The game design document (GDD)
Access to whatever you have working at present
Concept art direction (what you're looking for visually as regards to style and tone and subject matter).
Art list (exactly what art you need created).
Your desired timeline (which art you need when).
A request for proposal - tell the candidate what details you need from the proposal, and what format you want the proposal in.
Thanks for the list. Very helpful.
Before you provide any of those things, it's usually done to have the candidate sign an NDA. But it's unlikely that anybody will steal your game.
[Edit] The main purpose of the NDA is to preserve confidentiality (so the artist doesn't go telling everybody about your game).
And before the artist makes any graphics for you, you need to execute an agreement and an assignment of copyright (you need the right to use the art that you pay for).
Good points. I'll make sure to do these. Thanks.
What about developing the art overall? Like managing artists, going from concept art to release etc? The big picture etc. Rather than the hiring of each individual artist.
Btw I am a small hobbyist and not a big commercial project (nor do I want to "break into the industry"). I have around US$2500 budgeted for the art but I plan to spend it in around 3 waves, rather than all at once.
One thing that I am thinking of is the concept art - should a small hobbyist project care about commissioning concept art and putting together a style guide? Or should I just go ahead and commission actual art and play it by ear? I understand a full blown commercial/industry game project will certainly do concept art + style guide first.