Is it a Contest Worth Entering?
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    Is it a Contest Worth Entering?

    Hi, guys. I'm the author of The Sword of the Watch series (swordofthewatch.com). I'm interested in quickly increasing the pool of Concept Art that I've got for my series, and I thought I might have a grand prize of a Render Farm Controller and FIVE 64bit Nodes (for Lightwave 3D, After Effects, and Vue) for the best artwork (Character, Environment, or Prop). Is that something that would interest artists in the community?

    I really appreciate your feedback.

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    Why don't you pay a number of good concept artists, whose portfolios you've looked at and found promising, to do quick sample sketches - then hire the ones who do the most fitting job?

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    The thing with such offers as yours is they always tend to sound a little fishy on the internet, and people always get suspicious. It really is a better idea to just look for someone to hire. Thats at least the professionell way to go.

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    I find the process of looking through sketchbooks less than fun, even with the wonderful automation available here with ConceptArt.org. With what I've been able to determine so far, there's a tangible cost and delay for finding a group of artists, filtering them down to a smaller group, getting them the character, environment, and prop specifications, negotiating ten different rates for samples before I actually get the samples, and then there's a second round of hiring for the "real" concept work. Yes, I was hoping to short circuit some of that with a large prize, the hope being that interested artists would do there own thing with the texts, submit what they want and roll the dice (kinda like I am doing going through a round of samples with the real possibility nothing works). Yes, I do think it's got a "lotto" feel, and everyone knows that many contribute and few actually win, but that is why I made the post: to hear opinions on Contests and such. My opionion is that the prize had to be worth much more than any single artist would make on contract, but I realize that there would also be good artwork that received absolutely nothing for the work. That's the lotto feel to me, I guess. Again, I really appreciate the feedback. I've got to do something, and a member of my team suggested the contest. I'm hearing two thumbs down at this point.

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    TL; DR

    "I'm lazy."

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    Honestly?

    No.

    But I'll say why.

    You want a "pool of concept art" which may involve illustrators. I have no interest in the products you listed. Even if you offered software for a person who is an illustrator - (let's not get into piracy though) I pretty much bought it - and use it to make art.

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    Also, we build that type of Render Farm equipment in the computer side of the business, so we'd be able to put labor into the equipment prize, and that would translate into additional value for us. @stareater: I count that as three thumbs down. I've got limited concept art funds, and I've worked with artists that have a decent sketchbook and don't produce what they say they can produce on the schedule that they say they can produce it. In fact, that's been more of the rule than the exception. If you're offended by contests that's fine. I asked for your opinion. I'm just probbing for other options because I don't want more of the same. With a prize deadline, the artist gets it together and enters by the deadline or not--another appealing attribute for contests. I'd appreciate knowing how you handle missed deadlines? Do your contracts include a failure to perform clause?

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    OP, what use is a render farm for someone who enters a contest for a prize. You said it's additional value to you - what about the people trying to compete?

    Getting socks is "useful" too but not everyone wants or needs socks.

    Think more on how to benefit the artists who enter vs how it benefits you. The way you're presenting it is all about you, but nothing for the artists. It's honestly a turnoff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Camon View Post
    I find the process of looking through sketchbooks less than fun, even with the wonderful automation available here with ConceptArt.org. With what I've been able to determine so far, there's a tangible cost and delay for finding a group of artists, filtering them down to a smaller group, getting them the character, environment, and prop specifications, negotiating ten different rates for samples before I actually get the samples, and then there's a second round of hiring for the "real" concept work.
    That's why it's called work. It's not supposed to be all fun and for free.

    If you want to attract artists, try to look at it from an artist's position, not your own one. For an artist, entering a contest like this, there is also a tangible cost and delay for an uncertain gain. You were thinking about minimizing your costs and ended up asking others to take up your cost on themselves.

    How many did you think would be interested in donating their scarce time and money to you for a promise of equipment which, while clearly valuable for you, has little use for them? You wouldn't be getting nearly enough good artists with a trick like this, because concept artists who are good and in demand would mostly shrug and do their paid work instead.

    So do your screening yourself. It pays off for you too.

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    God damn it, when is the idea that artists doing free work going to not be all the rage?

    There aren't accounting contests where everyone does accounting and then the winner gets something and everyone else gets the shaft. It is not good to do free work, and as such I hope nobody does. Perhaps that reality will impress upon employers that art is an actual job. Now don't get me wrong, I am working in marketing, but I am at a loss as to how sitting in the same chair and painting for you is not payable labor.

    This outlook needs to stop now. Or at least ask all your finance graduate friends to do free finance for you, if we all love free labor so much.

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    Why don't you handle this like a professional and post an actual job listing, and then look at the actual portfolios of interested applicants, instead of browsing random sketchbook threads?

    Here's the big problem that most artists have with this sort of contest: You hold a contest, artists do work specifically for the contest with NO guarantee of remuneration, and maaaaaybe if they're lucky they get a "prize", usually worth less than what they'd be paid for a comparable job. AND there's no guarantee that there will be any more work for them on the "job". So as far as artists are concerned, this is extremely insecure work for little or no return.

    Meanwhile, real clients will be happy to look at a portfolio of already existing work. No special tests or custom work need be created to get a job with real clients. All you need is a portfolio. So why bother spending time creating custom work for contests that might maybe get you badly-paid work, (sort of, not really,) when you can show your portfolio around and get real work instead?

    And - you say you want to hold a contest to "quickly increase your pool of concept art" - how, exactly? You're only getting one piece from the winner, so how does this "increase your pool"? Please don't tell me you'll be using all the contest entries for your project, even if they don't win a prize, because that's a HUGE no-no. Then the artists really are working for free.

    Last edited by QueenGwenevere; October 22nd, 2012 at 12:29 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pavel Sokov View Post
    God damn it, when is the idea that artists doing free work going to not be all the rage?
    Pavel,
    we are about a hundred years too late.

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    I find the process of looking through sketchbooks less than fun, even with the wonderful automation available here with ConceptArt.org. With what I've been able to determine so far, there's a tangible cost and delay for finding a group of artists, filtering them down to a smaller group, getting them the character, environment, and prop specifications, negotiating ten different rates for samples before I actually get the samples, and then there's a second round of hiring for the "real" concept work.
    Why do you need a "second round of hiring for the 'real" concept work"?
    Why don't you just look at a few portfolios of artists that you like, then HIRE THEM TO DO WORK based off of their actual, already existing portfolio?

    Have some trust in their abilities from what you see that they have done in the past. Why must you expect them to essentially do an art-test for YOUR specific project just to see if they make the grade?
    You eliminate a pretty massive time sink by simply having a little faith in the person you hire in the first place.

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    I wouldn't enter it, I won a coloring contest for a stuffed giraffe when I was 8, maybe you could offer a stuffed giraffe.

    sehertu mannu narāṭu ina pānāt šagapīru ningishzidda
    abrahadabra
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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    Meanwhile, real clients will be happy to look at a portfolio of already existing work. No special tests or custom work need be created to get a job with real clients. All you need is a portfolio. So why bother spending time creating custom work for contests that might maybe get you badly-paid work, (sort of, not really,) when you can show your portfolio around and get real work instead?

    tttthiiiiisssssss.
    after youve done a few jobs, even if youre a nobody like me, sending 50 emails/calls pretty much guarantees more work, or at least leads that eventually turn into work.

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