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Creative Commissions: Tips for Hiring an Illustrator

Illustration is a unique art form based on a combination of skill, technique, and creative expression. In this case, the technique comes from the artist, and the expression is their client’s intention. It’s important to keep this in mind moving forward: an illustrator is skilled labor. They muster decades of education, training, experience and study for their clients.

Good art for business is a matter of clear communication. Before you begin searching for the right artist, get your thoughts and concepts together. A bullet point list with shapes, fonts, art styles and colors, and how the art is to be used (stickers, t-shirts, letterhead, etc.) can help refine and communicate your thoughts. It also helps to get reference images together to provide design waypoints for the artist. Reference photos will also help you focus on what you’re looking for, and begin providing a defined and refined visual language to give your artist.

Not every artist specializes in every discipline of design or art, and it is important to find the style or discipline you need before even starting the commission process. Gig websites like Fiverr and UpWork are good places to start looking for artists who are open to business commissions. Many artists also have their own galleries you can look through. Important! Take the time to envision their style and how it will work with your existing brand style. A visual look you “like” may not always be appropriate for the corporate identity of your business.

Know what file type you need for your project. Vector art is better to scale for multiple mediums, while raster art can provide more detail and subtlety to a piece of art. The artist you contact may be able to help you figure out which format would be better for you. It’s important to clarify what file types you will be receiving from your artist before you begin.

When you talk to an artist, provide your list of requirements, any references you have, and request a sit down session. Ask about the price in the initial contact as well, and know how much you’re willing to pay for the art. The more in demand the artist you seek out, the higher the likely price. Always inquire about copyrights and licensing costs, too! 

When you receive a draft or proof from your artist, it may not be exactly what you pictured, because communication is an inexact science. Provide feedback to refine it, and remember that there may be parts of it that are artistic improvements based on your requirements and expected use of the art.

Once your art is complete, you’ll receive final files to use for your project. Unless otherwise provided in writing, the art you receive may include licensing limitations so be sure to clarify with your artist what those limitations mean for reproduction. Provide a review for the artist with whom you worked, and add a tip for a job well done – 20% is customary.

Rosie’s Creative is dedicated to helping businesses develop their image, and art and design are part of what we do. Talk to us today to develop your company’s image, and build an identity consciously. We’ll help you cultivate a brand that embodies your company’s core values, and helps you project the pride you have in your work. Remember – your first consult is always free!

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