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There is no such thing as suddenly knowing when you are ready to turn your
passion into your profession. But there is a way of measuring your chances on being
able to get work and eventually sustain a living from it.
Accepting commissions or freelance for low payment won't help you. You can think any penny counts, but it will lower the worth of your work and damage the market.

:bulletblue: How to measure that you are ready?

You probably have high goals, but they are usually not your first step. You must search out the clients who can be that first step. Often found in the card game industry, book cover illustrations and smaller game company's. 
Look at the artwork shown by a company such as the card game company: Fantasy Flight games. Compare your skills with the average of their artworks. If it matches yours, you will have a chance. However, keep in mind that those artworks had been done in a limited timeframe, usually within 12 hours.

:bulletblue: What to show in your portfolio?

Don't show to many artworks, you will always be judged by your worst piece.
Show the work that is suitable for the company's you'd like to work for. Show work that they would be able to fit in to their game right away, proving you are the right person to do so. Did you know that if you're a paid DA member you can make a portfolio website through DA? You will find it in the menu :)

:bulletblue: What to write in your CV?

Don't write about those years you worked in the supermarket or you black belt in karate, they will not care and again it looks unprofessional. Don't share your high school information or grades. If you have done a uni course related to art, you should put that information in there.
Other sections will be: Languages, Software, Art achievements( like book/magazine features.) art-courses and previous clients. Are there no previous clients? That is okay.
Don't advertise yourself as a freshly graduated person, you don't have to lie about it, but avoid the mention if possible.

:bulletblue: How to approach a company for work?

Never come across as a fan. You, of course like their work, and would like to create artwork for them, but don't phrase your fandom to them, it will come across as inexperienced. 
Explain what you can offer the company or the company's art-team with your personality and passion. 

:bulletblue: How to calculate your basic freelance rate?

The price must include: Your rent, other living costs like food & bills, equipment(pc,software and Wacom), training-days(the days you wont be working for clients) and taxes( add 21%, this variate's per country so do your research).
Example
1 year of rent (500x12)+ (600x12)1 year of living expenses+(1500) 1 year of equipment= 14700 euro.
The year has 365 days approximately 250 workdays. 50 days will probably be spend, without a client to work for, sick, or holiday. But those days will still need to be covered so they will stay included.

14700 euro : 250 days= 58.80 euro a day. + 21% taxes(12.34 euro) =  71.14 euro.

That 71.40 a day will give you a very basic living in a country such as the Netherlands. However, if you'd like to be able to pay a vacation, a nice Christmas, a car? You have a child to take care of?
Don't forget you need to save up for a pension too! As a freelancer that needs to come from your own wallet!!
This will most certainly higher the price to a 120 euro a day easily. 
Most professional rates are between 120-500 euro a day! But these are from experienced artists and you should be able to achieve that within 1 year. But please don't ever work for lower than this previous calculation has shown you. Flipping burgers would be more sustainable otherwise XD.


These website's feature okay freelance work from individuals from time to time:
www.elance.com
www.freelance.com
DA jobs forum.
CGhub jobs forum.

Ofcourse you will always have to keep honing your skills and strive to become better every day to climb up the career ladder :D

I wish you guys goodluck!! :D
Let me know if you have some other questions about this that I haven't covered :D
Here are more helpful journals

The 5 bullshit myths of concept art.Concept art is getting bigger and bigger. More people know what it is nowadays, it gets shown in the media more often and more books get released. This automatically results into more people wanting to become concept artists. So many artschools are now creating special courses all towards game art or concept art. (Game art can also include UI design, 3D modeling etc.).
Yet it is a fairly new thing to most people and the idea of "becoming a concept artist" has grown rapidly over such a short time that a lot of people who are new to it seem to get a lot of misguide info. I am going to try to list this misguided info and direct you to the correct info.
(Again I would always advise you to do your own research and form your own knowledge and not just simply agree with what you read online, not from anyone, not from me. Even though i'm right ;) .. ofcourse. :P *wink *wink )
  
