Today I had a conversation with a graphic design client who, for the past several years, I have charged $20 per image. It is an example of how, merely by setting your own boundaries in a healthy place, you often don't have to filter other people out of your life, because they will do so for you. I refer to this as a "self-solving problem".
Hi Matt,
I leave for a conference in Israel on Wed, Sept 2. Have any time between now & then to upgrade some graphics?
Probably. It will depend on the nature of the upgrades. There are more demands on my time these days, so I will have to raise my rates somewhat, but it will still be proportional to the amount of time I expect it to take. What did you have in mind, specifically?
Hi Matt,
I find your response of raising your rates because of "more demands on your time”very disappointing. It sounds like you have taken on the attitude of big business (airlines)…meaning charge whatever the traffic will bear.
I am sorry, but this “attitude” is contrary to my thinking and I withdraw my request for your services.
This is why it's so valuable for me to put things out there from the outset, which will prevent going down a path that can only end poorly. In various areas of life, this could be "I don't take on new clients unless you pay me to have our first meeting", or it could be "I don't want to work more than 40 hours a week", or it could be "I'm not interested in monogamy and I have a vasectomy." Etc.

Unfortunately, not everyone who should self-select out of your life will do so. Some of them will stick around and complain about your boundaries, or exert other pressures.

There are two main categories of this, depending on the power imbalance. In one case, the person who wants to set boundaries is vulnerable to the pressuring party, as I was financially vulnerable when I originally met this client.

In the other case, the power imbalance is reversed. The pressuring party has too much to lose if the boundary-setting party asserts healthy boundaries. This is often expressed as a form of romantic love, in which the chemical attachment of bonding persists long after the problems of a relationship outweigh the benefits.

If you (as the boundary-setting party) have sufficient alternatives, and if the pressuring party has sufficient alternatives, they will filter themselves out of your life. Then the only way you will continue to have the wrong people in your life is if you fail to assert yourself calmly but firmly. Sometimes walking away is not failure-- it's success. You do not have to make every relationship work.

This is also why it's smart to empower other people with independence and alternatives. Seeking out power imbalances, or setting them up, generates more conflict than it resolves.
Over the years, I came to realize that my best work has always involved subjects that interested me, or -- even better -- subjects about which I've become interested, and even passionate about, through the very process of doing design work. I believe I'm still passionate about graphic design. But the great thing about graphic design is that it is almost always about something else. Corporate law. Professional football. Art. Politics. Robert Wilson. And if I can't get excited about whatever that something else is, I really have trouble doing a good work as a designer. To me, the conclusion is inexcapable: the more things you're interested in, the better your work will be
--Michael Beirut, "Warning: May Contain Non-Design Content" from Seventy-Nine Short Essays On Design.
There is just an astonishing quantity of paying work out there for projects that try to get people to buy things, and there is almost nothing I want to buy. I don't want to kindle a desire to buy more things. I don't want kindle that desire in others.

I have focused my design efforts on non-marketing pieces: magazines, maps, information guides, books, games, illustrations. I enjoy doing that-- particularly for topics that interest me. I am known for boundless, passionate enthusiasm. I don't know how to generate enthusiasm. Certainly not in exchange for money. I'm not sure I could live with myself if I did.

On the other hand, I think a lot of programming consists of making a product. That product is what you are selling. It is your business-- not a dozen different businesses a year. Someone uses that product. Corporate software, unfortunately, is chosen and paid for by someone who doesn't have to use it, and that's why it sucks. I hope very much to work on something that is chosen and paid for by the person who uses it. I want to make something the user wants.


Jun. 28th, 2011 08:27 pm
I invented a clever technique to paint nests very fast. I should write a tutorial.

At Origins this weekend, I repeatedly playtested a strategic dice game I invented, about falconry. I kept getting comments about the uniqueness of the theme, so a big thank-you goes out to Jody Raiford for that idea. I have been playtesting it with the local gaming groups for a few months, with a good reception, but it's always advisable to find strangers to give you the straight dope. The Origins gamers liked it enough that I decided to spend the extra time on illustrations.
nemorathwald: (I'm losin' it)
You know that time when you're moving, and your bed and chair and lamp and possessions are all packed, and you can't walk, and no one is there to see you, so you lose utensils and adverbs and all civilization, crawling on hands and knees like an animal over the desolate expanse of your mancave ME HAVE CREATED FIRE

Yeah, me neither.
nemorathwald: (Matt 4)
Don't think of it as spending your time doing artwork with your skills, in exchange for vague promises of future money that may not materialize. Think of it as getting in on the ground floor of a company! The graphics this artist created in response to that proposal? Completely hilarious. The email exchange detailed here may or may not be fictional, but is true-to-life.
U-Con starts tomorrow, setup is tonight! I am in Ann Arbor for the duration.

In addition to serving as Ops and Reg, I made the program book this year. Here it is as a web-ready PDF (1.22MB), and a re-paginated PDF (1.19MB) that you can print, fold, and staple into your own booklet.
I daydreamed about this system for years, and now I get to watch it.

World Builder from BranitVFX on Vimeo.

In order to attract more art business I intend to put up a portfolio site. I am considering acquiring the domain I would make Scaly Anteater a company name, for illustration, design, and websites. Alternately, I could just make it Less catchy and memorable, and the business card would not be much fun, but it's more straightforward.

I realized a moment too late that I should have pointed out a checked box means "good enough" and unchecked means "unacceptable".
[Poll #1440679]
Gather round and listen to a story of me, self-surveillance, entrepreneurship, and a miniconference about the Python programming language.

I have always charged a flat rate for art and design.* This time, I wanted to time myself to find out what I earned per hour and adjust my future rates to what I need to bring in, based on accurate estimates of different types of assignments.
Read more... )
This week I illustrated another slide show, "Evolutionary Biology and Evolutionary Psychology".

I finished the project I mentioned before. I illustrated a slide presentation "Fundamentals of rationality" by Eliezer Yudkowsky. I have added most of them to my portfolio for your viewing pleasure, starting here.

From Portfolio

I have now begun work on his next presentation, with pictures that are frankly even cooler! But I only have a week to do this one.
I have been paid to draw a salesperson deceiving people in exchange for money.

What gender and race should the salesperson be?

3D Model

Jun. 29th, 2009 09:45 pm
In preparation for moving an apartment into a single room, I have been modeling the room and its proposed contents in Sketchup. As you can see, I modeled the possessions with rather more detail than was strictly required. No doubt I will continue to do so until there is some kind of addiction intervention.

Jen did not expect that I would increase the verisimilitude any farther. But oh, how incorrect that was. I did not like the stock human figure that comes with Sketchup.

From Untitled Album

This virtual reality may have ripped the fabric of space and time, and several other fabrics as well.
The Great Cosby Experiment is now complete, and the results have been tallied. Now that it is over, I can reveal the Bill Cosby that I drew:

From Untitled Album
You guys didn't want to go with me to "The Gallery Project", so you missed out! It's still running until 4PM Sunday afternoon, so you still have a chance.
I've been thinking, "What does my webcomic need?"
1. Less monologue, more dialogue
2. Response to the phone with "hello, God?" which it was really foreshadowing anyway
3. More fun to draw

So here is page five again, except totally different, picking up from here:
Read more... )

To Be Continued
Read more... )

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