Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Josep Maria Subirachs

Subirachs, an accomplished sculptor, designer and engraver was born in Barcelona 11 March 1927. Click here for his website.

These random drawings were collected and included in Giacomo Casanova's "Memorias de España", published in spanish by Ediciones Altera.






A Love Story

I did a job for this guy a year ago, he made me jump through hoops but somehow the job got done, nevertheless I vowed to not work with him again. One of his designers called me last month and asked me to do a fairly straightforward and simple illustration, a girl pointing to a chair, I would only draw the girl and leave her in her own layer so they can superimpose the chair and other elements such as type; I thought I was working with the designer on this and said I would do it, he said he would come by my house to explain the job in more detail, I agreed.

The doorbell rings and guess who's there? the old art director! I'm confused and surprised, could it be that I talked to this guy instead of the designer? Hmmm..Am I dreaming?

Well, I didn't want to be a dick so I agreed to do it as long as he didn't drive me batty like the last time, he seemed calm and assured me this would be a very simple illo, nothing like the last job, which had backgrounds and props, he offered me an additional job (besides the chair girl) but after he explained what he wanted done I declined, I sensed trouble.

He asked for 4-6 poses to choose from, I said I 'll do two, he replied "they don't have to be finished pieces just gestures", I agreed to 4. I told him I was going away to Orlando for the weekend, that I would sketch the poses and email them to him for approval and that I could work on the job after my return from Florida, he agreed but ignored what I said entirely because he emailed me on the same weekend regarding the sketch.

This is the actual, un-embellished and un-doctored email trail:
Note: I can't post the images, just know that this guy has seen all of my work, I have even given him one of my books as a present, he's well aware of my style of drawing.

On Feb 23, 2006, at 2:54 PM, Designers wrote:


I well received the drawing.

One with circle mark is the one I like.

Her pose is right.

Please have her

1) hand pose and face, leg and hair realistic and charming(Sexy?)

2) We may have to enlarge the girl, please excellent detail.



Megacon weekend break

On Mar 1, 2006, at 8:31 AM, "Alberto Ruiz" wrote:

I'm sorry but I don't see any circle marks anywhere, can you be more specific.



On Mar 1, 2006, at 2:04 PM, Designers wrote:

Please open attached.

First sketche from top left the girl with open arms is the one.

Please give me a call if you do not understand.


So and So

On Mar 3, 2006, at 6:11 PM, Alberto Ruiz wrote:

this is a screen shot, I have the file in a CD can you stop by and pick it up?

On Mar 3, 2006, at 7:38 PM, Designers wrote:


Every thing looks good but I need you to refine two

Please improve hands

And reduce her eyes more realistically.

Thank you.

So and So

Can I pick up on Monday?

On Mar 3, 2006, at 7:39 PM, Alberto Ruiz wrote:



10 days later

On Mar 14, 2006, at 9:26 AM, Designers wrote:


I am sorry to say but when we tried the girl on the chair
It did not work.

Our internal client resented the drawing.
Could you make the changes and improve
the girl?


On 3/14/06 11:41 AM, "Alberto Ruiz" wrote:

Dear Designers,

This is what you approved, I am not making any more changes to the finished illustration until I receive my check for the full amount I invoiced plus an additional charge for the changes you want done, also, you have to specify what changes you want done, so I can invoice you accordingly because I am NOT going to work blindly so you can tell me that my work has been "resented", this is not my responsibility, you should have shown the proposed image to your client before you asked me to finish the illustration.

If you don't want me to finish the illustration just send me the payment for my work, which I invoiced already and we'll remain friends.

Thank you and best regards,



On Mar 14, 2006, at 3:06 PM, Designers wrote:

I did not approve your drawing yet.

Skirt, shoes, feet and hands/finger and eyes should be improved.

You do not seem to have any mind to satisfy your client’s need.

So and So

My last email to the art director:

This is what you wrote after I sent you the finished illustration: "Every thing looks good but I need you to refine two
areas: Please improve hands And reduce her eyes more realistically.

Thank you.


Can I pick up on Monday?

I 'reduced' the eyes and refined the hands like you asked me to, to the best of my ability.

I have all the desire to satisfy the client's need but I won't do endless revisions for free, you pay me first for the finished illustration and then I'll do all the changes you want and I will bill you for every change you want, accordingly, I believe that's fair. I am not a slave and I don't work for free. You use the word "improve" very lightly, just what exactly do you want to see? a photograph?, let me remind you that I am a cartoonist, I am not a photographer, tell me exactly what you need so I don't have to guess and be wrong all the time. I'd love to satisfy you but I can't read your mind. If you don't want to use my work then pay me what you owe me so far and we'll part ways.


