hear me out. he’s from ny, right? nyc’s latinx population (boricuas &
dominicanos, primarily, but there’s a not insignificant population of other
caribeñxs and latinxs in general) is significant. they changed the face of hip
hop honestly. as a mexicana, im going to make him mexican, but feel free 2 make
him boricua or cubano or whatever u want ! make him latinx.
Why your art isn’t getting attention from professional clients. | Insight from a client’s perspective.
So a lot of you guys don’t know this, because I don’t like to show my hand, but I am actually an author and the leader of an independent business [we’re JUST getting started so nothing too flashy]; but we’ve got 2 major projects in the works and we’re going to work closely with a lot of artists/designers in the very near future.
As someone who’s been on the “other side” of it, actually seeking professional artists for quite some time, I thought I’d share some insight as to why you’re maybe not getting the responses you want when you submit your portfolio for jobs.
1: You’re too young.
| When I tell my graphic designer to find an artist, one of the requirements I have is that you must be 18 years or older. I don’t do this to be “ageist”, but there are a lot of things we’d have to take into consideration if we were to work with a minor. Here are just some of my personal reasons why I don’t work with minors.
| +Do you have your parent’s permission? Yes its just drawing, but it’d be frustrating to have to constantly go through your parents every time we wanted to work with you. You are not able to sign any sort of legal documentation [such as a contract to grant us rights to the work] and therefore they’d have to sign for you.
| +Time vs Workload. In the United States you are legally required to attend school until you are 16/17 years old. You being in class for 8 hours a day, then having homework plus whatever other obligations leaves you a very small window to work for us, vs someone who does artwork full time or controls their own schedule.
| +Ethics. When adults interact with minors there is a certain set of boundaries and power dynamics that need to be observed. I require anyone who does ongoing work for us to provide a secondary means of communication other than email; this is to make sure we can reach them if there’re any problems. It’d be inappropriate for a high school student [you] to exchange contact information with us, 25-30 year olds. While I know my team and none of them would ever behave inappropriately, this is to protect both us and you.
So I don’t work with minors period.
2: You require payment up front, but don’t want to sign a contract.
| When I purchase something online, whether it be from a store’s website or Amazon, I don’t have any problems paying up front. This is because I know it is an accredited retailer with a lot of people and systems in place that ensure I receive what I pay for within a certain window, as required by law. There is also quality control which ensures that I get exactly what I was promised.
There is no entity that holds you legally accountable aside from me. Even with a contract, the legal process is a strain on time, energy, and resources that could be better spent elsewhere. I’d have to get a lawyer. They’d have to review the contract. They’d have to determine if we have a case. We’d have to wait months for a reply and a court date, then we’d have to show up, and then pay said lawyer: meanwhile for all the time and money spent I could’ve just hired somebody else.
It’s time, its money, its an entire ordeal that isn’t even worth it for whatever work we’re getting 80% of the time anyways. “I promise!” is not sufficient for me to give you a portion of our very limited budget.
If you require your clients to pay anything before you start drawing: expect to sign a contract.
3: You have no variety/You look just like everyone else.
| I have personally looked through over 140 portfolios submitted to me and I can tell you all but maybe 8 of them: Looked. Exactly. The. Same. Both to each other and to all the other work in your portfolio.
For example: I said I was looking for an anime-style artist for my dark fantasy novel. Every single artist except 8 who showed me their work only had cutesy doe-eyed anime girls posing with pastel colors. They had the same faces, the same body types, the same poses, etc. Which is fine if that what you like to draw. But if you submit to my ad and I’m wondering “okay, but can they do a fight scene? Can they do a different style [chibi? shounen? shojo? etc] What about clothes? Weapons?Different facial expressions? Poses? Different genders?
[Seriously, why do so many of you only draw young girls/women?
If I have any male characters (like the protagonist!) then you just disqualified yourself right off the bat!
Please think about this when you’re putting your portfolio together!]
Different ages? Different skin tones? Different body types? Hair Textures?”
- Then I’m going to pick someone else.
No matter what kind of artist you are, variety is so important. Because even if someone says “I need somebody to draw a lamp!” and all you literally draw is lamps- somebody else just submitted a portfolio that looks like an Ikea catalog. Why should I pick your lamps? Especially if all your lamps look the same. If all you draw is one thing and you have no range, it looks amateurish compared to someone who can do what you can plus more.
Telling me “I can draw guys!” when your portfolio doesn’t have one guy in it, vs someone who has male and female characters at the very least- right away I’m looking at them over you.
| +You never know what someone is looking for. Don’t show them only what you think they’d want to see. It’s always best to show them a little bit of everything you can do. Your portfolio speaks for you. No matter what you tell me, the evidence is right in front of my face. Make sure your portfolio is always an accurate reflection of your skill and range.
4. You come across as unprofessional.
| This one is a little bit harder to define, but please make sure you present yourself as a professional. Even if you’ve never done this before, approach it like a job interview because it essentially is.
| +Always use proper spelling/grammar to the best of your ability. At least at first, then once you become more familiar feel free to relax a little. But you want to show people you’re taking this opportunity seriously. Someone who puts effort into their communication vs “lol ok xD” simply looks better. Your personal page/website can have whatever, but the important question you should ask is “how do I want to present myself?” If you come across like you don’t care about whatever you’re doing for me, I’m going to assume you don’t.
| +Keep your page/website active. If your page looks dead then you may get passed over for someone who appears more “present”. It can be as simple as having a blog update every once in a while or uploading a quick sketch of something, or even having a link to a twitter. Something where clients can see “Oh hey, this person is still around.” Even when there’s nothing going on, always try to have recent updates.
| +Avoid harsh negatives. This is the big secret right here folks! Having your own set of guidelines and boundaries is important for anyone. However, if the first thing someone sees when they go to your page is a giant list of things you “ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT DO!” it makes you appear inflexible.
