Hey SVS, Very Important
I was doing research as I normally do pertaining to illustration and decided to check out a site, which I heard people were selling their book illustration skills for next to nothing__ which I think is insane. Anyway, I noticed this image that I thought I had seen somewhere before @Will-Terry. I am pretty sure this is your image. In light of this, I'm thinking it would be a smart idea for all artists to start searching that site to see if their work is being used. I searched it under "children"s book illustration."
I have total love and respect for all you guys do. There's no signature, but I know this image advertises your video, I am sure you would not want it on that site. By the way, if this post is in any way inappropriate to you, I understand if you delete, but I thought it would be smart to alert all of us who are artists with portfolios online.
For December's third Thursday, a good question would be: "What should I be doing now to protect my work? Have any of you encountered this situation before?" @Lee-White
good catch! I have encountered this before and it totally sucks. I'll ask this during our third Thursday chat and see what everyone says.
@lee-white Great, glad I stumbled upon it. I think there might be another one of his too. It was a frog image under a different artist, but I'm not entirely sure.
I can never understand the point of displaying someone elses work as yours. Surely when you are asked to do the work you will be seen as a fake. Also how could anyone make a color illustration with characters for $10...?
Being in the design world since a while as art director, I can tell you that Fiverr has a terrible reputation and that no art director in his sane mind would go there to hire anybody. - it’s almost a running joke.
It is famigerate for „portfolio stealing“, delivering stock art and design and claiming it to be original work, and „designers“ plagiarizing other people`s work....as weil as, of course, for ridiculously inappropriate prices and practices.
The site survives because it appeals to a certain type of client you would not want to work with anyhow.
There are many sites with a similar setup, and literally millions of freelancers on them. The majority of portfolios on these sites are not google-searchable
(It´s just a setting you can choose when you register there as a freelancer), so there is no way to know how many are using other people’s art as a hook. I hire production designers and other type of low-creativity jobs on Upwork and I always run a check when I see an unusually good portfolio. Twice I found the person on Upwork was claiming somebody else`s portfolio as their own.
The bottom line, I guess, is that I would not worry too much. Of course it sucks, but this type of deception is factually not fully detectable, has very short legs and does not really damage your business - not more than what sites like Upwork as a whole do already since years.
It´s much more damaging not to put your work out there for people to see...
I realized I am assuming people are familiar with Upwork because it is such a household name, but maybe not so known to Illustrators.
In 2014-2015, two of the biggest freelancer marketplaces, o-Desk and Elance, merged, creating Upwork and joining their roster. This new marketplace literally has millions of freelancers hireable with a very very simple process and standard contracts. I think it is more than 18 millions, from copywriting to design to web coding to app creation - whatever service you can imagine. Upwork retains a percentage of each transaction.
Anybody can register as a freelancer there - which means the quality of work offered and the pricing ranges through the whole spectrum. There are freelancers living in Calcutta who will charge as little as 2 USD/hour and established New York agencies offering work for 150 USD/hour or more.
Upwork is only one of many - each with a different philosophy. Fiverr, as mentioned, is the worst of all. Freelancer.com is very similar to Upwork, but smaller. WorkingNotWorking is trying to establish itself on the claim that it only allows top people to register...
I encourage you to visit these portals and have a look at illustrators portfolios - not to spot plagiarism but to get a sense of what the competition landscape is, especially from Asia, Africa and other low-cost countries. The world is very small today....
@smceccarelli if you get a good cheap illustrator though, those of us who have to charge more to live are surely at a disadvantage? In my darker moments I almost wonder about finding those great cheaper artists who I can replicate the style of...then go get my own design work, but get these other guys to do it, knowing if they don’t produce the goods I can go back on and do it myself. Never done it but sometimes....
I’ve heard it said thiugh that whatever happens, don’t get caught in the trap of the race to the bottom.
@andyg I was very worried about „the race to the bottom“ when I started freelancing myself - I knew all too well that there are excellent artists in low-cost countries. After a few years striding the line (aka: working as art director by day and as artist by night) I am much less worried...
I think most solid clients (and publishers) are well aware that you mostly get what you pay for and budget accordingly. At the least, the problem you have with hiring a designer from a country where the cost of living is low is that his/her style may not be well suited to other cultural environments. Sometimes it´s difficult to transmit what you want and there are communication challenges. It’s not always the case - I have a long-standing working relationship with a production designer from Belgrade whom I very much like to work with.
The one thing I can say is: do not base your value on cost...ever. You can’t win that race if you live in Europe or the US. People should hire you because of your style, your vision, your creativity - never because you’re cheap(er).
You can build your business upon hiring other people to do the work: it´s called having an agency ;-) As long as it´s clear to everybody, it`s a perfectly legitimate business. Just know that you are acting as creative director or art director and not as artist - it’s a different job.
