Can it pay to work for free?

It's common these days, to prove yourself through unpaid work. Sometimes this can mean work experience within a company, other times it can be an unpaid commission or two. While this can be great for your design portfolio, it's important to be able to identify such assignments that are opportunities that can lead to employment, earnings and exposure – and when you're simply being taken advantage of.

When it comes to commissions and unpaid work, 2000 AD artist Tom Foster says, "There are three questions you should always ask yourself: who's asking, for how much, and why? The 'who' is important because that tells you how much exposure, if any, you're going to get and of what kind."

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Alice Pattillo

Alice Pattillo is a freelance journalist with a passion for heavy metal, horror, science fiction, fantasy and comics. She has over seven years experience in magazines, formerly working as a staff writer at Creative Bloq, Imagine FX, Computer Arts and 3D World, as production editor for Guitar World and Guitar Player and online editor of Metal Hammer.