I am a freelance character designer and concept artist. I did three character designs pro bono for a client, and they asked me to be the official character designer for their project.
Me: As much as I appreciate this opportunity, I’ll can’t accept it if I’m not being paid. It takes up a significant amount of time that I could be spending on paid work. If you want to set up a payment plan, I’d love to keep working with you.
Client: Oh, I don’t really have any money, but I really want you as the official artist and I don’t want to lose you. How about I give you more time between each design?
Me: Giving me more time to do the work doesn’t help at all. I really would need to insist on some kind of payment.
Client: But I just don’t have money! You’re so good, why can’t you just keep making designs? I really don’t want to lose your artistic abilities!
Me: I’m sorry, you obviously don’t value my abilities as much as you say you do or else you’d be willing to pay for them.
I cut off all contact with this client, and almost a year later, they are still trying to contact me for work. I guess it’s nice to be wanted, but I’d rather be paid.