This Artist Was Sick Of Being Asked For Free Pictures, So He Came Up With A Creative Comeback

Image: Instagram/jonarton

Jon Arton’s Instagram page has more than 85,000 followers, and for good reason – he’s a wildly talented portrait artist-for-hire. Because he showcased his skills on his account, he also fielded requests from fans who wanted one of his meticulous drawings for nothing. So, the artist came up with a hilarious way to clap back at all of them.

Image: Instagram/jonarton

John Mackenzie traded in his given name for Jon Arton. It may just be a coincidence, but the inclusion of the word “art” in his chosen surname is a clue to how talented the 28-year-old is. His specialty is portraiture, whether the subject is a person or a pet.

Image: Instagram/jonarton

Arton has spent two decades years honing his craft – he has even shared images of drawings he did as an eight-year-old compared to the present day. “Twenty years of progress in one image. Don’t give up, everyone! You can do it,” the artist wrote in an Instagram post.

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Birmingham, England-based Arton has also added tattoo artistry to his resume. He signed on as an apprentice at Steel and Ink Tattoos in the town, and he lauded the opportunity to learn a new medium. The 28-year-old also had a word for others hoping to get their start in their own creative careers.

Image: Instagram/jonarton

“I get a lot of artists [messaging] me for a bit of advice, who are starting out in their chosen field and are a bit unsure and [not] confident in the path they have ahead. Well, I’m right there with you, just starting with this new and exciting medium,” Arton wrote.

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But those weren’t the only kind of messages that Arton found himself fielding as his clout on Instagram grew. Instead, he revealed that he often had requests from followers for portraits of their own – and they wanted them done for free.

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“I really appreciate all of you for following, liking and commenting on my Instagram. It really means a lot to me so when I can, I like to show my appreciation by accepting some of your wonderful free drawing requests in my inbox,” Arton wrote before making his sarcastic tone much clearer.

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“As a full-time artist who relies on selling art to survive, these requests come as a real treat,” the 28-year-old went on. “It means a lot to me to be given the opportunity to put the years of practice, time and expensive materials into a free drawing of your face for yourself,” Arton concluded.

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With that, the artist decided to share with his followers some of his “personal favorite” requests he received for free portraits. But there was a catch. Arton had, indeed, given these fans the drawings they requested. They just looked completely different to his normal creations.

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“Can u draw me please,” wrote one Instagram user in a direct message to Arton. The artist responded courteously, “Hello. Are you interested in commissioning a piece or are you after a free drawing?” He did, indeed, offer his services to clients willing to pay for his hard work.

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But the person messaging Arton wanted her image drawn for free. She sent along a selfie and asked if he could finish the job in a week. Just a few hours later, the artist sent back a message that he had already completed it.

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“Hey, I finished your drawing. Took a few hours. Also, I felt the image was lacking a background. So, I added a bright sun,” Arton wrote in a series of messages. Then, he sent along the finished portrait – a very basic replica of the selfie, along with a cartoonish sun wearing shades in the background.

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Another person sent along a selfie of her own, complete with bear ears added by a photo filter. “So, you want that drawn for free?” Arton responded. “Please?” the girl asked; she even added a smiley emoji to sweeten the offer.

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Of course, the drawing Arton sent back was nothing close to his incredible gallery of portraiture. The unhappy recipient wrote back, saying, “Forget it, just was a fan. Obviously just in it for the money.” The artist retorted, “Not a fan… obviously just in it for the freebies.”

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Surprisingly, that post didn’t slow Arton’s stream of requests for free drawings. Less than a month later, he shared another series of images along with an equally tongue-in-cheek caption. “Nothing gives me more pleasure than offering a few down-and-out people who can’t afford a piece of art the opportunity to own something priceless,” he wrote.

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This time around, Arton fielded a fan’s request to draw a picture of singer and former One Direction member, Harry Styles. “Hey, can you Harry Styles?” the person wrote. “How do I Harry a Styles?” the artist jokingly responded.

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Arton then said he’d need “a few days” to complete the drawing, since the provided image was “pretty detailed.” Then, once again, the artist came back with a glorified doodle. “The hair took so long but I think it looks boss,” he said of the pen marks he scribbled to create Styles’ hair.

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With every free art-related post, Arton gained more followers. “I’m completely overwhelmed by the response these drawings have gotten, and I’m absolutely gutted that this is now what I’m going to be known for! Thanks a lot, internet,” he wrote in an October 2018 post.

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But fortunately, there was a silver lining to Arton’s increasing fame on the internet – he was able to make an offer to his fans that’d help the community at large. “It seems a lot of you would like to buy one of these silly doodles,” he wrote, adding, “I will accept payment in the form of a donation to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.”

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Just over three weeks after that announcement, the 28-year-old had raised more than $1,570 for the children’s hospital. He couldn’t believe how successful his efforts had become, writing, “I’ve never done anything like this before and I’m blown away by the support.” As such, Arton continues to create his comedic doodles, as well as tattoos and portraits for paying customers.

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