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About Digital Art / Professional Lauren K. Cannon28/Female/United States Groups :iconimaginefx: ImagineFX
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Deviant for 12 Years
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I received an email soliciting artwork for the second volume of"The Fantasy Illustration Library: Gods and Goddesses”.

The jist of it was:  Pick your god or goddess!  Make art for us!  After we get all the art, we’ll try to do a Kickstarter to produce the book and if we make enough money, we might pay the artists!  Don’t pay attention to the un-affordable nature of the book’s price point ($100) because we’ll totally pay you royalties!!

This brand of “proposal” is predatory, dishonest, and frankly incompetent. (And art budget for an art book?? Who’d ever even think of that!) People who organize business models like this are assholes, no words minced. Do not take the bait. Do not get involved. Do not lessen yourself, your work, your skill and time, by participating in this kind of pig swill.

No amount of experience or exposure is worth it. You know what else gets you experience and exposure? Paying jobs. Sample pieces targeted at future clients. Use the internet to build a fan and client base, not these insidious wide-net cashgrabs that give you and your craft zero respect. 

There is this prevailing idea among budding illustrators and artists that you need to do work for “experience” and “exposure” in order to make it.  These “opportunities” usually come in the form of the above project–maybe not a book, maybe it’s a card game or an RPG or one of those “contests” where companies trick people into submitting hundreds of free options for them and only pay for the one they like best–but the method is always the same… make work for us, for free or for a dismally low amount of money.  We’ll pay you royalties though, if the project makes money!  Of course that is after we, the company, pay all of our expenses and ourselves. 

I’m here to tell you: FUCK THAT SHIT.

Stuff like this might seem like a cool opportunity, but it isn’t. 

Real opportunities give something back more than an ego stroke–which isn’t much of an ego stroke in this case, since the bar is literally set at “people foolish enough to work for free” instead of being published on the merit of your work.

You do not need this kind of crap to get “exposure”.  You get exposure by promoting online, by networking with fellow artists and clients in your industry’s branch.  You get exposure by consistently releasing new work that keeps getting better.  That is how you get noticed.  Trust me, I hang out with a lot of art directors.  And if you want advice on how to get an art director’s attention, they have a tumblr now where you can anonymously ask them anything about the industry:

Honest companies pay upfront, upon completion of your artwork, or within a reasonable period of time after that (30-45 days typically).  They do not withhold money until the project is released, and they certainly do not withhold money under the promise you might get paid an unspecified amount later.  

Honest companies understand that they need to have a budget for artwork and plan accordingly. “We’re just getting started” or “We’re very small” is not an excuse.  It’s their problem, not yours.

Honest companies and clients respect your time, your skill, your craft, and the fact that creating art is a job.   


Because when nobody talks about them, inexperienced or young artists get roped into this crap:

You can see a list of industry rates according to project type here at Art PACT:…

Next time you get a commission offer, before you settle for peanuts, please check out that list and notice what rates are normal and acceptable.  If you feel you’re not “good enough” to be working for “real clients”, doing free work for projects very few people will see (or doing those notorious $5 commissions I see all the time here on dA--what are you DOING to yourself?) is not going to make it better.  Practicing and networking will. 

Value yourself.  Value your craft.  Value your time.  Value your work. And don’t tangle with anyone who doesn’t.

With love,


Lauren K. Cannon
Artist | Professional | Digital Art
United States
Dark fantasy & horror illustrator.
Super-villain swamp witch.
Also I have cats.

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TheNaughtyPirate Featured By Owner Edited Aug 22, 2015   General Artist
I have been in absolute love with "Her Wound" for years - and now I have finally found the artist responsible! 

