I’ve long thought that the tendancy for illustrators to act like doormats is the real reason behind the lower prices and fewer jobs. Desperate to take any job, for any pay, they dilute the market.

Well, no more. Here is an amazing letter from an illustrator to a AD of a certain brooklyn-based humor magazine. Names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.

Dear AD.

Here’s the first page with a few more lines. This is all I’m doing.
If you want something else, send me a check with my kill fee and find
another artist to do it. Or add the lines yourself with the brush
tool on Adobe Photoshop.

I get the feeling that you’re new to art direction. Here are a few
thoughts from the illustrator’s point of view.

1. Comics are, by their nature, simpler than single illustrations.
This is because a page of comics is usually the same amount of work as
6-7 illustrations. Even at Marvel and DC, comics are simpler than
single pieces.

2. When things shrink down, they look more detailed. I do my comics
twice the size of a final page.

3. Illustrators, like plumbers and art directors, need a fair hourly
wage. If you’re not working for 3 dollers an hour, you shouldn’t be
telling me to.

4. The black and white illustrations on my website take me between
7-10 hours to do. No surprises there- my style looks labour
intensive. If I were to do a comic in which each panel was as
detailed as one of my page illustrations, it would take me around 20
hours. That’s around 1.50 an hour at your budget.

5. I understand having a low budget. I’ve done zines too. However,
when you go to the printers, you also have a budget. If that budget
only allows for newsprint, the printer doesn’t give you glossy
cardstock just for the joy of printing for (Magazine). Your art budget is
newsprint level. You can expect a competant, quick illo. You can’t
expect a meticulous masterpiece. And you certainly can’t expect to be
able to micromanage.

6. Never, ever ask anyone to do specwork unless you have a several
thousand doller job to give them. And even then, it’s a shady

There’s my rant. While I trust that it’s all from inexperiance on
your part rather than exploitiveness, you’ve just reminded me why I
don’t take low-paying jobs.