Just to get this out of the way: as a programmer, unless someone who can't program has a good portfolio, I won't join their project.
Everyone has a game idea they want to make. Unless it was a game idea I was passionate about (I'd helped conceive the game's mechanics), I won't work for you without pay. Right now, I like to do smaller contract jobs on the side (Imagine writing a program to do something specific for someone, and getting payed when I finish it). It'd probably be better, if you're going to pay people, to pay them by program / mechanic, than by hour. Since your indie, paying someone by hour won't work at all. There isn't an office, and there's no way to keep track of how much they worked.
For your portfolio: Use GameMaker. If you're an artist, employers will far rather see a smaller game made with a tool that represents your art, rather than some hard-coded game. They're looking for an artist, not a programmer. I can guarantee you that if I was hiring an artist, and one came to me with a portfolio of good sketches / 3D Models, and the other came to me with 1-3 Games made in GameMaker with good art in them, I'll pick the latter.
For an artist, I'd look for:
That last one is very important. It's not that hard to make a simple game that shows off their art. Sure, it may be small and not really a game, however you need to show me that you understand what I have to do, even a little bit. I want my artist to know that if I say something isn't possible, I'm not trying to get away without doing work. I'll only work on projects I'm passionate about, I would never even try to join a game that I didn't care for.
- An understanding of sprite-sheet creation
- An understanding of basic Art Logic / Drawing
- Good 3D "visualizing" skills
- A game they'd made using their art.
Thanks for the advice! It makes sense that having a game more focused on my art, without any complicated coding, would probably be more worth my time in the long run. I'll be sure to look into GameMaker. Would you recommend it over Flash? I already have a very basic knowledge of it, and it seemed to complement my 2d art pretty well. Also, I have no idea what you mean by sprite sheet creation. Care to fill me in on that?