  Are you on the right track? + Fuck Talent!Am I on the right track?
This is a thing people often wonder and think it's a complicated to find out, but it is actually pretty simple. It's a different question you need to ask yourself based on different topics.
As for: Fuck talent! You'll find it if you scroll down :P
:bulletblue: Topic 1: Am I on the right track to becoming a better artist?
Does your work from today, look closer to your initial goal than your work from last week? (this needs to be both in skill and idea.)
:bulletgreen: Good skills: Honing your technique, training you muscle memory, being more knowledgeable about your tools and art rules. With art rules I mean: Perspective, form, light, texture, composition.
:bulletgreen: Good ideas: Storytelling, characteristics, charm, emotion and design. Not just making things look polished but also convey something more, something that brings it to life and speaks to pe
How to win Art-contests! (+ Caldyra winners!)Let me start by saying how incredibly happy I am with all these amazing and inspiring entries! This definitely calls for doing another such contest soon!
Most of you have really tried their best and it shows! I couldn't have asked for better or more, choosing the winners among these was already aching my brains.
This journal will show the winners and the special mentions but also a bit about how to higher your changes on winning contests (maybe good for the next one).
This was my contest for those interested:

How to win contests?!
The change on winning a contest always gets smaller based on the amount of people joining in, however this doesn't mean that your work will be diminished by the numbers.
Here is a list of tips and tricks to make sure that your work gets into the top 10 !
:bulletblue: Triple read the contest's description. Make sure you got every detail right.
In this case it was pretty important that the Skyworm loo
A big black hole called: Procrastination.Procrastination is an infinite cycle that becomes bigger and bigger the longer it's there and the time wasted being sucked into it is a dark matter of nothing.
:P hahah I figured this was the most dramatic way to put it, but yeah, it's real and it sucks.
For those who don't know what it means: Procrastination is the practice of carrying out less urgent tasks in preference to more urgent ones, or doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, and thus putting off impending tasks to a later time, sometimes to the "last minute" before the deadline.
We all suffer from procrastination. It is pretty innocent when you have it with household chores or packing your suitcase before you go on a holiday. 
But it becomes a serious problem when you do it with the important things in your life. I take it you're an artist if you're reading this and the biggest aim of being an artist is to be an even better one.
As shown in previous journals there are many
What do do as an artist in training.There are many ways to Rome they say. But I find most aspiring artists lost and asking me for guidance
and this is what I tell them.
Find out for yourself what you really want to do with art, there are so many different professions.
Graphic designer, Concept artist (mobile and high end), Illustrator of bookcovers, or card games.
Once you can make your pick, or at least pick 1 or 2 you must find the best work on the market in those fields. 
Find out what makes the best art of your favorite field the best art. What do they paint? How do they paint it? With knowing this you can find out about the things you need to study.
The most basic study aims are the following:
:bulletblue: Lighting.
What forms of light art there? And how does it influence things?
The book Color and Light by James Gurney will give you a lot of insight.
  
:bulletblue: Shapes.
How do you paint shapes? How do you light them the right way?
You will learn a l
Where to get started before you can apply for workThere is no such thing as suddenly knowing when you are ready to turn your
passion into your profession. But there is a way of measuring your chances on being
able to get work and eventually sustain a living from it.
Accepting commissions or freelance for low payment won't help you. You can think any penny counts, but it will lower the worth of your work and damage the market.
:bulletblue: How to measure that you are ready?
You probably have high goals, but they are usually not your first step. You must search out the clients who can be that first step. Often found in the card game industry, book cover illustrations and smaller game company's. 
Look at the artwork shown by a company such as the card game company: Fantasy Flight games. Compare your skills with the average of their artworks. If it matches yours, you will have a chance. However, keep in mind that those artworks had been done in a limited timeframe, usually within 12 hour
This is why you (and your art) get ignored.People often get the sense of being ignored in the art-scene, especially here online. We all try so hard to get our foot in the door, it's like trying to stuff yourself in an overfull bus like a sardine in a can.
Sometimes you just want to socialize with other artists you admire and you seem to be talking into a brick wall or perhaps you've send your portfolio to a company over a dozen times and still don't even seem to get the smallest response or feedback. I will try and tell you WHY you get ignored and HOW you can get noticed instead.
I will go through the following cases of being ignored:
:bulletgreen: Your comment.
:bulletgreen: Your art.
:bulletgreen: Your Portfolio.
:bulletyellow: Do know, that even though being ignored feels very personal it's hardly ever personal at all! 
:bulletblue: Your comment(s) gets ignored.
It happens ever so often. You notice an artwork or a discussion and you weigh in with your opinion or admiration, perhaps even some feedback? T
The problematic behavior of digital artists.There is a bunch of things online artist do terribly wrong on a regular basis. Some of it might be directly aimed to you and some might be things you from others. 
Shortlist:
:bulletblue: Way too little time spend on painting/practice.
:bulletblue: People making nit pick pointers.
:bulletblue: The extreme fuzz about labels and methods.
:bulletblue: Witch-hunting/ talking smack.
However I'd like to start with a totally opposite note:
This year I've also experienced great support from the art community for which I'm dearly grateful for.
:icontituslunter: got me an amazing birthday gift(video), made by him and fellow awesome artists:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10203399746211607
And the support I've had this past week with the event of my sisters death has been incredibly helpful. (Thank you for all the donations, there are no more worries about money anymore thanks to you awesome people!)

