How to hire a character illustrator

If you have a website, comic or any of a hundred other reasons for needing a character illustrator. You will need to know how to find and hire one.

A cartoon handyman mascot created by a professional character illustrator

First of all you will need to establish in your own mind exactly what it is you need from the character you need designed. Is it suppose to be aggressive, passive, friendly, scary, big, small, and the list goes on.

You need to establish to yourself exactly what your character’s purpose is, because you will need to be able to clearly transmit this information to the character illustrator. Also you should make sure the character illustrator you find asks for this information, because if they aren’t interested in your requirements, you can be sure they will not do a good job.

So you are going to need to be able to tell a character illustrator whether your character is for a website, a poster, a billboard, a newsletter, a logo, a comic or any other reason. They will need to target their work accordingly, but will require the information to do so.

There are a number of places you can look for a character illustrator. You could look to Craigslist, search the internet or even ask at local art conventions, but my recommendation would be to look to the end of the article for a great resource.

Whichever route you go to hiring a character illustrator, you need to be sure they can do the job. There is little worse than hiring a character illustrator to design your website logo, and it comes back unusable. If you wish to avoid this scenario you need to only work with artists who have a provable reputation for working with other companies. You do not want to hire someone who will “Give it a shot” if its your business. You need someone will get it right, as they have many times before.

I also recommend you agree terms before hiring a character illustrator, concerning whether or not you can revise their initial design.

Regardless of who you hire, if they are only prepared to create a finished product without consulting you during the process. You have to expect it will probably not be what you are looking for. This isn’t because the character illustrator themselves aren’t good, but even the best will need to revise their ideas to achieve perfection. If the company you talk to isn’t prepared to work with you every step of the way, that is the time to walk away and find one that is.

I just want to take the time to once again advice against getting friends to help design your character. A proper character illustrator is trained in what they do, and this is for a reason. Why a friend may have your absolute best intentions at heart, that will not give them any ability beyond what they already had. It comes down to common sense to a degree. I know if I hired my friend to fix my car he would do his best, but as he isn’t a mechanic he would still mess it up. Its just the same with character illustrators, and I highly recommend you turn to professionals.