Are you in the planning phase of your next indie game and are in the process of hiring an artist? If so, you need to know the proper things to do to not only ensure that your game artist’s experience is a good one, but to make certain that you keep your game artist around for your next project (especially if they’re worth keeping). Zachary Strebeck posted a great article over at Gamasutra recently detailing things to keep in mind when hiring an artist. It’s a great article to read if you’re curious about the best approach to hiring artists, but for now, keep reading to find out the top things you need to know.
You can share revenue once the game makes money, but…
Ensure that your artist knows they may never get paid. Don’t promise them with riches and tell them they stand to earn a ton of money once the game starts earning. It’s all about expectations. You can potentially find artists that want to work for shared revenue as well – heck, many of them just want to see their name in credits as a way to get better gigs from other indie developers. Thus, it doesn’t make sense to promise the moon when you don’t have a true idea whether or not your game is going to earn anything. Plus, it isn’t ethical.
On the flipside, what happens if your indie game becomes a mega hit? Do you really want to give your artist a substantial share of your profits? Only you can answer this question for yourself.
A contract is a must
This is a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many indie developers simply hire a temporary worker based on solely their word. Don’t do this. Draft a contract that not only explains how you will pay the artist, but also whether or not they keep the property rights for their assets, how much they are going to be paid, the expected duration of the relationship, etc. Cover both of your bases, and the working relationship will flow a lot more smoothly.
Treat them pleasantly
You want the best bang for your buck when hiring an artist (or anyone for that matter), but don’t do it at the expense of treating your artist in an unpleasant manner. For example, haggling with them on how much you are willing to pay them after they have created your assets may seem like a great idea if you want to save some money, but the artist will probably think twice about working with you again (and if you followed our second pointer, this is legally wrong). Is treating your artist unpleasantly worth losing them? In most cases, absolutely not. Everybody wants to work with someone they trust and is pleasant to be around, so just be a great guy/gal.
Have any questions or comments? Let us know in the comments below!