Exposure Doesn’t Pay The Bills

The Oatmeal posted an excellent comic yesterday (at least I first saw it yesterday). It directly addresses the bullshit of people trying to sucker artists into doing work for exposure.

As I’ve said, if you’re good at something never do it for free. And guess what doing something for exposure is? Free. Because exposure doesn’t pay the bills.

I run into my fair share of people trying to sucker work out of me for free. My sister is an artist so she probably runs into it a hundred times more than me (good thing our dad raised us right and neither of us get suckered into such scams). Because art’s value is primarily derived from creativity it’s harder for people to understand it has value than to understand something physical like a car has value. But anything worth doing is worth getting paid for and art is no exception.

If you look at websites, book covers, magazines, comic books, or the packaging on almost any product you’ll notice they all have something in common: art. Art catches the eye and is often the thing that causes somebody to initially notice a product. It’s the reason novels tend to have art instead of just the title and author printed on the the cover. I shit you not, the reason I initially noticed and checked out Whitechapel Gods is because the cover art is fucking fantastic. It turns out to be a fun read but if it didn’t have that cover art I probably wouldn’t have noticed it. This is why almost every product, including food at the grocery store, is packaged in something covered in art.

Manufacturers know art is important, which is why they pay artists to create it. The fact manufacturers pay artists to create art demonstrates art has value. Unless the person offering exposure is a seriously big name that can actually get your work in front of well known buyers willing to pay (I can’t emphasize that part enough) you they’re swindlers offering you nothing of value and should be ignored. If somebody really wants your art they’ll pay you money and if they don’t you’re wasting your time talking to them.

Don’t fall for the exposure malarkey (unless, of course, the person offering has some big chops that you know will get you in front of paying customers). Fuck exposure. Get paid instead.