How to Find an Illustrator to Hire

Are you a writer? An author? A person who forms ideas into words? You might need a creative companion. Someone who forms your literary ideas into something… visual.

You need an artist. But not just any artist. You need someone who is competent, who knows their value, and knows that the possibility of teaming up with you will benefit you and them. You also need an artist who can use your hard-earned money and ensure you seeking out their talent was the best decision you ever made.

You need a hireable artist.

What makes a hireable artist? Well, ask yourself these questions:

Have they done previous work?

If you look at their portfolio or page in an art community, check out their descriptions. Did they mention that this piece was a commission for someone? Did they outline any specific details that came with creating the piece? If this is an artist or illustrator you’re serious about, take a little bit more time in getting to know their process, and how well they respond to others. This is especially easy if they’re on an art community, such as DeviantART. Did their commissioner comment on the piece? Read what they said, and what the artist replied.

If they haven’t done previous work, would you be willing to give them a chance?

Do they communicate well?

If you’re getting in contact with a prospective artist, pay attention to their communication skills. 90% of the time you’ll be emailing back and forth. Are their sentences and vernacular clear and easy to read? Has there been any misunderstandings while chatting with them so far? Look at their response time. Are they taking too long for you? Maybe they’re responding in three days instead of two.

Take all of this into consideration, because response time should also be factored in with how long your project will take.

Do they listen well?

This ties into communication. The way to know if they are reading and internalizing what you’re saying is if they are responding to you and reiterating certain details back to you for clarification.
For example:

“Hi, I want to commission you for a full bodied painting of my character in a sunny environment. Here’s my idea. I want her to be surrounded by trees singing to the birds nearby. Almost like what princesses do in those animated movies. Her dress needs to be full of ruffles and sparkles and I want her environment to be enclosed around her. Is that something you can do?”

“Hi there, thanks for getting in contact with me. I can definitely do this! So to get this clear, you want:
*Painting, full body
*Sunny, yet enclosed forest environment with lots of trees
*Character singing to birds
*Ruffly, sparkly dress
Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like in this piece!” Etc, etc.

This is actually something I would say, since I like working in bullet points and it helps me get the more important ideas across.

Not every artist will do this, but it’s something to look out for if they do. This makes sure there are no misunderstandings when it comes to production time. And if there is, be cool about it. We all are human after all. 🙂

Are they professional?

This is where research comes into play. Look in their social media, see how they react and respond to others. See if they actually DO respond to others. Look at what they post. Are they sharing something that might be offensive to you or your brand? Do you care?

Ask yourself if you think that shows their character and who they are.

Again, is your artist a part of an art community? Look into some of their journal posts. Journal posts are more personal, and artists do have a right to vent or complain just as anyone else. BUT, make sure that for example, a rant post about a project isn’t targeting a specific person. (Unless the company or commissioner isn’t reputable. There are many cases when people stiff artists). If they’re writing about their experience modestly and professionally, then they are worth it to be someone to consider.

The way someone conducts themselves online reflects on their business. Period.

This doesn’t mean they have to be stuffy and never get a laugh out of you. But when it comes to business, transactions, and getting details right, they need to be on their A-game.

It’s extremely difficult to put faith into someone you barely know. Square that when money comes into the situation. Square that again when it’s YOUR money.

Do everything you can to research your artist or illustrator to make sure you can make the best-informed decision for you, your commission, and your project.

Looks like I left one key trait out!

What do YOU think the 5th thing and artist must have to be hired?

Let me know in the comments below!

Thank you so much for reading and tuning in!

Until next time,
~PK

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