Finding A Sponsor SeriesWhether you drawing skills are worse than the average preschooler’s or if you just don’t have good enough graphics to make the cut, hiring an artist is a great way to increase the size of your sponsorship. Improved visuals will make your gameplay stand out for the wonder that it is.

Once you decide it’s time to hire an artist, you have a few options. You can pay an artist a set price for their graphics, pay them a percentage of your sponsorship money, or purchase stock graphics. Here are the advantages to each option:

1. Hire an artist and pay them a percentage of sponsorship money. This is a fairly common relationship in the flash game industry. The programmer of the team will create the game while the artist will make the graphics and animations for it. This will let you get the best of both coding and gameplay, however artists will typically ask for 50% of the game profits. This means you will have to make double of what you could have made without the artist to make it a good option.

2. Hire an artist and pay them a set commission. This option requires more risk upfront, as you will have to pay them before your game is sponsored. This means you will be taking money out of your own pocket to pay them without any assurances that you will make any money off the game. However, like most risky investments, this option has a greater payoff since you don’t have to pay the artist a percent of your profits. You will keep all the profit from your game once you have paid the artist.

3. Use stock graphics. If your game is light on graphics, and you only need a couple images and backgrounds for it then stock graphics may be a good option. The best feature of this choice is the low cost of it. Stock graphics average about $1-3 apiece, meaning it’s not going to set you back to much moneywise. However, unlike hiring an artist, you will be at the mercy of what graphics are already made. You can’t customize the graphics to your needs.

Now that you know what options you have for hiring an artist, you need to go out and get your game graphics. Here are a few good place to look for flash game artists:

1. FlashGameArt. Flash Game Art is a new site made by the creators of Flash Game License. It is geared towards teaming up with artists. The site allows you to search through developers portfolios and decide which one you think has the graphics style you need for your game. It also shows useful features such as how much time an artist has a week to work on your graphics and has a private messaging system for contacting the artist.

2. DeviantArt. While it isn’t a site set aside specifically for flash game artists, Deviant Art houses some great artists. You can browse through numerous categories of digital art including pixel, vector, 3d and more. With millions of images uploaded to the site, it is hard to find a graphical style that you don’t like. As long as you are a member, you can comment or leave notes on an artist’s profile letting them know you want to work with them on a game. Keep in mind that most artists on this site are used to creating images, not animating. So if you are looking for an animator you may have to look elsewhere.

3. Flash Game License Collaborations. Flash Game License has a convenient section of the forums specifically for requesting collaborations. Here, you can request artists on a commission or percent based agreement. Plus, being on Flash Game License, you know the artists you hire will have experience with animation and developing art for the flash environment already.

4. FlashDen. You aren’t going to find any artists here, but there are a ton of stock graphics for you to use. All you have to do is sign up for an account, deposit some money, and start buying graphics to use in your games. You can purchase graphics, menus, animations and even preloaders for use in your game. Graphics are pretty cheap; usually a couple dollars each. For a more in depth information, check out my review of FlashDen.

5. MochiAds Forums. While most developers using MochiAds are programmers, you can usually find the artists by making a request for one in the forums. The offers you receive will tend to be for a percent based collaboration, but most artists on here will be experienced with flash and game design.

6. Newgrounds. With so many users, Newgrounds has a large pool of applicants to draw from when you’re looking for an artist or animator. Developers looking for artists should check out the art portal, where you can check out the developer resources. Those looking for animators would do well to create a post for one in the Flash forum. Talent can vary, but most Newgrounders are educated on how collaborations work, and will be looking for a 50-50 split.

Now that you know where to hire an artist, you can improve your game’s graphics and get that game sponsored! To give yourself even more of an edge over the competition, check out my Finding a Sponsor series or subscribe to my RSS feed.

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