We Need To Talk About Money…

Here are two tales:

1. For about a year (seven years ago before I was a full time freelance illustrator), I was assistant manager in a shoe shop in the Office chain. I worked a 40 hour week, and I was paid monthly. In that time my pay was never late, never short, never ‘misplaced.’ I got my pay cheque on the last Friday of the month and I was happy.

2. Last May I was contacted by an advertising agency who wanted me to work on a series of posters for a beer company. The project was initially intended to run for two weeks and wrap at the start of June and was to pay approx. £12,000. Unfortunately two weeks ended up being six months of back and forth with various different parties within the company and client (and given that it was for alcohol, the legal department). This wasn’t ideal, but projects often take longer than planned, and I must make it clear that I wasn’t working on this for the whole six months - often a few days here and there and then a wait for feedback. I submitted final artwork files in November along with my invoices. Then time passed. After conversations with the client it became clear that they could not (or would not) pay as they were waiting to be paid by their client. Now as an illustrator, I didn’t make an agreement with the beer company, I made an agreement with the ad agency, and it became clear that they had commissioned work without having the money to pay for it. After more conversations an agreement was made that they would pay in instalments (at this point we are four months after invoicing, ten months after the project started). Three payments were made and then no more. After more emails a date was set for the final instalment. This was not met. Then another date was set and not met again. The tone of an email sent when a request was made for some clarity suggested that we should ‘watch our tone’ if we wanted the process to be swift. Finally, this week the last instalment of payment for a job that was commissioned a year ago and delivered as final artwork in November was paid.

I should stress - this is a worst case scenario (and the worst I have encountered in twelve years of illustrating), but i find myself in a quandary. As a member of the illustration community shouldn’t I make other illustrators aware of said advertising agency and their unprofessionalism? I would feel bad if a friend was put in the same situation, and I feel like I could have averted it, or at least advised them not to work with that particular agency.

This opened up to me a bigger question about how we as illustrators value ourselves and how we can often end up being treated. I have lost track of the number of times I have had to chase clients about late or missing payments. I look at my spreadsheet for the year and I can see five jobs (out of thirty five completed and invoiced this year) which I am currently chasing because they are late (ie: over the four weeks stated clearly on my invoice), and there have already been two on top of that have gone past the three month mark before being paid. Personally i resent spending time that I could be drawing chasing someone to be paid, or that I even need to chase at all. When I worked in the shop, I didn’t have to email the accounts department once a month to remind them to pay me. 

It feels to me that illustrators live in fear of the ‘bad reputation’. Speaking out about late or non payment, or insultingly low budgets (a blog post for another time right there) or money in general will land them on a ‘black-list’ and their work will dry up.

A quick straw poll amongst twitter suggested that a lot of illustrators wouldn’t call out slow or non-paying clients publicly for fear of being considered unprofessional, but aren’t we talking about clients who are themselves being unprofessional? Another suggestion was that it was biting the hand that feeds them, but if that hand is letting you starve then maybe it deserves to get bitten? Another had taken on more work with a client despite admitting that their lowballing budgets ‘took the mickey’ and they they were still waiting for outstanding payments (and who I now won’t take work from for the same reasons). Sadly, this kind of behaviour just reinforces the fact that some clients don’t take this seriously. Maybe if they were named and shamed and their source of illustration dried up they might reconsider how they conduct their business. Even now, I find myself not naming the advertising agency who have made my life difficult over the last year - I’m no better than anyone else.

I don’t have any good suggestions about how we can redress this, but it feels like a conversation that needs to be had. We do good work, on time - surely we deserve a fair pay delivered on time.

Where do we go from here?

illustration industry professional practice clients pay money matt taylor advertising

I might start doing these compendiums of Stuff You Missed On Instagram more frequently, or at least my shameless attempt to get more followers starts paying off.

Anyway - stuff you might have missed this week:

- Segments from a drawing for one of my favorite publishers

- Unused sketches for the cover of a comic called WOLF that IS HAPPENING SOON (and by soon i mean this winter).

- A drawing from when I was working at ilovedust and illustrated a Mardi Gras parade.

- A sketch of some boxers

More on my Instagram, and probably another one of these blog posts soon. I have a lot of unused miscellany that I’d like to eventually put up.

illustration sketches art matt taylor comics ilovedust boxing boxers wolf mardi gras new orleans nola trumpet second line

Here are three snippets of things I am currently drawing. Unfortunately they are all pieces in which showing any more would give the game away as to what they are for, so for now you’ll have to take the details.