To be continued. . . . :)


orangminyak said...

it was interesting to read about the communique that you had with the art director, i guess this problems do occur outside of the asian continent as well...i mean where do we draw the line on payment for work especially artistic freelance work and what is the barometer that one should put for one's work.

i've had similar experience couple of times with some clientele that seems to have minds of their own ...how i passed through them was more of a "Kow-Tau" attitude (the client/customer is the boss) but i always make a note of avoiding them altogether the next time cause i don't want the grief and if they do insist in utilizing my work, i tend to ask for more from them like 20% more than usual, if that doesn't hinder their need then i get 20% more than usual.

i think artist should create a union or a talent law firm to protect them...just a thought

nickbaltagi said...

Interesting and thanks for sharing. I think this clearly shows why you left the commercial life in the first place and do what YOU want to do. I think you should just directly deal with clients instead of going through companies, but I see how you got this job, the client asked them and they came to you. It always sucks when there's a middle man and you don't know exactly what the client wants. It's whatever the middle man thinks will look good for the client and when they show it to the client and it's not what they want, they throw the blame on the artist since you were the one that drew it in the first place. Hopefully you'll get your money and maybe you can contact the client yourself afterwards to see what they want, unless there's a contract involved. Keep us posted :)

FrogDaddy said...

hey alberto- hope this ends happily,
or at least wealthily (is that a word?)
remember the poor girl who designed the
nike "swoosh" only got paid $35 dollars
for it....history has shown that the artist
always gets screwed....
way to give 'em hell tho, doc....

Scott Tolleson said...

Ah man!!! Sounds like a pain in the ass to say the least. What makes this laughable for me is that I know you and I know how hard it must be for you to remain professional. Good luck on resloving this issue. Keep us up to date on all the latest. Thanks for sharing.

Process Junkie said...

orangminyak: This problem occurs everywhere in the world with scumbag art directors, this guy tricked me into doing this thing and that was low but apparently he could get lower, lol!

Believe it or not I followed your method, I charged him double of what I received last time, that didn't stop him probably because he's desperate and couldn't find any other sucker to do this. I figured just like you: if he's going to give me a hard time I might as well be compensated for it but the additional money doesn't make me any happier, it should but it doesn't ( that is if he ever pays me) I just want this asshole out of my hair.

Nick: Yes, this is exactly why I left this forsaken field of legal prostitution.

He's the art director for the entire company, he's the person to deal with, he's not a middle man, the problem is he obviously does these things entirely on his own and hires illustrators to do what HE wants to have done, not what the company asks him to get done, in other words he doesn't consult his bosses and wastes the artist's time because he has no respect for artists, he thinks we're all whores and we should work for free to please him endlessly. I feel like chopping his genitals and stuffing them in his mouth, just to teach him a lesson. The only reason why I even considered doing something for this pig to begin with was because a dear friend who worked at that company recommended me, that woman is a saint, I just wanted to make her look good, sadly, a few minutes ago I just found out this motherfucker fired her while she was on maternity leave. What a cock sucker!! You know this means war!

Frogdaddy: This will not end in good terms I can assure you. The woman is someone we both know btw, I'll tell you all about it in private.

Scott Tolleson: I can barely contain myself. The beauty about not being in the business full time and depending on it for survival is that I can tell these leaches to go fuck themselves and sleep soundly at night, can you imagine the arrogance of this ambulance chaser?

DaLe said...

AHHH! how do you avoid these crazy mofos?! we're feeling the sort of same thing at the animation house im at now, the client just keeps getting us to revise & revise & oh revise more, it was such an insane rush to get it done & now theyre taking more time revising than it took to make the damn commercial. luckily theyre still paying for all the fixes, but you still feel like youre wasting your time, cuz you have no idea whether what you do is going to end up being accepted. so so crazy
good luck funkmeister

Oscar Grillo said...

This brought so many memories, Alberto. I've been there SOOOOO many times...Once I saw a German art director OVER THE SHOULDER of an artist friend telling him how to draw a cartoon elephant...My friend quit and is now a well reputed writer.

Process Junkie said...

Oscar: The fact that you've been there as many times as I'm sure you have, just saddens me and disgusts me even further. Knowing that a man of your talent, human quality and intellect can't be left alone to create, is just disgraceful to no end.

DaLe: Sometimes it's beyond just the monetary aspecs of any given job, it really comes down to a loss of respect and basic human decency. I hope you don't think I'm being a big baby, because I'm not, I have posted success stories before, this just happens to be not one of them, I'm sure all of you trying to earn an honest living out there in "Artland" have experienced things like this, I wish this was just an isolated incident, sadly this is more common than a foot-long rat in the New York City subway.

