So am a college student about to go to grad school for concept art but I would like to do freelance work while I'm in school so I'm really not clear on where/how to start without looking like I don't know what I'm doing. This site and craig's list has been my main source for finding freelance work to apply to.
I bought Graphic Artist's Guild Handbook Pricing & Ethical Guidelines and it only had about 2 pages on writting proposals so what I'm curious about, is there a book that is only about writting proposals for illustrators? Something similar to all the books that can easily be found for How to write cover letters or resumes. Something that would go in-depth on it for beginners.
again i'm looking for a Book, not just a little article and not just about pricing I want info on the whole process.
There aren't a ton of good books on the business of illustration and freelance art (at least not that I've found). A few pieces of advice that I'd recommend though is determine where you'd like to work, and where you think your work would fit in best. Then find those publishers online and search for submission guidelines. You can find exactly how they would like to see work submitted 90% of the time. The rest of the time try to find a contact email for the art director, and shoot them a brief message.
If you have more specific questions, or if I completely missed the question you were actually asking, leave them here and I'm sure we can help you out. Maybe someone else knows of a book that covers it.
What I mean is when clients post in the freelance and small freelance jobs forums with projects they are working on, how do you professionals reply to them? It is appropriate to be casual and just submit the basic info they ask for? Or should I write it up more like a cover letter? Or is it best to write exactly what you intend to do, how you work, how much you charge all up front?
Do you reply different if its a major studio vs someone paying $100 for an illustration? Do I need to make a contract for really small projects, like ones found in the small freelance job forums?
I can't speak for everyone's experience, but I've never had to be overly formal when it comes to illustration. Polite and professional can still be somewhat casual in tone. A reply to a freelance job might be "Hi, my name is X, and I'm a freelance illustrator. I saw your job posted at Conceptart.org, and I'd be interested in discussing this project in more detail. Here is a link to my portfolio." If you have past experience that is relevant to their project I'd then mention it. For example, if I'm approaching a collectible card game, I'd mention the CCGs that I've worked on. Don't waste their time with idle chit chat, but do show why you are interested in their project. Art directors are people. They want someone they are comfortable can get the job done well first, but second is they want to work with people that are pleasant to work with and take an active interest in the work.
A few things to keep in mind. Don't do form replies. Tailor each message to the person you are talking to. If it's an established company make sure you know a bit about what they do. Do some research. Show them samples that are relevant to what they do (and what you want to do for them).
I'd suggest, more than a book, get your info straight from working illustrators and the art directors that hire them. Some good sources I visit often:
Jon Schindehette, Senior Art Director Dungeons & Dragons
He often discusses what he likes and dislikes when working with artists. What to do, what not to do. He is also very open to answering questions.
His blog: http://artorder.blogspot.com/
Ninja Mountain Scrolls, a bunch of guys who discuss a lot of different aspects of doing illustration for a living. Not only informative, but they are often damn funny as well.
Their podcast: http://www.ninjamountain.blogspot.com/
There are probably a lot of other good sites out there. Hopefully some people will add in their favorites. I just find the internet is more immediate than a book. More up to date, and full of people that are generally very approachable to questions. Listen to some of these people are you get a pretty good idea of how things work.
I think a great thing to keep in mind is those making the requests probably get hundreds of responses, so keep it brief, and as J Wilson said; "polite and professional".
Lastly, be sure to check your spelling!!!
I think you need to offer the reader a bit of insight into your world/mind. Obviously be professional and polite, but what I mean is look at what the client is asking for and tell them how you would execute their project. How you would bring your ideas to the table and how you will involve the client in the whole creative process.
When quoting a price, give an amount that you think is fair for the work you have in mind. I usually think how many hours it would take me and factor in a lot of time making changes to work and taking time to communicate with the client. Do your best to never sell yourself short.
Also, if they are only showing you a very short brief, make you pitch based on the idea that the project will probably change once more details are revealed to you. Maybe mention that the proposal you have made will change depending on more details.
Then, make sure you show some work that will back up your pitch. Not too much but enough to convince them you are the bomb!