Other People's Babies

I get approached by strangers sometimes who are writing a graphic novel, story, or children's book and are looking for an artist to help make their dream projects come true. The catch is, they have no money to actually pay the artist for work, but always promise that "if the project does well" the artist will "definitely get their fair share." Or even better, any mention of payment is substituted by the phrase "would make a great portfolio piece." To many, many artists out there (myself included) this offer of what's called "spec work" is kind of insulting. But, I realize that many writers out there may not be trying to screw us artists over intentionally - they are just really excited about their projects and want someone who is also excited about it to help them out. So for them, I have devised this analogy to help illustrate what a non-paying offer sounds like to an artist/illustrator:

Imagine you are at the park with your children and suddenly a stranger with a baby walks up to you. They say that your children are very cute and well behaved, and think you've done a great job as a parent. Then they ask if you'd like to babysit their baby...for free. They insist that their baby is a great one and will be a lot of fun to watch, but just don't have the money to invest in a professional babysitter. They seem to assume that, because you've done such a wonderful job raising your own children and love them very much, you must just love watching and raising children in general. However, they promise that some time down the road, if their child grows up to become a rich lawyer/doctor/celebrity thanks to your hand in ensuring its survival, you'll be sure to get paid then.

Now, doesn't that sound fair (not to mention fun)?

Ditto.