why I made a point to mention that the person holding the contest should be clear that there can only be one winner. The onus then falls on the artist as to whether or not they bother to participate. I entered contests before myself and often times I didn't win. But doing so was still my own choice. No one made me do it. And you know what? It was fun even though I didn't win.
Reply
:iconvcr-wolfe:
VCR-WOLFE Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2015   Filmographer
the whole idea of goading artists into working for exposure is at its core flawed and misguided, because it perpetuates the idea that their work is not just as worthy as other forms of labor. its p well outlined in what i linked in the journal, here:  www.popsci.com/no-spec-work

if you want to really do an artist some good, fucking pay them, and if you cant, dont twist people around into working for free with these kinds of high risk low reward situations, thats just shitty
Reply
:iconroguenova:
RogueNova Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Advertising a contest is not in itself goading anyone into doing anything. You cannot deny people their own agency because I can no more force an artist to draw a picture than I can force an accountant to help me do my taxes or a broker to offer free investment advice. When I need a picture done I do it myself or, provided I don't have the skills to I will absolutely pay a specific artist to get the job done for me until such a time where I can do it myself.

Contests, on the other hand, are just a means of entertainment. And on the occasions when I do hold contests I make it clear that it's just for fun. I read the article prior to making my first comment. I do agree with the sentiment that an artist should not be devalued or treated as a replaceable commodity or free labor. But I will repeat myself: the onus falls on the artist. Whether or not they want to do work for free, for fun, as a gift, or as a commission is up to them. They set the price and the value of what they are willing to work for.

Take the contest that came out regarding the new final fantasy game. I am a big Nomura fan and when I heard that the winner would get their character on the game, it was worth the time and effort for me to try. That is a decision that I made. I was not goaded into it or twisted. It was my choice. A good deal of much better artists were all trying as well but I made my choice to devote my own free time to the attempt. Just as anyone else does when they participate in contests. Educating artists about regarding their own time and efforts as valuable is great and I fully am in favor of it. But if said artist then chooses to spend that time and effort to try to win a contest that's on them.
Reply
:iconvcr-wolfe:
VCR-WOLFE Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2015   Filmographer
honestly like. if artists want to work for themselves you are right, thats their prerogative, but thats not really the issue. the issue still lies in people thinking that spec work is okay in the first place, and actively perpetuating it is still harmful to artists overall. its the people holding the contests that the issue is with, not the people entering it
Reply
:iconroguenova:
RogueNova Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That's the thing though. I don't see holding contests is wrong. It's like gambling. Yes you need to be mindful about how you do it and it is ethically wrong in my eyes to do it with the intention of screwing people over for a profit. But...gambling, like entering contests is fun. And as long as you are mindful, it isn't really bad in and of itself even if you don't win. I can't stress enough how much I genuinely agree that artists should be encouraged to value their work and themselves. But I don't think holding an art contest should automatically be equated to perpetuating a system where artists are obliged to work for "promotion"(i.e. free work) before their work is considered valuable.

I have a friend who spent a good 2 months doing spec work for a magazine. She was supposed to do a series of comics and media images for the book but they just cut her off with no warning and there went months of effort down the drain. That pissed me off(I actually called them about it but that's another story). But, by the same token that was because there existed an expectation of reward for effort. She was being commissioned and they just backed out with no compensation. That, to me at least, is a bit different from a contest which by it's very nature a person is not guaranteed anything.

I just don't think it's fair to assume art contests as intrinsically wrong.
Reply
:iconvcr-wolfe:
VCR-WOLFE Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2015   Filmographer
at this point i think its definitely a differing mindset, im p vehemently against spec work and more or less consider contests to be under that category :v
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconreqqs:
reqqs Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2015   Artist
preach
Reply
:iconmomodrawsart:
momodrawsart Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
well said.
Reply
:icondeath77:
Death77 Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2015
indisputable logic, still though i feel that newbies learn that lesson them selves sooner or l8r
Reply
:iconvcr-wolfe:
VCR-WOLFE Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2015   Filmographer
it sucks that they have to learn this lesson at all, honestly. like i definitely think its something people should be more proactive about changing tbh so we can avoid it in the future
Reply
:iconskarita:
Skarita Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2015  Student Digital Artist
I agree to the extent that it's unfair to offer a cash prize for any kind of contest held for your own benefit. It definitely drags people in with an unfair premise. In some ways though I'd also say when I was younger I used to enter contests like that to get the attention of people I'd otherwise have no idea how to approach. I feel like as long as the contest is made with more a friendly community involvement in mind, it might pass on.

When large companies offer minimal cash prizes for competitions for their own promotional material it really gets my goat, but on a small community involvement level where the prize is the chance to get art from an artist you like when you don't have the money to pay them for it, I think it's okay. When I was a kid I definitely never had the cash to pay them and art trades are always dependent on the person and often how well you know them.
Reply
:iconvcr-wolfe:
VCR-WOLFE Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2015   Filmographer
tbh like

if you cant afford to pay all the artists involved, then just commission someone or a couple people honestly, or, find someone to do an art trade with so its fair. contests are just suckering free work out of people who, at least on this site, often tend to be kids who dont know any better. i just cant agree with that
Reply
:iconskarita:
Skarita Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Fair enough, really. I'm just in two minds about it. It's not something I'd personally feel like doing, anyway.
Reply
:icondreamindragon:
DreaminDragon Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh wow this is well put.
I've never thought about it like this...
 Glad I've never gotten around to actually making a contest like this.
Reply
:iconfelis-mechanicus:
Felis-Mechanicus Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2015
this is great! i haven't really seen any professional articles or comics about respecting and paying artists what they're due outside of tumblr posts o: would you mind if i shared this journal?
Reply
:iconvcr-wolfe:
VCR-WOLFE Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2015   Filmographer
yea sure

i mean i know i word this journal p harshly but boy am i fuckin,,,,hooo boyyyyy this shit gets me maaaad
Reply
:iconfelis-mechanicus:
Felis-Mechanicus Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2015
harsh words are needed for this subject imo
Reply
:icon1ore:
1ore Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2015
Ohhh what a good article. I know in my youngest net years I would have gotten roped into contests like that easy. So ingrained it seems like it doesn't occur to the contest holders (especially younger ones) what's wrong with it either, and it's disheartening :[
Reply
:iconlvci:
Lvci Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2015
SLAMS HANDS ON TABLE 
YES UGHHHHHHH doing this kind of thing is SO SHITTYYY
Reply
:iconwalverina:
walverina Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2015  Professional General Artist
THIS, those sorts of contests have always bothered me but I couldn't quite put my finger on why. The worse is when the prizes aren't even money but like half assed art or getting promoted on journals ech!
Reply
:iconthedoctorintime:
TheDoctorInTime Featured By Owner Edited Sep 17, 2015  Hobbyist Filmographer
something always bugged me about those contests and now i finally know why.

thanks for this!!
Reply
:icongaloogamelady:
GalooGameLady Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2015  Professional Filmographer
Agreed! Not to mention the complete and utter shit "awards" at these contests. $20 for first place? Go fuck yourself!
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×

:iconvcr-wolfe: More from VCR-WOLFE


Featured in Collections

Journals by TheRiversEdge

Journals by lookingglass99

Journals by TheUltimateOwl


More from DeviantArt



Details

Submitted on
September 17, 2015
Link
Thumb

Stats

Views
6,169 (1 today)
Favourites
140 (who?)
Comments
66
×