Starting having work- Please help
#1
Hi fellow daggers!

I´m seeing that some of you are having consistent freelance work and are already making your statement in the art industry. Sometimes it´s quite painful to see that we´re busting our asses to push our art further, be disciplined and  there are no results, still, not quiting.

I need urgently to start making some income with my art.

Do you know companies that are recruiting freelancers (either in studio, or distance) and are not AAA companies? Reliable clients.

Do you have any tips on how to publicize our work (social media, portfolio tips) ? What art directors want to see?

In my country, Portugal, this industry is almost nule, and the few spots they have are already filled or very picky.

Any tips, help and advice will be appreciated and is very valuable.

Cheers!

Reply
#2
Hello Rick.

In Portugal, do you guys have game/art/book/comic conventions? I had the same perception as you with regards to our own country not having a booming art industry, but there are people I personally know who make money out of these conventions. Portugal might be the same.

I have had freelance opportunities by attending and participating in local comic book conventions. There are artists who make good money out of making comic books and prints. If you're interested in drawing some fan art, this could be a good source of getting some local commissions. Some artists pile up their commission list this way. It's a good place to build your local reputation especially if you're really awesome with what you do. I've had been approached by local publishing companies this way and, at the same time, I have had the opportunity to approach them.

On the flipside, it's by no means a sustainable source of income. Having art conventions is, at most, seasonal. But if the convention is right around the corner, and if you need to turn a quick buck, spread your name around, expand your artist network, or put your resume in a company's hat, this might be worth a try.

Here's to wishing you find work soon! All the luck in the world Rick!

It's debatable whether or not what you're trying to achieve is indeed impossible. One thing's for sure: it's impossible to defeat a person who doesn't know how to quit.
----
IG: @thatpuddinhead
Reply
#3
Thank you very much John!

We have the Trojan Horse was a Unicorn convention but unfortunatelly the price is too high for me.
But from what i´m hearing is a pretty good convention.

I´m totally fine with that route (fan art) as soon as it helps to spread word about my work as well as at least has some income. Do you have any tips in that regard? How to publicize my work, make connections either in presence or online?
Dave Rapoza is an inspiration on that with his TMNT fan art.

I´m fine with working with international clients (studios or personal) and even to work in other country in a studio. If you know any names fell free to share. :)

Again, thank you very much for the time spent on addressing my concern.

Reply
#4
http://gamedevmap.com/
https://www.artstation.com/jobs
Post your folio on polycount, reddit gamedevclassifieds, boardgamegeek, artstation, conceptart.org, cgsociety, dA (people discount dA and they really shouldn't!) and any and all sites you find that showcase your work and might attract potential employers looking for artists.

Cold email companies and studios with your folio even if they don't seem to be looking for work at the moment.

Stalk, goggle-fu art directors and contact them directly for work and to submit your folio. Be short, polite and specific.
If you want to get into the head of an AD and for lots of hugely useful tips, http://dearartdirector.tumblr.com/

All major companies will have generic art submission emails for freelancers/general queries. Send updated work to them again every so often, when you have it.

There is no easy way to getting paying freelance jobs, except having kickass work, researching for potential clients and peddling it around constantly to as many people as possible consistently. Good luck!

 YouTube free learnin! | DeviantArt | Old Folio | Insta
Reply
#5
No need for gratitude. I am genuinely glad if whatever I said will help you along the way.

If you're strapped for money to register for a booth, you could share a table with an artist friend or two. That would help unload some financial burden. It's a common practice here. Booths don't come cheap.

As to getting your name out there: Visit the people whom you think your work is relevant to. Bring your portfolio. Make yourself business cards, or post cards with your best illustration on it, always put your name and contact information and don't scrimp on the quality of the printing. I remember I went through almost every publishing house I can get to at a convention and did a little song and dance like every good salesman would.

This is the most dumbest idea, but it worked, kinda.

So my folks went to Hong Kong just last year and I was fortunate enough to tag along. Long story short, instead of joining them for vacation, I visited almost every gaming company I could. There were a lot of places I couldn't get to, for security reasons that they wouldn't just let anyone in. But to the ones that were more accommodating, they could not have been nicer. Probably my biggest fault during that time was, I forgot to bring my portfolio. Something they could hold and flip through. I handed them post cards and business cards, but that doesn't feel like it's a good enough of a presentation. But, end of the day, there was one company where we exchanged contact information, with an opportunity to work if work would be available. There were at least 10 companies I mapped out through google, but out of the 10, I only got one good prospect. Not a done deal, but prospect, which to me, an idiot with no formal art background, is good enough. There's something about face to face interactions, like the personal immediacy of it, that beats an email.

