Yes, this really is my 5,417th entry. I am in my 521st week of blogging about pro cartooning. Wow!
I sure sound self-congratulatory, but this is the Internet: it's full of selfies.
When I started, way, way back in the prehistoric times of 2005, there was not a lot about the cartooning business on the Internet. Certainly nothing in-depth about the business. There wasn't any guide to what to do, for instance, when a for-profit corporation wants you to draw stuff for free.
Don't work for free.
I've said that for years, and in 2009 I published a Don't Work for Exposure entry. It was sparked by Google asking professional artists to work for free. The company had just posted $1.42 billion in earnings that first quarter.
It got a lot of great comments, including, just last week, a "rebuttal."
A person named tomasz posted this:
"Working for free is nothing like scabbing. It's simply being comfortable with taking an offer that you guys aren't comfortable with, just like any other business transaction. If you think a cup of coffee is priced too high, you're free not to buy it. Just as if someone is offering exposure work, you are free not to take it. Evidently the money matters to you guys. It doesn't matter to me, but the exposure does. So i'll work for exposure if i want to, and you guys can keep sitting around waiting for your cheque."
If you do give away your work for free, then "free" is your price.
It's up to you whether your say yes or no to a potential client who asks you to work for free. If the client is from a money-making operation, then they are able to pay you. More than that: they should recognize the value of your work.
If they do not, say no and smile and move on.
Unless you have a day job and can afford to work for free. But you will always have to have that day job since "free" is your price. If you want to congratulate yourself on that, then that's your business.