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.
Fujimaki-sensei Q&A thing from Jump Festa: full version!
Q. I’m really looking forward to the movie next March. During middle school, what movie did Kuroko and Momoi go see on a date? I’d love it if you could tell me what happened after that, too. A. It was the kind of movie where the dog waits forever for his dead owner. After they watched it, Momoi cried so much it wasn’t really a date anymore.
Q. What nicknames did Kagetora-san give to everyone on Vorpal Swords? If he had them for Momoi and the players on the bench, please say what they were, too. A. Kise –> Flashy Guy Midorima –> 7:3 Part Aomine –> Tanning Salon Murasakibara –> Long Hair Akashi –> Rich Boy [”Obotchan”] Momoi –> Satsuki-chan Wakamatsu –> Yankii Takao –> Middle Part
[T/N: the “part” in Midorima and Takao’s names is in the sense of a hair part. A 7:3 part is considered a nerdy hairstyle.]
Q. I have a question for Midorima-kun. Up until now, what was your biggest and smallest lucky item? If possible, I’d also like to know the most expensive. A. Biggest & most expensive –> copy machine (forcefully borrowed from school) Smallest –> single grain of rice (when left on the bench, it blew away)
Q. There’s a rumor that Kise can’t draw, but how bad is he? I’d love it if I could actually see it. I’d also like to know how well Aomine can draw, since he’s in the top two dummies of the Generation of Miracles. A. [See above for drawings. Left is Kise’s drawing, a dog, and on the right is Aomine’s drawing, a cat.]
Q. The Kouhaku Singing Competition is a big part of New Years, so of the Kuroko no Basuke characters, who’s the best singer? Please also tell us who’s as terrible as Gian. A. The best –> There’s only Himuro. The worst –> Nebuya. Also: These characters didn’t sing as expected at karaoke–> surprisingly good –> Furihata, Hayakawa surprisingly bad —> Miyaji, Nijimura
Q. How many layers are in the osechi in the Akashi family, and is there some kind of really expensive food inside? Also, does Murasakibara’s zouni have chocolate or something else sweet in it? A. 4-5 layers, and pretty much any expensive ingredients you can imagine are in it. The zouni is normal. What’s crazy is the amount of shiruko.
prom au where pidge is a hs senior and is suddenly hit by that weird midlife crisis feeling and she begs keith to go to prom with her (keith dropped out in his junior year. he and lance have been dating since freshmen. pidge was a freshie when he dropped) bc hunk (graduated ofc) is already chaperoning and lance is too flashy.
lance is Appalled that pidge picked keith over him but kinda sad he didn’t get to go with keith during prom (keith was too embarrassed to go at that time and felt like he’d be heavily Judged)
anyways despite the immense amounts of glitter on pidge’s dress, they have a blast and keith dances a few songs with lance (who got pulled into helping hunk) by the end of the night :’’)
In his journey to become Batman, Bruce also became proficient in basic sorcery. Nothing too flashy- astral projection, exorcism, some healing spells, etct. He also learned a spell that would allow him to dispel all magical forces from Gotham for 1 hour (in case he ever had to stop a demon invasion or something). Unfortunately, the spell has a cooldown time of one year, so he rarely ever uses it.
“I get caught with one of my friends under the mistletoe and you literally sprint from across the room to shove them out of the way and take their spot” au
A/N: Set season 4.
She had arrived late to Castle’s Christmas party despite her best efforts to be out of the precinct by five, but the look on his face told her that her prolonged arrival didn’t matter, that the wait had been worth it.
The way his eyes had roamed her frame had given her all of the reassurance she needed the moment she stepped inside, wearing the deep red cocktail dress, nothing too fancy or flashy, but a subtle kind of sexy that had him gravitating across the extravagantly decorated expanse of the loft before she could shed her coat.
“Detective, you look absolutely stunning this evening,” he’d murmured, lips just a breath away from brushing her ear as he’d taken over his customary duty of relieving her of her outerwear, hanging it in his closet.
“Pretty dapper yourself, Castle,” she’d hummed, touching her fingers to the lapel of his blazer, the edge of his red tie, unintentionally matching hers. Of course.
Kate remains near him for the majority of the evening, not by conscious effort, still mingling with all of their friends, from both his circles and hers, from the precinct and high society crowds, and she relishes in the chance to enjoy this night off, the excuse for the freedom that this year’s Christmas holiday provides her with.
She hasn’t enjoyed Christmas in years, nearly twelve now, but when he’s around, she almost believes she can. Even if it’s only for a few hours.
Naturally, Lanie takes note of it all.