Elliot said...

Grillo sent me this way to read your tale.
I've been there myself many times.
I find swearing a lot helps me feel better.
Thank god with computers we can all press CTL ALT IMPROVE and make everything better so quickly.

John Beatty said...

Bad deal...getting worse...

Get your money from the job and run from this guy and any of his minions!

But you know all this already!

I don't know why "AD's" and other agencies and individuals believe they can get artist to work for "free?"

I guess I can only say it relates back to those who will not stand up for their rights or do "spec" work and they need to learn that by doing this it only makes it harder for other artist, as well as them in the long run...

Assholes...try not paying a Doctor or an Attorney...even the Plumber.

They are all professionals as a "professional" artist...until we can get everyone witht the program...we as "professionals" will suffer as a whole to those who will give away their work and/or let themselve be walked on for fear of not getting any work for being difficult to work with...

...since when is getting paid for your talent, skill and labor being difficult to deal with?

As noted above...other "professionals" get paid wether they win, lose, or cannot do the job...once the "OK" is given, it's my feelings, depending on how far the people let the job get should determine the compensation you should receive...I usually break my invoices for "new" clients down into thirds...

30% up front for a rough sketch and approval.

30% up fornt for a final black line, or finished drawing ready to be a final drawing/illustration, etc...

40%, remainder, paid in full on acceptance of the final work.

If at anytime the work is pulled or changed to many times...the $$$ paid to me at that point in the job becomes my "kill fee" and we can either start over or part ways.

I know this guy will pay you, Alberto...it's just him trying to hold out and cry his way for more changes for "free."

He came to you for a reason...and will need to square things up with you.

Good post!

John G said...

Just want to state that this is very educational, and I appreciate you posting this to no end. Thanks for that. Also, thanks to everybody in the comments! I'm just now getting professional illustration gigs and struggling tooth and nail to maintain some level of understanding just what the hell is going on. It really shouldn't be this complicated. This post is fascinating. I can't wait to see how this pans out.

Chrissie A said...

*sigh* As a freelancer I know this happens all too frequently; I certainly have been there. It made me gnash my teeth in frustration to read those emails...and I'm finding that things are worse than ever now that graphic design and illustration have been greatly devalued and command less and less respect as non-artists proclaim that they can do it all themselves with software and clip art...I think they resent having to hire anyone at all; it pisses them off that there are still things they can't find on a stock CD or create by hitting a few keys...argh.

Okay, rant over. :) Good post, even if it got my blood boiling a bit this morning!

Jon Moss said...

Great post Alberto. He's basically telling you how to do your job, which is pure madness!

He also seems to have no concept of the time it takes to actually concieve, let alone draw something. What takes him 30 seconds to jot down in an e-mail, may take you a few days (or weeks) to get onto paper.

Just keep drawing for nobody but yourself.. it's the only way.

Craig said...


You want Big Beatty and I to go, ahem, "have a talk" with this guy?

I agree with the others... take your money and walk away.

See you at Heroes!

MJ said...

Oh wow, I feel for you. It sounds like my weekend:

Them: "We dont like this brown, can you make it darker?"

(three browns later) "Still not quite. Make it lighter?"

Me: "Send me a Pantone number if you can't decide. Please remember that every revision is costing you more, and you've exceeded your budget."

Them: "We love the brown."

rajesh said...

I've been pretty fortunate in my experiences when compared to yours, and it pisses me off to no end when artists a gajillion times better than me deal with more shit that I do.

rajesh said...

thanks for sharing the cool subirachs works too.

Process Junkie said...

I'm glad that this post was able to generate such an interesting and healthy discussion, I want to clarify that my aim by posting this trail of emails was simply to share an experience with fellow artists, most of whom have or will encounter similar situations, and perhaps, by exposing ignorant assholes such as this guy, -who is a mirror image of most art directors out there- to alert newcomers to this field of "commercial art", don't work on spec and keep everything in writing.

I know some of you expressed concern and sympathy for this particular situation that I'm in and I thank you for your comments but you don't need to worry -particularly in terms of money- , I must say that in my nearly 30 years of working in art-related fields, I have seen pretty much everything, this person pales by comparison to much, much more evil human beings, I never signed any contracts with him, he's the least of my worries and
the money is the least of my concerns.

I left the business to get to do what I want, it wasn't always all bad, I've been lucky to have worked with good people but the majority of my experiences have not been pleasant; my issue is very clear and easy to understand, it's about creative freedom, my days of whoring are loooong gone. I asked the guy the day I met him the first time: "Are you familiar with my work?" he said "Yes, I've seen what you do and that's what we want" then I told him: "if you are going to 'art direct' the shit out of this thing I want no part of it, I heard your description and I have no problem delivering what you need the only way I know how to" he said "no problem, do what you do best" and then he proceeds to pull the individual hairs off my balls, one by one.

