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Approaching an Artist


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#1 Truth3w3   Members   -  Reputation: 154

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 04:39 PM

At what stage of development would you, as artists, feel comfortable joining a collaborative project? As most of us know, teams are constantly forming and disbanding (and in fact this site is one such place people go to look for a team). Because of this, many artists are hesitant to offer their services, particularly for free, without some assurances. Now certainly everyone is different in this regard, but as a whole and as artists possibly looking for projects, what sort of base work or plans do you require? We always read in the Game Design forum how many people are pointed toward a GDD as a way to first show you're serious, have thought about the game, have put some actual effort into it, and have a future plan. What level of detail would the GDD need? What other things are artists looking for?

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#2 BagelHero   Members   -  Reputation: 1481

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 07:53 PM

Artists are more than willing to work for free if it's a passion project. That, though, implies a tiny team where they'll have a big sway in the final product (if there is one).

 

But if you try to recruit any artist worth their salt to do an established project they're not particularly invested in "for free", they won't do it. This is because their time is worth money, and if they don't care too much about the final product + they won't hold much sway in the established team, then what's the point if they're not being paid for it?

 

As an artist who is currently job searching, I don't require anything in particular. I look for people who seem pleasant to work with, seem like they have a strong idea and the work ethic to settle on it and get going (as opposed to letting the feature creep set in, or permanently being stuck in idea limbo). If I'm going to work for free or with promise of a return if the project gets off the ground, I look for all of that + if the project is "my style". Something that won't be too difficult to create for on my free time, and that I would probably already be doing work similar to in my free time. Because I won't be devoting anything but my free time to it, gotta be something I really want to do. And that's entirely subjective.

 

If you want to recruit an artist and don't have any budget, I would advise that you go hunting for artists who would be invested in the project on idea alone, and that you go into it thinking of it more as a partnership than getting that artist to work for you. So, if you're doing a game and you were thinking of doing super stylised graphics, and your mechanics are based on X, Y or Z, try to find an artist who has always wanted that game to exist, and already draws/paints/models/sculpts in that style. Also, don't try to boss around an artist that you're not paying, and make sure to take their ideas into account. They will probably up and leave, and I wouldn't blame them.

 

Are you really surprised that people aren't willing to work for free on anything? The reasons why are subjective, but it's a pretty ludicrous idea in any respect to expect anyone in any field to do professional work without being paid.

 

:) So yeah. I firmly believe that you should just pay artists that you want to work for you, but if you really have no budget, then just make sure your idea is good, you have a plan and you really believe that it'll at least get released (if not also be very good and decently recieved), and you'll find someone who wants to work on it.



#3 Truth3w3   Members   -  Reputation: 154

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 11:35 PM

Are you really surprised that people aren't willing to work for free on anything? The reasons why are subjective, but it's a pretty ludicrous idea in any respect to expect anyone in any field to do professional work without being paid.

 

 

You bring up good points - wanting to be invested and have some say as at least a minimum "compensation."

 

As for the pay, it of course makes sense that people expect to be paid for their time.  Although in "indie" teams that payment is oftentimes promised somewhere in the future where the project/product is successful.  Several years ago when I first came to this site 90% of "looking for dev teams" threads offered to pay the other members "after a successful launch."  Realistically there is not much else they could say without a rich uncle or a really solid game plan that a bank actually loaned them money for.  However these days it's quite easy to say "I'll pay you after our Kickstarter succeeds."

 

But I was interested in what else might tempt artists than a promise of future cash. So thank you for your response.  I wonder what others will say.



#4 Kryzon   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 3314

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 01:37 AM

"Who are you? How much experience do you have in managing video game projects?" This is the sort of question that I would make to the people already on the team for a project. I want to be involved in a project led by someone that has experience equal to or greater than mine.
 
I want to be assured that my voluntary efforts will be put to good use, because if I'm joining a team to make a particular game then I want to see that game published in the end, with my work there.

#5 Gian-Reto   Members   -  Reputation: 1770

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 03:05 AM

Ideally (that is now the programmer in me speaking mostly, still...) you have something more to show than just a good GDD. A simple prototype with programmer art, showing how the game could look like.

 

a) Makes it easier for the artist to understand what he needs to create.

b) nothing shows your commitment to the project more than sitting down and coding something. If your not good at coding, grab GameMaker, or even go with a Paper prototype

c) if you are decent with coding and have a working prototype, the artist is assured that as soon as he finishes a piece, it could (if the prototype is ready for that) be imported into the prototype, and he could see his art moving! That will be the best motivation for any artist to continue working with the project.

 

Just my 2 cents



#6 riuthamus   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5765

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Posted 22 August 2014 - 10:01 AM

Personally speaking? I dont give two shits about any GDD... so long as the person who is coming to me has a decent idea in mind. I hate rework. Many people on this site have worked with me and I have given them anywhere from HUGE art assets to simple things they can use for concepts. What matters to me as an artist is that the team has a strong idea and a serious passion for what they are doing.

 

Do I work for free? Some times, but that is because art is a hobby for me still rather than a job. (Work for the navy as my primary duty) Perhaps it would be different if I was in the dog eat dog world that is freelancing. So here is my list of what you should come to the table with:

 

  • Clear cut idea of what you want. I dont need a design document but a decent idea so rework isnt happening is KEY! ( this is only when its free, when its not free rework all you want cause it just means more money for me! lmao)
  • Reference art that is close to the type/style you want. This saves time and ensure that I am the correct artist for the job. I wont take a job if I know i cant match the style you want/need.
  • Scope. I cant preach this enough, get the scope down. You want 50 assets or 3... dont say 3 and then decide 50 after you see how much work I can do. Get a real number in your head so that when I ask "How many assets are we looking at?" you can say with confidence what your hope is.
  • Remember, if I end up do working for free, I AM WORKING FOR FREE! This means I might have other things on my table that take up time and resources. Free assets normally take longer to put in place because they get put on the back burner when something big comes up. This is a slippery slope so ensure that you work with your artist about establishing clear deadlines and ensuring that they stay on it. It is okay to remind them every now and again... because lets face it, we can be absent minded at times.
  • Lastly, if you like my work and you have some extra cash, throw some my way anyway. You will get an artists attention if you give them money for work they said they would do for free. Maybe he will push the money back your way ( that is fine ) but at least he knows you appreciate what he is doing. A happy artist is an artist who will continue to do art!





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