Hire the right illustrator for your next project

Your boss asks you to come up with a new presentation for an upcoming event. He wants something different than the standard presentation with lots of text and standard stock photos. What do you JBT_July2016do? You decide to hire an illustrator to create some custom images for you, but how do you find an illustrator?

A search in Google tells you this won’t be an easy task. Thousands of illustrators show up in the search from around the world. You decide that working local will at least narrow your search, but that still brings up hundreds of names and doesn’t make you feel any better. Frustration sets in and you have only done two searches. It will be a long day. Is there a better way to find creative talent?

Get yourself organized

The best place to start on a complicated search is with yourself. I know you aren’t the illustrator but it makes it much easier to hire an illustrator if you are organized and know what you’re looking for. How do you get organized?

Knowing how many illustrations you need is the first step to being organized when hiring a visual artist. Have your presentation or story written out so you know the number of illustrations needed. It is possible to save money by buying several images at the same time as some offer bulk discounts.

Once you know the number of illustrations required the next step is to know whether you want black and white or colour. Colour can drastically affect pricing in art because of the amount of work involved. Depending on the artist’s style, colour can double the price as opposed to creating line style artwork.

How much will an illustrator cost me?

We should talk pricing for a moment here. Pricing is different because each artist packages their illustrations differently. Some have cheaper prices but add their “RIGHTS” on top and others bundle them together. ”Rights” are digital or usage rights which allows you to use the artwork for certain amounts of time or in certain ways. Make sure you understand this when hiring an illustrator. DO NOT use unauthorized artwork as you could be putting yourself into a copyright violation issue. It is hard to have specific pricing and most artists won’t because of the variation of work involved. Knowing what you want will help you get proper quotes. Know your budget for the project and then an artist will be able to tell you whether it is possible to work within that budget. Most professional artists know their work style and will be able to tell you fairly quickly how much an image will cost.

Deciding on a style

The next step is the hardest part of the process, deciding on a style you like. Reverse engineering your web search is the best way to handle this step. Here is how it works. Go back to Google or your favourite search engine and type in illustrators or the topic of interest in the search. Click the tab for images only and look for a style that appeals to you. Every artist will have a different style, but many will be similar. If you find styles you like you can take down the names and visit their websites. Realize famous illustrators may not take on small commissions and others may be higher priced. Much of pricing depends on the technique of the artist. Once you have a style you like you can try to hire that artist or look for a local artist with a similar style. At least you know what you are looking for.

How much time will you need for the project?

The time required for a project will differ depending on the scope of the project. A general rule is one week per illustration required. Most artists have multiple projects going on so timelines will change. There will also be some type of approval process that will take some time to complete as well. Don’t wait for the last minute when hiring an illustrator. Many will require two to three weeks for a single image. A project with multiple illustrations will vary greatly.

As with any project asking someone you know if they know an illustrator is a great way to start. This information is basic for projects but status of the artist, subject matter, and skill level all play a part in this area. You will find the right artist for you if you do your homework up front. Good luck with your project.

About the Author

Bruce Outridge is an artist, author, consultant, and speaker from Burlington Ontario Canada. Bruce’s work specializes in caricatures and cartoons for private clients, presentations, advertising, and editorial work. You can learn more about Bruce and find samples of his work at www.bruceoutridgeproductions.com