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View Full Version : Are you a freelance artist? What sites do you prefer for finding work?



wacom
02-22-2009, 03:13 PM
Hello One and All,

I'm kind of getting to the end of my rope when it comes to finding work as my normal gigs that have sustained me are drying up. I know, it's not a situation that's unique to me- we're all feeling it. So now I'm having to cast my freelance net once again and I have a few questions that I hope you will not mind entertaining.

First:

What freelance sites do you use? Elance.com, Guru.com, etc. What is your experience with these sites? Do you ever get contract work through Aquent or the like?

Second:

I'll be honest- my portfolio isn't up to date and most of the more notable projects I've done are under NDA- which means I could only maybe show them in person. Here is my current lineup of work that I've placed online:

http://gideonklindt.com/portfolio

At best I'm a generalist. That goes for 3D and my general illustration skills. I guess my strongest skills are in vector work (though painfully the best work is NDA). I'm going to need to add some newer, more exciting pieces to my portfolio to reflect my up to date skills in concept work, 3D, and general illustration. Is there any area that you feel is lacking in most freelancers portfolios that you'd like to see more of?

Do you like seeing someone carry through the whole process (drawings and concepts, modeling, and rendering) to see how they work or is it best just to stick to finished pieces? Should I just continue to use my blog for this purpose?

http://gideonklindt.com/gideonklindtblog

Lastly:

I'm a generalist not so much just because my skills are so general, but because I'm interested in many different parts of creating images. I've heard so many different things about if it's good or not to present your self in a generalist or as a specialist (even if your "specialized skill" are not amazing). What are your thoughts on this? Is there a good way to work these angles? I just really enjoy the process of creation...regardless of the medium or what it's representing.

Thanks for reading all of this- I'm sure I'm leaving out some obvious things. Any critiques and/or comments are more than welcome!

Thank You,
Gideon

PS- I know I need to narrow down my amount of images on my gallery site esp. once I have a few strong ones that reflect all my skills. Please though let me know if any MUST go or STAY IYHO.

Stooch
02-22-2009, 03:33 PM
as a freelancer you are much better off being a generalist. since most freelance gigs that I have encountered required a wide range of skills. I personally dont have experience with any freelance sites, usually people come to me. linked in has been a suprisingly rich source of interest!

wacom
02-22-2009, 04:11 PM
linkedin.com- man I always thought it was just a rolladex for the internet...hmm...time to make an account!

BTW- I really like your "jet goose" Stooch!

Stooch
02-22-2009, 04:16 PM
thanks. its actually the logo for a client :) i just made it into 3d. (supposedly its a swan)

lwanmtr
02-22-2009, 04:16 PM
linkedin.com....I dont know anyone who has gotten anything from that..I am on it and have a lot of friends who joined up...of course, being in seattle doesnt help much.

I dont have a particular site..and to be honest I havent looked hard lately due to some projects (most of which have started to crumble due to the economy)...

raph.com is a site you might check...not alotta LW work, but there are some decent jobs.

Stooch
02-22-2009, 04:24 PM
the point of linked in is to exploit the connections not to generate traffic. i see job ads right now in the vfx groups im in...

SplineGod
02-22-2009, 04:40 PM
I agree about linkedin, plaxo and others related to the VFX business. Its a great resource and I do get offers from time to time.
I also agree about being a generalist when doing freelance work. Its a great way to miss opportunities if youre not.

MUCUS
02-22-2009, 04:50 PM
I think you can too continue to develop the skill you like the best (mod, texturing, rigging...) so that you may have the skills to work with big studio, if you got the opportunity to.:)

wacom
02-22-2009, 04:53 PM
Thanks everyone! I'm building up my linkedin profile as we speak and I'm looking into plaxo!

I'm more than willing to "press the virtual flesh" to get work and meet more like minded folks so this to me is much better than just replying cold to a advertisement.

SplineGod
02-22-2009, 06:06 PM
Heres another site:
vfxConnection.com

wacom
02-22-2009, 10:56 PM
Thank you for the links Larry I truly appreciate it!

SplineGod
02-23-2009, 12:21 AM
No problem. Its nice to have these sorts of resources around :)

Philbert
02-23-2009, 12:52 AM
Interesting links, I've often wondered where exactly people go to find clients, but was afraid people wouldn't want to give up their own. My largest clients have actually found me through the forums. One was from the LW Yahoo group I believe, another was from SpinQuad, I think the third big one just randomly found me with Google or something. :D

I have a Linked In page but I've never heard a peep from a potential client.