They are all culled from my Instagram feed which you can find here, and if you’re not following it then gosh darn it, you’re missing out on all sorts of amazing pocket sized pictures of artwork, shoes i’ve bought, and my cat Audrey.

www.instagram.com/matttaylordraws

More art next week!

illustration artists on tumblr matt taylor moss snow explosion boom clouds waterfall wip instagram

I did a Spider-Man poster last month. I endlessly blogged and tweeted about it, so I’ll try not to go on about even more BUT…

IMAX were good enough to write another blog post about the concept work I did before we settled on the final art (which has some commentary on the process, and you can see HERE), so I’m reposting the pictures on this blog too.

I was really happy with the final piece that we produced, but there are a couple in here that I would be happy to work up to finished pieces at some point when I finally reach the bottom of never ending to-do list…

spider-man The Amazing Spider-Man 2 imax fanfix mondo mondonews matt taylor illustration comics artists on tumblr electro new york manhattan

A nice surprise in the mail this morning, my posters for the first IMAX screenings of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 that I worked on with Mondo

They’re really nice litho prints with a spot varnish on Spidey (see picture above), and have a nice weight to them, so kudos to the women and men at IMAX who made them happen.

These have been and gone in the UK as far as I know, but you can still get your hands on one of these by attending one of these screenings when the movie is released later in the week.

spider-man imax the amazing spider-man 2 illustration matt taylor fanfix new york skyscraper print mondo artists on tumblr movie

hey tumblr, seeing as some of you have been very kind and very enthusiastic about my drawings, maybe i could direct you towards my new website which is filled with illustrated things.
you could click that picture up there, or follow this link to www.matttaylor.co.uk
there are AT LEAST three things that I’ve finished, but can’t quite share yet so it will be updated with some regularity in the future. i hope you like it. 

hey tumblr, seeing as some of you have been very kind and very enthusiastic about my drawings, maybe i could direct you towards my new website which is filled with illustrated things.

you could click that picture up there, or follow this link to www.matttaylor.co.uk

there are AT LEAST three things that I’ve finished, but can’t quite share yet so it will be updated with some regularity in the future. i hope you like it. 

illustration website matt taylor artists on tumblr design squarespace portfolio

So, almost exactly one year ago, I was in Paris with my wife having a discussion about how I wasn’t really loving my job and wanted to get back to freelance illustration again. I came back off holiday and handed in my notice, and one year later the last piece of work I did at ilovedust is out there in the world (which once again serves as an illustration of the kind of lead times on some of the projects i work on).

This was part of a pair of snowboards for Sims - the other is out there too if you want to track it down, but this one was my favorite. That was mainly because the brief was pretty much free reign to draw what I wanted and it turned out quite nicely.

Fun fact, this is actually the second time I have tried my hand at this illustration - the first time around it was for Waste, and I’m glad I got the chance to do it again, because I don’t thinkI did it justice the first time around!

Although sadly I don’t think i can justify the expense of buying one for the archive, this is now available to buy from all reputable and disreputable retailers.

Illustration artists on tumblr snowboarding native american rain dance wolf wolves ilovedust sketch snow matt taylor MattTaylor

Brand. New. Website!
So January 1st heralded a return to working for myself again, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to redesign my website (but not too much because I was pretty happy with the old one - it just needed a little bit of a polish).
I am now available for freelance hire, so if you like what I do please don’t hesitate to get in touch - I will consider most things. You can drop me a message through Tumblr or send me an email at matt@matttaylor.co.uk - i look forwards to hearing from you!

Brand. New. Website!

So January 1st heralded a return to working for myself again, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to redesign my website (but not too much because I was pretty happy with the old one - it just needed a little bit of a polish).

I am now available for freelance hire, so if you like what I do please don’t hesitate to get in touch - I will consider most things. You can drop me a message through Tumblr or send me an email at matt@matttaylor.co.uk - i look forwards to hearing from you!

website illustration matt taylor artists on tumblr freelance

ON. SALE. NOW
So if you want either of these Breaking Bad prints that I produced for the current show at Gallery 1988 (see the post below for more on that), then you can find them here. Editions of 50, and at the time of writing this there are less than 10 of the shrine print, and about 25 of the chapel print left *UPDATED* all the shrine prints have gone now, there are a few of the chapel prints left still. 
Both lovely hand pulled screen prints courtesy of Parliament of Feathers (four and three colors respectively), and when they’re gone they’re gone forever…

ON. SALE. NOW

So if you want either of these Breaking Bad prints that I produced for the current show at Gallery 1988 (see the post below for more on that), then you can find them here. Editions of 50, and at the time of writing this there are less than 10 of the shrine print, and about 25 of the chapel print left *UPDATED* all the shrine prints have gone now, there are a few of the chapel prints left still. 

