5 tips: How to approach a freelancing artist

Some of my tools and a sketch from 2013

There are plenty of blog posts and articles out there, that tell you how to write the perfect e-mail to clients. We’re shaped and trained to become the perfect freelancing creative, to always be available, always be polite, on time and clear. But what about the other way around?

I’m one of those who recieve tons of work-related e-mails, sometimes several ones per week. I’m super grateful and I’ve landed some really fun and exciting jobs through the years. But some dialogues could’ve become so much more effective. Many e-mails may actually sound something like this:

“Hey, I’m looking for an artist for my project, what are your rates?
Best regards// Unknown”

Awesome, good for you! No, seriously though.

It’s very hard to give a straight answer out of this, since we have no idea what the job should be about. We may not even know who you are. So I’ve made a list for you clients out there. If you’re an artist , feel free to share or refer to these if you get an e-mail from a client that’s not clear enough!

Introduce yourself

What’s your name and title? You don’t have to tell me your whole background(unless you want to of course) but at least let us know what your title is and the company you belong to, or own.

Describe your project already in the first e-mail

This would save so much time on both ends. Tell us as much as possible about your project, and think about what’s needed. How much work is actually required? You don’t have to be precise, but a rough estimation is always great to have!

When is the deadline?

This is super important. Most creatives have a rather tight schedule and we need to know whether we can plan your project in properly. The sooner you know this, the better! Time is precious ◠◡◠

Do you have a budget?

What’s your budget for the project? This can be really helpful, since we can see whether it’s doable at the moment. If it’s way too low, then I at least, may be open for negotiation in some cases. Perhaps getting paid in both salary and royalties? Never offer exposure as payment. Because really, most creatives can get that on their own, and bills still need to get paid. So, royalties or other perks might be interesting!

Do your research

I go by the titles illustrator, concept artist and character designer. My portfolio is stuffed with work that’s geared towards those areas. So in this case, I wouldn’t be the right person to design your logo for instance, since that’s not exactly what I’m showcasing or do on a professional level. Plenty of kickass freelancing logo designers may be available for that. But if you have a project that involves cute characters and storytelling, hmmm, then I may be able to help out!


That’s what I had to say about clients and e-mails! Is this worthy enough, my fellow freelancing, creative amigos? Should anything be added? What are your thoughts? ◠◡◠



  1. Louise Stigell 30 April, 2016 at 11:34

    Åh, det här är så bra. Känner verkligen ingen mig, trots att jag inte är illustratör/designer. Samtliga punkter är lika relevanta inom frilanscopywriting.
    Hur många “Hej, vad kostar du?”-mail har man inte fått liksom. Snacka om att lägga all kommunikationsbörda på frilansaren…

    1. Andrea 2 May, 2016 at 13:29

      Tack! :D va kul att du kikade in här!

      Ja det är ju sant, detta drabbar säkert alla frilansare på ett eller annat sätt! Så tråkigt, vi är ju inga maskiner liksom. Däremot så är det sjukt kul när potentiella kunder tar åt sig och anpassar sina mail utifrån det här inlägget. hände mig senst förra veckan, när någon messade mig anonymt utan att ens presentera sig. Plötsligt blev hen jätteartig och mailade tillbaks ett perfekt, utförligt mail :)

  2. Villewilson 16 May, 2016 at 19:38

    Hi Andrea

    Is there any tip on how to deal with the clients who constantly revise the project they requested and constantly ask for new changes to the point where you don’t even want to work on the project anymore because they changed it 15-20 times already? Maybe we should start asking clients if they are really really sure what they want? :D

    1. Andrea 17 May, 2016 at 16:19

      Hey! Good question. I can usually dodge this by telling them already in the beginning, that withing the quote – 2 or 3 revisions will be included during the process. And after that I’ll charge an extra fee if they still want further revisions :) It happened that I’ve forgotten to mention this through the years, and ended up with many more revisions than expected. So lesson learned, I’m more clear toward new clients nowadays!


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