How To Buy Art.
Art is the backbone of a lot of communities and creations. Everything from games to PowerPoints has art. They add atmosphere and emphasize topics. You are probably here cause you need art. But it is very tough to figure out what to buy. Pricing, time, and communication are a big part of the project. It is all quite overwhelming.
My goal is to break it down simply. The first step is finding your artist. Understanding price in proportion to the work completed. As well as trying to find the right artist that will be able to create your dream artwork. The second step is communicating with the artist exactly what you need. Making sure that both you and the artist understand the vision is vital. The third step is payment, price, possible tips for artists.
Finding Your Artist
Before you start looking up artists in your area, you need to figure out the work you want to be done. Figuring out specifications beforehand really narrows down the artists.
A few things to consider are…
- Time; when do you need this done, can you afford extra days for work, if you get shoddy work the first time can you wait for it to be fixed.
- Quality; how complex is the piece of art, can it be done in your timeframe, how much experience does the artist need for you to trust them with it.
- Size; how big is the artwork, do you need a mural or a coaster.
- Type; do you want a wall painted, or something to hang on your wall, is it digital or physical, 3D or 2D.
- Style; realistic or cartoony, dark and moody or happy and uplifting, each artist has their own style which will bleed into the work so consider that for your work.
Places To Look
The first place that you can go is social media. Look up hashtags and find artwork that you like. When you find an art style that you like, ask the person that posted it if they are the one that created it. If yes, then that simplifies things, just go ahead and ask if they are willing to do it. Keep in mind that they may not respond or have an interest in a freelance project. If not, ask who the artist is and try to get in touch with them.
Don’t get stuck in just one social media service, look in a variety. Also, look in websites that are meant for posting art, DeviantArt being one of the most popular.
When looking, keep in mind your specifications. As well as the artist’s style, whatever art that they have posted is probably the style they are most comfortable in. Most people who post art aren’t very experienced with freelance, so they won’t change their whole art style to please you. Go based on the images provided as the style of work they will do. Make sure it aligns with the work you need before asking them.
Many freelance sites will have a plethora of artists to choose from. In many cases, illustration is the most popular freelance job. Using a freelance site is easy to navigate and find the artist that you want.
They are definitely the safe bet. Many sites having customer service and a way to refund if given shoddy work. Your credit card will be secure. Unless you really like a social media artist’s work then I would recommend freelance sites. Fiverr and Upwork being the most popular.
If you did your specification in the beginning then your can input them into the search filter. Find one at the right price point and continue to the next step. Communication.
Remember to use the tools that you have available to you. Look at the reviews, things like, took too long or wasn’t as promised, are big red flags. Reviews can really change whether or not you are going to work with them. Another tool is the images, reverse search the image to make sure they are not plagiarizing others' work. If they are, it is most likely because they cannot produce the same results. The last tool is to look at the description and profile that can give you a lot of info.
Please message them before starting to give them the job. Tell them the type of job that you want, they will let you know if they are busy. As well as, if they can complete that kind of job. (Shameless Plug)
Look Them Up
If neither of those work for you then go to your favorite search engine and start typing. Give some specifications and choose from there.
- Social Media: Bigger risk possibly a bigger reward
- Freelance Sites: Simple, safe, and easy option
- Web Browsing: Nearly infinite possibilities
Sample First message-
Hello, my name is _your (name/company)_. Your art has caught my eye. I am looking for an artwork that will serve as a _purpose for art(Decor, Logo, etc.). I need it to be in _Format(digital, chalk, graphite, etc.)_ and would like it done in _#_ days. It will be in a _Style(realistic, cartoony, etc.)_ style. My budget is between _$_ and _$$_. But I would be willing to negotiate if you are interested, please contact me here _contact info__. Hope to hear from you soon, thank you in advance.
Talking to your artist about the work that needs to be done is an integral part of the purchase. Your communication has to be clear and explain in detail what you need.
The first thing you must establish is the amount of creative freedom you are giving the person. In other words, how strictly do you want them to follow your instructions? One reason you may give them more freedom is that you like their work. The more freedom that you give them the more they can put their own spin on it. Which makes it feel and look a lot more like their work. You can ask 10 artists to represent a red square exactly, and you will get 10 artworks that are the same. But ask 10 artists to make a masterpiece out of red squares you will get 10 very different and beautiful artworks. A second reason to give them more freedom is so they become more self-reliant. They will ask fewer questions because of the freedom to add certain elements to the best of their judgment.
