Children's Book Illustrator
Eric M. Strong
Writing a Good Project Description
Part of your job as the employer of a freelancer is to write a good project description. This is particularly important if you are using a freelancing website such as oDesk, Elance, or Guru and will have multiple artists bidding for the same project. A good brief will help make sure that each freelancer is bidding for the same amount of work and that you are comparing apples to apples when selecting one.
Writing a good job description not only helps streamline your process, but it also attracts talent. When I come across a poorly written description with vital information left out or even poor grammar, I move right on to the next project. A poorly written description screams armature, and tells your artist that you haven’t given this any thought at all.
When an artist looks at a job description the first thing they want know is how many images they need to create. You would be surprised at how often this essential information is left out. If you don’t yet know how many images your book needs, then I would suggest that you are not ready to have it illustrated yet.
Take some time and figure it out. 15-20 images aren’t going to get you an accurate price. It is going to get you a price for 20 images. You can even include a description of each image, as an attachment, so the artist knows exactly what they are getting into.
They next thing your artist needs to know is how long each images is going to take. In other words they need to know the style of the images you are looking for. Click here to read my ARTicle on Communicating Your Vision to Your Artist.
As you can imagine, a black and white cartoon can be created faster than a photo realistic book cover. It also attracts different types of artists. Try to include this information in your description. Is this black and white? Is it grayscale? Is it full color? How many figures are in each drawing? Are there backgrounds included?
Avoid words like “simple” and “easy”. They leave a bad taste in an artist’s mouth. Essentially you are undermining their value and skill. Again, when I see a project description with “easy” in it, I move right on to the next job. Words like that tell me that you are only interested in getting the lowest price possible and not really interested in finding the right artist for your project. True professional artists have invested lots of time and money to get to where they are. If it is so easy, why don’t you just do it yourself?
Where your artwork will be used determines many factors and can take a lot of the guess work out of a proposal. Always include what your artwork will be used for in your project description. If it will be used in multiple places, then list several of them so your artist can make informed decisions.
The type of media can also determine the file type, the color mode, the program your artist uses to create it, and even how much work it will take. Creating a t-shirt design is different from a book cover which is different form a web image. Having this information will keep your artist from asking this question later on.
It also helps to let your creative professional know what type of file you would like delivered to you. Do you want the original Photoshop file or just the final .PNG?
Size is important! Knowing the size of an image or the length of a video is crucial to a project. The size of your images can often wait until you have hired your artist but you need to let them know before they can start your project so why not include it up front? This sends a clear message to your artist that you have done your homework.
Layouts for a composition are completely different for a portrait vs. landscape illustration. Your artist can’t just turn the image 90 degrees without damaging the design of his or her illustration. Even something like video has several options of NTSC, HD, PAL, Widescreen, Square pixels, and a whole host of sizes. You may not even know what these terms mean, but your video producer will and he will ask if you don’t tell him first.
Don’t forget resolution! Most of the time, just stating where the image will be used will determine the resolution of the image, but it doesn’t hurt to include it. This is especially important on specialty items such as banners, signs, posters, tents, or vehicle wraps.
Using these four steps when creating your Project Description will not only cast a clear vision to your prospective Freelance Artist it should also help you define what it is you are looking for and help you find the right artist to help you achieve your goal.