I'm getting the skeevies. Roomy told me to chat with a friend of his. I do. Apparently he's writing for roomy's comic in exchange for letting friend use a character of his in an unrelated story as a crossover. Show him my art, and he expresses interest in getting me to make a comic out one of his scripts. After he leaves, roomy pulls me aside. Tells me to do the art for his friend for free. Ends with "At least you'll be able to use it in your portfolio." - Don't know what to do here.. (1/2)
(2/2) I’ve known this roomy for 4 years now and consider him a friend. Went to the same college even, and half of his friends circle is made up of fellow artists (though he admits to not being one himself). I was so shocked that he’d ask me to get friendly with someone he knows in order to provide free art for them that I just… my mind went blank. Inadvertently nodded my head and said “uh-huh” in a daze. Feeling conflicted, and don’t know how to deal with this.
If you consider him a friend, then like… I wouldn’t be rude to him or anything. But the important thing for him to remember, and for his friend to remember, is that — in the time you’d be working on THEIR stuff, you could, y’know… make your OWN personal comic and use that for your portfolio. You’d be more invested, and it wouldn’t belong to someone else (so if you wanted to, say, sell it one day, you could).
To go on a bit of a tangent—people can be weird and think they’re the only people with creative, unique ideas, when in reality anyone can fart out a goddamn idea. Ideas and stories are cheap. Being able to tell them is the difficult part. You’ve got a skill, a medium for telling them already — you can draw. Don’t let other people exploit that and diminish your own stories and ideas with theirs.
Okay I guess actual practical advice - you are not under contract, you have literally no obligation to give this guy art, especially if you’re not receiving compensation for it. Give them nothing. If your friend gets mad about it, you can either 1) weasel your way out of it politely if you don’t feel like being confrontational (“Oh, I’m too busy;” “I need to work on other stuff to prep my portfolio;” “I have to find a job, dude;” “I know I said yes at one point, but I don’t really feel comfortable doing this”) or 2) straight confront him with “Dude, you kind of tried to strong arm me into giving away art for free. C’mon man, you should know of all people I need to make a living.”
Either way — if you don’t want to provide them art, don’t do it. You have no obligation legally. The worst thing your roomy can do is get mad at you and maybe say something mean, which sucks, but yeah. Kinda dick move from him in the first place.