I absolutely love your work. :hug:
Animal Emote: Raven 
tremorfireheart Featured By Owner May 7, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
just saw… and  the words you said gave me some ideas.  Something to try over the next weekend over the next weekend or two at least.
donwhitt Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Love your art work. Amazing gallery. I just started at 40. You art reminds me of Edward Burroughs in Tarzan and John Carter of Mars. I love the tutorials. They really help.
I just started last year drawing. My wife got me interested in Gimp. I've only been drawing with it for a month. It is lots of fun. Keep doing what your doing. You have a God given gift. With your art you inspire the younger generation, and even the older. Ha! Have a great day!
DaughterOfSevenSins Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2015  Student General Artist
Just wanted to say that you have been such an inspiration for me... your drawing are great and give my a standard to aspire to and to which I would someday like to achieve. 
In particular I love your dynamic compositions
Thanks for all your work and tutorials.
Absolutely Amazing!
PintSizeArtist95 Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I LOVE your work.
JaclynnPocchiari Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I just wanted to take the time to tell you that I've been looking through your gallery and tutorials the past few days and I've found a renewed sense of enthusiasm for digital painting. I try to practice here and there when I can, and while it's frustrating at times as a beginner, it's inspiring to see other people such as yourself succeed and thrive. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, experiences, and tips, and I look forward to seeing more from you!
bemistaken Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2015
Please may i use this as an Avatar on my spiritual website? Please! The picture is called "The Veil."
brietolga Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You're outstandingly awesome! :clap: :iconbouquetplz:
Inhuman-Infatuation Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
You are officially my favorite artist. I love your work

I hope to achieve these skills in a few years :) I need to stop being lazy
almashassan Featured By Owner Edited Oct 30, 2014
Happy Birthday! And, thank you for the awesome tutorials! It's really helpful.
MissViscid Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow! Your art is simply amazing! Heart 
DarkDragon247 Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy B-Day! :squee:  Hope you enjoyed it! :dance:

Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag! :squee:  Hoffe, du hast ihn genossen! :dance:
Artsouls143 Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014  Professional Filmographer
many more happy returns of the day Have your cake and eat it tooPartyHappy birthday tarkie happy DA B-day :3 1st Emoticon: Happy Birthday :beach: Happy Birthday Sini :ihavecaek: Omg I gets present Happy Birthday Grin Happy Birthday Godliek :D Sini Birthday Sini Birthday :piratejig: :happy birthday: Lily Wishing a Happy Birthday Me and My Birthday Cake America emote :omghai: Birthday :la: Happy Birthday Hide Birthday Emote HBD_NTdevont Birthday Cake  :D popcorn-pops Happy Birthday Bliss Hide Birthday Emote Happy Birthday Sailor-Pikmin! Happy B-Day Caeser1993 Clack Cookie Tease Remnants Carameldansen Happy Birthday IceXDragon! LightningYayz for Kalvanas Genesis Yayz KimRaiFan's Bday Cake Kao Emoji-16 (Happy Birthday) [V1] Happy Birthday Caeser1993 Unrequited..? Forgot it's your birthday? Happy DeviantART Birthday Sini's Birthday Slave What's in seibears gift? Happy Birthday Cupcake Kao Emoji-17 (Happy Birthday Alt) [V1] :bademoticon: :bademoticon: Misc Emoji-04 (Happy Birthday) [V1] cloudmassiveblushplz Happy Birthday Sweet Kirby :zikeshappyrun: V2 :bademoticon: Cute Fairy - Clefairy Kid Owlie Smiley 2nd Present for Happy-gurl! -different shades- 2nd Present for Happy-gurl! -different shades- :astonbounce: :8Bparty: Happy Birthday, whitemajic genesisheybbyplz happy birthday to moo Happy Birthday Xak Happy Birthday Happy-gurl! Happy Birthday Sini Happy Birthday Melmo Birthdy-emote sephlovesyouplz Happy Birthday, Synfull :fellahug: Yumii--Chan avvie request Danies Birthday Kidnapping happy birthday Krissieee cloudchaincameplz Happy Birthday - Anna! Happy birthday Kel Alex Birthday Present Smiley Happy Birthday Happy Birthday DA happybirthday purpledinosaurX3 Happy Birthday Happy Birthday Yolkurt Sneaky Emote Birthday Bear Happy Birthday Spawn Happy Birthday 
Before-I-Sleep Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy birthday!!! :iconrainbowbummiecakeplz:
Withoutum Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014  Professional Artist
gymnosophist Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014  Professional Writer
:D:D B-Day! :party: Hope you have a fun one & may this year be your best yet... :heart:
HoshisamaValmor Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014
happy birthday~
caddman Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014  Professional General Artist
...I hear its your birthday and want to to wish Have a great one...:iconcakelickplz::party:
stargateatl Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy Birthday! :cake:
BrookeGillette Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Happy Birthday Lauren!! May your beautiful art haunts us ;) :party: :cake: :airborne:
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