I just did a batch of inquiries for artists for Loreshaper Games, and as usual I feel like there are a few things that might not be immediately obvious that would be good hints for someone who wanted to get a start as an artist.
1. Read the Description
It’s not that I don’t want artists with diverse skills to apply, but there is something to be said for making sure that if you respond to a posting you acknowledge what the person is asking for. In the past, I was vague and then reached out to people, this time I made a posting and people reached out to me.
Many of the people who reached out to me were talented, but I’m not sure they were really aware of what the project was instead of replying to the thread in question. Fortunately, I have a lot of projects, but I do feel bad if artists could have used their time better, especially since they’re at best going into my file of people to contact at a future date.
The people who replied with some reference to what I was inquiring about in their response, however, all got further inquiries.
2. Say Pricing
I may be totally crazy here, but I like to hear people give some idea of what their pricing will be. It’s not a deal-breaker. I had one guy tell me he was probably too expensive for me (ouch, but I did say my budget), but at least then I had an idea of how much working with him would set me back (and, coincidentally, I responded with a further inquiry).
Some people responded with pricing in hourly rates, but did not associate those pricings with anything in their portfolio (more on that in a moment), which is not a deal-breaker, but means that instead of getting an order you might get a clarification.
3. Include Samples
Two of the people who contacted me included samples in their email. Both got replies with inquiries. I was primed to accept their work because they presented it to me.
I had some people send me simple one-line responses. There is something to be said for succinctness, but if I have to go to your portfolio, I’m going to have that Christmas morning opening presents joy reduced.
So, in short, send some portfolio content with the email; trigger that reptile brain!
It’s Your Resume
If I’m hiring freelancers, I’m probably not going to look over your CV or resume, but the way you contact me will give me some information about how seriously you take your work and my time. The people who respond with a lot of information communicate seriousness, while people sending a one-line response are less important. If you’ve worked with people in the past, it’s not a bad idea to mention that; I recognized stuff some of these artists worked on, and that’s not a bad spot to be in.
A pre-canned response is okay. There’s nothing wrong with that; I’m hiring you as a freelancer, I’m not offering you a $100k salary. I don’t know how often people even get replies to stuff like this, so I certainly am not going to judge people for using their time wisely.
This is a sort of example of something that I think would be a perfect canned response (certainly worthy of at least following-up).
Hi, I’m X
I do Y, with Z past clientele/experience.
I saw your inquiry looking for artists, and think I can provide you with what you’re looking for.
I’ve attached a portfolio, and you can check out my site (this is a hyperlink, or a hyperlinked plaintext URL follows)
I might be totally crazy, and this may be true of working with me and no other person in the industry, I’m relatively novice, having done only a half-dozen or so contracts for art, and my process probably could use some refinement. Nonetheless, I don’t know that there’s really a lot of people who will