Freelance Friday 02: Hunting Jobs Online – Useful Linkage


Today’s Freelance Friday follows on from last week’s general tips for snuffling out good jobs online, as I thought it might be useful to share both a few different kinds of sites to look on, and a few links, relating to comics and illustration work. Onwards!

(Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the third-party sites linked from this post, which you visit and make use of entirely at your own risk.)

Job boards/forums

Job boards or forum sections are an obvious place to start one’s hunt, but also a big time sink, as there’s a lot of irrelevent or low-or-no-pay stuff to wade through, since anyone can post. Your time is precious, so it’s worth paying attention to which ones are coming up with relevent posts, and just use those as your regularly-checked boards, just stopping by others now and then.

A few that I check:

Digital Webbing paid jobs forum:  Mainstream-leaning. Not all decently paid, but sometimes there are jobs with reasonable budgets, and being a paid forum no unpaid collabs. Love that it previews posts when hovering, so you can see what might be relevent without clicking through to everything. Jobs fill fast, so worth scrolling to see if there’s a “position filled” second post before reading through details in the first. No job results for me personally from this one.

 Penciljack forums Bulletin Board section:  Not one I check a lot, as “looking for work” posts far outweigh “looking to hire” – but it has the virtue of job posts being labelled with a nice green “[Wanted ($)]”. Many of these are low rates though. No work through here personally.

 Deviantart jobs board:  This one is probably a surprising recommendation, given the vast amounts of “draw my character for $10” posts on here. Only recommended if you’re good at skimming quickly; disregard most posts, keep professional, contact prospects via notes rather than responding on public thread (<personal opinion). However, possibly because businesses needing art hear somewhere that “Deviantart is a site with a lot of artists on it”, there can be some real wheat among the chaff here. I’ve had a couple of good clients found here.

Social Media

Following relevent people and simply keeping an eye open for “X is looking for freelance illustrators, paid gig” posts as and when they come up is one of the most efficient ways of catching wind of things, since you’re not having to hunt for those. That said, searches can be useful to.

Twitter: Twitter in particular has been good to me. I had a span of a few months where four jobs in a row all came via Twitter. I have some searches I run now and then, from just general things like “comic artist” to more on-the-nose phrasing like “illustrator paid”! (General terms are also nice for just keeping up with industry news, etc.) A great virtue is that you can shoot of a quick response with your site, and people can contact you if they’re interested, which saves everyone time!

Search Engines

Plain old search engines can be worth checking, though the amount of different phrases you could try are endless, so be wary of getting sucked into a hole. Maybe give yourself a time limit, like a half-hour with a cup of tea to spend on this every now and then.

Project Bidding Sites

Sites like oDesk, Elance, etc, are an area I haven’t ventured into thus far. Having artists bidding their quotes for a project seems to create a race-to-the-bottom atmosphere, in a world where artists are already constantly pushed to undervalue themselves. If you do try these sites out, make sure you have your minimum rates firmly set, and don’t let yourself be swayed.

A couple I haven’t tried but do find interesting are:  I’ve seen some very reasonably-payed jobs listed here. It seems active, you can arrange results by pay, and browse pretty specific categories. Unlike other listing sites, doesn’t involve itself in the work and payment process, purely a finding venue.

 Dreamup  A relatively new Deviantart venture (separate from Devart); interesting as terms and processes seem reasonable and artist-friendly. By application (not sure to what extent curated).


What about you? What hunting avenues have proved fruitful to you? Please do comment with your own experiences if you have ’em! 🙂

*Edit: see Comments for some great further thoughts from Vicki Paull !




5 thoughts on “Freelance Friday 02: Hunting Jobs Online – Useful Linkage

  1. Vicki Paull (@Wikivic)

    Thinking about it, the vast majority of my work comes from either word-of-mouth or people who have met me at events (suddenly makes forking out for hotel rooms etc. seem so much more worth it!). I still consider an internet presence to be essential though. I reckon just generally being findable/contactable on the larger social networks (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) is a great baseline. Also keeping an online portfolio and blog as a web presence where potential clients or contacts can find out more about you while they’re considering their art needs.

    I’ve been asked specifically in the past if people can find my work on Facebook, which makes me eager to create a specific page for my art (as I only have a personal FB at the moment).

    You make a good point about searching Twitter with certain terms! I’ll have to try that in future.

    As far as job boards go, I’m interested in checking out more of the LinkedIn groups that are relevant to my work and being more active there. I think it also pays to know your audience – which forums or sites do the people who you want to work for (or with) hang out in (or run)? e.g. comics creators, game designers, publishers etc. I’d like to look more into that and go say hi 🙂

    Though as you mention, time is such a factor! There are so many online avenues I would love to follow, but its hard to find the time to jump in. Plus, with online communities there is the question of balance between spending time there in order to be a part of the community (and losing work time), vs. not spending enough time there and people thinking you’re only there for self-promotion…

    1. sally Post author

      Great comments Vicki, thank you! 😀

      Agree on web presence and networking (will definitely have to do a networking post!). I think those things kick in a lot more over time, too.

      It’s very strange how much people’s mileage will vary with different sites. I have an artist FB page, but have almost no traffic through that (hence only mentioning Twitter in terms of what I’ve personally found useful 😛 ) – while I know it’s a very useful tool for others! Likewise with LinkedIn; I’ve not got much out of it – but have been told by a social media guru recently that that means I’m not using it right! That could very well be true. Or it could just be that it’s not a fruitful avenue for me. It’s worth looking into, but you can’t necessarily predict!

      I find I can only keep up with a handful of sites with any regularity – especially since, as you say, with many forums you need to have some level of engagement. So I have an updated-now-and-then presence on some sites, purely to direct people to my site – and a small handful which have proved most fruitful that I genuinely cultivate. Beyond that, I try and avoid “you have to be on x site!” messages/guilt – everything’s worth looking into, but I can’t keep up with all of them! 😛

    1. sally Post author

      Great links Richy, thank you! How could I forget the Arts Council’s jobs mailing list! Especially useful for those who do workshops and other community work 🙂

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