I think I gave my two cents on requests already longer time ago, don't remember, I'm old.... but recent activities (actually reading a journal that called people who don't do requests greedy and stingy) made me realize I might take a moment to remind people of a few things regarding requests ... and how I personally handle them.
basically, requests are a cool thing, it's free art done by people out of friendship, out of pure joy of sharing or out of good will... or maybe even boredom or the hope to increase popularity and/or reputation - all of these are good reasons but it should never be forgotten that it's always the artist's choice whether they do requests or not.
the good side of requests:
requests are great if you are new to DA - when you don't know many people and are likewise unknown, opening requets will attrackt people to come and check you out, might even order artwork from you. If you draw for them they'll appreciate it (if they're not spoiled brats) and that might even be the base for new contacts or even frindship. It can get you into contact with other people of the community and/or your current fandom. And the more people you know, the more people appreciate your work the higher the chance to take the step from requests to paid commissions.
requests can help you to evolve and get out of your comfort zone becase they can be challenging and get you to approach new techniques, styles or genres of art like anthro-art or realism. Different to paid work requests are not bound to quality or standards (normally) so it's alright if you branch out and play the game of trial-and-error.
requests can help you over an artblock. You're stuck with commissions, trades and other important things and nothing seems to work? Ask people for suggestions or requests on what to draw, someone might throw in an idea, genre, scene that will boost your creative juices and get you back into the flow.
the bad side of requests:
For some you are merely a tool. Requests attrackt a lot of people who don't care about you at all, but only about free stuff. They will come, kiss ass and shower you with nice words until they drop the line about 'draw that'. They'll be nice till they get what they want and as soon as they have it, they'll be gone. Fact is, if you do requests, people will use you and don't care whether this affects you negatively or not.
requests can get you overworked. I've seen it happen many times. People start to open requests and accept dozens at once, happy about the fact people seem to appreciate their art. But sooner or later the artist gets overwhelmed, their interest in requests shifts or reallife or other things make ir hard to work artwise at all. They might even lose their motivation or get a serious art block and end up giving excuses why the pictures take so long until to some point they become a burden and might even be cancelled. Don't underestimate the pressure owed artwork (request or not) can put onto your shoulders.
requests don't always get you positive feedback. I know that for some people requests are watched as a tool for popularity and attention - even though the watchers etc. gaines through requests only is mostly a bunch of fakes. Other than being labeled that way it is not uncommon that people who receive requests are not always well mannered enough to appreciate it. They nag about things they dislike about the artwork and might demand it to be changed or redone entirely. And sadly many young artists actually do that instead of standing their ground and telling such people to GTFO. They get free art so they have to take it the way it is.
Once people know you did free art at some point they'll keep bothering you with it. And if you refuse, they can get bitchy. Some go so far as to openly insult you or try to guilt trip you so you feel to be in the wrong or sorry for them. So doing requests at some point and stopping later on, can generate a bunch of negativity against you. Additionally it can get very annoying to be asked for free art ongoingly even though it's stated clearly on your page or elsewhere that you stopped doing these. These negative side effects are the main reason many many many artists, including me, stopped doing request for anyone but friends or closed them entirely. Because the sad truth is, the majority of people on DA who look for requests are looking for tools, not friends.
Let me give you some facts about free art from my end.
I've met so many people on here who come to me, kiss ass for a day or two or pretend to want friendship and soon drop the question 'can you draw that for me for free?'. And some even have the guts to bitch at me for refusing. Most of the time I get such requests by note and more than 50% of these lack any proper form. It's just 'I have this char, can you draw it for me as request?' - there is no 'Hi', there is no 'please' or some sort of 'best regards' - some are even worse and actually demanding me to draw for them for free with a vocabulary and grammar that hurts. I don't know about some of them but I was raised and educated properly and I don't just write people I hardly know in a fashion like I might speak to my BFF sitting drunk next to me on the couch after an all-nighter. People who write notes like that can go fu** themselve, seriously, they piss me off. No one would go into a shop and be like 'Yo, cashier-girl, gimme that shirt there for free, I need it so bad so I can fap to it.' So why on earth do some people actually believe they have the right to act like that to artists? Because it's the internet? Because other artists are okay do be used and handled like a mere art-machine? Well I'm certainly not okay with it and whoever comes to me like that immediately ends on my 'black-list'.
I do have rules I play by regarding requests - either those coming in form of notes or those coming with a request stream:
If you are on my blacklist for reasons you won't get anything (you are on my blacklist if I witnessed you behave in a way that disagrees with my morals - as in bullying, stealing art, beeing a general bitch in certain points towards others or me, getting into conflict with me for no real reason, insulting me or others for no real reason, excessive lying and more... )
If you try to guilt trip me in any way or try to make me feel sorry for you (telling me sad stories about your life that just went downhill the moment I give out requests), you won't get anything
You don't have to be my buddy buddy to get requests from me, but people I don't know at all and with whom I don't talk at all have a significant smaller chance that their request will be considered
You don't have to be a regular visitor to my normal streams to get a chance for a free artwork in a request stream, but people who only come to requests streams or as mentioned before, I don't know at all, have a way smaller chance to get something (and let me tell you I remember quite well which people come to my regular streams and which only ever when there is free art available)
If you ask me for a requst via note (for a request connected to a stream or not) - if you lack proper form and courtesy I won't consider your request at all - as hard as it may sound, I don't talk to savages of that kind anymore, it's no use
If you are someone entirely new and all you do during our conversations is kiss ass in hope to increase your chance for free art you might as well return to where you come from - don't think I'm fooled that easily. I don't need ass kisser as friends, I only need people at my side who are friends with me because of my person and my special 'tics' and not my art, period.
soooo if anyone out there finds himself mentioned in the negative aspects of these previous 6 points - yeah, you have little to zero chance to ever get anything from me. And don't worry, I remember people who got on my bad side very well
I hardly care if people like my way of handling requests, it's my time, it's my work, so it's my rules. Deal with it.
Requests are originally meant to be a good thing but they can turn ugly very fast. Any request, no matter how small, takes time, it takes effort, it is actual work and therefor should be appreciated as such and it should be respected if an artist, for whatever reasons, decides to refuse doing them. Some artists don't do them because they had many bad experiences with them, some don't do them because they can easily get other people to pay them for the same job, some depend on commission money and simply have no time to work on anything for free because free things don't pay for food, meds or bills. The reasons vary but whatever is the case, it should be accepted.
It is a shame, really, how some people treat artists nowadays and think they actually have a right to do so. Every artist decides on their own wheter to do free art or not and they should be respected in their decision. Never forget that art is a luxury item - it is not necessary to survive - it's not ultimately needed. If you can't have it, it might make you sad for a moment but that's it - life will go on just like before. So respect the choices artists make regarding requests. Just because one artists decides one way, doesn't mean all have to do the same. They're people like everyone else with their own lives and own troubles - don't go off on them for not giving you what you want. Be reasonable, be polite and act mature ...
that's the end of my 'ranting', thanks everyone who made it to the end
let me know what you think about the topic if you have a minute.
the bunny loves you all because you're awesome