The following are good tips to include in any art request when you contact an artist, no matter what medium you use.
Describe an Emotional “Vector”
“Blank paper is an artists worst nightmare”
It’s better to know what you want than offer a blank canvas to an artist. You should know what the artwork needs to accomplish, preferably stated as an emotion or action.
“I want a Profile Picture” is a blank slate, but “I want a Profile Picture based on my Minecraft Skin that makes me look powerful.” This is great as I can start to imagine poses for your minecraft skin etc.
“Redo my server logo” is less of a blank slate, but without specific direction. Where should I take that? “My current server logo is too playful. My community has matured and we need something more sleek.” is much better, since now I know what to do with that logo, what direction to take it.
“Make it [good/unique/cool]” is not a direction. If the intent is to focus on “quality” it is the same as just saying “please make art” since every artist is trying to make every new artwork higher quality than their last. If the ask is about “fit” then the ask is missing context. What would make this the best fit for your server?
Include Reference & Context
“No one can see what is in your head.”
What other artworks do you like and why? Provide a few images that capture something about the work you need to help the artist visualize what you have in your head.
Next, it is important that the artist knows how you intend to use the artwork so they can design it properly. Does it need to be used on Youtube? Did you know that the Youtube Banner size is full screen wallpaper for TV but that only the middle is used on web and mobile? Is it going on a website? Include a screenshot of the website. This also includes telling them a bit about your server. What is the unique feature? What kind of community do you have?
Any extra context you can provide will help the artist create something that fits your needs.
State your Budget
“You will always... always… get what you pay for”
Every artist is going to try to maximize the value of your budget. So knowing your budget will let them plan accordingly. If you know how much you want to spend, stating it will save you time.
Having “no specific budget” is really common. It’s hard to know what cost for art will be up front. You can always ask for examples of their previous work and the costs of each so you can better understand what a budget might look like for your project.
It is common that artists are asked to work on a restricted budget but it’s better just to let the artist know that at the start. This will help the artist plan that into their initial quote.
If you cannot offer monetary compensation, focus on what you are willing to trade (vouches, skill trade, resources, creative control, flexible deadlines, promotion etc).
Specify a Delivery Date
This one is pretty basic. Knowing if you have some event or date that the artwork will need to be used is important. Ideally specify a date and note if it is a hard requirement or negotiable.
“June 19th (Hard Deadline)”
“End of July (+/- 2 weeks)”
Remember: Stay Positive
“Vinegar and honey walk into a fly bar…”
The tone of your post says something about what it will be like to work with you. If the tone is upbeat and positive you will attract more artists.
Reference & Context