It gives a feeling of trust that allows them to experiment a little and really give the artwork life. The third and final reason is that it will be less work for you. You will have to answer fewer questions, as well as not have to describe as much. If you trust the artist enough, you can let them fill in the gaps of the artwork you described. Most likely when describing the project you will only state the main subjects of the piece. But an artist may notice things look a little empty so by giving them the freedom they can fill in the gaps and make the artwork really pop.
Now onto the reasons not to give them said freedom. First of all, maybe you want it to be exactly as described, things like a logo can get crowded very quickly. So it can be important for the artist to follow your instructions to the t. Secondly, you may wish to answer the questions so that there isn’t any confusion.
In the end, it all comes down to the project you’re assigning them and your personal preferences.
Describing the Project and Answering Questions
The “fill in the blank starter” that I put into the first section is a good start. But the only information you will get is a yes or a no. Once you’ve got the green light then you are ready for the next step.
Describing the project is huge! Your description needs a few main things but please give as much information as possible. The first thing is the subjects, who or what is the focal point of the piece? Starting a company? Maybe you want the logo as the subject for the art. The second thing is what is the subject doing. If it is a person, describe them, their actions, expression. The third is the background. Is it a dynamic landscape or just plain white? Last and probably most important is the feeling that you want the art to convey. Back to the company example, a feeling that you may want to be conveyed is professionalism. The amount of feeling that they can put into the art can be limited by a lack of creative freedom.
When answering questions it may be important that you reference some of the creative freedom you put in place. Unless it is a yes or no question try not to give one-word answers. Fully answer the question and correct them when necessary. Answering the questions is vital to getting the product that you want. Remember that they are making it for you so if there is something that you don’t like tell them.
One of the best ways to communicate about the artwork is through progress images. It will allow you to reroute the plane before it lands. If an artist refuses to give you progress images you shouldn’t work with them. Progress allows you to have trust in their time management and artistry skills.
There are a few ways to go about asking for a progress update. The first is to name some milestones and ask them to show you an image of each. Initial sketch, linework, starting color, final color, and finishing touches are some milestones you can use. It will allow you to be a little hands-free, but it can be time-consuming. If they can’t get a hold of you when they finish the milestone they may be waiting when they can be doing art. Another way of doing it is to ask them to show you what they have done at that moment. This can be a little tough since you don’t know when they will check their phone. It would be a good idea to find out when a good time to ask for an update would be. The last way is to have them just message you their current progress when they feel that they need to. It is the most hands-off approach but can be a little unpredictable. Receiving updates on the product is important, no matter how you schedule them to happen. Just make sure that they do happen.
Paying the Artist
Never offer them exposure instead of payment. That is so disrespectful to the work that they do. At most offer exposure as a tip or for a small discount. You have to think of art as a full-time job. Not only the hours that it took to make the art. You must include the hours it took to become experienced. That is why better artists can charge more. They spent more hours perfecting the craft.
Try not to fight the artist too much or pressure them into changing their prices. Ask if they are willing to negotiate. If they are you are in luck. If not then suck it up and pay or move on to a different artist. This is why it is important to ask before having them make something. Discussing price at the beginning will have you not fall into roadblocks later. Ask about the price of supplements to the artwork. How much to add color? How much for a few days early delivery? How much for a revision? Are examples of things you may need to pay for down the line. Make sure that you have all this in place before beginning the project.
Now once the project is over you should pay him whatever they had said before. Custom-made art is hard to sell if you decide that you don’t want it. So be respectful to the artist and tell them that you change your mind before the project is done. Even if you tell them early you should at least pay them a fraction of the total price. The starving artist can is very real, so just try and be respectful.
I do recommend tipping an artist if they did a good job. I understand that they can dictate their own wages but it is still nice. If you can’t spend any more money to tip them you can use exposure. Shout their name from the rooftops, let people know where you got the art from. Exposure can sometimes be more helpful than a small tip. Another option if you don’t have a large audience to use for exposure is to give them something for free. If you are using art for a product or shop give them something for free from that shop or product. Tipping will mean a lot to your artist.
Whether you are buying art for a business or decor it is important to understand what you want. Making a list of specifications beforehand will make the search much faster and rewarding. Places that you can search are social media, freelance sites, or just anywhere on the world wide web. Once you have found your artist you must maintain a good level of communication. Having them understand the amount of freedom they have is vitally part of communication. So is answering questions, less freedom more questions, and vis versa. Please pay your artists. Not with exposure but with money. They did a service and you should pay them as such. A tip also never hurts. No matter why you are buying art I would like to thank you for supporting artists. Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed it.