“Cozying up to Castle for Christmas, huh?” her friend teases, sidling up next to Beckett by the gorgeously lit tree, handing her one of the special holiday drinks from the bar, a candy cane protruding from the champagne flute.
Kate accepts the beverage with a roll of her eyes.
“I see your not taking the night off.”
Lanie arches an eyebrow. “From what?”
“Torturing me,” Kate mutters, lifting the glass to her lips for a small sip, huffing when Lanie bumps her hip.
She shoots Kate a smirk, her gaze wandering back out into the crowd, snagging on something that has her elbowing Kate’s side.
“Hmm?” Kate follows Lanie’s gaze, finding Castle at the end of her path, standing next to one of Beckett’s closest friends, Rick and Maddie both glancing upwards.
Everything freezes for just a split second the moment Beckett realizes the placement of the mistletoe, dangling right above his - and her beautiful, blonde, childhood best friend’s - head in the doorway of his office.
Of course, she had been pleasantly surprised to see Madison Queller at his party, shooting him a grateful look for having the thought of inviting her. It’s been far too long and after they’d chatted a bit since Kate had arrived, they had even made plans for lunch for the first week after New Year’s.
Maddie kissing Castle prior to that is not part of the plan.
“Girl, go get your man,” Lanie whispers and Kate rolls her eyes, but passes her drink over, grateful when she accepts it without a word, probably pleased by the way Kate begins striding across the room.
But she isn’t thinking about Lanie, or anyone else really, only that she is not letting Castle kiss someone else for Christmas.
She isn’t the jealous type, she’s really not - at least that’s what she continues to tell herself - but she has waited too long and fought too hard to watch one of her friends lock lips with the man she… is essentially in love with, even if it is nothing more than a friendly mistletoe kiss.
Castle must sense her, hear the distinct click of her heels, because his head turns, Madison’s following suit, and she catches the smirk on Maddie’s red lips before her friend takes a resolute step back.
You’re hot for Castle.
Just in time for Kate to reach him, cup his face in her hands, lay claim to his mouth.
One second, he’s staring back at Beckett’s childhood best friend in amusement as they stand motionless under mistletoe, the next, he’s got an armful of Kate, the press of her lips better than any Christmas gift on his hypothetical list.
He draws her in, shuffling backwards into his office, out of view, and feels the tension in her spine drain, her chest meeting his and her hands trailing to comb through his hair, settle at his nape. But all too soon, she’s pulling back, looking up at him with eyes that are hazy and liquid gold, lips that have been thoroughly kissed, but for not long enough.
Her gaze flicks to the mistletoe no longer above their heads, glimmering with a bright red bow above his office doorway, and Rick smirks.
“We weren’t going to kiss, you know?” he murmurs, using the shield of the bookshelves and shifting them a little to avoid the prying eyes of Lanie from across the room, the delighted grin Madison wears as she saunters off to join Kate’s other best friend.
“What’re you talking about? I was just walking this way and happened to end up under the mistletoe,” Kate muses, her hands slipping down to curl at his biceps, but his remain planted firmly on the bones of her hips.
He gapes at her, but she merely grins, that cheeky smile that shows him a hint of tongue, and relaxes further into his hold.
“I know we’re waiting,” she continues, quieter, deflating his joy of tasting her lips just a little, but then her mouth is dusting along his jaw. “But it’s - I don’t want-”
“I don’t want to kiss anyone but you,” he blurts, words he know she can’t manage without strangling herself with them, and she sucks in a breath against his skin. “Even if it’s just under the mistletoe. I’m waiting for you, Kate. Only you.”
“Castle,” she breathes, her voice suddenly so sorrowful, her lashes fluttering against his cheek. “I don’t want you to just be stuck waiting. Not… not alone, anyway.”
“Suggesting we wait together?” he hums, their conversation bordering on nonsensical, but her eyes flicker with light at the words, with hope. “What does that entail?”
Kate glances over her shoulder, nudging him deeper into his office with her hips, rolling her eyes at the waves and winks she receives from Lanie and Madison before she blocks them both from view.
“More of this?” she murmurs, tilting her chin, her lips brushing his with the words, and Castle raises his hands to her face, cradles the slashes of her cheekbones in his palms.
“Even without the mistletoe?” he breathes, barely breathing at all, scared to disturb this moment of intimacy in his office, to pop the bubble they’ve stumbled into.
He wants her, for Christmas, for the New Year, for always. He wants to tell her, kiss her senseless until she realizes she’ll never have to be jealous again, but Kate’s breath is washing hot and wonderful over his lips, his flesh tingling with the electricity, the anticipation of her mouth on his.