Both lovely hand pulled screen prints courtesy of Parliament of Feathers (four and three colors respectively), and when they’re gone they’re gone forever…

artists on tumblr Illustration Breaking Bad breaking gifs Walter White heisenberg matt taylor

Way way back in the autumn of 2010 I was contacted by the folks at Burton Snowboards and asked if I would like to design a pair of gloves for their winter 2012/13. Obviously I said yes (because, come on, it’s Burton), and worked on a calavera/day of the dead themed design.
Artwork was signed off and sent off, and then began a very very long waiting game, thanks to the substantial lead times needed in the production of snowboarding gear. Now, almost two years on from doing them, they are in the new season catalogue and online. Honestly i was slightly worried that seeing them now, so long after doing them, they wouldn’t stand up against my current work. But you know what? They totally do. I’ll try not to think about what that means with regards to two years of improvement in my current work.
So there you go - if you’re headed to the slopes this season, get your mitts in these. You can see them online here; not available to buy yet, but i have no doubt they will be soon…

Way way back in the autumn of 2010 I was contacted by the folks at Burton Snowboards and asked if I would like to design a pair of gloves for their winter 2012/13. Obviously I said yes (because, come on, it’s Burton), and worked on a calavera/day of the dead themed design.

Artwork was signed off and sent off, and then began a very very long waiting game, thanks to the substantial lead times needed in the production of snowboarding gear. Now, almost two years on from doing them, they are in the new season catalogue and online. Honestly i was slightly worried that seeing them now, so long after doing them, they wouldn’t stand up against my current work. But you know what? They totally do. I’ll try not to think about what that means with regards to two years of improvement in my current work.

So there you go - if you’re headed to the slopes this season, get your mitts in these. You can see them online here; not available to buy yet, but i have no doubt they will be soon…

burton snowboarding gloves illustration day of the dead calavera matt taylor

Are you in LA? If you are, have you been along to Gallery 1988's excellent Crazy 4 Cult 5 show? If not, why not - didn’t you see me mention it was excellent just there? Transatlantic peer pressure aside, I have it on good authority that this years aforementioned Crazy 4 Cult is the best yet (and the fact it can keep getting better after five years is a testament to the keen eye of the guys at G1988).
Obviously the reason I mention this is because I have a piece in the show this year. That’s it, at the top of this post. Point Break is arguably the king of testosterone driven dumb action adventure and this is my little tribute to the quasi-mystic buddhist bank robber Bodhi.
It’s available in an edition of 30 for the not unreasonable sum of $35, so if you want one, point your browsers towards the Gallery1988 webshop.

Are you in LA? If you are, have you been along to Gallery 1988's excellent Crazy 4 Cult 5 show? If not, why not - didn’t you see me mention it was excellent just there? Transatlantic peer pressure aside, I have it on good authority that this years aforementioned Crazy 4 Cult is the best yet (and the fact it can keep getting better after five years is a testament to the keen eye of the guys at G1988).

Obviously the reason I mention this is because I have a piece in the show this year. That’s it, at the top of this post. Point Break is arguably the king of testosterone driven dumb action adventure and this is my little tribute to the quasi-mystic buddhist bank robber Bodhi.

It’s available in an edition of 30 for the not unreasonable sum of $35, so if you want one, point your browsers towards the Gallery1988 webshop.

crazy 4 cult gallery1988 point break dead presidents illustration matt taylor

I know, I know - I keep posting bits of Matador art with the intention of it being the last one (and threats that you’ll have to buy the book to see them all), and while that’s mostly true, it also happens that this project is rapidly gaining more pages, so sharing a little more with you now isn’t the worst thing in the world.
Did I mention I was going to make these into a book? Well I hope to - currently dependent on getting a good price quoted - probably an A5 thing, akin to Cowboy Versus Indian (what’s Cowboy Versus Indian you ask? it’s this), but in color. And it’s also the first thing in a new publishing venture that I WILL blog about this week. Or next.
In other news, I’m going to be doing a comic. With a proper up and coming comic writer who has plucked me from obscurity and everything. Can’t really say any more than that right now, but expect to get tired of me banging on about it for the foreseeable future…

I know, I know - I keep posting bits of Matador art with the intention of it being the last one (and threats that you’ll have to buy the book to see them all), and while that’s mostly true, it also happens that this project is rapidly gaining more pages, so sharing a little more with you now isn’t the worst thing in the world.

Did I mention I was going to make these into a book? Well I hope to - currently dependent on getting a good price quoted - probably an A5 thing, akin to Cowboy Versus Indian (what’s Cowboy Versus Indian you ask? it’s this), but in color. And it’s also the first thing in a new publishing venture that I WILL blog about this week. Or next.

In other news, I’m going to be doing a comic. With a proper up and coming comic writer who has plucked me from obscurity and everything. Can’t really say any more than that right now, but expect to get tired of me banging on about it for the foreseeable future…

xl matador illustration vector matt taylor