Looking In

The Outcast Outsider

Nowadays, it’s rush up and finish what I have on my work table so I can jump to the next project that comes along.

Most of the time, it’s a waiting game of sorts.  Most of the people I deal with on my freelance gigs tend to act like they couldn’t be bothered, yet, they take up much of my time when it comes to negotiating with my skills for their project.

Illustration jobs for books tend to be somewhat shady. Lot’s of grays. My idea of  sourcing out your illustration needs is this: it’s either you have a Creative Director and list down instructions for the illustrations you require – point by point, angles, number of characters , etc – or you could give me the script and let me draw them how I understand the story. When you give me a script it is bound to be an artist’s interpretation, not someone else’s idea of how the drawing should be.

And most of the time I followed this line of thinking, it worked.

Now I’m holding onto some scripts with the illustrations done with and inked. Sure I got my down payment. Had to make sure this project doesn’t end up like what most freelance jobs I did – botched payments, rates scaled way down, and worse, some are still unpaid. The last I heard from this project was “OK”.

Which is not okay really, because with my experience with this publishing, there are gray areas that need to be addressed.  So I finished this stack. And I wait for someone to inform or ask me when can I submit the finished illustrations.

No calls.

No emails.

No text.

Last Sunday I sent sms telling them that I’m done, which is really a dead giveaway that they have to prepare the balance for this particular gig.

And all I got was “OK”.

Like I said, lots of grays.

That was last Sunday. Monday came and went – no calls.

You’d think accepting jobs for a publishing firm will give you black and whites.

So this morning I missed a call. And the reason was, I was in transit and I was informed, that someone in management wants to “talk” to me.


They know I finished the job already. An email would have sufficed since I scrimp and save just so I can keep myself online. Asked them to call me in the afternoon, but, and I hate to repeat myself, they act like they couldn’t be bothered. If someone wants to “talk” to me, only means they want to negotiate something.

Values books.

How can they teach values if they don’t even value the skills and talent of writers and artists? Those in their employ are dwindling in numbers. I only accepted this freelance job because the old lady is nice enough, but to have cut the rate down, and now  I’m skeptical about the balance, it’s just so insensitive of them to think they can just call me in the middle of something and drop everything so that they can “negotiate” the terms again.

Feels like a commuter patiently waiting in line at an MRT station, for a train to come, only to be told that there are no more trains.

I find ways to do a project, even take the necessary measures to finish early. But to have this one done and not getting any calls for balance payments, whew, I have got to get me some new projects.

I don’t have to go and tell them what I think.

But I think I’ll hold on these illustrations for the meantime.

5 responses to “Looking In

    • Yes. I should be used to this kind of treatment. But I was hoping this job, given the cut rates, would be jsut a breeze. I only compromise to have something to do and earn from it. But, sadly, sometimes I should slap myself from accepting these kind of work.

      • Years ago, I accepted an editing job for a book where experts in a specific field were to collaborate on writing the articles. I ended up writing some parts of it, which wasn’t really the deal, but okay, no problem.

        The actual problems were:

        (1) the writers took their sweet time when there was supposed to be a deadline

        (2) the one heading the team had a disorganized mind that kept changing…imagine the freelancers taking the time to travel far in the evening, staying in the meeting for 3-4 hours, and nothing ever seems to be improving

        (3) said head kept insisting later that I would write the FAQs for writeups that writers forgot to write FAQs for. But how would I know what the FAQs were if they were not provided by the experts, and how would I even know the actual answers? Was i just going to make them all up???

        Because of these problems, and other factors, it took two, maybe almost three years before I gave up. We kept stopping and hardly finish much. I wasn’t anymore going to waste my time, own money and energy for those people. I had already compensated for their initial payment and didn’t care anymore about losing the next half. They felt that they could just demand for my time when they wanted to. The most irritating was when they finally included this other person to help lead and he said that I didn’t edit the stuff to be more layman-ish enough. I was thinking, “DUH. Two years and you tell me this NOW? H***, I’m not going to start all over those!” Besides, I always did my best and it was not my fault if many terms would sound too silly already if translated. ALSO it was my job to edit, not re-write. The writers were given the instruction to write in layman’s terms as much as possible and I was only to improve on those.

        The last straw really was when they promised to give us at least 5k each so we’d at least have money for travel (it so happened that I had no job that time). I kept following up and they kept telling me the person who was supposed to sign the cheque forgot, that he was abroad and wouldn’t be back till this certain day and that they would call me once he got back and signed it, and they never did. So you know I didn’t show up at the next meeting and promptly quit. I was not their slave, thank you.

        Sorry this is long, but just had to vent as well, he he

        • It’s the same with this particular firm. Actually we, the team, were doing good, until management deemed it necessary to bring in a new editor. What happened was, like you experienced it – one step forward, two maybe three steps back. Artists are hired to do artists interpretaions for stories. What came about was a literal ‘literal’ interpretation. Can you imagine putting too much characters in a 11″x8.5″ that would eventually be reduced to about 3″x2.5″ frame? It’s insane. Nothing gets finished.
          And no, don’t apologize. I post stuff like these because, frankly,. there are few people who could understand hoiw I think.
          Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts.

          • “Can you imagine putting too much characters in a 11″x8.5″ that would eventually be reduced to about 3″x2.5″ frame?” WHHAATTT??? You’re right, that’s insane!!! Di talaga common ang common sense…Sometimes kasi, ang nakikialam eh wala naman ding alam sa gano’ng bagay. S’yempre, since sila ang mag-lead o ang client, sila masunod PERO they need to also listen to the ones their hired. Di ba, they hire people for their expertise? Tapos di rin sila makiinig man lang. E di sila na lang gumawa!!!

            Anyhoo, I’m sure there will be better clients with a lot more common sense to come. Have a nice day! 🙂

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