:bulletred: (most of) You seem to spend way to li

The stuff that artists go through.There are so many pro's and con as to being an artist, professional or as a hobby. 
It feels nice to be able to express yourself through something you make and when that something turns out to be looking good we get this sense of accomplishment. 
Most of the time though there are bad feelings mixed with the good ones.
:bulletblue: Not being understood. Those moments where your friends or family does not understand that you have to desire to be alone and work on your art. Those copious amounts of hours you spend working and they wonder why you wouldn't rather be outside relaxing in the sun or hang out with your friends.
The only people who will ever fully understand this are other artists or simply very understandable people. It's important they they will eventually understand so there wont be any hurt feelings. Try to explain ti as calmly and rational as you can, perhaps with using examples in terms they  would understand.

:
  Overcome your unfair obstacles.We all have certain obstacles that gives us the feeling of: 'This is so unfair!.'
To me it's one of the most annoying feelings in the world because in general we don't really know how to deal with it. One little part of us says: 'Don't whine about it, you are just being jealous.' the other part of you tells you: 'If I didn't have this obstacle or disability I would rule the world!!'
So you bounce around  anger, sadness, hopelessness and envy. 
If you were just sad about something or simply angry it would be a lot easier to deal with, you cry or you just vent a bit towards a friend. 
But how to deal with he feeling of unfairness? 

:bulletblue: There are many things that can form this unfair obstacle for you.
Physical obstacles such as: MS, Lyme disease, Arthritis, Color blindness, missing fingers?
Mental obstacles such as: Depression, being a procrastinator (yes I'm naming it because it's a mental blockade that keeps y
Fast lane to becoming a better artist.I often get this very question: How did you get this good this fast?

Now as I consider myself not being as good as people tell me, even struggling quite often with being an artist in general. 
I do know how to get better and how to reach it fast. I'm still growing as I go and it's the main thing that keeps me going.
You need to get into the right mindset and the rest will follow. With the rest I mean:
1. Willpower.
2. Endurance.
3. Positive energy.
4. The NEED to draw.
:bulletblue: Seeing growth in your work gives you the courage to work harder. You know that feeling when you're just about done with an image
and feel like this image is better than your last one, that great feeling. Use it!
:bulletblue: Do studies! Lots of them!! Make film shot studies, live object studies, master-painting studies. They will teach you a lot about composition, lighting, colors, shapes storytelling etc. 
You will hardly notice that you are learning thing
Why it's so important to unite as artists.We are with many though yet we are with few. We're all divided over little subgroups such as, fantasy illustrators, concept artists, comic book pencilers, photomanipers, techartists, anime drawers, realism sketchers etc. You might even find your place at multiple sections.
I found that the biggest united groups on Deviant Art are mostly evolved around fan art, such as Sonic, or My little pony. 
Observations aside, I think the good thing about those groups is that they serve for companionship. Being an artist all by yourself with no one to share/talk about/discuss your work with can feel rather lonely. And that lonely feeling is not encouraging at all. Most of us  keep a lot of things taboo as well, like techniques or rates. If we were more openly with these the changes of being underpaid or missing out on a job because someone else does it for hardly any money at all will grow slimmer. People should know what they are worth and not be afraid to ask for it.
When I joined Devia
Are you being honest with yourself?As part of becoming good at something you need to be able to reflect upon yourself. Judge your own abilities and work and consider the possibility that what ever you have been doing it wrong all along. Or perhaps you're actually being to hard on yourself and you're better than your conscious is telling you. (This is bad too because it leads to insecurities.)

