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After reading through Karen’s posts on the “Should you work for free?” topic, I feel compelled to give my two cents worth. I agree with what Karen says about this. Don’t get me wrong.
This is just another point of view.
I’ve worked for free many times. The reasons vary. I’ll run through a few of the scenarios.
I love them. But they’re harder to break into than movies, let me tell you. It was my first love. If there’s a club that you’re not allowed to belong to, this would be it. And when I was 8, I was dead set on being a comic book artist, much to my parents chagrin.
I did many, many sample pages ‘on spec’ in order to receive a pile of rejection letters with Spiderman or Superman on the letterhead. But it’s what you have to do in order to break in. I got frustrated by it very quickly and published my own books myself.
When I started at one animation studio in Vancouver, I began as a designer.
My comic book work in the early 90’s (the ones I published myself) got me the job. One thing I like drawing (and most comic artists don’t) is backgrounds, and I like to make them as researched and accurate as possible. So it was the backgrounds in the panels that got me the job.