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Questions About Hiring Artists

Posted: Wed May 06, 2009 9:09 pm
by oxygen1234

This is a question directed mainly towards Ms. Hanako, but of course anyone feel free to chime in.

Can you reveal any insight on the contract structure used to hire artists for video game art?

Do you pay up front or do you set up some sort of revenue sharing mechanism so they are compensated based on how well the game ends up selling? Maybe pay a set dollar amount per hour of work or maybe per image? How about per pixel (haha)?

Is there any common practice for this sort of thing?

Any tips on choosing an artist? Also, have you ever been pleasantly surprised by what an artist came up with?

I realize a lot of this may not be something you can openly discuss, but I thought I would give it a try.

Let this thread be a place where anyone can discuss experiences about hiring artists. Maybe there are some artists around who can give some insight?

Thanks a lot for anything you can provide. :)

edit: another legal question: how do you handle the IP rights of the images you get from the artist. I would think that by default an artist retains copyright on anything they create, so do you put something in the contract that says the game company has rights to the image?


I've actually found some good info here:

Posted: Thu May 07, 2009 1:14 am
by hanako
The short answer to all questions is: It varies. :)

I personally don't like to pay artists by the hour, although some people do it. Obviously, if you pay by the hour there's a chance of someone being really slow and costing you far more than you imagined, but more importantly, if you have a set fee, then the artist has to structure their time more to be sure they can get things done within a timescale that makes it profitable for them. If you ask an artist to do something that will take days and days of work but you're only offering a flat fee of $20, it's much better for the artist to tell you that no, they can't do it for that price, and have the two of you work out a solution together.

As for revenue sharing, a lot of people don't want that kind of agreement because so many projects are never completed, or never make any money. So most people would rather get paid *something*, even if it won't make them rich on a runaway success. It's different if the artist knows and trusts you, or thinks your idea is the best idea ever. In that case the artist might become a full partner and contribute ideas to the game design as well as the artwork.

So some people pay by the hour, some people offer a profit-share, some people pay per assignment. And who gets what rights to the image varies. It's important to make sure you have the rights to use the image not just in the game but in things like advertising. You probably want to be sure the artist can't sell the same artwork to a different game developer, but you might not care if they post it on their website as part of a portfolio or even sell it on t-shirts (free advertising for you!) For something like a visual novel, you don't want the artists posting all the artwork and spoiling all the big plot moments, so you might agree that they can put THIS picture in their portfolio but not THAT one, and so on.

Posted: Thu May 07, 2009 2:00 pm
by oxygen1234
Thank you very much! That's exactly what I wanted to know.

Posted: Thu May 07, 2009 2:16 pm
by Jinroh
Yeah, I particularly just pay a flat fee. Usually it's somewhere between $20 and $50 depending on what you want.

If it's just stills that's a good range. But if you want flash animations, or whatever it will cost extra.

Additionally Anime Conventions are a good place to meet artists that are willing to do any kind of commission work.

Also if you're a decent artist yourself try and do as much art as you can. Like with the games I made for Boyer Candy I did all the art myself. The first round of games were pretty bad I admit, but the one I'm working on now is pretty darn good art-wise.

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:19 am
by Kojiko7
I don't know how this work bout pay up people for artwork
coz I'm interested in seek for job I pretty good in draw anime type char Accually me and my friend Well I was just finished high school n hoping if there something you are currently in developement and need a grapical material for games or wat ever pls PM me (sry like i said i don't know how its work)
One more thing I'm not very good in using photoshop but good in MS paint
(wat the use of it anyway? LoL) so wat I'm tryin to say is that the artwork might post is probably in black n white still working on learning photoshop...
*Nope i haven't post any artwork yet in devient art sry.
*The reason I post this is to find money to buy NdS huhu and was hoping a decent 1 dolar per artwork..sry for the bad ENG

Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:05 am
by Jinroh
Well usually if people are spread out you can use a check, money order, or something like PayPal for your payments.

The artists I deal with usually do things the freelance way so they get paid by the piece as you mentioned. ^_^

You also may get more "customers" if you put up a page or something with sample artwork.

Pixel art in MSPaint is fine for some and some may want something more Photoshop quality so it's good that you have an expanded skillset. ^_^

Good luck.

Drawing page

Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 8:55 am
by Kojiko7
Thx for telling me that,, Here a link for my artwork most of it use for game called Ichi Ukiyo made using RMVX with my friends
Pls PM if any question I hope I can work on a few job this holidays got many things to pay up :( LoL n yea I have an devientart account but intrnet connection too slw maybe I can't upload it maybe later

here's the link for the game:
its currently in progress

Do check my photobucket page later Arigato gozaimasu..!

Re: Drawing page

Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:49 pm
by Jinroh
Wow! Are those non-pencil pieces all MSPaint! O_O

If so those are amazing. hehe. I've not seen quality that great in a long time. You have a great gift with both paint and pencil. ^_^ I'll keep you in mind for my next game, you can see the game I just finished here: I did all the art myself like I do for most of my games.

I also made an MSPaint Trailer here:

My MSPaint art is not nearly as nice as yours. hehe. I really like your style though and it fits in nicely with my next game. I'm still developing the engine, right now, but it is progressing to the point where I can start making the game soon. ^_^

Maybe we can talk on MSN or AIM or something to talk about things further. ^_^

Great art hehe.

Thnx A lot

Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:33 am
by Kojiko7
Thank you and hope I can help you out with project soon = )
+ there's many more artwork will post soon
Pls tell me if you in need something

Posted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:42 pm
by crestforte
I see that this is an older post, but I thought I could chime in since I have been hiring artists for some time.

I run a web comic and pay artists by the page. And I normally pay after they turn in their assignments. Then I have also said that any donations that the comic gets would go toward the payments to the artists. Feed my artists more or less.

So I would be doing the same for the artists for the games here.