It's In The Brief... Maybe

I don’t really go out and hire people to do things, not being in HR or having any projects large enough (and financially solvent enough, at least in my mind) to go out and hire people, not in day-to-day life anyway. But I have been doing it with some artwork of late. Recently I’ve been trying to push a project to completion, partly because it has been sitting on my board-of-projects-I-would-like-to-finish-one-day for far, far too long, and partly because a friend of mine gave me the… encouragement to finish it off. As part of that I’ve been hiring artists to produce some illustrations and concept art. It’s been an interesting process, one that I’ve discovered has more kinks to it than I expected, especially when you don’t have a working relationship with any of the artists to begin with, I’ve actually found it hard to describe what I want (which for someone who writes frequently and at length is ironic). A friend of mine suggested that I go into it with a brief, advice that I took on without question. The problem is when you’re not certain about you ideas or what would look better well…

The brief ended up, well, brief. Unfortunately I didn’t know how deep down the rabbit hole to go, how much do I describe? How much do I give them free reign, I feel like people do better work with freedom, at least after you give them the core concept. But what I’ve discovered is that briefs shouldn’t be brief. They should be detailed and concise, like a good story, really. In my mind after my more recent attempts at writing briefs, I’ve concluded that more detail is most certainly better, for both myself, and for the artists trying to follow the brief. Besides, how would you like it to spend hours writing (I use writing as an analogue for painting/drawing/illustrating here because it’s something I do) something only to discover that you’ve got the characters completely backwards and that one of them is actually meant to be an amorphous slime creature that collects discarded boots?

Okay, I didn’t leave out anything quite that egregious. But you get my drift, in future, briefs should be concise, detailed and clear. Which is very hard when you don’t have any awareness of good image composition. Doing technical drawing in school doesn’t count, that just made me really good at drawing cubes with set squares and free-handing circles on planes at funny angles (which some, or all, would call drawing ovals).

Also to anybody reading this and about to try and find someone to create artworks for you, pay your artists, they aren’t doing it out of the love of the process. I’ve had friends give up on doing what they love because people treat it like it’s something anyone could do and all artists (regardless of field) are happy to work for “exposure”. So if you find someone you want to work with and continue working with, make it worth their time. At least, that’s my theory.

—Mechaquill