I have to admit, the hustle is hard. For a socially awkward introvert, I had to grow a thick skin, do the tap dance and force myself to love it.

*Edit:
Totally Game Dev Map (That's where I found the game companies). And every single thing Amit pointed out.

It's debatable whether or not what you're trying to achieve is indeed impossible. One thing's for sure: it's impossible to defeat a person who doesn't know how to quit.
----
IG: @thatpuddinhead
Reply
#6
@ Amit Those are very precious informations my friend, thanks a lot!!
Wow i didn´t knew that Polycount was still valid for posting portfolios, as CA, as cgsociety. I have a Deviantart account but i as neglecting it a little bit, maybe it´s time to take it more seriouslly.
Regarding Artstation i have mixed feelings, maybe you can help me on that one, when you apply to work at artstation, aren´t you risking being engulfed by the avalange of amazing artists already posting stuff there?

I´ve tried the route of sending my portfolio via email, straight to the companies, a dozen of contacts via gamedev, mainly from Europe. Maybe it´s time to add more companies of the site i didn´t knew; boardgamegeek.

I´ve heard by some artists, i don´t remember who exactly was (or were), maybe Jason Seiler, maybe a podcast from a fellow artist, that i should send my portfolio to a range of companies from 3 to 3 months, not to wait too long, not to try to piss off the AD´s. Do you think that´s wise?

Regarding the tumblr you posted, absolutely fantastic. That´s a pearl and i´ve already learned a ton by reading a few pages. Awesome.

Thanks Amit, truly!!

@John

Awesome :)

Haha, at the time the artists i know either have gone to work in other countries (3d department) or can´t afford to register a booth. Working as a lone wolf will require some financial burden.
Maybe it´s wise that i would build more contacts with artists but i´m not sure what is the most efficient way, acknowledging that CA workshoops, Schoolism workshops etc are a bit distant from where i live.

"Bring your portfolio. Make yourself business cards, or post cards with your best illustration on it, always put your name and contact information and don't scrimp on the quality of the printing."

Thanks fantastic advice man.

Haha me too, almost entered in several companies but at the last momment i was suddendly dropped.

Do you have consistent work now? Are you struggling for the first years of freelancing as Dave Rapoza said in one of his conversations with Daniel Warren?

True. Just doing it for the love of art, the only way to endure to the end is just to love what you do, strggle, not quiting even when everything spits in your face.

Cheers man!!!

@Jaktrayter

Thanks man! Not sure if it´s worth signing off as it´s not free but surelly has some free articles worth reading and surelly shows to have loads of credibility.

Reply
#7
Git good. Post your art everywhere consistently. Talk to everybody. Git good git good git good.

Check this out, homie:

https://www.artpact.com/

Reply
#8
Quote:1. Wow i didn´t knew that Polycount was still valid for posting portfolios, as CA, as cgsociety. I have a Deviantart account but i as neglecting it a little bit, maybe it´s time to take it more seriouslly.

2. Regarding Artstation i have mixed feelings, maybe you can help me on that one, when you apply to work at artstation, aren´t you risking being engulfed by the avalange of amazing artists already posting stuff there?

3. I´ve tried the route of sending my portfolio via email, straight to the companies, a dozen of contacts via gamedev, mainly from Europe. Maybe it´s time to add more companies of the site i didn´t knew; boardgamegeek.

4. I´ve heard by some artists, i don´t remember who exactly was (or were), maybe Jason Seiler, maybe a podcast from a fellow artist, that i should send my portfolio to a range of companies from 3 to 3 months, not to wait too long, not to try to piss off the AD´s. Do you think that´s wise?


I'll answer your questions above as best I can. I still haven't figured out a better way to use the quote functionality, than painstakingly copy pasting drudgery which takes too much time.

1.  I have had several job enquiries through polycount. Not a lot of conversions because there are mostly amateur 3D people and projects on there, but you never know. dA has provided me with the most money overall, the most fun gigs, and the most money / single commission ever! I am astounded to say it, but it's true. Do NOT discount it. Of course once you get into AAA level you won't need that boost, but I would say it is worth it to get a good profile up there. I spend almost no time on dA itself.

2. I also have mixed feelings about ArtStation because of the volume of skilled artists, and it is true that you might not be seen at all amongst all the competition, but the fact is, everyone is on there, including potential clients.  You should at least have a profile and gallery. It has one of the most up-to-date job listings for relevant positions I have seen currently, so you stay off it at your peril. If nobody can see you, nobody will know you are there.

