I'm not just talking about clients posting on places like DevArt anonymously asking for "samples" or setting up "competitions" but also having a client look at your art, dither about hiring you and then offering you the chance to compete with other artists by submitting work for a project and they'll pay the person whose work they like but not the other artists. Has anyone ever done such a thing in a rewarding way? Am I correct in my first reaction, which is to politely inform the person that I do not do speculative work? In most advice I've read for artists in the past, they warn again doing speculative work as many people use that as a way to get free art. And most of the advice I see around here is based on the concept of "some form of payment up front before any work is done."