Author Topic: Artist Screening Test  (Read 1451 times)

Offline dm-horus

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Artist Screening Test
« on: December 30, 2006, 02:56:20 AM »
Since there is some recruiting going on for OPU projects, I thought it would be helpful to write a rundown on how to screen artists to see whether they are worth their salt.

The nature of an artist is to be creative and any seasoned artist knows the depth of their talent. They are aware of their boundaries and limitations. A good artist can also summon his talent at will when necessary. These are the things you must look for and I have some ideas on how you can do this...

Ask the artist to create 2 original concepts based on your project but set in another time/place/etc that does not occur in your project. One of the concepts should be different from the other. Give some absolute directions but then make very vague ones and encourage the artist to use their imagination.

An example would be to create a landscape of a colony set during an OP2 sequel made through the eyes of the artist, and then another landscape set in the distant past. This tests the artist's imagination. If they cannot produce an original work that follows your instructions but is still original and creative, they will not be able to take direction and cannot channel their talents. This is the mark of most amateurs. Alot of artists get into their field by wanting to emulate something they saw. Especially with 3D artists, most have a vision of a movie or other medium that inspired them. If they are unable to break themselves of that, they will not be able to create the kind of art you need for your project or keep it consistent.

When the artist is finished and presents his work to you, ask alot of questions about his thought process, inspiration and direction.

If the artist cannot explain his own work and the thoughts he had while making it, he didnt know what he was doing. Even if the art looks good but the artist cannot explain it, he probably just got lucky. Sometimes artists stumble across a formula that works while they are struggling with a deadline. Even if it turns out okay in the end you would not want to gamble on the chance that the artist gets lucky EVERY time. If he cannot explain his thoughts, direction and inspiration then he was unable to follow through with his ideas to the end. Again this is relevant to consistency. Make sure you ask about what he thought at the beginning, middle and end of the project and how they compared to the result. You want to make sure his vision followed a theme from beginning to end. If an artist tells you "it was a struggle" or "i had to start over several times" it means they are unable to pluck the images from their mind and put it to practical use. This is someone you may want to avoid.

Look for professionalism. Ask questions about them and their art to see if they are able to focus themselves, their art and their time.

A good artist knows what works and what doesnt. An artist who is constantly grasping at straws is no good to you. Make sure they can keep to a timetable and are able to "cut the cord" when the time arises. Some artists are very focused on their own ideas and may find it hard to create work based on the areas and instructions you specify. A good artist can go from classical to modern design at will, no matter their preference. They should be able to set their own desires aside and do the work that is asked of them, delivered on time. A professional artist will also keep you up to date on their progress and ask questions. If a perspective artist does not ask you more about their direction or ask for resource materials or what YOU would like to see, then they are unable to work without direction. Again it is about consistency. A good artist finds out what you want and then delivers it independantly. They should also offer you a set of options to select from. If not, they are likely trying to tell you what they think you want. If so, they are unable to follow directions.

Remember to screen artists against their own merits. Think of them like tools at times. There will be times when you need the seasoned veteran who follows traditional ideas to keep the project balanced and other times you will need the hyperactive youngster to keep the project fresh. You will never find both qualities in the same person, but having two or more that work well when combined (in terms of the project, in personal terms.... that would be a whole other story) are just as - if not more - effective. Recruit your toolbox and learn what they are good at and call them out when you need them.

Also remember that you probably dont have the time to wait for an artist to "learn" themselves into the position you want. You cannot ask yourself to mold someone into the person you would like to have on your project. If you find a good artist that cant follow directions or has frequent outbursts of anger, put their portfolio in the bin. You cannot play boss, therapist and guidence counselor while trying to run a project. If you think "this person would be good if only...." it is a sign that the artist is not suited well for the project and you should keep looking.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2006, 03:04:21 AM by dm-horus »