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Nov 19, 2014

5 tips: The perfect e-mail to a freelancing artist

There are plenty of blog posts and texts out there, that tell you how to write the perfect e-mail to clients. We're shaped and trained to become the perfect creative, to always be available, always be polite and clear.. And so on.

We need to talk.

I'm one of those who recieve tons of work-related e-mails, several ones per week. I'm super grateful and I've landed some really fun and exciting jobs. But some other ones get rather exhausting.

Most e-mails sound something like this:

"Hey, I'm looking for an artist for my project, what are your rates?
Best regards// Unknown"

Yeaaah awesome, good for you! :D :D :D
No, seriously though...

Creatives are not mind readers, and you didn't even introduce yourself. We're not supposed to pull if out of you. Sure, most creatives are very eager to help out, but there has to be some boundaries!

So I've done a list for you CLIENTS out there.This will make both your, and our lives so much easier. Feel free to share or refer to these if you get an e-mail from a client that's not clear enough.

1. Introduce yourself

What's your name? You don't have to talk about your whole background but at least let us know what your title is and the company you belong to/own.

2.  Describe your project in the first e-mail

This would save so much time on both ends. Tell me as much as possible about your project, and think about what's needed. How much work is actually needed?

3. When is the deadline?

This is super important. Most creatives have a rather tight schedule and we need to know whether we can plan your project in. The sooner you know this the better! Time is precious...

4. Do you have a budget?

What's your budget for the project? This is very vital since we can see whether it's doable or not. If it's way too low, then I may be open for discussions. Perhaps getting paid in both money + royalties? Never offer exposure though! Cause really, that's just a trap and creatives are worth way more than that. Period. So, royalties or other perks might work :)

5. Do your research

I call myself.. An illustrator, concept artist or a character designer. My portfolio is stuffed with work that's geared towards those areas. So it feels rather strange if you would ask me to design a new logo, which has less to do with the things I normally do. It's because I suck at logos :D No, but you know what I mean.

So, is this worthy enough, my fellow creative amigos? Should anything be added? What are your thoughts, and does this happen to you a lot as well?

 Sketch of "I love you, bro" Photoshop CS5 + Wacom Cintiq 12WX


Svenska :)

 Det finns massvis med blogginlägg och texter om hur man som kreatör skriver det perfekta mailet för att ragga jobb. Vi formas och tränas till att bli den perfekta näringsidkaren, ständigt vara tillgänglig, alltid vara artig och tydlig och så vidare....

Vi måste snacka.

Jag är en av de som får många potentiella kund- och jobbmail. Jag kan få flera erbjudanden och förfrågningar per vecka. Superkul, jag har fått fantastiskt roliga jobbmail! Men vissa andra kan vara direkt utmattande.

De flesta kundmail låter ungefär såhär:

"Hej, jag letar illustratör till ett projekt jag undrar vad du kostar?
Mvh // Anonym"

Jaaa, fnizz, skitkul för dig ju! :D :D :D
Nej men allvarligt...

Kreatörer är inga tankeläsare, och du har varken beskrivit projektet eller ens presenterat dig. Vi ska inte behöva dra saker ur dig. Visst, är de flesta kreatörer ivriga att hjälpa men nån måtta får det va.

Så nu har jag sammanställt en lista till er KUNDER! För att göra bådas liv mycket enklare.
Sprid och hänvisa gärna, om ni får ofullständiga mail från kunder ;)

1. Presentera dig

Berätta vad du heter! Du behöver inte beskriva hela din uppväxt men beskriv gärna din titel och vilket företag du jobbar för/äger.

2. Beskriv projektet i första mailet

Det här skulle spara massor med tid om fler av er gjorde. Berätta så mkt du kan om ditt projekt, och fundera ut redan i förväg vad du behöver oss kreatörer för. Hur mycket jobb innebär det?

3. När är deadline?

Det här är superviktigt. Många har ett väldigt tight schema, och vi måste veta om vi kan klämma in ditt projekt i våran pipe. Ju snabbare vi får veta desto bättre för alla! Time is precious...

4.  Har du en budget?

Vad har du avsatt för budget till projektet? Där ser man direkt om man kan ta jobbet eller inte. om ersättningen är alldeles för låg, så kan jag vara öppen för att förhandla. Kanske royalties om projektet går bra? Säg bara INTE exposure, för ärligt talat, det är en fälla och kreatörer är värda mycket mer än så. Punkt. Royalties eller eller annan form av ersättning funkar :)

 5. Kolla upp min portfolio

Jag själv utger mig för att vara.. Illustratör, karaktärsdesigner och conceptare. Min portfolio är fullproppad med den genren och det är såna jobb jag gör bäst. Så det blir lite knasigt om ni mailar mig och ber mig designa en logga, när jag inte riktigt visar sånt i portfolion. De e för att jag är usel på loggor :D Nej, men ni fattar.

Var det här nåt att ha, mina vapenbröder? Har jag missat nån punkt? Känner ni igen er?

- Andrea


  1. Elance is unfortunately full of such job descriptions, most of the time from people who can't even communicate their requirements properly. But they are usually the same who can't tell you something about their budget either.
    Will Terry did a video about it a few months ago too. It's a good idea to give clients guidlines.

    1. I love Will Terry, his videos are so great and informative. I did my first Inktober after he had Jake Parker on. instagram.com/joaquindesigns

    2. Christian: Yeah I agree. A list like this can filter away those who are not that serious, so it's a good thing at least for me ;)

      Will Terry, cool! Which video was it? Subscribing to his channel now, thanks for the tip! :)

      Joaquin: Right on! Jake parker is badass!

    3. Seems I forgot to tick the notify thingy, better late than never. The video was something called.. this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUg6lVW2Hvs&list=UUA-iu9bp3mT9JgsUGCFIzZA

  2. Great list. Do you normally email back with a request for answers on this list? Thx

    1. Thanks, glad you appreciated it! Yes I'll reply with a link to this post whenever I get an unclear e-mail. In all fairness, if they're not willing to take the time and explain what they want exactly, then why should we? :P

  3. Thanks Noukah for this post.
    Great points.
    I got caught out by a client whom wanted many revisions for a piece of my art. I finally walked away from it. Lesson learned - add a clause in your contract that stipulates extra costing if revisions are required. What do other people do in this situation I wonder?

    1. Thanks, glad you liked it Jason! Yes that's common and it's a good thing to have that written in the contract to avoid too many revisions. I encounter those too sometimes.. I think most people either leave, or demand more money for the work. "Oh you want more changes? That will cost xxx$, would you still like me to make the changes?"

  4. Here where i live, many clients want to pay only by talking to others what i do,
    because they consider the work of an illustrator worthless. (If you do it because you like it, do it for free)...sad.

    1. Oh that's really sad :/ We gotta reclaim our rights and convince of how valuable our work is! ;) If more people kept saying no, then it will get harder for them to screw around with artists.


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