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[personal profile] tugrik
Two years ago we produced a limited-run set of wooden tikis for FURtherCONfusion's "Surf Safari" theme. Ten artists were included; each did one tiki design. As payment we produced a 10-pack of their own design for them to sell (or keep). The rest were sold or given away through the con and were a smash hit.

Now and then I get contracted by various conventions to do ID badges or tracking tags for them to give away. More often than not they're looking for artwork in addition to the actual production part -- but as I'm no artist myself, production is the only part I really do. This and the success of the tikis have me wanting to do more of these collaborative efforts just to see where it can go. What I'm not sure about is what's best for the artists involved.

For example: next year's FC theme is "Down Under". They may or may not ask me to make ear-tags this time around (hopefully they do!). Either way, I wanted to get a group of artists together to submit small boomerang designs to be used as eartags. If I could get ten different designs (just like with the tikis) I'd produce 50 of each, numbering the total batch from 1-500. If FC decided to buy them, the convention would give them out like the year before. If not, then my friends and I would give them out and hopefully sell a few to cover our costs. Either way, more cool schwag for con-goers.

The question is: if you are an artist who'd be interested in participating, what would you want in return for the art? If payment, how much? If you wanted a batch of the tags (like we did with the Tikis), how many? Simple recognition? Anything else?

My goal here would be to do this as a regular thing for multiple conventions: groupsource the designs, produce them on my own dime, recompense the artists in a fair way and then pitch the results to the conventions. If they bought, hey, costs covered. If not, then sell them ourselves or just distribute for fun.

Good idea or bad idea?

Date: 2010-03-17 08:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pen-umbra.livejournal.com
Good idea! And I for one am totally interested.

I should be making a PO run before the end of next week, so I'll let you know when that package with the acrylic jar goes out.

Date: 2010-03-17 08:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tugrik.livejournal.com
I'd love to have you on board for this. :) But how would you like to be compensated for adding art? That's the part I'm puzzlin' about. What's fair and worth it to the artists?

Date: 2010-03-17 09:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pen-umbra.livejournal.com
Having never done anything remotely like this, I have no idea! XD I will noodle on it and get back at you. Honestly all of your suggestions sound like good ones. :x Not very helpful, really! XD

Date: 2010-03-17 08:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] synnabar.livejournal.com
I thought the tikis were wonderful, and I was very happy to participate. :) I was also very happy with the samples! I do think it was a great idea. :)

Date: 2010-03-17 08:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] synnabar.livejournal.com
Also, the samples-as-compensation seemed very fair to me.

Date: 2010-03-17 08:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sakuranym-kit.livejournal.com
I agree, I'd be happy with samples as compensation to sell on the side :)

Date: 2010-03-17 08:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tugrik.livejournal.com
Cool! well, side question then:

The main run of tags would be serialized so they're all unique (1-500, as most cons order a 500 batch). For the 'artists' proofs' copies, what would be preferred - custom numbers? (artist picks a range outside the 1-500) or no numbers at all? (non-customized)

Date: 2010-03-17 08:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sakuranym-kit.livejournal.com
Hmmm well I think that's more of a case by case thing on preference, then. If the whole edition is numbered, I guess I'd personally either want to pick them, or have the first 10?

Date: 2010-03-17 09:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] synnabar.livejournal.com
For artist proofs, I'd say either, as you said, outside the range or none at all. Or maybe just a stamp or notice on the back saying "artist proof" or "artist edition", rather than numbers which might be unwieldy to deal with if people want to choose numbers - and all want the same numbers.

Date: 2010-03-18 01:49 am (UTC)
zeeth_kyrah: A glowing white and blue anthropomorphic horse stands before a pink and blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah
People may want to choose numbers, but if you don't offer that option, they should be satisfied with whichever number you choose to give them.

Date: 2010-03-17 09:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] midwestcougar.livejournal.com
I would love to participate in anything graphic or web design related. I also do furry art.

Date: 2010-03-17 09:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jillfennec.livejournal.com
i really liked the tiki project and i was happy with getting a handful of them for myself :] it gave me the opportunity to come up with a design that i was able to use several times over for other projects, too :3

Date: 2010-03-18 04:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] astolpho.livejournal.com
Yeah, I am also on board with the getting samples back as compensation.

Date: 2010-03-17 09:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foofers.livejournal.com
Samples as compensation seems acceptable and pretty fair.

The distribute-for-fun part concerns me a bit, if you recall our "entitlement attitude" discussion. I used to do con t-shirts for folks until they started whining and making demands. It's generally been my experience that people will take one of anything if it's free, whether or not it genuinely interests them. Creating just the slightest barrier to entry, even if it's just a quarter or something, is sufficient to make people take ownership of what they've acquired. Rather than 500 freebies (many of which will later just get tossed out or left somewhere), you might do 150 with some token payment involved. Besides, lasers cost money.

Date: 2010-03-17 09:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tugrik.livejournal.com
The hopeful goal (before full production) would be to sell them to a convention, then produce the number they require at a specific cost-per-part. :)

If not, then yes, produce notably less. Then sell them for cost-of-materials. But we'd still reserve at least some of them to sneakily give out to folks who were doing positive things for the fandom and convention.

