Freelancing vs studio work
#1
I'm only 17 years old but I'd like to know the pros and cons of freelancing and working for studios.
Freelancing as an illustrator seems pretty time demanding and unpredictable. Also the paperwork can be a pain. You have to copyright all your work and make contracts and such and such. But I suppose you get more freedom of what you want to do and when.
I want to make comic books. So working for a label is a must. It's more secure and stable but you probably just get put on dumb projects that never get finished until you rise up and get some say am I right? Also you can't just say "no thanks" if you don't want to do the job. There is always the self publishing option though.
Either way it's pretty risky. But that's what being an artist is all about! the main issue is promotion but I'll probably make a separate thread about that.
Any information about working in comic books/ illustration would be awesome thanks.

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#2
The biggest con with freelance work is that you ALWAYS have to be looking for the next project. Otherwise you'll be finding yourself without work very quickly. Studio work is a bit more secure, but that's never guaranteed.

Also, you have to be very careful with contracts in freelancing. Companies will do all they can to get the least amount of money from you, and they can be very sneaky. A friend of mine was given a contract that basically in the fine print read, 'the studio will pay half of the agreed price.' So be careful of the prices you are agreeing on.

On the counter, realistically, the comic book industry doesn't make a whole lot of money. If you don't live in their location, and you need a visa to work in their country, they aren't going to give you a studio job. There's only a small amount of places that can actually afford to relocate people.. and they aren't going to spend money relocating budding artists (especially ones that need visas).

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#3
Nice stuff!

Quote:The biggest con with freelance work is that you ALWAYS have to be looking for the next project. Otherwise you'll be finding yourself without work very quickly. Studio work is a bit more secure, but that's never guaranteed.

I heard that you get to a point where the job offers come to you more than you look for job offers. But only after a long time.

Quote:Also, you have to be very careful with contracts in freelancing. Companies will do all they can to get the least amount of money from you, and they can be very sneaky. A friend of mine was given a contract that basically in the fine print read, 'the studio will pay half of the agreed price.' So be careful of the prices you are agreeing on.

That's pretty fucking whack! How do you put a price on your work? What factors do you take into account?

Quote:On the counter, realistically, the comic book industry doesn't make a whole lot of money. If you don't live in their location, and you need a visa to work in their country, they aren't going to give you a studio job. There's only a small amount of places that can actually afford to relocate people.. and they aren't going to spend money relocating budding artists (especially ones that need visas).

Yea this one's been a bummer for me. I was thinking of self publishing and working my 'internet magic' so to speak. How instrumental has the internet been in you building an audience and selling stuff?

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#4
Quote:The biggest con with freelance work is that you ALWAYS have to be looking for the next project. Otherwise you'll be finding yourself without work very quickly.

In most cases that is true.

I know a local artist who put his clients on a retainer. Lucky for him there will be cash flowing even if there weren't any projects. Probably a rarity. But hopefully realize that you can do that.

Quote:Also, you have to be very careful with contracts in freelancing.

Speaking of contracts. Freelancers check this out: https://www.artpact.com/

Quote:I want to make comic books. So working for a label is a must. It's more secure and stable but you probably just get put on dumb projects that never get finished until you rise up and get some say am I right?

The big two, Marvel and DC, rates are good. Especially when you live in a country where dollars is stronger against the local currency. But then again, it's hard to break into those two companies since they only hire veterans. To trim the fat further, the top echelon of veterans who are pretty much established in the comic book industry.

Sad to say, you got to work on projects outside of those big companies, before you can even get in. But if you're really that good, got a good online following, and if you can manage to carve a niche market for yourself, you might want to try your luck in doing a Kickstarter.

Quote:I'd like to know the pros and cons of freelancing and working for studios.

Studio
+ Steady income
+/- You'd be surrounded with artists. OR, at the very least, people.
+ Whom you can learn from
+ Generally benefits would get you covered on dental/medical care
+ Some would handle your tax papers for you.
- Company politics

Freelance
+ Control of your time
- Constant searching for jobs
- Self market and promote

It's debatable whether or not what you're trying to achieve is indeed impossible. One thing's for sure: it's impossible to defeat a person who doesn't know how to quit.
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#5
my experience with freelance has been searching and taking initiative is necessary mostly at the beginning-mid level, but if you have a niche and strong work, people will start coming to you more. Might take a couple of years to get to that...it depends on you and your work. I don't view self promotion or smart marketing as a negative at all. It's what any business does...create a recognisable brand.

studio work is the much easier option imo. get into a studio, learn, make connections, then go off on your own. There are few downsides to studio work...mostly if you don't like having to get up same tine everyday and commute, and don't like office politics. You also might find it hard to muster up enthusiasm for personal projects and always working on other people's shit.

There are many downsides to Freelance which also requires a lot of self discipline and savings to rely on during lean periods. If you don't have either you're in for some hard times. You can get very isolated socially, work too much or not enough. It only works well if you are prepared.
contracts and licencing isn't rocket science and doesn't have to take up too much time, though it can be time consuming ironing out details. I like the contract side, and I always retain all rights to my work and get half upfront with a kill fee. shitty companies like FFG will offer worse rights and rates...it's up to you if you want to devalue yourself with work for hire in order to pay bills and get some "exposure". It's a valid choice, just depends what your immediate needs are I guess. Work for hire becomes more acceptable when the rates go up...eg AAA or large studio movies etc

The one major huge benefit to freelance is being able to work from anywhere in the world pretty much and to your own schedule (mostly) and not having to deal with the always one or two obligatory persistent fuckwits that will be found inhabiting any officespace. I say this having spent the last 3 months travelling and working all around europe. There are few other jobs you can get that allow this freedom. As my granny used to say.... "No risk,no reward m$+=erF@#c#er"

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