Freelance artist jobs are extremely competitive, but can be lucrative for the person with the right creativity and skills (or for an artist who has a specialized niche). Here are some things you need to know for launching a career as a freelancer in the field of art.
Training and Skills Required
Many artists have a bachelor's degree or equivalent in their field. However, talent and creativity are the most important things a client looks for when hiring an artist. There are no special certifications required for a career as a freelance artist.
Where the Jobs Are
Early on in your career, you may find you'll have to search for jobs on the web. Some job sites posts work for freelance artists, such as Elance or Monster. You should also find forums that serve your clients. For example, business owners might be on Flickr looking for stock photos for their brochures. Join the forums and give helpful tips to get noticed.
You'll also want to develop a portfolio of work over time, which can be easily shown to potential clients online and offline. A website or blog can be a great way to show off your work to potential clients, as well as advertise your services. A nicely bound hard copy of your work will help you when you walk into a client's office to market yourself to them. Attending art trade shows, gallery openings or craft shows as an exhibitor or attendee will also give you the opportunity to network with those who might hire you.
Typical Pay Rates
If you're a professional fine artist, you'll be paid a commission to design a painting or sculpture for a specific client. These can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars per project, based on your experience and how well known you are. You can also make several hundred dollars for prints of your work, or for individual sculptures.
The same applies for multimedia artists. Freelance photographers or videographers can charge up to $250 per hour for their services. If you're a craft artist, your rates will be lower, and based on individual sales of hand-crafted items. Freelance graphic artists charge an average of about $350 for a custom designed logo or graphic for businesses. If your specialty is web design or illustrating, you can charge on a per-project basis.
How Assignments Work
If you're commissioned for a specific painting, sculpture or other piece of artwork, you'll be paid a lump sum to support yourself during the creative process. This can be used to pay your living expenses while you work on the production, a period which can take weeks or even months. You'll be paid an additional lump sum on completion of the work. If you specialize in graphic arts or web design, you'll take on a job with minimal direction from a client. Because the artwork is computerized, it may go through several drafts before the client is satisfied with the final version.
Pros of Freelance Artist Jobs
The main benefit of working as a freelance artist is the potential for much higher salaries than the average job. If you have talent and are able to gain recognition in your field, you can demand higher prices for your work as time goes on. It's a field that allows you to use your creative side on a daily basis, and every project is different and varied.
Cons of Freelance Artist Jobs
On the negative side, you have to produce a steady stream of work to be able to support yourself. This can be difficult, because freelance artist jobs are extremely competitive. The amount of time required to market yourself takes away from time that you could be spending producing more artwork. If you're unable to capture a niche or gain more recognition, you may not be able to support yourself financially.
Freelance artist jobs can be a great source of income if you have the talent and skills to attract people's attention with your work. Unlike many other types of freelance jobs, it requires a higher level of creativity. On the same note, it can give you a great deal of satisfaction for a job well done.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.