I pay you in visibility – or, when an artist is not paid the right amount.

A lot of people either stop to think of the artist's profession as "magical and fascinating", or as "a waste of time and not a real job". Only 1% stops to listen and understand what's really behind it.

Sketches upon sketches to check, anatomies to correct, details to refine and balloons in which to write small and often very long texts… all, with the terrible anxiety of a deadline to meet.

While for some it's just a pastime to unwind after a stressful day, for most it's a full-time job that requires as much attention and commitment as an office worker. Do you really think that just drawing and coloring something is enough? Poor deluded people, being an artist (and any work related to drawing, regardless of whether it is digital or on paper) is a stressful activity that brings together advantages and disadvantages… especially the latter. The most serious of these is non-retribution.


If it is still said that artists have "starved to death" it is because, unfortunately; they are not paid the right amount.

The difficulty of not being paid is more complex than one might imagine and involves both freelancers and employees of an art studio.

It all starts with those certain "customers" who think they are entitled to not having to shell out the right fee for the commissioned work by trying to 1) get a big discount or 2) disappear with the product without paying. In companies or agencies there may be small guarantees of security, but for freelancers it is a continuous threat that often only reveals itself when it is too late.

It happens more often than you think and it's disheartening.

To prevent the problem, a thousand solutions are sought and the community itself gets involved to report fraudulent customers. In this regard, I refer you to this interview with the team behind the "Artist Beware" site, whose purpose is to help artists (but also customers) not to fall into the clutches of cheaters: https://www.tebiscottiearte.com/2021/03/30/artists-beware/

However, the road is still very long.

On my Twitter profile I asked my followers (mostly freelance artists) if they had any experience with the topic at hand. The responses received were very varied and ranged from:

·       imposition of a discount, as mentioned above

·       sudden disappearance of the client at the notice that the drawing will not be free

·       trolling for no reason

·       unjustified bad publicity

·       abandonment of the project after hours and hours of work lost to satisfy the customer


In each of these experiences I was able to perceive the disappointment (and also the scazzo, if you will pass the term) that these people felt after having to deal with similar people. I too have my own bitter experiences, but read those of others, and especially people I respect; it saddens me much more.

The very famous "I pay you in visibility" is missing, a story as old as it is current that amazes me not having read anything around after asking the question. Obviously, even without the need for direct intervention, the classic web search is enough to find dozens and dozens of experiences, even from people who do completely different jobs.


This reality is "older" than you think… Even involving art icons who today, even if they make their owners earn millions, have not earned a penny - or the right compensation - to those who created them, as happened to Harvey Ball, creator of the "smile", and the AC/DC band logo.


It's not the first time I've written an article to complain about the injustice involving art and artists, but try to understand that I'm not doing it because I want to annoy or always repropose the same subject in a different key: what I'm looking for to do is explain to people how complicated this environment is and why it should be respected.

Just as society reminds us that it is important to be civil towards others, so I try to remind others to be respectful in the category to which I belong.

Therefore, be more understanding with those who work by drawing, because not everything is always a rainbow of happiness.

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