Get everything in writing.

He came to see me in person the first time and gave me verbal instructions every time he needed changes, once the shit hit the fan it was easy for him to say "That's not what I said", this time however, I refused to take his phone calls and stopped him from coming to my house, I forced him to respond via email, I honestly thought it was going to end well, I really did, but I prepared mentally for the worse. How many times can I get fucked until I learn my lesson, the answer is 'One', there will be no second time, I'm too old for that.

My biggest problem in this "art world of shit" is dealing with morons who hire you for what you do best and then want to turn you into someone/something else, if you have seen what I do and have a good solid idea of my capabilities and style and whatever else, why on earth would you expect something diametrically oppossed to what I'm capable of? it puzzles the fuck out of me!!! Somebody, please explain that to me!!!

If you want to hire a photographer or some other photorealistic bullshit artist why do you come knocking on my fucking door? and waste the time I should be spending on more important things than to deal with your sorry ass, things such as picking the lint of my belly button, clipping my toenails or bathing 'Mars The Dog'.

We all need money, that is a fact, but we can't allow this scum of the earth to rob us of our dignity and treat us like human toilets. I used to get tons of requests for commissions as probably many of you in the comics field do, things like: "I want Supergirl sucking Cat Woman's pussy" or the ever popular: "Power Girl showing her tits to a horny Back Canary, who's touching her breasts while inserting a huge dildo up her butt". Sure I need the money but I'm not your personal whore, nothing to do with morality, it's all about creative freedom.

I've already forwarded the emails to the owner of the company, demanding payment and warning them not to use the work lest they risk a lawsuit (they won't use it anyway because that's not what they wanted in the first place, the stupid art director took care of that). Beyond these measures, these people are a royal waste of my ear wax removal time, I won't lose any sleep over it.

Thanks for all the comments, everybody, I'll see you in L.A.


Justin Leigh Leiter said...

Alberto -
Just look at the horrible mangling of English in his responses...you can tell the guy doesn't have it all together just from his e-mails...I hear ya on this one man; what a friggin' schmuck!


Kanokadafi said...

Hell yeah! Alberto, I love the way you handled this. I think to many of us, including myself find ourselves working with jerk off directors.

heri said...

Alberto, Bien echo! I couldn't done it better my self! stupid art director!

Rebekit said...

This is classic, thanx for posting

Scott Neely said...

Hello Alberto,

Mind if I say something about this issue? I just read your emails that you got from this nimrod and I think you were more than gracious with him. The main problem in advertising, and in entertainment art in general, is that the "suits" run the show and that they are NOT creative people and they know nothing about the creative process in any way, shape or form! They have no clue how difficult the work is to do in Illustrator (if it's created in that)and if you have to change it, sometimes it's not a "5-minute job."

Luckily, I've only had 2 assholes in my life who took a simple job and turned it into a steaming turd. I've been blessed mostly with people who were artists and have moved into the editorial side of things so they understand the pressure of doing a piece in a certain amount of time and what it takes to create it. Also they make sure that you get paid what you should as well. But they are few and far between!

My advice, besides yours of always getting it in writing, is if an agency approaches you and knows your style, have them show your stuff TO the client BEFORE you even start the job. Nothing is worse than wasted time. I did a cartoon strip job for an agency that liked my stuff and I did it. They wind up showing the client and he wants to know if it can be more in the art style of the comic strip "Zits." Needless to say it pissed me off since I then had to go over it again and mimic the style.

Anymore I get it all upfront and know what I'm getting into. If it smells and looks like a nightmare job, don't do it! Because then if you miss a deadline, you're done then for blowing it. It never ends. Hahahaha

Scott Neely

Elisa Chavarri said...

Thanks for posting, for some reason it makes me feel infinitly better in my ordeals to hear about yours. I think it's because it helps validate the anger ;) And I learn a lot from posts like these. Thanks for sharing

UrbanBarbarian said...

Typical... It's art. It's cartooning. It's not photography. Ugh. I hate a bad rapport with an art director. So sorry you're going through this nonsense.

Process Junkie said...

Scott: Thanks for your insight on this issue, well said!

Elisa, Dan, Heri, Kano, Justin & Rebkit: Thank you for your comments.

Allan L. said...

Dude, thank you SOOOO much for posting this fucked up e-mail exchange. I realize that revisions are a part of the business, but this is ridiculous. I really hope this ends properly.