This is a repost from an article written by Artist Mike Corriero on facebook. If your not familiar with Mike's work you can check this talented man out on his website http://WWW.MIKECORRIERO.COM
Ethics & Guidelines: Contacting a Freelance Artist for work or information..
by Mike Corriero on Wednesday, April 6, 2011 at 7:31pm
This is meant to be a bit of a joke as well as some serious ethics and topics if you decide to contact an artist, regardless of their reputation or experience though that usually plays a big factor into what the response may be based on your initial request. - In no particular order:
■In order to capture their attention, be sure that your e-mail subject line is directed to the artist' name and that you summarize within 5-10 words what you're contacting them about. IE; Interested in hiring you for a job, Paid work for a video game job, inquiring about commissioning you for paid work, inquiring about art for an unpaid request.
■It's imperative to be upfront and to the point concerning whether this is an unpaid request or a paid job. Don't waste the artist' time by explaining your project and ideas in a 3 page long story to only mention at the very end it's an unpaid job. Your detailed explanation isn't going to win them over once they read the last line telling them that unfortunately you can't afford to pay for the work now. (Unpaid; anything regarding a request where the artist will make no profit. This can include spec work; work done upon speculation that the artist will be paid an amount or a percentage of profit once the project is picked up by investors. Spec work is NOT paid work, it is not a guarantee.)
■If you have no mutual friends on facebook, include a personal message before adding the artist out of courtesy. Facebook is a very shady place to try and become a "friend". If you're a fan, mention you're a fan..and or add the artist' fan page on facebook.
■Always be willing to sign a contract and or invoice: if you don't have one, ask the artist for one. If you're looking to get work done without signing anything, it's going to throw up red flags and you'll most likely scare the artist away from producing work whether it's paid or unpaid. It helps if you pay in phases of work completed.
■If you're looking for a cute cartoon character and the artist you're contacting has a portfolio made up of 100% environment work, don't expect a reply.
■If you're a family friend, a distant relative, or an acquaintance who hardly talks to the artist..treat them with enough respect to offer at least a small sum of money. Don't assume they know you, or will work for free because you know someone they went to college with.
■Don't add an artist on facebook and begin to hit them up with question after question...after question. The artist has gathered knowledge and experience over a long period of time, through experience, on art forums, reading and being respectful of others. Asking one or two questions is fine, but don't push it.
■If you don't know the artist, don't act like you're best friends with them because you've exchanged a conversation or two. In addition to this, don't expect your new best friend is willing to hook you up with contacts, jobs, company info, art director e-mails etc..
■Do not expect that an artist will be happy to oblige you with a drawing, a doodle, a quick concept because it's easy for them and it won't take long since this is what they love to do for fun. A quick sketch is still a piece of work worthy of being paid for. "It's not the 20 minutes it takes the artist to produce the drawing that you're paying for...it's the 20 years it took them to learn how to do it".
■Allow at least 2 weeks before you send a follow up e-mail as most often artist get bombarded by similar request. The artist has most likely read your e-mail and will get back to you in their own time, or they meant to reply and simply became preoccupied. This is fairly common. You need to Realize they have lives, family, pain, bills etc.
■ Do not expect that an artist is going to jump up and down when you tell them how great the exposure and experience will be for them. If you're trying to get quality work done for free, don't think that you can persuade an artist by telling them it's going to be bigger than Lord of the Rings or Avatar, if there is no money involved then you probably don't believe in it enough to front the money out of your own pocket. In addtion, this most likely means YOU need the artist, the ARTIST doesn't need you.
■Telling an artist you'll credit their name wherever the work is posted is only telling them as much as they already know and what is expected. No artist is going to provide you with work without making sure you credit their name, or they sign the work or label it themselves clear enough so people know who created it. You're not offering them anything unique or of worth by mentioning it like it's a privilege to have their name credited next to the work they created. Stop being stupid ;)
■Do NOT tag an artist on Facebook to grab their attention. In doing this, you're only accomplishing the opposite and if the artist has little patience, they will simply remove you from their list. The same goes for e-mails or any other form of contacting them. Do not constantly push, push, push them expecting they owe you anything. In the end you'll have your e-mails ignored or blocked.
■Do not ask an artist "How to draw better". If you have questions, make sure they are relevant to what the artist specializes in and make sure to have already researched the content online before asking them. An artist is not your personal dictionary, thesaurus or encyclopedia. This information is privileged and will be given out by the artist to those who have earned it out of respect, friendship (not facebook friendship).
■Lastly: Always ask for permission if you plan to use their work for a personal project or game. Even if the project is non-profit it's always polite to try your best to get in contact with them and ask for permission or at the very least to credit their name.
I'm sure I missed a few things but this is common knowledge or at least it should be if you plan to contact an artist for a request, commission, paid job, unpaid job, permission, question etc..
Mike - ;)
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- I am an Art Director/ freelance illustrator working in the Movie, Comics and Gameing industries. I have also provided graphics for advertisement companies and clothing companies. I am Currently working as Lead Artist for Soul Interface Studios (SIS) and always willing to discuss exciting new opportunities.