Have you ever seen an absolutely phenomenal piece of fanart for your favorite show or game and immediately needed to share it with everyone you know? Of course you have– this is the internet. Maybe you’ve even bought a sketch of your favorite comic character from the Artist Alley at a con, or commissioned an artist you follow on Tumblr to draw you and a friend as Sailor Scouts. You know exactly how much fun it can be getting a unique picture or illustration as a gift for yourself or a friend: something personal, made just for you, that no one else has, and that you absolutely love.
ArtCorgi Provides Great Gifts, Saves Artist’s Hassle
The good news is, now you don’t have to wait until the artists you love open up commission slots, and you can support them more directly than just sharing their art around. ArtCorgi is the first of several planned marketplaces designed to provide freelance artists and illustrators with a safe, respectful, elite environment in which they can sell their artistic services. “Right now, the main option freelancers have when it comes to selling their work online are big sites like Freelancer.com, Elance, and oDesk, where most people compete and price and clients are given a sort of Costco-like experience,” explains ArtCorgi co-founder Simone Collins. “We think it would be better for clients and freelancers alike to provide services through more curated, high quality, specific websites. We’d like for freelancers to be able to sell their work through multiple boutique marketplaces we run from a single, unified dashboard. For example, a freelance artist might choose to sell her work through ArtCorgi, plus future marketplaces we roll out that are specifically oriented around commercial logo design, music album design, and book cover design.”
The idea for ArtCorgi started when the two co-founders, Simone and Malcom Collins, got engaged. “Malcolm proposed to me last summer over Reddit using commissioned art. I found the pieces he commissioned to be dreadfully romantic,” shares Simone. Of course, she wasn’t the only one. “Malcolm’s art caught the attention of a lot of other people, too. For months after the proposal, we got constant questions about commissioning art online. Because commissioning art from artists online presently isn’t a very easy thing to do (Malcolm emailed around 300 artists just to find the 18 he ultimately worked with), we realized we could probably build a better solution.” And so they did– ArtCorgi.
Simone and Malcom realized that there was a real potential for using freelance art and illustration not just as a luxury but as everyday: a fun cartoon of your friend for her birthday; a new icon for Twitter or Facebook; a romantic Valentine’s day present; a personalized stationary or email signature design. They wanted to create a platform that made it easy for people to find fun, affordable art commissions and incorporate more art into their daily lives.
ArtCorgi’s specialized services and commitment to providing value for both clients and freelancers has made it incredibly popular among fanartists looking for a way to receive more support for their professional work. After all, fanart is often done out of love for the art’s subject, not for money– personalized commissions are how many freelance artists pay their bills, buy their food, and cover the cost of the art supplies they need for running their business. Unfortunately, in environments like Elance and oDesk, the marketplace is built on a process of having freelancers bid on jobs, as opposed to having the clients shop around for their favorite artist in their price range. This leads to an environment where artists are pressured to undercharge or even gut their own rates in order to compete.
“The problem with sites like that is that they imply that art isn’t worth money. People are always going to find the most desperate person they can, the artist desperate enough to work for nothing,” explains ‘Egriz’, an artist known for her Zelda fanwork who works as a professional freelance illustrator. “ArtCorgi puts more power with the artist. It’s more fair. The artists get to set their rates and the customers are guaranteed quality. ArtCorgi monitors both to make sure no one’s ripped off.” Even better, in Egriz’s mind, is the one-on-one communication between the artist and the customer. “I love doing personal commissions because I like bringing peoples’ stories and characters to life,” she shares. “I like seeing the impact. They get so happy.” She provides both full-body character portraits and professional illustrations on ArtCorgi.
Over the next few months, ArtCorgi will be focusing its efforts on getting its name out there and letting people know about its great services and even greater artists. It’s the Collins’ hope that they can get people to see what those who enjoy commissioning art and fanart already know– that personal art can be fun, useful, and great for personalized gifts. “We’re testing a series of targeted ad campaigns, exploring a couple partnerships with event planners, photographers, coupon sites, and interior decorators, and full-out cold calling people. We know once there’s a bit more precedence for commissioning art for social media avatars or as gift for friends, we’ll have a much easier time driving sales, but that initial education challenge is going to be an uphill battle. Good thing we’re up for it!”
Are you a patron of the arts? Would you buy your friends and family personalized cartoons or illustrations for a gift? What’s your favorite piece of fanart? Share your stories with us in the comments!