How to Say "No" Tactfully... Or Do I?



  • I just got a DM from a woman who I haven't heard from in at least 5 years (the last time was to ask for free artwork, which I provided without even a thank you) asking for free artwork. The sticking point for me is that it is for the benefit of childhood cancer patients. Opinions? Suggestions? I need a lifeline please. Thanks!


  • Pro

    @Pinky "I'm so sorry but right now I'm working on so many paid projects, and I can't go back on my engagements. There are so many talented people you can hire for this though, I'm sure you'll be able to find a great artist for the right price. Best of luck with your charity project, it's so inspiring that you're willing to put your time and money towards this."

    If you do want to do charity work, you can reach out yourself to organizations that help cancer patients (or any other cause you'd like to support) I'm sure they'd be more than happy to have you! There's no reason you have to team up with an ungrateful woman who only shows up to ask for favors. Free or low-pay work isn't always out of the question, it really depends on circumstances, but if at any point you feel used then it's your cue not to take it. You owe her nothing! You can do lots of good without her involvement, if you have the time, energy and desire to do so.



  • @NessIllustration Thanks! That is really well worded, tactful, and much better than anything I have come up with. 🙂


  • SVS OG

    @Pinky i just got a similar note yesterday. I told them to go talk to my agent. No niceties just direct to the point 😂 i don’t think it’s what you’re looking for tho


  • Pro

    @Nyrryl-Cadiz LOLLL that's priceless! I bet it gives them right away the knowledge that this is outrageously out of their league haha


  • SVS OG

    @NessIllustration Yeah! 😹 They contacted me more than a month ago about a book. I was very cordial and accomodating to them but when I inquired more about their project, they just ghosted me until yesterday. They said they lost my message in their draft folder which was a complete bull. Clearly they did not care about this project. If they did, they would've responded promptly. I was just too tired and completely not having it so I answered as politely as I could without cussing. 😂 😂 😂


  • SVS OG

    @Pinky I usually turn them down by saying my charity work is booked up this year, implying I am not a heartless monster but I just can't take on another free job. I love @NessIllustration 's suggestion! It's very diplomatic.


  • SVS OG

    @NessIllustration well said. There’s so many charities and so many amazing people. There is absolutely no reason to be stuck with an uncomfortable third party.


  • Pro

    @carriecopadraws I like to kill them with kindness with a hidden jab in there. "It's amazing that you're putting your money into this" - meaning you ARE putting your money into this, right? I KNOW you weren't just volunteering MY time for free in lieu of YOUR contribution to YOUR volunteering project, right? Of course you wouldn't, what kind of horrible human would do that 🙂



  • Thanks so much for all the wonderful advice -- and laughs! 🙂



  • Hi @Pinky, I’ve created several personalized illustrations for Make-A-Wish foundation and they were well received by the kiddos, their parents and the Make-A-Wish administrators.

    My day job in construction doesn’t offer much free time, so I definitely couldn’t continue offering my art on a continuous basis. I’m lucky every now and then to do this.

    If I were rich, I would definitely continue making personalized art for these kiddos. But until then, like yourself, have to respectfully decline every now and then.

    I can’t believe you didn’t even get a thank you! How rude!


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