Here it is:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/philnolan3d

I tried putting my info on Monster.com once a few years ago and it was awful. I kept getting people emailing me about jobs that weren't even remotely like my resume. One guy called my home phone and kept insisting I would be perfect for a sales position. I told him I didn't know anything about sales and he said it was on my resume. There's nothing about sales on my resume, but he kept insisting it was right there in front of him.

SplineGod
02-23-2009, 01:51 AM
The majority of the work I get is typically thru contacts Ive made in the business over the years. Thats the biggest reason I use linkedin, plaxo etc to keep in contact. :)

adamredwoods
02-23-2009, 11:40 AM
#1 rule for getting freelance work: network, network, network

Linkedin.

Use it (but mostly for Interactive/Flash Design jobs). Worked for me. Have gotten many prospects from it.

Craiglist.org.
Creative Hotlist.

If anyone wants to "Link in" with me, send a PM.

Titus
02-23-2009, 11:44 AM
There's nothing about sales on my resume, but he kept insisting it was right there in front of him.

Well, that means you're really good at sales :D.

Nangleator
02-23-2009, 01:33 PM
Craigslist is great if you don't want to get paid. Most of those customers are offering you the option of showing your own work in your own portfolio, on top of the privilege of working in their prestigious presence. How can you resist?

Blech. Sorry. I was just freelancing for five years, and it's difficult to get the taste out of my mouth. (I'm no salesman, so my experience was not a happy one.)

Philbert
02-23-2009, 03:15 PM
I'm no salesman, so my experience was not a happy one.

I totally agree, I hate the business end of freelancing. While technically freelancing I worked at a studio for a couple of months and they just put me on salary like everyone else. It was such a relief!

Andyjaggy
02-23-2009, 03:32 PM
I got my current full-time job from craigs list.

Nangleator
02-23-2009, 03:58 PM
I got my current full-time job from craigs list.
Yeah, I've gotten good gigs from it, and solid leads. Takes a lot of sifting, though.

Andyjaggy
02-23-2009, 04:01 PM
I got lucky, it was the first time I had ever looked on craigslist for jobs, I found it, emailed them, and a month later was hired. Go figure.

wacom
02-23-2009, 04:04 PM
If you use craigslist do you search only in your local area- or do you expand it for any freelance work abroad?

Freelancing can be a stressful emotional and finical roller coaster- but it can also be rewarding. I think it all depends on what you want out of things- steady work at a studio and freelancing seem different beasts all together.

adamredwoods
02-23-2009, 04:14 PM
If you use craigslist do you search only in your local area- or do you expand it for any freelance work abroad?


Expand, but keep in mind people like local.
If you're up in Oregon, expand to the whole west coast. That's reasonable. I've hired people who were in the same time zone but different city. I've hired someone in Salt Lake.

adamredwoods
02-23-2009, 04:22 PM
Great poster work, BTW.

jaxtone
02-23-2009, 04:51 PM
Hey man! I wanīt to give you some huge creds for the film "Cat and Cake", it was so damn funny with all them weird sounds and accents you added into the sound score! You should write more storys like that for Childrens Television! Itīs sure a need for a new generation of story makers and I actually think this style is weird enough to at least get you into a first meeting!

I am also a freelance suicidal pilot so I understand what you mean by saying itīs tough! I believe I know a lot more about this struggle nowadays than I really wanted when I did get into this 22 years ago! I believe that one of the hardest things with "being a one man company" is to "being a one man company", if you see what I mean? While you are in the production phase the sales is not effective and when you are in the sales phase the production is weak! I have built a network of co-operators and even if that makes me just as strong as any big ad-company or production house the "main" customers many times doesnīs see this as a strong alternative! Even if they have to pay the double price or even triple that they still go for the bigger company since they experience them as more reliable! So what can we fight with?

First of all I believe that an important thing to do is to copy ravens sitting in the trees above the garbage cans! They keep on picking till they get a piece! (I am "soooooo" bad at that myself but by looking at nature itīs a easy to see that they get a piece sometimes, at least enough to survive!)

The second is to be seen and remembered! Thereīs of course thousand of ways doing this but I believe that personal craziness, timing and extra vaganza is not to be underestimated. (Not sure if the style "hard to get" or "hard to want" is well appreciated by serious customers since those fashion styles more attracts younger generations, that of course will not pay enough for your services to survive on!)

I once told a friend and very famous artist that I was impressed that his professional song writing helped him selling about 40 million records! He just looked at me and smiled while he said: Professionalism hasnīt got anything to do with it! Itīs only a magic mix of these three words! In the same order as mentioned:

Timing, Luck and Talent!

