Thursday, February 20, 2014

My Bee grade adventure as a full time artist


Well there is always up and down in life so I thought I will just blog about my current down in life:
Cash-flow problem.

I am pretty sure I will laugh at myself when I become successful and looking back at how crappy I had managed my small business so I am going to document about this experience for future book material and reference for other people in the same situation. And yes, I had to sell my old art materials to generate some income and quit buying things that I don't need, which I suppose it's good (optimistically speaking).

The first ridiculous incident. A government school contacted me to ask if they could print my comics into A1 size to decorate their training rooms. The only problem: there will be no payment. Instead, just a credit to my website, claiming that it will help to advertise my work to more people. Sorry, I don't work for free unless it is for a good cause, and supplying you with free designs so you can earn more money from training adults is a commercialised activity. It is unethical for a school to even think about exploiting your own people. No wonder parents frown when their kids say they want to do art and design.

The second funny phenomena. Over the past one week after announcing that I am available for hire, I had had Ad and PR agencies emailing me to ask about my rates. But all decided to ignore my quotes after knowing how much I charge. Why? Because there are other artists who can do it at a cheaper rate. For example, how much do I charge to draw a comic strip about a bee shopping in a mall!? Hello, I am pretty sure many artists and amateurs out there can draw a decent bee (assuming their bee doesn't have long limbs with fingers) so I quoted how much time I have to spend on your client's bee and making sure that the comic strip will be funny enough so people will bother to share it. So I quoted: 
A) $350 (approx. US$276)
  • 1 Comic strip with 4 panels
  • 5 expressions of bee mascot (body doesn't change, just the face) 
  • redesign fee
I even said that I am open to negotiations. But dang it, no reply. Nevermind, because I am sure that there are very few people out there with my kind of humour, skill and social media marketing know-how to make a viral "B" grade comic strip. But anyway, here's your bee:
So Ad and PR agencies, before you contact me, please make sure you have enough budget and let me know the amount of details you want (e.g. the more characters appearing, the more work; the more complicated the setting, the more work). And yes, if I think your story is not interesting enough, I will suggest to you how to change it. Otherwise, you can pay an intern $600/month to churn out more B art. I am different from them because people now recognises my characters and my style, and I have a fan base. This is something that I had been working on for almost my entire life, so I will charge you the professional rate (and my rates are said to be very cheap by other artists). Not to forget my equipment: Macbook Pro + Cintiq 13HD already cost a whopping $5,000.

This is an example of how comic strips can be used to advertise business:


Comics are great because they can simplify complicated ideas and convey them in an entertaining fun way. Businesses in Japan and Taiwan had been using comic characters to advertise their products and services for many years now but it is still a novel idea in Singapore and people are still not willing to pay much for it.

The advantages of using my already established characters are 1) Fans are already familiar with them and can connect more readily 2) You don't have to pay for a mascot design.


So my client's FB page gained 91 more page likes within 24 hours of me sharing her post on my page. It was seen by 20,376 people, clicked on 7,381 times and 78 clicks to visit the website, which is very important because you want people to not only like your page, but also visit your website to shop there. The story on her page generated 77 likes and 18 shares, versus an average of about 2-5 likes and 0 shares per story on a regular basis.

Of course, she could have paid Facebook $32 or so to get that 41-100 new likes. But it would not be as engaging and interesting like a comic strip would. People now not only know about their mascot (brand) and services, but also understand their unique selling point: 1) You don't have to leave your house because everything can be completed online and 2) They can help you source for out of production collectibles. 

Finally, I DO NOT DESIGN LOGO *unless it is a fictional element in the comic. Designing logo is not easy, I can recommend you to my friends who do them professionally. Don't ask me to do your logo because I won't be giving you a cheap price neither. Alternatively you can pay $5 from fiverr for a cheap quality that is exactly NOT what you wanted.

And for haters out there who think artists are cheap, I curse you with ugly surroundings for the rest of your life, because you don't deserve anything beautiful.

-------------
But for my fans and supporters, please help out by buying a print or postcard set from me:
Your purchase will help me tide over this difficult time while I work on my first book and continue to convince businesses to work with me so I can survive and bring you more entertaining comics. Thank you! :)

23 comments:

  1. Ewwww ... Eva san is cursing 80(
    Eva, fight back. Those capitalistic sharks will make cry anybody, make them cry too.

    Yeah, hope You will find Your niche and will be recognized soon.

    ewww...


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But ewww… I already have a niche… didn't you notice?
      So sad… oTz...

      Delete
    2. Of course, You do, but as an artist.

      I am speaking about economical niche. I mean market is not ready for Your works, and, nobody knows how You will develop business in a future. You mentioned that standard schemes and plans does not work for You, so You should look for another one, and little by little You will find Your niche.

      I am so sorry for making You sad |-.-\

      ewww...

      Delete
    3. Oh! You mean that. Well yes, now I know it doesn't work so I am going to try something else...

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. I am from chongzheng you talk in our school

      Delete
  3. How could 29k people be wrong? I've noticed big businesses wanting artwork cheaply or for free, but noticed small businesses to be fairer. It would be cool to see you do some murals with your characters climbing Mt. Fuji in a bathhouse and decorating store shutters like Japanese students have been doing with ukiyo-e.

    keep up the great work and we'll keep supporting you!

    Rudy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rudy, mental support is nice, but financial support would be very very much appreciated. Unfortunately 30,000 people = no sale as of yet.

      Only two people purchased: My US fan and my best friend.

      Delete
  4. I wish you well. Good luck Eva :)

    Greetings from India

    ReplyDelete
  5. lol logo :P same price as u... but lead time is forever! lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha… I wish I could be as snobby as you XD

      Delete
  6. SUPER LIKES! Especially when I previously worked in a E-Waste (Electronic Waste) recycling company that acknowledged my talent, exploited my skills as it was not in the initial job scope, and when I ask to be paid for it, BOOHOOHOO~ None was given, and was said to be reflect in my bonus instead. I left the company before bonus came, was too unhappy in the environment, and colleagues who are still working there said the average bonus received was only 0.5 months. LIKE A SERIOUSLY?! That 0.5 months was not even able to cover up the redesign fees for the multiple artwork I did for them! Pfft.

    Enough rants, but kudos to your committment that earns you your well-deserved fame now. I love your comic strips, and I will consider engaging your services in future, when I run my own business! Good luck and all the best to you! ^^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sigh, when I was younger and more passionate (like 16 years ago), I didn't know what was exploitation because it was cool that someone likes your work and want to use it somewhere. Now that I'm older with more commitment, it is definitely not cool that someone likes my work and not pay me or ask for a cheaper price. With my qualifications, I could have gotten a 4k job instead of working day and night for barely 1k. I also find people in SE Asia are more demanding, they only buy practical goods (that are cheap).

      Delete
  7. Awesome! As a fan, wish you the best!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mental support is nice, but financial support would be very very much appreciated. Unfortunately 30,000 people = no sale as of yet.

      Delete
  8. I know how you feel Eva. I hate clients such as these =.=

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sigh, we have them everyone in Singapore and Malaysia huh.

      Delete
  9. Well said Eva..the woes of a illustrator/designer...Good job for putting all this in words! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah Kaman, hope you will do better than me!

      Delete
  10. yah, GREAT OUTBURST!
    the curse is good too, to the point n put in a nice manner.
    Hahahaha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well still struggling though… This month till April is pretty much ok. But I worry the future...

      Delete

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