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Making Apps: Finding an Artist
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Note: This blog is solely dedicated to 2D games that are based on using .png files to make games. Making 3D games is outside the scope of this blog.

Finding an artist to make your game art is not hard. There are tons of places where you can find artists. Here is a list of a few places where you can find independent game artists: www.odesk.com, www.elance.com, www.freelancer.com- the key is to find artists that are familiar already with making artwork for apps. Don't get fooled into using a cheap artist that has no experience making game art because it will cost you most in the end.

I suggest you study the current ads others have placed on the various independent contractor websites so you can understand how to place your own ad. Look for a similar style game and notice what the ad specifically asks for. You will notice the ad discusses in GENERAL terms the type of game art needed (no details are normally given upfront to protect the game idea creator from having his or her idea stolen). What you do is create a general description of what you need. Make a list of items needed but provide comparisons in your ad. For example, if your game has paint drops, you can say your game will have something like water drops. This is only a suggestion of course- you can write on your ad whatever details you want but remember that you risk having your idea stolen. Write out how many art pieces you will need, (example, 1 character with 4 animations like walking, running, ducking, jumping; three backgrounds with mountains and blue sky with clouds, a continous floor that has grass and flowers, 4 types of platforms), etc.

I don't know what your game entails. You will need to really think this through by doing your research on how existing ads are written and come up with your list. When you place your ad, make sure you notify the artists that you will need them to sign an NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) which is an agreement between you and the artist that the artist will not share your game idea, steal the idea and that you are the owner of the game art. You can find a sample NDA on Internet by doing a quick search. I strongly suggest using an NDA because it shows you are serious about your work.

VERY IMPORTANT: You will thank me later for this advice. Request your artist to create all your artwork in a vector format. This means the art can be made larger without losing quality! If you don't do this and you need the art in the future in a larger format for whatever new devices are released that require high quality large files, you will have to have the artwork remade. YIKES! This happened to me because of the change from the original iPhone to the Retina iPhone and Retina iPad displays. Small grany graphics were ok before but when the Retina iPhone/iPad were released, all of a sudden, your artwork needed to be a larger size and I needed artwork remade.

You will have to use common sense when hiring and artist. You must create milestone payments so your artist does not run off with your money. Milestone payments divide up the process of your artwork so you pay as you are given specific items. For example, you pay $100 when your artist provides all artwork in rough drafts sketches for you to approve character looks, etc. You pay $100 when your artist has provided all approved artwork in verctorized format without coloring (solid black lines that are clean). You pay $150 for the artist to provide all artwork colored but not yet shaded.You provide $150 for the artist to provide all artwork fully colored and shaded, etc. With this method, you limit your risk by getting all your artwork in an safe "this for that" exchange. The outsource service you use like www.elance.com will provide this escrow format for you. I suggest maybe starting with something small like having a logo made (which is very cheap to do). This will allow you to get used to how payments work on the service you use before working on a larger project.

Making Apps: Finding an Artist