A technique I suggest is one I call the “vague refusal”, at least when it comes to professional quarries. Instead of, for example, “NO PORN” a better phrase is “Unfortunately, I’m unable to accept work with sexually explicit themes at this time; however feel free to contact me with any other ideas you have!” This communicates 3 very important things.
|++1: That you understand and sympathize with the client’s needs [Even if you don’t really].
|++2: That you are not necessarily unWILLing, but unABLE [wording is important!]. Even if you’re unable because you’re unwilling- never say you wont, only that you cant. If they ask why then feel free to say whatever, but if a client is professional then they will not challenge your refusal.
|++3: That although you cannot do those things, there are lots of other things you CAN do, and you invite clients to approach you.
[This is a technique often used when it comes to rejection emails.]
“Hi Sarah! Thank you for your interest in a position at ___. Unfortunately we are UNABLE to offer you a position AT THIS TIME, however we will keep your application on file and encourage you to seek employment with us in the future.”
5. You can’t meet their needs.
| Sometimes you just aren’t what they need right now. Maybe your style isn’t what they’re looking for, maybe your price is outside of their budget, or maybe they need more done than your schedule allows for. Chances are it has nothing to do with you personally and it doesn’t mean you’re a bad artist. It just means that they’re looking for a very specific person right now and you simply aren’t that person. Keep drawing! Keep your portfolio up to date! Practice with expanding your range!
I wanted to write this to give a little bit of insight to what goes on in mind of a client who’s looking through your work. Whenever an ad is posted we get hundreds of submissions so it really becomes a game of choosing people who have that perfect storm of prices, quality, and professionalism. Hopefully you guys find this helpful! I had a lot of fun writing it.
Okay to preface I am a big ol’ Bioware fan, love their stuff, Mass Effect is wonderful, etc etc, being vent-y about some shit doesn’t mean I’m hating on it or saying it sucks
But oh my god can we talk about eyes for a second
Lookit me, right here. In my eyes. My eyes that look like eyes. Just for a second.And answer me this.
The fuck is THIS?
Okay there’s a few things to take in here
Look at that detail. The depth of the face, the noses, the lips, the texturing therein. NICE. We’ve come a long way since Mass Effect, right? Andromeda’s lookin’ shiny.
And then we hit... the eyes.
Those staring, haunting, creepy, flat DOLL eyes. Seriously, did you use creepy haunted Stephen King dolls for reference?!
Look I know this shit isn’t easy, may I be struck by lighting sent down by the gods of artists’ wrath if I ever say that shit.
But let’s take a quick look BACK.
Here we have a couple of shitty screenshots from Mass Effect 1.
So my Shepard up there still has that flat look going on in some ways, right? The whites are a bit too white, the color doesn’t have a tone of depth.
But you know what, neither does much else. EVERYTHING has a fairly flat colored look to it, so the eyes don’t stick out.
It was 2007, we didn’t care much.
Mass Effect 2 kicks us up a notch.
DEPTH! LOOK! QUICK, LOOK!
Mass Effect 2 is still finding its footing with things skin and facial details (and diving into Uncanny Territory on occasion, like with Miranda) but the eyes grab my attention every time.
The color we have in ME2 is beautiful. Vibrant, with actual shading. The whites are still a bit WHITE, but again, with the rest of the graphics we’re given, this doesn’t stand out and feels fairly natural in the setting. Plus shadows work on the whites so we’re good.
Quick extra “man look at that color”
And then we hit Mass Effect 3 and the fire nation attacked and everything died
Look I don’t… KNOW… who was behind the decision to take “mostly realistic colors for eyes” and turn them into “okay so imagine the flat shiny porcelain of a dolls eyes in front of a lightbox so the colors glow a bit BUT JUST THE EYES because we’re gonna have shadows so fucking dark in this game that the eyes are like the only thing you see clearly in cutscenes. Oh and ALL the rest of the game? Super desaturated and dark, because drama, but make sure the eyes are fuckin’ neon. Do it. Do it, Greg, or you’re fucking fired”
Even realistic-ish colors like the one on top there still look… just… OFF.
And considering the huge leaps in texturing for the skin and such, it’s INCREDIBLY jaunting.
That last one, BTW? Here’s that Shepard in ME2 vs whatever the fuck radiation she was exposed to in 3.
Now I don’t remember all the changes I made in the character creator in between games (I know I had to make the skin way darker since they bleached everyone between 2 and 3) but even though the top pic has rather vivid green, I could buy into that - they’re in the future, whose to say they can’t have vivid green eyes? They still fit the setting and look right enough on the model.
And then… 3 happened.
And it looks like this is getting somehow WORSE in Andromeda.
Beautiful skin, amazing textures, they’re even improving hair a bit. Looks like hair can MOVE a little now!
But. Those eyes.
Those haunted-by-a-little-girl-that-giggles-at-night doll eyes. Weirdly shiny when everything else is dark, shaded JUST BARELY to show they’re not FLAT but they’re also damn sure not playing by any OTHER rules. THOSE EYES.
Like were they going for some kind of… bright-eyed anime look? Because look, either commit or go another direction. Because the closer to life your skin and hair and such looks, the scarier these eyes get.
i tried to keep these as fluff-themed as possible! i apologize if some are just too short, but admittedly not everyone is so easy to write for. however, i absolutely love these kiddos, so i had really fun writing for them !! they are all under the cut, because this did end up rather long! – mod chiaki