Blog  Looking for anime artists? Here is how to commission and work with anime artists

Looking for anime artists? Here is how to commission and work with anime artists

Will you just look at the title? This is obviously a blatant attempt on our end to get ourselves ranking on Google Search. However, this is genuinely a question that we see people seek out quite often. Need an awesome anime artwork done? You can start looking for that anime artist to bring your vision into reality here.

So as the best team of anime artists (see what I did there?) in Singapore, let me try to walk you through some of the basics that you should know about hiring and working with anime artists.

What is anime?

‘Anime’ is typically known as Japanese-style animated art and cartoons, often drawn in a ‘Big Eyes, Small Mouth‘ style. But that is not always true. Similar to cartoon trends, ‘anime’ is always evolving as a genre and popular art directions change all the time.

Since ‘anime’ is really just Japanese for ‘animation’, popular US cartoons such as G.I.Joe, Gravity Falls, and My Little Pony are technically considered anime too. At the same time, given how animation has been used by the Japanese industry to tell all sorts of stories, you have everything from gory horror anime to romantic comedy anime and more.

So if you are looking for a good, credible anime artist, you should not be looking for one that is only good in anime drawing. At the end of the day, good art is built on basic art fundamentals. For the artist, before you even develop your own signature style, it is helpful to get basic art fundamentals down first. Otherwise, you’ll end up being one of those artists whose art just looks worse the longer you stare at it.

Where can I find an ‘anime artist’?

There’re really a lot of websites out there showcasing a large pool of artists across the range of quality and style. Years ago, DeviantArt, Livejournal and Tumblr were huge.

DeviantArt is still quite popular among amateur artists but I think the more professional artists tend to be over at Artstation. If you want to see something more niche, there are specific sites for styles/genres such as furry, cartoony, or… dare I suggest, NSFW artists.

While you can browse artists’ portfolio sites, many of them have also taken to cultivating their own following on social media sites. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… the list goes on. A simple search on those sites will probably net you plenty of choices.

Finally, more established artists may have their own websites. Sometimes, it is as simple as a single-page site. Other times, it is a multi-page site that introduces themselves, showcases their portfolio, and helps you contact them. A website certainly adds an air of professionalism to the artist!

Of course, you’re on one of those websites right now — ours. You found us, an art studio best known for our anime artworks.

Why hello there!

What should you look out for in an anime illustrator?

Evaluate the portfolio of the artist first. Check out the work they did before and if it’s similar to what you need yourself. If they do, congratulations. That’s a proven track record for you.

For example, you may be looking for anime artists to do something big such as an animation bible or a marketing campaign that needs a lot of artwork with a specific art direction. You will see that as an art studio, CDS has the experience and expertise to handle larger-scale illustration projects that require more coordination between the client and creatives.

Certain clients hire artists based on more than just their portfolio. Some specifically look for an artist with a lot of fame, hoping that having these artists do artworks for their projects will draw the artist’s fans too. The flip side is that these better-known artists might be too busy to work for you. However, there’s no harm in just contacting them to ask about their schedule and rates.

Beyond portfolios, given the online political climate, you might actually want to google up the artists’ names to see if they have any controversies attached to them. You don’t really want to learn too late that you are funding some racist.

(For the artist, the reverse is true too! It is useful to google potential clients first to avoid finding your artwork on some project promoting something offensive.)

How much does illustration cost?

You are price-sensitive, I understand. When contacting the artist, please have a budget in mind. Some artists publicly display their pricing. Others, like us, don’t publicise our fees. It doesn’t hurt to contact us and ask for a quotation. Just be prepared to have a clear idea of what you need so that we can give an accurate quotation.

At the end of the day, it really helps to be upfront to the artist on what you can afford. In general, we are quite open to work within your budget as long as it is within a reasonable range. There is no need for our negotiations to end up as a never-ending tango of you-go-first.

Do keep in mind that professional artists will cost more than your average amateur artist. In exchange, you get someone who knows what they are doing and how their work can contribute towards making your project a success.

And for fuck’s sake, do not (just) offer exposure.

Who does the copyright of commissioned work belong to? Me or the artist?

The subject of copyright is more applicable to commercial entities and artists working on their projects.

Besides fees, copyrights should also be a concern for everyone involved in an illustration project. As a rule, the artist holds the copyrights of the artwork upon completion. What you are paying for is usually just the license to reproduce the artwork for your purposes. If you want anything more than that, such as a perpetual license or a specific commercial license, that’s where the contract comes into play.

This is especially important if you are a larger commercial entity (or if you plan to grow your IP into one, so it will be vital for you to start considering that. An experienced artist or artist agent will know what is required for your purposes and recommend the rights that you should purchase accordingly.

Pro tip: Most of the time, you don’t need a FULL COPYRIGHT to the artwork for your purposes. Some artists might be open to giving a discount in exchange for limiting the period of time you can use the artwork commercially or having their own commercial rights to selling the artwork as a non-competing print.

How do I work with an artist?

Alright. You did your research while looking for the anime artist. Found the one you think can best bring your vision into being (hopefully us!).

You’ve made contact and come to an agreement with the artist. Now what? Well, you need to give the artist a creative brief. Some artists prefer a very open brief; others prefer it to be as detailed as possible. Most artists’ preferences will fall somewhere in between.

Give just enough detail so that the end result is satisfactory to you, but also allows the artist enough freedom to add their own touches. As the client, you should give the artists everything that is a must-have for you. There are some Twitter threads that highlight good briefs we like!

For us here, we have two main phases of approval. The first is the sketch approval phase, and the second is the colour approval phase. We generally don’t seek additional approval during the inking stage unless it turns out drastically different from our initial sketch.

Sketch and composition phase
Additional details. If it deviates a lot of the previous approved sketch like in this case, we try to get an approval first.
Base colours
Finalized colours

We are very open to working within your project management system such as ActiveCollab, JIRA or Trello too. Nowadays, we use Discord to communicate quite often too.

Once the artwork is completed, pay the artist and you are done!

AND if you really like the work done, why not leave a review on Google or write a simple recommendation for them? That always helps!

Now you know how artists work!

So that’s it. It’s not that hard, right?

For starters, why not get in touch with us first? If you are looking for an anime artist, we are an experienced team of artists best known for our anime art but has also done much more than that. Having done a good variety of work before, we are in a good position to recommend what’s best suited for you and to pair you up with the right artistic talents. Don’t be a stranger!