There are countless reasons you might need to hire an artist – and it’s such a broad sector, it can feel pretty impossible to know where to start! It’s also a subjective field, so it’s well worth browsing freelance platforms and checking out artists’ portfolios before you make a decision about who to hire.
Here’s why hiring artists can be trickier than finding a more technical freelancer:
- You need to LOVE their work – but also know it’ll be delivered on time.
- Costs vary drastically between hobbyists and design pros.
- There are millions of types of artwork. It helps to know what you’re looking for, in what format, and for what purpose.
Let’s run through a few tips to answer the essential question; how do I find local artists, and how do I choose the perfect professional for the job?
Commissioning an Artist: The Basics
Ok, let’s start with where to find local artists. If you need quality artwork for a business, the fastest option is to scout out freelancers online and filter by local professionals.
Supporting local talent is a great way to showcase your business values, but it also has some practical benefits! They include:
- Being able to request testimonials from clients in your area.
- Checking out work first-hand or visiting their studio.
- Having in-person collaborations to get your project finished quickly and without any communication hitches along the way.
Other options include asking for recommendations and searching online – but make sure you’re considering artists who can deliver the quality of work you need.
A great designer specializing in gaming graphics will not turn out the sort of creative work you’ll want for a fine art portrait, so be strict with your criteria.
How to Create a Job Brief for an Artist
The next factor to consider is your job ad – it needs to explain the project style, the target audience, and crucial deadlines, so only credible artists who know they can deliver apply.
Just as with any freelance vacancy, the more info you include, the less time you’ll spend sifting through irrelevant bids.
Essentials to Include in a Freelance Artist Job Post
Commission advertisements for professional artists might include:
- Your desired style – abstract, realistic, photographic, watercolors, landscapes, digital, etc.
- The audience – whether your project is an album cover, book sleeve, corporate publication, or website.
- How much artwork you need (obvious but easily missed!) So do you need 20 x illustrations or one large piece of art?
- Deadlines – whether you’re ready to start now and when you need the work completed.
We’d also recommend thinking about experience levels. If you’re unsure how much to pay an artist, you’ll need to take a look at your budget and see what you can realistically afford.
For example, taking a punt on a junior artist is considerably cheaper than hiring a seasoned professional with a stunning portfolio of work.
However, it is a gamble, so you’ll need to decide your budget and clearly indicate in your job post the skill level required.
Tips for Creating a Solid Working Agreement With a Local Artist
Once you’ve sifted through your quotes and found your ideal artist, it’s wise to create a working agreement. Freelance artists might be creative professionals, but they’ll still expect the same level of assurance, contracts, and terms as any other.
A great option is to talk about concepts – because the last thing you want is to pay a deposit, wait a few weeks, and then find the artwork isn’t what you were hoping for. Concepts and preliminary work remove the uncertainty and make sure you’re on the same page before the real work gets underway.
How to Create an Artist’s Working Agreement
Your working agreement needs to cover:
- Agreed rates of pay – with exact specifications showing what’s included in those rates, i.e. the size of each piece, the quantity, and how many revisions you’re allowed.
- Timelines – when the artwork is due, how it will be delivered, who has final sign-off, and whether you’re going to schedule interim reviews.
- Contractual clauses – it’s vital to talk about things like copyright ownership from the start. For example, if you need artwork for a game, you might want to look at a non-disclosure agreement.
Lastly, don’t forget: if you’re commissioning an artist for a business and expect to spend over $600, you’ll need to sort out a 1099-MISC as well as a W-9 form if you’re in the USA.
Following these simple steps, you will find a great local artist who will create the art you need and move your business forward.