Since working on the Firefly RPG and a number of other projects, I've been searching for a lot of artists lately. In that search, I've come across some common obstacles that make my job a bit difficult. Bear in mind: My job is giving artists jobs, so any help I can get in that quest from the artists themselves is very much appreciated. Here are some tips from me to all artists out there.
What I'm Looking For
- Consistency is most important for my line of work. I'm usually hiring a single artist to make a whole series of images, so keeping a consistent style is paramount.
- Breadth and diversity is a byproduct of that first point. I like to see that you've depicted different subjects, diverse people, all with a consistent style that tells me you could deliver on art direction.
- No cheesecake, please. If the first thing I see in your portfolio is a bunch of boudoir pin-ups, I'm moving on. Even if you can do more than that, putting cheesecake up front and center tells me you want to be hired for that.
- Strong fundamentals. This goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway: I need an artist who knows proportions, anatomy, perspective, shading, etc. It doesn't just mean photorealism, though. I've seen plenty of Pixar animation with better senses of proportion than the most detailed superhero comics.
Where I'm Looking
- Pinterest is probably the best organized and presented source for art on the web. Unfortunately, it also often strips away any artist credit or citation unless you dig a little deeper.
- Behance is much more professionally focused, with a broad audience covering graphic design, logos, to illustration proper.
- Dribbble has a similarly broad range, which is great for my purposes, but I sometimes see overlap between here and Behance, so I tend to search on one or the other, rarely both.
- DeviantArt is still around, despite its weird interface, awkward search function, and sometimes non-existent means of contacting an artist outside the DeviantArt ecosystem. Which brings me to the next subject.
- Tumblr has been extremely popular with artists the past few years, but the chain of citation is extremely difficult to track down in that format.
- Your site (Keep it Simple!) Obviously, this would be the ideal place to find your work, yet too often artists (and photographers especially) make sites so hard to navigate. Any measures that make it harder for someone to hot-link your art also make it hard for me to share your work with my bosses for their consideration in hiring you. So, please, no Flash sites, no weird slideshows, and pinterest compatible images are a huge plus.
How I Can Reach You
- Signature. It would be great if you could include your name on your image somewhere. Just a clear, easy to read signature is a great start.
- Footers are even better, since you can add your email address or a website. Granted, some unscrupulous people will just crop you art to remove that citation, so you might try...
- Watermarks. These are controversial since so many paranoid people go overboard with them, covering up the art they're meant to protect in the first place. So take it easy, alright?
- Complete Profile wherever you feature your art, including an email address at the very least. Twitter or tumblr would be excellent, too. If you're concerned about spam or trolls, set up a separate account for professional inquiries.
- No forms or site-specific inboxes, please. Some artists have special forms for any professional inquiries, which is fine, but makes me less certain that they're actually reaching the artist. DeviantArt and other portfolio sites often also have their own private message features, but they're even more suspicious.
I know being a working artist is really tough. Adding one more to-do to your workflow is a pain, but hopefully some of these tips help make it easier for you to get hired.