Monday, June 5, 2017

Finding Artists for your Publications: Freelance Artists

                                                Art by: Christian Martinez

I have been most fortunate to have found amazing talent for the books I'm releasing.

Today I would like to share some of my experiences so far.

As a new publisher, I have been amazed at the art work people have done and published on the internet.

I was most fortunate, however, to know several remarkably talented artists who know (and are friends with) other talented artists.  I was fortunate, because the need for art piled up quickly, and having information on more artists was a genuine blessing.

What I want to present to you today, is information you can use when you need an artist for a book you are going to publish.  So sit back, read well, and check the biographies I'm presenting to you (because these people have been real professionals):

     1) Treat your freelancers well:  I say this and mean it.  Your artists have a valuable talent.  Do NOT try to cheapen it.  Certainly know what you can afford for art, but make it clear, put things in writing, and uphold your part of the bargain.  

      This point will need some explaining.  I've researched art submission guidelines for several companies.  Most don't accept submissions from artists they don't already know (for several good reasons) but what strikes me as (we'll say "odd") is that those that do accept submissions and are looking for artists often don't pay anything resembling a fair rate.  I have personally seen companies offer as little as $15 for a full page piece.  Which is ridiculous.  Understand that the quality of art you want in your book often takes several hours to produce, and budget accordingly.

     Yes, you can get good art done cheaply. But I would ask that you think about what that does to the artist, and what is says about your own policies.  {I'll not moralize on this further, but do take a moment and contemplate it.}

     2)  Be professional:  I've had some of the freelancers I have utilized ask if it was okay to use me for reference when putting in for other artistic work.  My answer is "Yes".  More importantly, why wouldn't I?  I want the people who work with me to be successful too.  They are doing good work and they should certainly be recognized for it.  If you don't want to take the time to recognize them individually for their accomplishments then I recommend you do something like what I have done, which is, to build an online resource that contains links to the online resources of the freelancers you use but also contains a brief blurb containing your recommendation and/or insights into that artist's work for you.  (I'll not discuss legal liability in this post, please contact your attorney if you have liability questions.)

     3) Pay them:  I've received communications from publishers that have been at this longer than I have (I started this year) where they want to offer "exposure" as a 'payment' to artists.  Let me state this for the record:  "Exposure" doesn't pay the rent!

    Pay your freelancers and pay them fairly.  If you nickle and dime them they will not want to work with you again (I wouldn't either).  When you pay them, be on time with the money, be precise with your figures, and be polite.  This is a business transaction so treat your artists as well as you would treat your clients/customers/subscribers/etc.

Now, the reasons I bring these points to your attention:

     1) Whether you are starting out, or are a long standing business, your reputation is important.  If you have a bad reputation in the artistic community it WILL be spreading.  You may miss out on working with remarkable talent just because of past actions.

      2) If you are a new publisher, then you will NEED those freelancers you have for future products.  No one really makes their money on a single book.  You need to publish and then publish again, and so on.  With role-playing game publications you need your artists.  You need them to produce the best they can and to do so reliably.  It is far easier for someone to do their best work for you, when they respect and trust you.  Earn that trust folks.  It is important.

      3)  I like my freelancers.  They have produced excellent work for me, have it coming in on schedule, and have been great to work with.   That said, I have referred other people who have asked me about artists to them, but I have also turned a few away.  Those I've turned away, have been because they wanted to get cheap art from the professionals I work with.  No.  I'll not waste their time, nor will I lead them to believe they are worth so little.  So if you want work for $15 a page, go elsewhere, and when you are ready to hire professionals do so.

So, how do you find such professionals?

Well I'm going to point you to the list of those whom I have used.  Below, you will find a list of names and links to the biography pages I have built for those freelancers I have secured for coming publications.  So if you need art, this is a good place to come find artists who I can personally speak for.

Note:  These folks are professionals, treat them as such.

Brian Lee:  Remarkable comic artist and he does take commissions.  He has been absolutely indispensable to my books.  You have seen several of his pieces gracing the blog posts.  You can find his biography page HERE

Samantha Vogelsang:  Versed in a variety of genres and mediums.  She is currently working on several illustrations.  She has over 10 years experience as a professional artist.  You can find her biography page HERE

Jennifer Fraggle Dee:  Creator of monsters, specialist in movie make up and effects make up, talented visual artist in pencil and paints.  Naturally talented, you can find her biography page HERE

Phoenix O'Faery: Phoenix brims over with a variety of talents. Her arts have a way of grabbing your eyes and not letting go. She paints, she sketches, creates digital composites, and more.  There are good reasons why her art is on the cover of two of my books (so far).  You can find her biography page HERE

Zachary Viola:  Zachary's first pieces for Sinopa Publishing LLC are going into the first book we release.  Zack's work so far has been insightful and spot on to the theme/concept being sought.  Other artists referred Zack to me and I have not been disappointed.  You can find his biography page HERE

James Lee:  The first artist I asked to come do work for me.  Years of experience in print, talented cartographer, keen eye for typographical font schemes, talented artist in his own right, (and creates holograms as well).  James does a bit of everything and does it all very well. You can find his biography page HERE

Alexia Veldhuisen:  Alexia has an amazing eye for detail, and produces remarkable art.  She is a fantastic professional, hits her deadlines, and asks important questions about the art you are wanting her to produce.  You can find her biography page HERE

Rebecca Elisbet Coulthart:  Rebecca can incorporate colors in ways that will hold your eye on the image.  Her art is precise.  She is reliable, hits the deadlines she has accepted, and will produce just what you have asked of her.  You can find her biography page HERE

Christian Martinez:  This man possesses amazing skill.  See his biography page HERE
Christian's work will be in any rpg book I can convince him to produce art for.  I am consistently impressed by his work.

Kelsy Cowan:   Kelsy's very first illustration for me looked like she read my mind, then drew something better than I envisioned that took in the scene precisely as I wanted it depicted.  She finished it ahead of schedule!  She has the skill and the background to breathe life into your rpg illustrations.  You can find her biography page HERE

I'll add other freelancers to this list as more of their pages are created.

If you are looking for artists, this post is the best resource I can provide to you.  If you want to commission one of them please let them know where you found them (as I want them to know where you found them).

Thank you for joining me once again on this journey.  I hope this post helps you on yours as well.

Please do check out the Kick Starter campaign for my first title release, "Tale of the Wizard's Eye" on KickStarter HERE (now fully funded! It will conclude on June 21st, 2017).

Please do like and share for others.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Just a quick comment. I didn't want to put it in the body of this post, as I feel very strongly that it is an important piece.
    For those of you who have contacted me just to tell me I won't make any money if I spend it all on my artists: I'll make a little, to be sure. And man can be happy with a little, because a little is always there to be had. A lot of money won't bring you happiness if you take it at other's expense. As I've said before, I would rather feel I've been a good man and have a little, than feel I had not been a good man and have a lot.
    Something to consider folks.
    I'll not start a flame fight here on my blog. Your comments are welcome. Feel free to disagree, but let us keep this civil.
    Thank you.


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