There are many different paths you can take to find an artist for your project.
Here are three options to help you on your quest:
DeviantArt is the largest online social network for artists. Their members upload over 160,000 original artworks every day. This site provides plenty of options to find an illustrator.
Elance is a great resource for browsing over 8,000 illustrators. I chose Elance’s option to post a job. Within four days, twenty-five freelancers submitted their proposal for my project. Many artists provided links to their portfolios, which was helpful in narrowing my search. In the end, I hired three artists to create three concept sketch designs. The artwork that I received varied. One artist’s rendition of my main character looked naked. The second artist fell months behind schedule. The third artist’s work surpassed my expectations. Đặng Thị Minh Hằng’s concept sketches aligned perfectly with my vision for the characters.
Comic book conventions can also be a great place to meet an artist. Many display their work in artist alley. Some conventions like the San Diego Comic-Con host a gathering called “Comic Creator Connection,” an event that puts writers and artists together in a version of speed dating. I went to this the first year it was offered. I did not find a match, but it was a great experience for me to practice my pitch, which I nailed by the end of the two-hour session!
Factors to consider when selecting your artist:
- Did the artist create what was specified in the description?
- Was the artist responsive to your feedback?
- Did a language barrier create any issues? For example, was your character supposed to be moping but was drawn mopping?
- Did the artist provide the work within the agreed upon timeframe? Was he or she reliable?
If you plan on hiring a freelancer, make sure to have them sign a “work made for hire” agreement. It ensures that you maintain all the rights to your project. If you do not have this in place, everyone has equal shares in the project. If you plan to give a portion of your book to the artist in exchange for work, document your agreement. In addition, require the freelancer to sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA). I use a free service called Shake. It is a simple way to create, sign, and send a legally binding agreement. Free templates are also available online.
Note: I am not an attorney, and this information does not constitute legal advice. If you are seeking professional counsel, I recommend that you contact Michael L. Lovitz, Esq., who presented “Comic Book Law School®” at WonderCon 2015, or California Lawyers for the Arts, which provides discounted rates for artists.