Signs that you might overestimate your current skills.
Do you often feel these things when you look upon work from good artists?:
I can totally do this too.
This is not so hard, I can do this faster.
My work is way more interesting.
It's not fair that this person gets way more attention than I do.
Why am I not being recognized for my skills.
This other technique is cheating! (photo-bashing, using reference, filters, effects etc)
I don't need to draw and learn all day to become this good.
I spend 2 hours on a painting, Masterpiece!!
Signs that you might underestimate your skills.
Do you ofte
When someone brings your art down...Putting our art out there makes us very vulnerable, especially when you've made something close to your heart. Perhaps something of your own fantasy, a story, a fan fiction your passionate about?
As much as most of us really want to improve, we also simply want to make art because we love it and when we share it there is a slight hope there is someone out there who will love it too.
There are all kinds of ways other people can bring you down by saying something about your art, or by doing nothing at all! Perhaps YOU are even part of making someone feel down and you're not realizing it!

:bulletblue: The harsh critique.
This person might want to help you or simply likes to bring you down. In either case this person will write in length about your lack of technique, uniqueness and/or skill. 
:bulletred: Respond option: Thanks but no thanks! Tell this person you appreciate the time spend on their post, but you rather hear constructive critique instead
How to deal with or get feedback.Getting feedback or critiques may be hard for people.
Some people want it really bad but can't seem to get it, at least not from the people he/she is hoping for.
And other get it all the time but feel a little attacked or bullied by it.
Pretty much anyone with eyes and some intelligence is able to spot mistakes or irregularities in someone's work. This person doesn't have to be more skilled than you. 
However, this person... might be wrong.... 
:bulletpurple: How do you judge a critique?
You initially made your artwork according to the knowledge you currently have. Leaving room for mistakes in the elements you're not trained or knowledgeable in. Or perhaps you think you know something and you are not aware that it's wrong.
When someone gives you feedback, even though it might feel incorrect. Take a little time to do some extra research on the matter. 
:bulletblue: You can ask others if they agree with someone's  feedback.
:bulletblue: You can search online (wit
So tired of not achieving what you want?So tired of not achieving what you want?

Everyone has something they really want dearly, a career, to have a certain loved one, to be able to make certain things...
The most common one among us artist are:
- I want to be able to draw better
- I want to be able to draw like "this"person.
- I want to earn money with my drawing.
- I want to be able to draw what I imagine in my head.
- I want more people to appreciate my art.
- I want more feedback from artists I admire.
- I want more..
- I want better....
All this wanting.. dreaming of... hoping for.
How about doing it!! With these sort of "wants", it's a matter of DOING IT!
How? You ask?
There are many ways, but the usual and only answers to those desires are: 
- Spend the most time you have on drawing/painting.
- Go and ask people for help, it is okay to do so!
- Look at that amazing artwork and try and figure out how this person made it, perhaps he/she will tell you? Perhaps this person has made a video or tutoria
Avoid getting ripped off by a client.As a freelancer most of your business takes place online, which makes it really easy
for people to rip you off. How many times have we seen the following scenario's:
1- Someone offers a descent payment for your artwork but wants you to do an art-test first.
after the art-test you're being told you're not good enough. Later you find out that other people
got to do different art-test topics and also weren't good enough. The client clearly ripped people off to get free artwork.
2- Someone offers good money for your artwork. The sketch gets approved so you continue working. Right when it's done the total image suddenly becomes a great disappointment and the client ends up not paying you.
These were just 2 examples of situations that happen a lot to freelancers. There are many more like it.
:bulletblue: How to detect if a client is a bit fishy...
Does their email address look professional? Some legit people may use their Gmail address, with their real name or nickname, those are questionabl
Add a Comment:
 
:icondancing-kitten:
Dancing-Kitten Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2014  Student Filmographer
free da users can make a portfolio through da as well. i think the main difference is that paid users don't have to have the .daportfolio in their url.
Reply
:iconmojoliazon:
MojoLiazon Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014  Professional General Artist
Oh, and the elance/odesk combo now has some semi-unfriendly rules, it's stopped me getting a profile there. It looks like it would have the freelancers jumping through too many invasive hoops, like their monitoring of your mouse clicks and keyboard strokes and taking screencaptures of what you're doing on your PC so your commissioner can see if you're working as claimed.

