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About Digital Art / Professional Member Chris WhitakerMale/United States Group :iconlowpolyworkshop: LowpolyWorkshop
 
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I've been primarily freelancing for a little while now, and I'm sorta loving it.  
(note: this journal is mostly geared towards people who are currently working at a studio, but maybe there are some interesting bits for other people too!)

I decided to leave my last studio gig almost exactly 2 years ago and I've never felt like I've progressed faster!  It's definitely more stressful when you don't always have a steady paycheck you can rely on and your freelance duties are much more varied than an inhouse studio job.  But it's also very liberating to know that it's all on you - there are no complicated factors like coworkers you can unfairly blame, no management making you do silly things, etc.  

Ultimately, if you're struggling to pay yer bills then you're either just mega unlucky or you need to get better.  I can't speak for everyone's situation of course, some people have a ton of responsibilities where it'd be unwise to take the plunge and I've also known plenty of way better artists than me having a harder time than me staying afloat :(.  

But I think it's an interesting experience to freelance for a little while if you think you can really afford to make such a gamble!  
Especially if you're starting to feel complacent/uninspired in whatever your current situation is :)

Edit: Don't get me wrong! Working in-house is awesome too, but I think it's worth a try for everyone to freelance for a little while to see how they like it :)
I didn't think anyone would be interested in this post, but lemme list some pros/cons from my personal experience and compare to how you guys feel about it. 

I'm interested in hearing your thoughts!

Pros:
  • 1. You make your own schedule - If you plan accordingly, you can take a vacation whenever you please to go to that concert or visit a friend etc.  Likewise, if you're not a morning person you can work later in the day or at night on certain days
  • 2. You can choose a variety of projects to contribute, which is great if you've been locked into a certain style for a long period of time or just if you have a lot of ADD!
  • 3. The tasks are generally fairly short term if you choose for it to be that way, although you can also get a semi-full-time contract without too much trouble if you find a place you really like working with
  • 4. You work from the comfort of your home, so you'll never forget to bring something with you, worry about IT mucking something up, etc.
  • 5. Your rates are defined by you, and by failing to make realistic quotes (either too low or too high) you gradually learn your individual worth.
  • 6. If you manage your time effectively, you can have way more free time to do personal work or whatever you want

Cons:
  • 1. Since you make your own schedule, you have to stay organized or you'll end up spending all your time working or looking for work.
  • 2. It's very hard to be in a situation where your input is truly important and invested in the project.  As far as the client is concerned you're not much more than an art machine, whereas in-house you can contribute ideas to other team members (art, design, coders, etc) and put more passion into the project as a whole.
  • 3. Some short-term contracts have a very short turnaround time and you end up having to go balls-to-the-wall to get it done in time (either for your deadline of bills/rent, or for the client's deadline)
  • 4. Since you work from your home, you'll have to figure out what makes you work efficiently.  There will always be the urge to check facebook, cghub, deviantart, email, etc. and you need to manage how that will affect your time.
  • 5. If you're not careful with your clients you can get ripped off, especially early on.  But that'll help you learn what type of client to avoid, and what kind of rate to charge
  • 6. It's very rare to get to work with a team like you would in-house.  Learning from your peers becomes a lot more difficult, so you have to reach out to them in other ways to make up for it
 
  • 7. Your friends, roommates, and family will not be able to differentiate between when you're working and when you're taking a break so they will most likely assume you are always taking a break unless you talk to them about it.  Especially if they're not artists themselves
  • 8. There will almost always be dry weeks/months so you have to plan accordingly and save up money so you can afford to stretch until the next gig
  • 9. If you freelance too long and eventually want to work in a studio, you'll probably meet a little resistance - HR will wonder why you've avoided working in-house for so long, wonder if you have trouble playing nice with others, wonder if you have the skills you need for an in-house position, etc.  So I'd just be careful!

...actually, I mostly just wanted to update my journal since it's been like a year and I always forget to do that lol >.>
there are much better posts about this other people have done, I'll see if i can find any :)

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FunkyBunnies
Chris Whitaker
Artist | Professional | Digital Art
United States
3d character artist
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:iconchantel-sky:
Chantel-sky Featured By Owner Edited Jul 30, 2014  Student Digital Artist
I recently came across your videos on youtube, They are just awesome and inspiring :D!
Would you mind telling me where you get your textures from?
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:iconfunkybunnies:
FunkyBunnies Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
thanks a bunch Leliiana!
What textures are you looking for?
Reply
:iconchantel-sky:
Chantel-sky Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2014  Student Digital Artist
The icecream girl sculpt, her skin texture is just so beautiful :)
Reply
:iconfunkybunnies:
FunkyBunnies Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
thanks Leliiana!
I actually just polypainted that one in zbrush with super basic color regions - you might be able to see it in the timelapse :)
I forget which matcap I used, but I'm pretty sure it was one of the stock ones with a little shine to it.  Maybe it was ModelingClay?

hope that helps :D
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconmanchester1:
manchester1 Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2014
Really miss your YouTube videos. They were just wonderful. 
I've watched them all so many times, just mesmerizing. I hope you'll make more at some point. 
Reply
:iconfunkybunnies:
FunkyBunnies Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
thanks, manchester1!

I hope I have time for more youtube vids soon too :(
Reply
:icondave-wilkins:
Dave-Wilkins Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Really Awesome stuff!!!
Reply
:iconfunkybunnies:
FunkyBunnies Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
hey thanks a bunch, Dave!
That means a lot coming from you :)
Reply
:iconkirlyfish:
Kirlyfish Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I discovered you from Youtube. :D Your channel was the first one I clicked when I was searching
for zbrush timelapse videos and you truly inspire me! I like the subjects you choose to sculpt
especially the cute anime type girl ones and I wish I could make one for myself XD

Have a nice day~ :hug:
Reply
:iconfunkybunnies:
FunkyBunnies Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
hey thanks a bunch for the kind words, Kim!

I'm pumped that any of my work could inspire you :D
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