Archive: How to become a good freelancer

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We talked a lot about being a freelancer. It's not just the business side of it all, it's also the mental side. In any case: It's quite a challenge to maintain yourself effectively in this world because we have to wear so many hats. And especially when you're an artist: It can be an enormous challenge to manage the business side of it all.

Hi! My name is Tessa, I’m a Dutch artist, art director, and creative project manager. I love to share my passion for this craft, nature, art and fantasy, and do that by creating this archive and community, alongside my company Tez Art & Design.

Table of Contents (Click to (un)fold)

How to become a good freelancer

Becoming a good freelancer is key to having a solid flow of income. Many artists struggle with being business owners as well as creative, simply because we are the way we are. Creatives are not usually known for being good business people. We could fail at communication, legalities, consistency, and so much more.

When you work for an employer, there is a clear set of skills you need to have or develop. They are usually fairly limited. Most creatives want to break free from the regular way of things and much rather draw and do their own thing. They do underestimate though what it takes to be a business owner most of the time. And truth to be told: I only know these things myself as a creative because I ran and started a few businesses alongside business owners before I started my company Tez Art & Design and Life to Legend.

Learning to become a creative business owner

`Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

This is not just my story, it’s the story of so many other people with me. The artworld is hard to navigate. People do their own thing in their own ways, and more often than not lack the solid insights required to effectively provide a service, and communicate with their clients. I for one had serious trouble navigating my way through legalities. Most of them were written in English. And although I’m from the Netherlands: My English is just fine. Legalities, however, as a creative I have trouble understanding them even in Dutch. So it was a full-on course for me to understand what the heck it is all about, if it holds any grounds on a worldwide basis (and let me tell you: The answer is usually no) and if there was anything specific to the Netherlands I had to keep in mind.

Working in restaurants and other companies that provided extensive services, I knew how to communicate with my customers. But there is one big trap all of us face: Realizing what we know! Yea, we don’t, really realize how much we know. So imagine how it sounds when you say something to your client like: Well, the concept is finished in RGB, we now continue with the rendering and then I will send you all the files in RGB, CMYk, PDF, JPG, PNG in these and these pixels and you’re good to go!

This is only one example, and this is talking to an English person. Many people won’t speak English on a native level. Let alone what the heck you’re on about with all these profession-related terms.

Getting a grasp

You will learn through trial and error, no matter what. Even I, in the field for nearly 6 years at this time (2022) make mistakes. I can still underestimate how much time an illustration will take with a specific client. Some can be really nit-picky, something you will learn to recognize over time. If you offer flat prices, you need to make sure that you ask enough to cover the extra time that clients like this take. That way you may get a great deal out of an easy-going client, and a time-consuming one with those that want many changes. On average you won’t be losing money.


Like that there are so many more examples. We can’t prime you for all of them because there are as many traits to a person as there are persons alive on this planet. And the same counts for many other things. There is rarely a clear-set answer to all of your questions and the situation you’re in. This is why it’s so incredibly important to know what you’re on about and have a community you can turn to that can help you answer custom questions specific to your situation. Something we do our best to offer at our Life to Legend Facebook page and Discord channel, as well as on this blog.
So let us continue with the articles that go more in-depth!

Becoming a freelancer, everything you need to know

This article will run you through some questions that are frequently asked, such as:

  • Do I need to become an elitist to be considered a good artist?
  • How can I become an elitist?
  • What to specialize in.
  • And more.

Becoming a freelance artist, everything you need to know – LtL (

How to earn money with your art

A step by step guide that will run you through the things you will come across when you decide to make a business out of your hobby. After reading this article, you will know what to do and can also decide whether or not to pursue art as a career.

How to make money with art – LtL (

Starting your journey as an artist

An additional article to the one above, and a bit more practical one. What do specific terms mean, what programs can you use, picking the right drawing tablet, everything is in here. Where to build your first website, how to promote yourself, and so on. This article will give you a headstart to everyone else.

