- Enforce consistent wage transparency across all commercial art disciplines
- Change existing commercial illustration and cartooning institutions to advocate for the living conditions of current artists
- Industry wide standard rates should be set by workers
- Rates should reflect housing costs, health insurance, disability, parental leave, vacation, retirement, high cost of education and lack of ability to file for unemployment as freelancers
- Rates should reflect overtime if the job requires it
- Reject work for hire and require upfront deposits on freelance jobs and retainers on longer term jobs, projects and contracts
- Encourage creator and worker owned companies and studios
- Refuse to participate in the pay to play corporate competition of free spec work and design competitions
- Reject the idea of “doing what we love.” We are highly skilled workers that provide value, and we must be fairly compensated for the labor we do.
- Enforce that copyright should stay with the creator or the creator should be fairly compensated for giving up their intellectual property
- Enforce equitable conditions across race, gender and class to remove the homogeneity of our field and promote the safety and opportunity of all who participate
- Reject exposure as payment and the distortion of social media as an economically stabilizing force
- Demand any legal protection and access extended to freelance media workers extends to all freelancers and gig workers
- Companies that hire illustrators consistently must hire art directors to work with them, not editors or those who do not know the language of visual design
We are a group of illustrators, cartoonists, and other commercial artists concerned about the exploitative practices in our industry and the precarity we face.
We work alone, have to rely on word of mouth to compare rates, and have to negotiate every job we get. New illustrators and those without solid networks (usually those that did not attend an expensive private art school) are at a much higher disadvantage negotiating for rates and are more likely to be exploited by companies. Payment is delayed or never given. Even if it is prompt, the standard 30 days after work is handed in is too long for most of us, and so we are forced to support ourselves with multiple jobs. We have to negotiate contracts and get screwed if we don’t understand legal lingo. Our careers are never stable. We have no protection or safety net in the event of injury or a destabilizing life event. We have no health insurance. We are offered jobs for far below market value and have to take the job if we want to work at all. To support ourselves , we consistently work unpaid overtime, and have no time to think, create, and play outside of the demands of the market. When we get stable contract jobs, we are misclassified as permalancers and refused health care, overtime pay, pension, and worker protections. We have no protections in the event of sexual or racial harassment. We are told we are doing what we love, so we should not complain. We reject that idea.
We have value, and our labor has value. Illustration, cartoons, and visual design has never been more in demand than it is now. Companies are making millions off of us while we have to beg for our invoices to be paid. It does not have to be this way and we demand it change. We will work for that change, through education, transparency, building solidarity across disciplines and working collectively to protect us, our work, and our ability to live full, healthy lives.
Our first project is our collection and public dissemination of rates given for freelance jobs. You can find that here.
We are working in solidarity with the Freelance Solidarity Project, a part of the National Writers Union. We encourage everyone to join the union and work collectively to end the precarity of freelance work for all media workers. You can join the Union here.