I’ve been away for a while, but only because I found myself weighed down by a bunch of little deadlines handed down by clients that suddenly clustered around me. In a grand scheme, it’s very fortunate that I was able to freelance my art things out and build up my credibility on a few freelancing websites (like eLance and Guru), but it’s exhausting. And none of the work has really been that creative – just interpreting ideas of clients and being told that I wasn’t doing it just like they had in their head.
It really emphasizes the gulf between basic communication skills and what people expect in terms of what the “artist” produces. I can’t even describe how many files I created, was told that they needed to be changed, and had the client go back to the original samples I send them. It’s a lot of wasted time and efficiency that could be used on bigger ideas, not smaller ones. The creative ideas are constantly clipped for more generic, expected, simple ideas that don’t really emphasize the merits of the project or product – but I guess that’s why these folks hire outside artists. I just wish that they were more receptive to the ideas of people who have seen the breadth of these projects, have interacted with the push and pull of visual marketing, and know what they’re doing. There’s a synthesis of the intellectual and the emotional that a lot of people forget to integrate properly.
I’m at the other end of the client tunnel, and I want to take a break, but I also can’t wait to embrace the challenges of each new project. I’ve designed 5 t-shirts, 4 Boy Scout-type patches, 24 coloring book and dot-to-dot pages, and a whole bunch of other stuff, but if I don’t take a break and focus on the tangible, I’m going to lose my mind.
My girlfriend and I went to Tim & Eric live right after Thanksgiving, and there were never so many super-hip dorks collected in one place. I wrote about it here. On the way in, I foolishly left my multitool out in my bag, when I had about a million options to put it somewhere safe. When the security guy saw it, he suggested that I throw it in some bushes and hope that I find it later. I tried to give it to the box office with my business card, but they were assholes about it, and I finally got a security guard to take it, but despite my best efforts, I never saw him again. At about 1 AM I got a phone call from him asking me where I was, but I was already about 100 miles away and in bed, so I told him to keep it an enjoy it. Fortunately, I found a replacement on eBay for 99 cents. I’m not a fan of unnecessary loss.
Finally, I’ve been seeking a few more clients. The most recent one who took up my evening is based in California. What was presented as a job making graphic icons was ACTUALLY a job making complex, text-based icons. And they needed to use very specific fonts – which she didn’t know the names of, and could not provide. She wanted every font file I used, even though I explained that all fonts would be provided as images (outlines, to you AI people) on a separate layer. And she wanted each complex text image to come in 15 color variations – literally 15. It would have worked out to $2 an hour, for about 35 hours.
I was informed that I was competing against bids of $4 per image. I replied that I can’t compete with Pakistan, withdrew the bid, and registered a complaint regarding the nature of the proposal and the nature of the final project being completely different.
Thus ends my negative rampage. Things are good, too – I have a great girlfriend, a better job is possibly on the horizon, and hamburgers are delicious. So there.