Feb 09 2010
1. Most artists won’t work with authors that write worse than they do. When you post your job listing on a website like DeviantArt or LinkedIn, you will be judged on the quality of your writing. I’d recommend proofreading it. Avoid extraneous details that won’t matter to an artist. Also, list your published works, if any. (Experienced partners are usually less risky).
2. The more specific, the better. “John has adventures” says much less about the art you want than “Haxley is a barbarian that has to mangle his way to the throne.” If you have a two-sentence synopsis, use it. For more advice on doing two-sentence synopses, please see this.
3. What exactly do you need from the artist? If you’re doing a color comic with just one illustrator, you need pencils, inks, colors and letters. How many pages do you need? If you’re looking to put together a sample for publishers, you’ll probably want around 5 pages and possibly a cover. Check the submissions guidelines for each publisher, of course. If you’re self-publishing, you’ll need the entire issue, which will probably be 32+ pages per issue.
4. Describe the sorts of characters and creatures you’ll need illustrated. Just regular humans? A superhero whose power sets him on fire? Supersoldiers in powersuits? Fantastical creatures like griffins and dragons? Werewolves and vampires? Angels and demons? Hydras and Zeus? Eldritch horrors? Eldritch horrors tanning on the beach? Before you hire an artist, make sure he’s comfortable with every major character and the mood of the work.
5. Will you need unusual props? For example, if you’re writing military sci-fi set in the 23th century, your artist will do a lot of exotic vehicles and weaponry. If you’re writing a romantic comedy starring me, probably not so much. Except for the Pimpmobile.