September 11, 2006 9:25 PM   Subscribe

How do I go about hiring someone to draw something graphically design something for me?

I am looking to hire someone to create a cartoon/cariciature image for a website. I know next to nothing about employment contracts, graphic licensing, etc. An informal agreement is fine, so long as I get my picture and the artist gets paid. What do I need to know before I post a want-ad on MetaJobs? Should I expect to 'own' the work, or license it? What's the 'going' rate for one image, created to specifications? How can I make sure that I get what I want while assuring the artist I'm not going to be an overbearing, micromanaging idiot? Does the public-display bit change anything?
posted by anotherpanacea to Work & Money (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
How complex is the image? Is this just for a personal site of yours, something you plan on making money off of, or something for another company? Just how picky do you want to be with regards to edits? Knowing this information will make answering your question easier.

The licensing stuff can likely be pretty informal, unless the image is getting used to brand a company or the like. Different artists will have different standards. If it's small-time, many will be happy with getting to use the image in their portfolio. I haven't freelanced a ton, myself, so others might tell you different.
posted by picea at 9:48 PM on September 11, 2006

I've done this plenty of times as a designer and to be honest, all I want is a) payment and b) the right to have it in my portfolio.

As for the amount, it depends on many factors, but complexity and the time required to create it are the most important. If you're not talking about full-scale, focus-groups-and-insanely-long-meetings rebranding effort, then it can be very simple. I've done really tough logos that I billed three hours on because the client clearly stated their needs and we were able to get something finished that quickly, and unimaginably simple jobs that spiraled out of control because the client wanted to make tiny changes, then twenty variations on that change, and so on.

I cannot stress enough the importance of figuring out what you want before hiring anyone. An hour spent outlining criteria beforehand is always better than six separate ten-minute sessions explaining to a designer that he or she didn't read your mind properly.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:49 AM on September 12, 2006

You can post a contest on sitepoint.com

That always seems to get a good response.
posted by bleucube at 9:47 AM on September 12, 2006

All your questions come down to an "it depends" answer. I would need to know more about what, exactly, it is that you are looking for.

Drop me an email (address is in my profile) and I'll be happy to help you out
posted by Thorzdad at 10:26 AM on September 12, 2006

You may find a visual reference of what you want on www.clipart.com
posted by spakto at 10:55 AM on September 12, 2006

There are lots of great illustrators out there looking for work. For example, if you like Goopy, he's happy to work for hire. The goopy weblog also has links to dozens of other illustrators, many of whom would be interested in small commissions.
posted by luriete at 11:00 AM on September 12, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks for all the responses. Here's the deal: I'm looking for a caricature, something like the icon in the upper left hand corner of this site. I'll be using it here to replace the image in the lower right. That requires it to be sized to fit that space, and to fit the color scheme there. The website (which right now is just a blog) will be the basis for a future job search on the academic teaching market, so I need something reasonably true to my actual face.

In addition, I'd like to have the option or right to use the image in place of an authors photo on book jackets, which requires that I have some sort of contract that I can show to publishers so they'll believe I have a license to use the image. There is some hope that the books, at least, would make money, whereas the website will only do so if it gets me a raise. (In which case, I'm hoping to keep that for myself.) I have no problem with the artist using the image in their portfolio, etc.

So my questions are: what more would an artist want to know than what I've specified? If I can't own the image, is it possible to retain the right to change details like background color? What should I pay for such a job, approximately? Does this count as "smalltime"? I've received e-mails mentioning 'bidding,' which is orders of magnitude more complicated than I had hoped. Am I naive to try to do this informally, given my expectations? (Crossing fingers on this last one.)
posted by anotherpanacea at 12:50 PM on September 12, 2006

Ah: you're looking for a caracaturist.

You can often find them at flea markets; you might want to check out any near you, and see if you can negotiate with one.
posted by baylink at 1:25 PM on September 12, 2006

I have a small edu software company and first started dealing with freelancers for illustration a little over a year ago.

Based on the people I've worked with, a limited composition, like what you've described, shouldn't run over 500, and that amount is pushing it. For a full set of original illustrations for the stories in my product (8-12 images per story), I was paying around 2,000.

I had just informal agreements with my freelancers but the terms were essentially they get to retain copyright of the images but I get an unlimited, non-expiring license to use the images in any software, advertisement, publication, toy, etc., of my company's choosing. My product is in a fairly small niche and so I wasn't worried about exclusivity but I would imagine insisting on exclusivity wouldn't have been hard with the people I worked with.

One place to find really good but inexpensive artists is surprisingly enough the jobs board at DeviantArt. Yes, 90-95 percent of the responses you get will be from really crappy artists. But the 5 percent you do get will often be kids or recent graduates looking for a start in the illustration business and therefore the prices will be very reasonable.

Its often a win-win situation for both sides. I offered a payment I thought was a little low and the artists were thrilled that someone would pay what they thought was a huge sum for their work.
posted by pandaharma at 3:20 PM on September 12, 2006

Response by poster: You're looking for a caracaturist. You can often find them at flea markets....

Actually, I'm looking for a graphic designer, not a pencil-artist, which is to say that I want someone who can make a graphic, not a drawing, even if it's scannable. I'm not as interested in accuracy as I am in the style of the image, but it should be a white male, with a beard.

pandaharma- I do intend to hit up the local population of students before I try to pay an expert. $500 seems a little high to me; I was hoping to pay less than $300. Thanks for the deviantart tip; there's some good work at that site.
posted by anotherpanacea at 3:57 PM on September 12, 2006

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