Starting your journey as a digital artist, things you need to know – LtL (

The harsh truth of becoming a successful artist

Many artists dive into this profession things will be easier from thereon. No boss that nags at them, they can decide themselves what they can earn, pick their own customers… Well, this is only a small part of their new reality. Being an artist is a wonderful thing, but there is also the rest.

Effective planning as an artist (freelancer) working from home – LtL (

Should I sell my copyright?

A question any artist at some point gets to ask: Should I sell my copyright. The short answer is no. The long answer is a bit more complex, and it’s key for you to understand how copyright works, what exactly it is, and what alternatives you can offer to your client.

Should I sell the copyright of my art – LtL (

Making money as an artist, things to keep in mind

Making money is the goal of any artist. But how do you go about that? How much should you charge? How about taxes and upkeep? And how to actually get your money? There are many questions to be answered even before you get to earn any money at all. This article will help you on your way!

Making money as an artist, things to keep in mind – LtL (

Protecting your art against theft, copyright infringements, and plagiarism

It happens to each and all of us, and there is no fool-proof way to get around this. There are however some ways to make it harder for others to get away with stealing your art. We will tell you how you can do that right here:

Protection against art plagiarism and copyright infringements – LtL (

Making a contract for a client

The nitty gritty of it all. How to set up a good contract, and how to properly inform your client about anything that’s in it. And not to mention: How to safeguard yourself AND your client from frauds, copyright issues and more.

Making a contract for a client (For artists) – LtL (

How to protect your art from a client

Not all clients are genuine. There are many stories of artists not getting paid, or only paid a part. Or the client ends up doing things with the artworks you never agreed on. So how do you protect yourself from such clients? And what can you do to prevent hooking a client like this, or inform your good clients properly so they don’t accidentally do the bad things?

How to protect your art from a fraudulent customer – LtL (

Picking the right audience for your art

Not every kind of art is useful for anyone.
Image by; Tessa Geniets
Project: Spudknof

Do you know what kind of people will buy your artwork? Are they companies, people wanting to decorate their house, or maybe a nursery? Or something completely different? Knowing your audience is the first thing to do when you start out. You may need some time to navigate and find the right audience, but before you start advertising, you should at least have a good idea of what kind of audience you should target.

Picking the right audience for your art – LtL (

Tips on finding and catering to multiple audiences

No artist is the same. What if you have more than one audience? How do you cater to all of them? And how do you keep them separated?

Effective planning as an artist (freelancer) working from home – LtL (

The different stages of a drawing explained

Different art stages can be confusing when you start out but imagine how it sounds to your client! In this article, you will find a summary of what these terms mean and will help you explain to your client what you’re doing and what exactly they can expect. And the same counts for you. It will give you a clear-set overview with their own set times.

The different stages of a drawing explained – LtL (

Effective planning for an artist working from home

Planning is key, and as an artist there will be a crazy amount of information heading your way, You wear many hats and usually have to tackle everything on your own. So, how do you stay sane?

Effective planning as an artist (freelancer) working from home – LtL (

Taking care of yourself as an artist

Taking care of yourself as an artist may prove to be challenging. Most artists work from home, so off-time and work time blend together. Art is a passion, so it’s easy to overdo it and burn out. There are many hurdles to overcome and it is best to be aware of them and address them before they become a problem.

Taking care of yourself as an (freelance) artist – LtL (

Art for exposure, do or don’t?

Many artists are confronted with the question to make art in exchange for exposure. Should you agree with something like this? And why should or shouldn’t you? What can it mean for you. and what could the results be? You can find all the answers right here:

Art for exposure, do or don’t? – LtL (

Image by: Tessa Geniets

Drawing NSFW art, pros, and cons

A not talked enough subject in my humble opinion. Should you be doing NSFW art? Or shouldn’t you? What are the things you will be facing when offering services like this? And how about your own privacy, or how it will affect other clients or specific branches. You can find it all right here:

Drawing NSFW art, pro’s and con’s – LtL (

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