This post first appeared on www.vickiwenderlich.com
You’ve developed your game or app, but you aren’t a graphic designer. Or (in my husband’s case) your go-to artist is way too busy to take your project. How do you find an artist to hire for your graphics?
Easy – just go where the artists are! There are hundreds of hungry and talented artists out there waiting for your job posting. All sorts of artists, with all types of styles and hourly rates.
But… if you aren’t an artist, you have no idea where the artists hang out.
Fortunately, you are reading this article and will soon be able to find all the artists you need :] Here is what we’ll discuss:
- What To Include In The Job Posting
- Where To Post
- Choosing The Right Artist
The first thing to think about is your budget. Hopefully, you’ve hoarded a few hundred dollars (or a couple thousand, depending on how ambitious your game/app is) to spend on graphics. In general, you should hire the best artist you can afford.
Revenue Share Vs Set Dollar Amount
A revenue share compensation means that you promise them a percentage of your sales of the game. The pro is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money up front. The con is that you have to send regular payments to this person for a long time (assuming you make money, which we hope you do!). An appropriate revenue share for an artist lies somewhere within 10-20%, depending on how much work is involved.
Most artists will prefer the cold hard cash option, however, because unless they know you and believe in your project, they will want guaranteed money for their work.
This means setting a dollar amount on the whole project. The amount will vary widely based on complexity and amount of art needed, the skill of the artist, and their hourly rates (you won’t pay them an hourly rate, but their hourly rate will affect their estimate for the whole project).
If, like us, you have no idea what the appropriate amount to pay would be, leave it up to the artists! Instead of defining the compensation for the job, ask the artists to respond with an estimate. You will get a wide range of estimates, but in general better artists will charge more.
What To Include In The Job Posting
Explaining the job clearly will go a long way toward getting you the right artist for your project. Here’s a rough template:
- Introduce yourself
- Explain the type of app or project – include a picture or example or demo/beta if possible
- Give an overview of the art requirements
- If time is an issue, mention your timeline
- Ask for them to email you (make sure to include your email address!) with information, including:
- a link to their portfolio
- their bid for the project
- any other information you might want (do they need to have an iPhone or iPad? Ask them if they have one.)
- Finally, list out the full art requirements as completely as you can.
Where To Post Jobs
Each of these sites has a page or forum thread explaining how to write a good post and guidelines for how to use the site, so check those out as well.
- Pixel Joint forums
- Go to the “Job Offerings” forum thread under The Lounge. You will need to register in order to post.
- Concept art forums
- Again, you will need to register.
- In the navigation bar, go to Classifieds>Job Offers. As usual, you will need to make an account to post a job.
If you know of another great place to post jobs for artists, let me know!
Choosing The Right Artist
After you craft your post and put it up on the job boards above, you will hopefully get at least a few bids. We usually end up getting over a dozen, more if the job is large or cool. So how do you pick?
First, trash the rule-breakers. You will find that many people do not read directions and will only link to their portfolio without answering any of your questions – most importantly, the estimate. Just trash these emails – if the artist can’t follow directions, he or she isn’t going to be a good person to work with.
Then, go through each portfolio. See if the style of art matches what you want in your game. If an artist does mostly clean, cute vector animals, they will probably not be very good at gritty, realistic dungeon graphics. Try to find examples of the type of art you want: characters, backgrounds, toolbars, UI elements. If you like certain artists but don’t see examples of the type of work you need in their portfolio, ask them if they have done anything like your project before.
Next, make a list of the artists whose work you like. Include their estimate. Arrange them in order of preference.
Choose between quality and price. This part is up to you – get the best you can afford, but don’t break the bank! If you want a certain artist but can’t quite afford him or her, think about cutting down your requirements to lower the estimate.
Write a contract. Once you choose your artist and the two of you agree on the scope of the work and the price, write up a contract so that everyone’s on the same page (and you are protected should things go wrong). The contract doesn’t have to be complicated, but it should spell out what images they will be giving to you, on what time schedule, when they will be paid, and how. Both parties need to sign the contract.
Finally, go back to your job postings and either delete them or update them. You need to let people know that the position is filled, so that they don’t waste their time and you don’t continue to get emails from hopeful artists!
Have Something To Add?
If you know of another site to post job offers for artists, or if you think of something that could help people trying to hire artists, please let us know in the comments!