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How to handle a job I'm not sure is legit?

I have an opportunity at a one-off job as a colorist for an image. The thing is, this is being decided by having people interested fully color a "test image". The questions I have are:

1. Is this a common thing for people looking for colorists? Or is this a huge red flag that the person is trawling for suckers to color the "test image" for free?

2. If I do go through with applying, would I best explain watermarks etc to the possible commissioner? I don't want to sound accusatory in case this is legit.

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( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 25th, 2014 05:32 am (UTC)
I'd probably ask them why previous examples of my colored work aren't sufficient enough examples. I wouldn't risk it personally, but I really can't afford to be doing free work with no guarantee of getting the job afterward.
Mar. 25th, 2014 05:53 am (UTC)
The only reason I'm considering it is that I rarely get art commissions so at least I might get a little bit from this.

I think it was explained as seeing if the styles mesh well? It's sounding more suspect the more I write about it.</p>

Maybe I'll ask if I can color half of the image if they're really set on getting a sample with their lineart.

Mar. 25th, 2014 06:06 am (UTC)
Well if you don't mind taking the chance, you might as well do it? I dunno. As long as you understand the risk involved and don't mind taking the time to do it, I don't think it's a big deal. I would definitely watermark the sample image in some way though.
Mar. 25th, 2014 01:09 pm (UTC)

Your previous work IS your test work / examples of the quality and skills you have. After all ,wasn't it your uploaded work that gained their attention in the first place?

I'd ask them what about my current work that is uploaded is not a good enough example for them. Ask them to provide proof/examples of what coloring style they're after - Though your style is your style and it vaguely reminds me of people who commission X artist to draw like Y artist.
Mar. 31st, 2014 08:23 pm (UTC)
I agree completely with Frisket; your gallery should be your portfolio.
Mar. 25th, 2014 06:19 am (UTC)
Watermark is totally legit if they supply the b/w for you to colour. Otherwise, if they just want *A* test image coloured, grab a public domain lineart and go to ColourTown with it! Bam! New addition to your personal portfolio. And watermark it, with the notation of image's origin as well.
Mar. 25th, 2014 08:41 am (UTC)
As far as colorist jobs, I've definitely been given test pages for comic-work. But it's always been legitimately owned by the company hiring me, and obviously so. (Most have them available publicly as well)

I'd see if you could do a little more digging about the test image, or ask to offer your own portfolio of work for their consideration.
Mar. 25th, 2014 11:28 am (UTC)
Yes I had to do test art for a couple of jobs in the past. However they were for ongoing work/job rather than a one off. I know part of it is they wanted to check that I could do they style, work to a brief, work to a deadline etc.
There's nothing wrong with a text watermark (i.e 'colour test by *your name and date* towards the bottom of the page, I'd just put one on and not worry about explaining it. If they're gettin several artists to do tests it's useful to have your name on the art. Just don't cover the whole thing with watermark/s and use text, not an image/logo.
Mar. 25th, 2014 01:39 pm (UTC)
The only time I would trust it is if it's working with a company, not an individual, and even then I'd make sure to watermark my work.
Mar. 25th, 2014 11:31 pm (UTC)
Forexposure_txt on twitter.

Even companies try to pull the wool over people's eyes like this to get free work done.
Mar. 25th, 2014 11:32 pm (UTC)
Yep, it's very true- but in some industries, doing test work is common to get a job- animation, for instance.
Mar. 25th, 2014 11:30 pm (UTC)
Look up Forexposure_txt on Twitter.

Legit and not legit people/companies try this stuff all the time to get free work done.

Unless I'm getting at least some compensation for my time - I'd pass or use my own colored image to show - not color theirs.
Mar. 26th, 2014 12:21 pm (UTC)
If you're willing to do a test colour, definitely include a watermark saying who coloured it and include your contact info. If they complain about it, just tell them it's to prevent a mix-up, assuming they've contacted multiple artists. You're just doing them an administrative favor.
Mar. 28th, 2014 03:58 am (UTC)
SeanE on DA is a professional colorist and covered this subject rather recently: http://seane.deviantart.com/journal/Testing-my-patience-435623761
Apr. 2nd, 2014 02:15 pm (UTC)
No spec.
You should NEVER do unpaid work as an artist. Companies will try to bilk you into doing free/cheap work for them all the time. If they want you to do a color test, charge them for it.

You can't eat promises and you can't live in a maybe.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )


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