You are a webmaster. That is what you do. And you have a website or a blog. Maybe you have several websites. But you are definitely not an artist. You have tried to create the banners, icons, logo or other artwork for your site and it just doesnt have that professional look. So you spend hours looking for free artwork and pictures that you can use on your site but that hasnt worked out very well either.
You could dish out the money to purchase artwork, and this can be expensive because you can either buy a suite of images or you can buy single images. And after that, you only have pictures or images. You still dont have a banner or a logo. These kinds of things need to be designed from the pictures and images! Thats why you need an artist!
So how do you get an artist without spending any money?
The answer to that is actually quite simple. You are not an artist but you are a webmaster and there is value in that! There are plenty of artists out there that dont know much about making websites and would be willing to trade some of their time for some of your time.
The common lament of a new artist is ” I need to get my work out there. I need some web exposure.” You can give that to an artist. You can give him or her some great webpages all about their artwork, their studio, store, book, or whatever projects they are working on. Thats the trade you offer -some free graphics for some free web exposure.
How to find the right artists
You are looking for an artist that is hungry for exposure and reasonably skilled at the craft. There are plenty of them out there and there are probably one hundred of that type for every “successful” artist. Start your search by first putting up something on your webpages. Something like this would be good: “Are you an artist? Would you like to create the banner for this website in exchange for write-ups about you and your work? Email me.”
Another excellent source of artists is the yahoo and google groups. There are a lot of artistic groups that have many artists who would love to get the chance to get their artwork onto a website. Join some of these groups and get a feel for what they all talk about then make a post with your proposition for a trade. I have done this and you will be shocked by how much response you get. This process also works well in forums.
The artists interest is key
You shouldnt just look for “an artist”. This approach doesnt work well. You have to look for an artist that is interested in the subject matter of your website. If your website is about unicorns then you need to scout out an artist who loves to do unicorn artwork. This applies to any subject at all from apple pie to zebras. There are plenty of artists who would be jazzed to do some artwork in that genre. Make sure you filter for this when looking for suitable forums groups.
How much of your web creation time should you put into the work?
A talented artist can often times sit down and have some really great stuff in an hour or two. It is really amazing how somebody can do this. Personally, I am willing to devote ten times that to writing about the artist and building web pages about him or her. Why? Because that artwork is gold. Over the course of time, thousands, even tens of thousands of people are going to visit your site (more if you are persistent). And that artwork will make a big impression. Its worth every minute you put into it.
What to offer
Reach into your toolbox and dig out some of your best stuff! Create an about the author page. If the author has a website, offer links. If the artist has created your banner you can offer to put a link in your navigation box that says “Banner for this site created by”. You can create a gallery of his work with explanations of how the artist created it. You can do a telephone interview. Or better yet, ask the artist what he would like in exchange for the artwork.
Finding good artwork is not a negative thing. Bartering for artwork is very much a positive thing because everybody benefits. You benefit by some great artwork, and the artist benefits by getting some legitimate web exposure. Take the first few steps and you will be surprised by the strong response you get from artists who are looking for some quality web exposure.