Unfortunally I believe he was very true and I truly must say that there are so many good artists out there never get a chance to get into anything serious just because they are at the wrong place at the wrong moment! Kharma? Well, I donīt know if ravens care about Kharma! They just wanīt a piece of that cake so they keep on picking...

P.S. I think some of your stills are extremely good as well... but to be honest sometimes the quote "kill your darlings" is of great use! Im not sure if the "R MUTT CELL" is just as good as if you would have done it today! Maybe would be good to tune it down because I feel that it aint just as good as many of the other portfolio examples youīve got there... and there are some really wonderful stuff in there!



If you use craigslist do you search only in your local area- or do you expand it for any freelance work abroad?

Freelancing can be a stressful emotional and finical roller coaster- but it can also be rewarding. I think it all depends on what you want out of things- steady work at a studio and freelancing seem different beasts all together.

wacom
02-23-2009, 05:12 PM
Great poster work, BTW.

Thanks! I had to do roughly 3-4 of those a week for VERY little money over the last four years- so needless to say I cranked them out. I saw it as a way to improve my over all drawing illustration skills while getting a little bit of money in return (I emphasize little). Last count I think I'd done roughly 300-400 of these posters...gulp...

Unfortunately I learned this last Saturday that the main venue I did them for was having to cut costs- and I was one of the last things cut. They said business had dropped considerably in the last few months...sound familiar?!

My other, higher profile clients are seasonal- so normally this time of year is slow, but this set back with the posters has raised my blood pressure quite a bit and sent me into alarm mode.

jaxtone:

Thank you for the comments about "Cat & Cake." I made that quite a bit ago as a personal project. It was my first "animation" in LW- as you can probably tell by the animation quality! Still it was fun and a learning experience to say the least.

Thank you as well for the helpful words of encouragement and advice- trust me- it's not wasted on me!

Philbert
02-23-2009, 05:37 PM
If you use craigslist do you search only in your local area- or do you expand it for any freelance work abroad?

I used to post my resume on Craigslist in Philly (here), LA, Dallas, and a couple other places (5 is the limit I think), but I never heard anything from it so I gradually gave up on it. I do also have an RSS feed for 3D jobs on CL that shows up on my home page. I use a Protopage (http://www.protopage.com/) for that. It's really, really, handy.

adamredwoods
02-23-2009, 06:13 PM
I personally wouldn't post resumes on Craigslist for freelance work (for on-site jobs, yes). Instead, think about your clients and your strengths. Try to solve their problem-- usually clear, concise, unique communication to attract customers. Use teasers and samples to entice people to your website.

grimoirecg
02-24-2009, 04:29 AM
I also agree about being a generalist when doing freelance work. Its a great way to miss opportunities if youre not.


Several people have been saying that (all of you generalists I assume) but it's not true. It's much better to become extremely skilled in one area and be one of the limited number of sought after people in that discipline. If you do that you won't even have to look for work, you'll just have to pick and choose your offers.
Being just one of the huge number of generalists out there, all at about the same skill level means you're really just taking you chances with the crowd, because there's no reason to choose one of you over the other as there's so many to choose from.
Believe it or not there are enough clients out there who want the best people and are willing to pay more for it - and it means you don't need as many jobs to earn a living either.

lwanmtr
02-24-2009, 04:42 AM
freelancers rarely get contracts for the type of work a specialist does...freelancers generally have to take a project from start to finish, which is something a specialist is unable to do. You dont often see work for a rigger in the freelance area...it's usually for things like posters, ad art, commercials and what not, which require a wide range of skills.

I know a few specialists and while they can fit right into a studio setting, they would be unable to handle all the other tasks effectively.

So, no, being a specialist is not the best thing for a freelancer.

And looking at jobs lately, I see more and more generalist positions being posted, even at studios.

grimoirecg
02-24-2009, 07:25 AM
freelancers rarely get contracts for the type of work a specialist does...freelancers generally have to take a project from start to finish, which is something a specialist is unable to do. You dont often see work for a rigger in the freelance area...it's usually for things like posters, ad art, commercials and what not, which require a wide range of skills.

I know a few specialists and while they can fit right into a studio setting, they would be unable to handle all the other tasks effectively.

So, no, being a specialist is not the best thing for a freelancer.


I can only speak from personal experience, and as a modeling specialist I turn as much work down as I accept due to lack of time to fit it all in. I'm also skill in texturing an rendering my models,which helps, but I'm far from a generalist.

