What does an independent artist do?

A freelance artist is a contractor for hire in the field of art. He or she can work in any medium, but most freelancers work in graphic fields like illustration, design, or photography. Freelance artists are not employed by a single company or organization, but instead contract their talents to various clients. Many are self-employed, although some work with agencies or a small group of regular clients. The freelance art field can be more challenging and more satisfying than standard salaried jobs.

A freelance artist must be a highly motivated person as they must effectively run a business and handle artistic assignments. Like all artists, freelancers must have innate talent backed by knowledge of popular art trends and styles. The freelance artist must have a highly flexible style that can be applied to a variety of tasks. Patience and people skills are also valuable, as some clients may not know exactly what they want or may not be able to express their wishes clearly.

The most important tool of the independent artist is the portfolio. This is a collection of the artist's best and most representative work, brought together in a professional package for potential clients to view. Traditionally, a portfolio was just that: a large box containing a variety of sample prints. In the 21st century, artists can use websites to showcase their portfolios and attract clients. However, they should also keep traditional handbags as some clients will see this as a mark of true professionalism.

A freelance artist can work for publishers, animation studios, and similar companies. The work must be tailored to the client's needs and is often time-driven. Therefore, the freelance artist must be able to produce consistent, quality artwork on demand. While the popular image of the artist is of an individualistic, temperamental person waiting for inspiration to strike, the freelancer must be able to overcome these tendencies or at least set them aside until the job is done.

Entry into any field of art is challenging as there are many talented people with a yen for artistic expression and the freedom that comes with it. The struggling freelance artist may be forced to take a regular job, art-related or otherwise, to make ends meet until income from freelance jobs is sufficient. The field of independent art can be daunting, but for many the rewards are well worth it. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 60 percent of entertainers in the United States are self-employed.

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