That's too invasive for my liking. When you do traditional art the commissioner doesn't hang over your shoulder making sure you're earning every single penny according to their artistically limited knowledge, why should we tolerate invasions of privacy from strangers just because it's via our computers? They might contest your fee just because you took too long sipping your coffee between brushstrokes, or you work too slow for their liking. It's so customer oriented/biased you'd likely end up with nothing, if they contested your right to be paid, no matter how illogical the customer's complaint, and they get multiple artists working within hours of them listing a job, for free, to provide samples just hoping to get the job... You'd actually have to make that your full time job just about, waiting on that site.... Creative prostitution IMO.

There are better sites to freelance on with more freelancer-friendly terms. I guess it would be ok for some though to use odesk/elance because they only charge a 10% commission. Not like dA, I sold a $70+ dollar print and got a grand total of $13. Gee, thanks. lol.

I was going to open a shop on Zazzle but for a 30cm black and white, simple canvas print of one of my works they wanted to put the price up to almost $300 and out of that I would get --- you guessed it --- $13.

If I wanted more, ok, I can set my own royalty! Whee! ... Except they bump it up accordingly, so if I wanted $50 per canvas for example, they'd be charging a ridiculously, unrealistically massive price for it and it would never sell, never mind me getting my comparatively tiny royalty. MEH, said I, and didn't use Zazzle. Plenty of other shopsites around. Got a whole bookmark folder full of them alone, never mind alternatives to odesk and deviantArt (though the latter's a bit harder to escape, it's cemented into semi-permanent commercial relevance by the traffic of time itself LOL).

Eh. Food for thought. I've been kicking around these options for freelance artists for over a year now, lol.
Reply
:iconmojoliazon:
MojoLiazon Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014  Professional General Artist
Good points about the pricing, I've had to work it out myself and it really puts the reality into your pricing which if you're anything like me would always be too cheap or even free, probably everyone should do that cash flow forecast sort of thing.

However... This bit is a bit altered from how it may have been when you wrote it:

"These website's feature okay freelance work from individuals from time to time:
www.elance.com
www.freelance.com
DA jobs forum.
CGhub jobs forum."

elance has joined forces with oDesk now, and CGHub... Unless they've conducted some magical resurrection complete with recovery of all the deleted profiles and lost work, that's a null and void suggestion. It was a tragedy indeed. :'( No warning, just instadeath. Plenty of artists lost works they had no backups for.
Reply
:iconmisfit2588:
misfit2588 Featured By Owner May 8, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Thanks, this is what I've been wanting to know.
Reply
:iconprady5:
prady5 Featured By Owner May 8, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Keep guiding people doing a great job.Thank you very much
Reply
:iconarchsider:
Archsider Featured By Owner May 3, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
wowow ;_; thank u, ur journals are like precious for artists like me <3
Reply
:iconq12a:
q12a Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
[for:Where to get started before you can apply for work]
Very good and informative - thank you.
Write more like this. Its helpful.
Reply
:iconnemoestperficio:
NemoEstPerficio Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for this information. At the moment it's like a cup of water in the desert. Seriously. Few last months i've got serious troubles at office, so I started to think of freelance,but i was afraid to take any serious steps. But now I'm going to improve my art skills and find some good cliets.

Thanks once again)
Reply
:iconmick2006:
Mick2006 Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2014   Digital Artist
Hi Suzanne can I ask when you first got work as an illustrator did you get noticed online by clients or did you show your portfolio to the clients you now work for? I know I am not anywhere near your skill level and I haven't really gotten much freelance work. Will I get noticed when I improve?
Reply
:iconharryhobbes:
harryhobbes Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you Love 
Reply
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