3.  Looking for potential clients, is never ending. Don't think you can hit one list and that sorts it out.  It's half of the job of being a freelancer (literally...not figuratively) . You are a business, offering a service, you have to be as professional as any other business, or you will miss out.

4. The time you send updates to places is up to you. You have to balance out not spamming people with pointless updates and showing them genuinely new stuff that might fit their needs. I doubt it can come down to a formula.  I think you should send updates when you believe you have done work that shows a level up, and fits the company/client's needs even more. AD's probably won't get pissed off unless you are emailing them every week, they will just ignore your email or give it a quick glance. Just be brief and polite and professional, and to the point. Nothing says you respect their time, by getting to the point.

I think random spamming everywhere, can work because once it's out it's out, but be careful not to get into the habit of doing nothing but spamming every single study and every singel thing you do everywhere, especially on your own personal and social media accounts. It can get tiresome, for you and any followers.

You asked this of John, but I can say in my experience, my first year of fulltime freelance has been hell. Most of it has been because I wasn't adequately prepared and leaped before I looked properly (out of desperation), but let me tell you this...if you want to go freelance...DO YOUR RESEARCH. BE PREPARED. SAVE at least 6 months to a year of expenses to live off, so you don't stress yourself out and go grey and have a cardiac arrest, ruin your relationships and health, and become an alcoholic crack whore as a result.

Also ArtPact will be free for all soon. Can't remember the date, but it's this year. I paid for a year's subscription last year, and it was immensely beneficial for me...worth way more than the paltry 15 dollars or whatever it is for a year. Time to start judging your expenses in terms of a business investment sense too. Sometimes you have to spend to earn.

 YouTube free learnin! | DeviantArt | Old Folio | Insta
Reply
#9
Also these:
https://www.creativeheads.net/

and a french site, but lots of great studio jobs on there
http://www.afjv.com/index.php

 YouTube free learnin! | DeviantArt | Old Folio | Insta
Reply
#10
Quote:Do you have consistent work now? Are you struggling for the first years of freelancing as Dave Rapoza said in one of his conversations with Daniel Warren?

I have consistent work outside of art. A part time, on call, white collar job that I am super lucky to have. I am in this position so I can work on the art stuff and not die at the same time. The pay is not good, but this is the sacrifice I am willing to take to make my own art gig work.

My first year was a total bomb. I lived off from the savings of my old jobs to go freelance full-time. The pay was brutally low. I had to deal with low balling at its finest. I decided to pull the plug when it got to the point that the reality scared the bejeezus out of me. The reality check was: 1) I wasn't good enough to get the rates I wanted, 2) Clients pay so little.. or don't, 3) Decent clients were so hard to find (still is!), 4) Zero time for personal projects, and worst of all, 5) My savings tanked.

Dave Rapoza, Amit, and the other people who pulled it off their first year are hardcore soldiers to this game. It's not easy living off on freelance art alone. I had to cry back home to mommy because the industry is ruthless!

If ever you're pursuing full time freelance work, if I may give you a tip: always money upfront. At least get paid half of the money the client promised from the get go or, at least, in the early stage. Don't get screwed doing work for free.

EDIT:
Quote:Haha me too, almost entered in several companies but at the last momment i was suddendly dropped.
Dude! The first time that happened to me was heartbreaking! Like the opportunity was so close only to slip through my fingers! Now that that happened to me a bunch of times, I no longer anticipate, nor expect that I'll get in! Haha! It's the same feeling as buying a lotto ticket!

But, through this experience, I actually gained the ability to say "we don't want you" in the nicest possible way!

It's debatable whether or not what you're trying to achieve is indeed impossible. One thing's for sure: it's impossible to defeat a person who doesn't know how to quit.
----
IG: @thatpuddinhead
Reply
#11
@ Amit. Thanks man! Yeah, i´m still figuring out how the reply sysyem works too.

1. I´ve navigated through Polycount forums and there´s indeed an up to date job opportunity section. It´s worth sneak peaking weekly, if not daily.
Regarding DA i´m still puzzled by how you start building a following enough to receive commissions or freelance gigs. You just do quality fan art to promote yourself? You´re active in groups or just, but maybe the strongest suggestion, keep an up to date, professional with good quality work profile?

2. I´ll give it a try, without trying we´ll never know. I´ll be working on a few strong pieces to build a gallery there. One thing is for sure Artstation is one if not the most credible professional network for artists.

3. Yes, i´m rebuilding my contact database and trying to add contacts from the sites you´ve provided, including board game companies, video game companies. Hope this time something comes arround. Thanks for the input!!

4. Basically having common sense right? Not throwing constant updates to piss and bother AD´s, but at the same time not neglecting to send them.
I know it´s a bit lame to say but i´m a bit desperate for work in the art scene, and any valuable advice will be greatly appreciated and adopted.