Date: 2010-03-18 01:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] loranskunky.livejournal.com
Agreed with foofers there hun, I think it be best just to make one design rather then 10 as ear tags. I can already hear people complaining that they didn't get all of them even though each is a limited quantity.

Date: 2010-03-17 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellenmillion.livejournal.com
I'm usually on board for providing art in return for samples. I didn't ever get mine from last time, though?

Date: 2010-03-17 09:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tugrik.livejournal.com
Ack! This will be fixed. When we moved to the new shop many things got boxed up. If I don't find them in there, I'll re-produce and send, asap. My apologies!

Date: 2010-03-17 09:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ellenmillion.livejournal.com
No problem! Things were crazy at the time! :)

Date: 2010-03-17 09:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thornwolf.livejournal.com
I'd trade my design for the value equivalent in printing services :) You have a template for the shape?

Date: 2010-03-17 09:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tugrik.livejournal.com
Soon I will! I'm working on a post with the basic specs of what to do if you want to jump in on one of these crowdsource-design-projects. I'll make sure either the spec or a link to where I post the spec ends up in LJ.

The issue is going to be figuring out what is a fair amount of compensation. Other than the raw material costs (which vary wildly depending on how many are produced in what media) I have no idea what the 'equivalent' would be. Trading for print-and-other services is perfect, once that amount has been set. Thus why I'm asking what folks think is fair. :)

Date: 2010-03-17 10:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thornwolf.livejournal.com
I'm flexible! No worries :3

Date: 2010-03-17 09:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] darkwolven.livejournal.com
Instead of just taking a number of artists, you should run it like a contest. Those that want to submit do and then have a poll of all the design. People vote for their top 3 or so, to avoid making it simply a popularity contest, and then those designers get compensated for whatever the compensation turns out to be.

Just throwing that out there.

Date: 2010-03-17 10:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tugrik.livejournal.com
My only worry is that contests bring drama. My thought was to post it up and take first-come-first-serve until the 'slots' for any particular project were filled. Then it's a matter of timeliness, not clique or judgement.

Of course, if someone participating can't come through with their design in time or if they can't submit artwork that'd work for the project (technically or content-wise) then their slot would re-open-up for the next person in line.

Does that sound fair, or more drama-ridden than a voted contest would be?

Date: 2010-03-17 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thornwolf.livejournal.com
I think your way sounds better. I hate contests and a lot of artists tend to avoid them anyways so you might end up with slim pickins just based on lack of desire to participate.

Date: 2010-03-17 11:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] darkwolven.livejournal.com
Actually, I disagree. I think the only reason why that might happen is because people don't want to be told their design sucks. If it's through a contest, it's more blunt and ego bruising perhaps, but I have taken part in several contests this way and I have never seen a lack of contestants. Only that when you vote for only one, it tends to become a contest of who is most popular or best known among the contestants. That's what I hate. But if the voters for their top 3 or 4 favs, then it suddenly becomes more about who executed better.

It was only a suggestion of course. It's how I would run it. Less risk of getting a sucky design AND less drama too boot IMO.

Date: 2010-03-18 12:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thornwolf.livejournal.com
Yes but from a designer/illustrator perspective, it's ingrained into our brains to not do "spec work". Contests are exactly that, so more and more "good" artists are avoiding contests with monetary or value compensation like the plague.

Date: 2010-03-17 11:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] darkwolven.livejournal.com
Well that's why I suggested that people vote for more than one entry, then it can't just be a popularity contest. Sort of like, if you are taking 10 top designs and 20 people submit, let people vote for their favorite 4 or 5. Then the people's designs that are best liked will rise to the top of the pile instead of those that campaigned for it, which will still happen to a degree of course. Only the better executed designs will have more votes overlapping, and thus hopefully the better designs enjoyed by more people will win. That's the concept anyhow.

Date: 2010-03-18 04:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] astolpho.livejournal.com
If there was a contest, I would not participate.

Date: 2010-03-18 12:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strredwolf.livejournal.com
Good idea, if it's a proven method (which you've done before).

Off topic here, but do you custom mill acrylic? I have a separate project involving "large" (2.83" screen) oLED badges, which I need to get a decent case for but have been unable to find. We can discuss more of it over email.

Date: 2010-03-18 12:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] genet.livejournal.com
Personally, I think of stuff like this as free advertising. I'd be delighted to participate, and all I'd want is a couple extras to give away/sell myself, since I never go to FC. :)

Date: 2010-03-18 03:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] obliviousally.livejournal.com
Instead of reply to a bunch of different comments...

I like the idea of 'artist edition' over numbers. It just seems like it would be easier for everyone involved.

I'm not a fan of the contest idea, but your alternate idea is much better. Especially in the case of people possibly not being able to get a design done in time and their slot opening for the next interested party.

Compensation is tricky. I, personally, like the idea of getting a batch of whatever the item is. But I know some people might prefer a different form of compensation that might differ from person to person. I suppose it'd probably be best to take those on a case-by-case basis.

Regardless, I loved those tikis and the green badges you did for Anthrocon last year. I'd be really interested in participating in something like that in the future.

Date: 2010-03-18 03:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mythos-amante.livejournal.com
It sounds like a GREAT idea!

Date: 2010-03-18 06:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wordslinger.livejournal.com
Count me in! Nag me for art!
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