The Hunt to Find an Artist

I decided that with my future projects I would NOT play the do-it-all guy.  I needed an artist and refused to release something without one.

Well finding an artist to work with us took an extremely long time — somewhere around 2 months?

A lot, and I mean a lot of artists do not like working on a project without earning a high $/hr and many artists completely misunderstand the independent nature of being an independent game developer.  Taking the time to spot someone with that passion is absolutely critical.  If you bring on an artist and they can’t rattle off an independent game, or even a game, that they’ve enjoyed recently they are not the right person.  The core problem I envision is someone bailing midway through the project, which would really, really suck.  It also helps having someone who understands games and how they can create an interactive experience with their artwork.

I find it very interesting to be around creative people, but for whatever reason I have yet to make a lot of contact with artists whom are interested in game development.  It’s the common dilemma surrounding coders.  I could rattle off quite a few coders I know.  Artists? Not so much.

I started this adventure to find an artist by taking advantage of my current environment.  I work with 300+ artists of varying degree at the visual effects studio I work with.  I had a surprisingly small amount of people interested in collaborating.  I say surprisingly, mainly, because I see quite a lot of independent things going around the studio.  So I know people are doing things outside of work.  We even have quite a few folks that are from the game industry.

During the time above, I listed something on a freelance website for an iPad project I will be doing after the current one.  My experience was pretty lackluster.  The artist had a great reputation/portfolio, but it has taken a long time to get anything out of them.

I then moved into some of the independent forums and craigslist.  Craigslist, by far, was where I gained a tremendous amount of traction.  You can skip paying $75 (bay area) listing fee by posting in gigs.  Within that first evening I had over 20 responses.

What is really interesting here is that I specifically tried to narrow down the responses immediately by asking a simple question within my listing.

What was a game you recently played that may have inspired you artistically?

This question was aimed to gauge if the person had any knowledge of games (bonus if they mention independent games) and also served as a way to filter submissions that were merely spam.  I was very shocked here.  Only 5 – 10% of my responses answered the question.  From there, maybe 2% actually put an effort into answering the question.

Yet, people wonder why they can’t find work?  You need to show some passion and some interest into what you’re responding to!