I primarily would love to work in a studio, but since it´s difficult, yet i don´t stop trying, i´ll settle for freelancing knowing how tough it is.
Very insightful advice Amit, saving will save lots of headaches.

Cool. That´s good news. The issue is that i have spent quite a bit and now i´m a bit more cautious with where i spend. Not saying that ArtPact is not wordy because i only receive good feedback from them. And i want to delve a bit more in their articles for sure.

@ John

Wow. That´s brutal. You worked mainly at the first years with clients from the Philipines and neighbour countries or for clients elsewhere? Yes, reality checks are always helpful.
But sometimes i see worst work than mine, pardon my sincerity having opportunities. And i know my work needs a lot of improvement. Maybe you experience the same.
Not "blaming anyone" but just checking out a symptom for potential root issues.

I was already screwed a few times. No more. That´s a nice input, require at least half in front, which may scare potential clients but i´m tired of doing free work.

Now i know it´s part of the game. You´re not in until you´re in, no matter if you´re standing at the door ready to enter.

Reply
#12
Just the Philippines. I never got an international client.

Quote:at least half in front, which may scare potential clients but i´m tired of doing free work.
I remind myself that if they refuse to pay early, they probably aren't invested enough to pay as they should be. We all should understand that nobody wants to be swindled out of a job!

It's debatable whether or not what you're trying to achieve is indeed impossible. One thing's for sure: it's impossible to defeat a person who doesn't know how to quit.
----
IG: @thatpuddinhead
Reply
#13
I have never done much fan art myself...just not that into it, though I know people say it's the best way to get more exposure than normal. I dunno, I would only do fanart if I was truly inspired and wanted to do it, not because of what it might get me.

I have been on dA cumulatively for almost 10 years. I used to post in quite a few groups, and I used to run the biggest concept art group on dA, called conceptworld which has about 10k members. I was probably only really active for two years or so, but in that time i guess I gathered most watchers. I have 1500 watchers, which for dA is pathetic, but it is 3 to 10 times more than I have anywhere else.I now just post new stuff to my gallery and leave it at that, and only do it sporadically. Many people hunt for artists on dA, especially for indie stuff,and it has a huge audience, so if you are smart you could get lots of audience that way. You can also check out the forums for job posts there. Many small pathetic gigs, but also some relatively decent ones too. Don't expect good rates though, but if just starting, experience is experience.

 YouTube free learnin! | DeviantArt | Old Folio | Insta
Reply
#14
Just a tip for getting work, that I realise I have always done, but is a damn good way of getting efficient.
When I am on a searching hunt and find a potential opportunity, I immediately make a draft email to the clients and paste their ad / requirements in the body of the email, then save it. That way I can keep looking, but I know the draft email is all there waiting for me to finish it and that I have already started the process and that I don't have to save bookmarks and links to have to find later. At the end I have a list of drafts in my outbox waiting to be dealt to.

Every time I check my email...the glaring number of drafts stares at me in the face. Although more often than not, at the end of the session, or even right away, I actually complete the email and send it off without giving myself a chance to think about anything.
Before you know it you have sent a handful of emails out!

On occasion I have left things in draft for months...and then I just send things out anyway...and that has actually landed me jobs, months after the posting!
Hope that helps someone.

 YouTube free learnin! | DeviantArt | Old Folio | Insta
Reply
#15
@John That´s a good way to put it. Probably most of the job opportunities i´ve seen would not pass that first stage. But at the end of the day what we need is clients that have respect for our work and wage, which will pressupose more respect for them as well.


@Amit Yeah, i have mixed feelings about fanart. Ii see a lot of great examples such as Dave Rapoza, Artgerm doing awesome fanart that stands on their feet, and if i´m correct helped them to have more visibility. On the other hand there are some professional concept artists/ illustrations as that say that people starting on the industry should avoid fanarts on the portfolio that provides an amateurish impression on the clients.
I personally like it, if it helps to have some income and provides some visibility, i´m totally fine with it, but i don´t want it to be the core of my portfolio.
Have you done character concept/design gigs? If so, could you help me by sharing some experience? Many thanks in advance.

Wow, it seems that you were pretty established on DA. Probably i should join a few groups.
That´s very nice advice Amit! At least for me was helpful!!

Reply
#16
Quote:Have you done character concept/design gigs? If so, could you help me by sharing some experience?

This is a question for Amit, but just to add to what he's going to say, I could point you towards somebody else's insight.

Feng Zhu talked about the career in concept art in his podcast. He broke down that impression that concept art isn't as glamorous as people think it is.

