Nothing comes for free nowadays, not even your friend’s art!

Have you ever had a friend ask you to create art for them and have them? If you have, you probably also have been struck with the awful “Ay, may bayad?” phrase. Worry not, this isn’t new. And doesn’t it just grind your gears how friends or relatives ask you to work for free because it’s “just art”?

I once had an old friend who asked me to write a song for his girlfriend and demanded that he has it by the end of the day since he needs to sing it to him the next day. Immediately, I thought that this guy must be out of his mind. First of all, it doesn’t take just a day to write a song. I explained to him that it’s gonna take time to arrange chords and write lyrics just so he can be all sweet with his girlfriend. Also, wouldn’t it be better if he wrote the words himself (because what do I know about their relationship, right)? Apart from arranging the music and writing the lyrics, I’ll then have to teach it to him so that he can play the song himself. What a hassle!

This is a hard pill to swallow. A friend’s art is not free art. And if you’re one of the people who are under the impression that your friend owes you their art or that creating art is an easy thing to do, lend me your ears. You’re gonna need to hear me out! There are plenty of reasons why you should never ask your friend for free art, and we laid it out for you.

They did not master their craft for free.

First up, mastering their craft did not come for free. Most of your artist friends have been creating for years. And most of them study full courses on the craft they need to master. Whether your friend is a graphic artist, a painter, a photographer, or a writer, these people took time– years– in order to be good at what they do. Then comes the occasional workshops they need to attend in order to grow better in their respective areas.

Just like we pay a doctor high fees for their expertise, artists also took too much time to learn these things to be doing it for free. Yes, even if you’re friends. The arts shouldn’t always be viewed as an easier route than the sciences and thus given less importance when it comes to work value.

It costs them their time and effort.

Creating a piece of artwork takes time. I can’t stress this enough. Imagine that your friend is going to be spending their time prioritizing your request for free when they could be earning cash instead. Time is money, as people say. Asking your friend for free art means that you have less value for their time and see that it’s not worth spending money on.

Also, depending on what type of art you’re asking from them, it can include a lot of attention to detail, thus costing them their effort. And for what, nothing!

Equipment isn’t cheap!

If you want quality work, then you should be prepared to spend on it. In a similar way, these artists spend thousands and thousands on tools and equipment they need to produce top quality art. For example, your photographer friend didn’t spend lots of money buying good cameras high-quality lighting and efficient editing software so you can have your Instagram pictures for free!

Like you, they have to make a living.

Consider that these people, like you, are working to make a living. It may not be the regular 9 to 5, but it still works. And sometimes when you’re asleep and rested, these people are the ones who stay up to finish their work and catch up on deadlines. As we have earlier established. Art takes time to make. What would you do if you’re asked to work a day at your job only to learn that it’s unpaid for?

At the end of the day, it all boils down to respect. Pulling strings and asking your friends to work for free means that you don’t value their skills and talent. And if you’d be willing to pay a stranger for good output, it should be much so if that person is your friend. Enough with the guilt-trip and the debts of gratitude. Bear in mind that this is your friend’s job and his source of income and the only reason they’d agree to do it for free is that they wouldn’t want to lose a friendship even if it would mean a big compromise on their part. Don’t put your artist friends in the uncomfortable position of choosing between your friendship or a living.

If you’re the artist friend…

Now, if you’re the artist friend who keeps accepting workloads to get paid nothing. I have one advice for you: don’t. Being an artist, while enjoyable, is still a business. When getting yourself to agree to anything, ask yourself first, “What’s in it for me?” Because you always know what you’re going to have to give, so you should find out if the return is worth the effort.

We understand that in cases like this, it can be a little awkward to ask for a payment, especially if it’s a really close friend or relative. However, by not asking for a payment, you’re making them think that what they are doing is okay. Next thing you know, it’s not just going to be a one-time thing. They’ll be running to you every time they need help with art, and they’re going to be expecting you to do it for free.


The key is to always engage in a negotiation when it comes to these things. When a friend asks you to create art for them, may it be a sketch, a design, or a photo shoot, don’t be afraid to ask, “What’s our budget?” This way, they’ll know it’s not for free, and they’ll either negotiate the price with you or back out of the deal overall. And that’s okay, don’t think that you’ll lose a great friendship just because you asked them for payment. It’s work, it should be paid. They’re still going to be paying even if it’s with another artist anyway. And for me, I’d rather pay a good friend who I know would do his best job in making sure the art is something special than a stranger who I have no connection with.

The bottom line is that we should never ask an artist to do stuff for us for free. And even if we know that the artist would willingly work to create our art without a charge, we should always have the decency to at least offer to pay. We hope this helped open some eyes! How do you feel about paying people for art? Do you also think it’s inappropriate to ask for a friend’s art for free? Share us your thoughts on the comments down below! Or hit us up on our Facebook or Twitter @UDoUPh.