This is just a shot in the dark, but I don’t suppose anybody following me has experience doing freelance character design work? Say for animated TV series, feature films or computer games? I need a bit of business advice from somebody in the know. I’ve done a little of this kind of thing in a semi-professional capacity in the past, but I’m still pretty ill-equipped to deal with the financial side of the enterprise. Thanks in advance!
I haven’t gotten the chance to actually work, but I have had people in the business (And I’m talking Nickelodeon and Cartoon network business) give me pointers for when I finally stop being a boob and send in my portfolio.
1. Your portfolio should have turn-arounds (Front back side, and emotions) of about 3-5 characters, and each character should have an illustration of them in their environment/world interacting in some way. Illustrations help show your ability to colour and world build, and can feature more than one character design. I would also suggest your portfolio have about 15 or less pieces, so if you find yourself with the space, make doodle sheets.
2. It helps a LOT to have one or more of those characters be characters that exist already (like from cartoons that are establish) I plan on doing some adventure time character sheets and illustrations of the old-world of Ooo (Simon and Marcy days ahhh)
3. Have a few pages of doodles of various monsters, creatures, or throw-away characters. You’re REALLY great at creating characters that vary drastically, I think that a page containing like 4-6 of your animal-women would be amazing!
4. Apply for companies that are up and coming: Frederator and Cartoon Hangover might be a really good place to start. They’re constantly growing and looking for new talents. I would say to apply some time after school gets in after summer. A lot of college students who will do unpaid internships will flood the market out— but then leave when school comes back!
5. After your initial portfolio sendout, check back in about 10-14 days. A lot of people will say “we’ll call you” but they’ll forget, it’s really hard to make an impact unless you open a direct line with someone.
Make it your job, after the first check up, to call back once a week. What I strongly suggest Is sending in your portfolio to gaming companies, cartoon companies, and the like but make it expressly clear you’re looking for critique on how to make a better portfolio. 7/10 I get a reply and open a line with someone on that alone, and it gives me a lot of advice on where to go next. It also leaves a good impression on people when you’re actively showing interest in furthering yourself along that career path.
Hope this helps!
Aw man, thanks so much! Reblogging because there’s some terrific advice here. This is definitely going to help me spruce up my tired old portfolio.
I’m still looking for a few pointers on negotiating pay rates, though, if anyone can point me to some helpful resources. My inbox seems to be eating more than its usual allotment of both incoming and outgoing messages lately, so apologies if it seems like I haven’t replied to any recent communications.