RebelHill
02-24-2009, 08:07 AM
You dont often see work for a rigger in the freelance area

Lol... I have to agree a bit with Grim... Im rpimarily a character animator and rigger, and I do ok... ud be surprised just how few good riggers there are out there, at least for LW... most are taken at studios full time..

So being a specialist is indeed a good thing.

THough being a generalist aint a bad thing either... as the majority of the work that out there is generalist stuff..

I think it helps to do both, be a half decent generalist if u can, and take one specialty.

SplineGod
02-24-2009, 08:29 AM
Several people have been saying that (all of you generalists I assume) but it's not true. It's much better to become extremely skilled in one area and be one of the limited number of sought after people in that discipline. If you do that you won't even have to look for work, you'll just have to pick and choose your offers.
Being just one of the huge number of generalists out there, all at about the same skill level means you're really just taking you chances with the crowd, because there's no reason to choose one of you over the other as there's so many to choose from.
Believe it or not there are enough clients out there who want the best people and are willing to pay more for it - and it means you don't need as many jobs to earn a living either.

The problem I run into is that you cant find enough highly skilled generalists. As Rob pointed out they are more and more in demand.
I consider myself highly skilled enough to never have a problem getting steady freelance or studio work. It is possible to be highly skilled in several things rather then just one thing. What I find is that its easy to find skilled modelers and texturers etc. The vast majority of freelance work I get is from clients who want someone who can do a whole task from start to finish regardless of complexity and do it well. All of the last studio gigs Ive had for the last 3-4 years have also been generalist positions. Assuming that a generalist is any less skilled then someone who specializes is a bad generalization.
Many times it depends on the software a person uses, how motiviated they are to learn other aspects, talent level etc. I find that more and more specialized people are finding it harder to find work.

wacom
02-24-2009, 11:13 AM
From what I gather there are a few other conditions that will play into if it's better or not to be a generalist for freelance work or not.

One of the largest ones is if you're willing/can re-locate quickly to different places on short notice. I see a lot of great TD generalists (aka highly skilled generalists) that bounce around year to year, month to month, country to country. I think the same goes for if you're a specialized person though too in that you need to be able roam as much as possible.

I'm coming from things from a print/web design/presentation angle and almost all of my clients pay very well if they are an established firm, but they simply do not have the means to pay for even two 3D specialists nor illustrators on most projects. They really do need someone who can concept with them on it, fire off several quick rounds, and then finalize- and all with a very quick turn around time.

These clients actually like that they can come to me one day with the need for a display kiosk idea that needs to be created and rendered, and then ask me to do painting and vector work for a children's book the next.

I think there are different expectations in print/web design is all that I'm saying. The local studios here, like Laika, would more often prefer to have specialists. Then again- if you're skilled enough on a few fronts what is the difference to them? I'm of course no where near that level of proficiency in any one area...

SplineGod
02-24-2009, 02:53 PM
Exactly! Ive never had a client ever turn me away because I was more then capable in several areas. Ive found that once they tend to find out that you can troubleshoot other issues and do other things they throw more work at you.

wacom
02-25-2009, 06:35 PM
Thanks for the linkedin idea guys- I joined a bunch of groups, and while I'm mostly out of my depth (esp when it comes to certain aspects of 3D) compared to most users, there are a lot of opportunities there!

Philbert
02-26-2009, 02:03 AM
I can only speak from personal experience, and as a modeling specialist I turn as much work down as I accept due to lack of time to fit it all in. I'm also skill in texturing an rendering my models,which helps, but I'm far from a generalist.

You want to send some over here? :D

grimoirecg
02-26-2009, 03:53 AM
Unless you can do high level character scupting work then it won't be much good to you.


From what I gather there are a few other conditions that will play into if it's better or not to be a generalist for freelance work or not.

One of the largest ones is if you're willing/can re-locate quickly to different places on short notice. I see a lot of great TD generalists (aka highly skilled generalists) that bounce around year to year, month to month, country to country. I think the same goes for if you're a specialized person though too in that you need to be able roam as much as possible.


Again, speaking from personal experience, I never leave the house or look for work and I've been going steady for the last 2 years.
I don't know what you guys' freelancing experience is, but mine is that once you build up a happy client base - because you've done great work for them - you should never lack for work and can pretty much end up naming your price.
Maybe I've just been lucky in getting several clients that have provided me with regular work so I haven't had to go scouting for more.

Philbert
02-26-2009, 04:15 AM
I don't know what you guys' freelancing experience is, but mine is that once you build up a happy client base - because you've done great work for them - you should never lack for work and can pretty much end up naming your price.

The trick is getting the clients in the first place. I have two or three regular clients but they don't have work to give me very often, regardless of how much they like my work.