@smceccarelli When I started illustrating, I used Odesk( now Upwork). I charged very low and it landed me the job. But do you know what you get by bidding low? A very lousy client! He wanted me to finish a 24-page children's book in 3 weeks and didn't really care much for me as an illustrator. When I finished, he had the nerve to be disappointed in my work! He ended up not using my watercolor illustrations and had another amateur illustrator do an identical but digital version of my work. The book did not do well. What's the lesson? If you charge cheap, you get bad clients.
@gary-wilkinson I know, right! Like @Lee-White said, that he's been through this and it's (lemons and sour lollipops.) Can't wait to hear his take. It's easy to see that these people, who take advantage by stealing other people's work, are scam artists. They use professional work to hook that self-publishing writer who knows nothing about illustration. Professional work being stolen is the bad side of this especially if someone really believes that it's you on that site. However, the good side is that now we, as professionals, have more leverage because we can prove that if you want a cheap illustration, you'll get one so it's better to buy direct.
@nyrryl-cadiz I recently watched @Will-Terry 's videos about freelancing and that is what started this whole thing because I was checking the market. I've been a freelancer for years in other areas so it's a natural transition. You are so right when you basically say 'don't sell yourself short.' I also think it's smarter to sell from our own platform and market it-- rather than to join the masses.
@blessings Thank you for pulling this up - I've spent too much time trying to get these taken down - I'll chalk it up to putting myself out there - comes with the territory? Sigh. But the thoughts were already expressed on this thread...I suppose in some places in this world $10 is a fortune? I'm very fortunate not to be in a place where I would entertain the idea of making a buck this way.
@smceccarelli I've heard about the "race to the bottom" but I had no idea people were this bad or this desperate about getting there.
Is this sort of thing going to seriously damage the standing of serious Illustrators trying to make a serious living or is it just some con-artists trying to make a quick buck out of cost oriented clients who don't really understand the value of Illustration? (and why should they if no one tells them, and frames it like it's an off the shelf product in a supermarket done by a faceless robot).
Hopefully as you say there are better clients who value the real worth of original Illustration and treat an Illustrator more like a partner who is bringing value to their organization, product or service and not just a commodity they can get cheaper somewhere else. When I was a member of the AOI back in 2011 I read warnings about undercharging and undercutting others that it damaged the standing of illustrators as a whole. The best client I had paid me very well (and was very nice and polite) and the job went smoothly. I can definitely attest to the cost based approach of being a good way of getting into some really awkward and sole destroying situations where that job at the supermarket starts to look really promising.
I've been doing a lot of self business education over the last few years and I've been wondering if I should join the Association of illustrators or something again if I do decide to freelance in the future. I learned many lessons in my younger years about the perils of freelancing (not having the education and wisdom to avoid some basic pitfalls and red flags being self taught unfortunately). Speculative art / working for nothing is a complete waste of time, but that's another subject altogether anyway.
@christine-garner Being a buyer for one of those clients (it´s really awkward to be on both sides of the discussion somehow!) I can assure you that there are people who know the value of illustrations and are prepared to pay accordingly. How many of those people and jobs are available for how many illustrators, i cannot tell.
Clearly, there are probably much more people who have no idea what goes into illustration work - and then it´s our task to explain it to them. An illustrator should never feel pressured to undersell his work just because the client does not understand its value. No other professional does that - it seems this disease only affects people in creative jobs - like a collective inferiority complex.
But the competition of the globalized world is fierce, clearly. The value needs to be there in the first place, to be able to make a value statement. As one teacher said: you are either the best artist for the job or the nicest person to work with or both...and if you miss a deadline it´s probably your last job. As somebody who hires artists and designers of all types and prices, I can tell that there is a lot of truth in this statement...
@smceccarelli Thanks for your reply, its very useful to know these things. I got lots of practice at this sort of thing when I did freelance webdesign jobs for 7 years or so and I worked in admin positions, and deadlines have never been a problem for me (essay writing in my archaeology degree maybe?).
I guess self doubt is a big problem in Illustration and art in general. Its hard not to compare yourself against everyone and always feel like you need to get better. I agree with you though, its the client that ultimately decides the value whether your work is good enough for their project and what they might pay you- especially with art as it's so subjective.
I wonder if there should be some sort of professionalism / client relationship training for Illustrators, it might come in handy. I listen to design podcasts to get tips and read up on how Graphic Designers and Photographers work. I's odd how Illustrators seem to be perceived or perceive themselves differently (less professional or serious) than Photographers and Graphic Designers even though there are many parallels with these professions.
@will-terry Wow, thanks. I’m pretty shocked that the owners haven’t honored your request.
@blessings They get taken down and then put back up... I can't look backwards - I must press forwards. I refuse to spend my mental energy or time on what probably wouldn't translate to money in my pocket anyway.