If you haven't heard of it, here's a link! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoQBxYt2sVQ
The succeeding episodes are quite insightful as well!

It's debatable whether or not what you're trying to achieve is indeed impossible. One thing's for sure: it's impossible to defeat a person who doesn't know how to quit.
----
IG: @thatpuddinhead
Reply
#17
@John Thanks for the reply John!! I´m a avid listener of Feng Zhu for years, and i certainly lost that glamorized image of the industry long ago. The only glamour i have, is the one i have for art, i simply cannot turn back on art, probably as you haha.

John, if you can share, do you have art gigs with which kind of proects? Portraiture? Illustration? Fine art? Concept Art?
Once again, thank you very much for the time and efford you´re spending!!

Reply
#18
I have done some character design stuff and things that require multiple characters in illustrations. Not sure what I can add from that experience that would aid you in getting you any work, except maybe to be pragmatic about any client job you take on board. If you think you'll be able to pull off 10 characters in 4 weeks, when you haven't done any meaningful character work in 3 years....guess again. It's good to challenge yourself, and then there is being idiotically optimistic. I had to learn this horribly first hand and it almost made me quit freelance.

Do you have a proper folio? Might want to get something set up if not. I still use a basic tumblr page. It isn't going to meet my needs for much longer, but it has pulled its weight just fine till now. Other than that, if you want to start getting work, showcase it off professionally, then start hitting your lists with it.

 YouTube free learnin! | DeviantArt | Old Folio | Insta
Reply
#19
Maan, no need for the formalities or gratitude! I am more than happy to share.

The way Feng Zhu put the concept art world into perspective had me realize what I've known was far from the truth. God bless that man for pulling the curtains down to show the harsh reality of the business! I can't even fathom designing a thousand things in my entire lifetime!

Anyway, to gigs!

I had local portrait gigs I got from Facebook which I had to turn down because the money was too low. Waay too low. I was charging roughly $10-12 USD per head. Sadly, there's a lot of people out there in the would happily take that gig for less.

There's another gig I turned down, that actually paid quite well (I forgot the figures). The reason I turned it down was because it was I think 30-50 line art illustrations in a month. That was 30-50 pieces, not counting the inevitable revisions. And back then, I worked like a goddamn turtle that had just survived a stroke.

Another gig I turned down was card illustration for a local client. Again, I got that work from Facebook. I turned it down for lots of reasons, but the main thing that kept me away from that gig was: no actual funding for the project. Huge red flag.

You know what pays? Making business cards, logos, brochures, package design and other graphic design-y stuff: "You're an artist right? Can you make me a nice looking business card?". That is why I have so much respect for the graphic design people, because I can't handle that job day in and day out. It's maddening frank quitely.

Regardless of the horror stories, Facebook is really a good platform to get your name out there. You won't get any success stories from me, but some of our local artists can attest they get some of their commissions through Facebook!

By the way, how's work coming along Rick?

It's debatable whether or not what you're trying to achieve is indeed impossible. One thing's for sure: it's impossible to defeat a person who doesn't know how to quit.
----
IG: @thatpuddinhead
Reply
#20
@Amit Nice input. Once we grasp and practice the process suddenly the deathline is not as scary as it was in the beginning. That i already am, idiotically optimistic, otherwise i would have quited art a long time ago haha.

Often i send the link to my portfolio which is my blog. I have a DA portfolio that is not updated in a long time, and i´m trying now to make some solid pieces to have that page professional.
I think the work i have is sufficient to have some gigs but if i want to improve and jump to the next level, i have to polish it and make new solid pieces, which i already am doing.

@John Haha ok pal.
Yeah Feng Zhu just scratched the glamorization off and kept things pretty pragmatic which is honest and i love it.
Interestingly i never had gigs from FB, i don´t use it a lot, just to publish work from time to time but i´m part of the Level Up group which constantly provides a fresh look on art.

Wow that would have been brutal, in the bad sense. At that 30-50 illustration gig paid reasonably? That would be a deadly shot to your health too.
I was already burned with those "promisse publicity" gigs that don´t pay a thing haha.

Yeah, Here too. Mainly web design; banners and those kinds of stuff which often then prefer a full graphic design than an illustrator that does some gd gigs. The gaphic design route is bittersweet also, has it´s pros but it´s cons, and there are quite a few cons.

What kind of strategies would you suggest on FB? Even recalling success stories from other fellow Daggers?

I´m building a database for potential clients, doing tons of value studies and at the same time working on a few solid (at least giving my best) pieces to upgrade my portfolio and create something a fresh.
Sending some portfolios too but no answers.

Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)