David Quinn was kind enough to take some time to answer these questions. He can be found at www.davidquinn.co.nr.
What do you do for a living?
I am a freelance artist, specializing in 3d weapons.
How would you describe what you do?
I create weapons through 3d programs for video games, magazines, etc.
What does your work entail as a graphic artist?
I create models. It entails coming up with a basic idea, adding my own twist to it, and being generally artistic with it. Most of the time, I only do weapons, so that means if someone wants something historically correct, I have to research every bit of this item they want, from the size, the shape, even the details on the handle. But I also have to go out and advertise myself on a daily basis, to make sure I don’t go without a job. I have to regularly go to various websites and areas around where I live, show people what I can do, and offer my services wherever needed.
How did you get started?
Like most other freelance artists, I just went for it. I studied in various art styles until I found the one I wanted, studied on that one for quite a bit longer, studied some more, then went out and looked for people that were in need of my services. I looked at a couple sites, set up multiple profiles on various art websites, and got my name out there.
What do you like about being a freelance artist?
I like that I get to work on my own terms, most of the time anyways. And I also like that I actually get to create something new everyday, and be able to see my finished artwork on something that people will see on a regular basis.
What do you dislike?
Winter. Not many people are looking for 3d artists around that time of the year.
How do you make money/or how are you compensated?
I make my money through a deal me and the person hiring me works out. They want something, I offer a price, we barter for a bit until we both come to a price we both agree on. Also, I get half of my money when I’m halfway done with my art, then the rest when completed.
How much money do you make?
I average around $1000 a month. Not much, but I’m still new.
What education or skills are needed to be a freelance artist?
Alot. You need to have an artistic ability in general to do this. Some people think because they can pick up a pencil and draw a cartoon they saw on TV, they should be able to get money for it. This is not true. Though I am specialized in 3d art, I have also studied figure studies, landscapes, color theories, drawing, pastels, paints, as well as many other things. So to be able to do this, you will need a lot of skill, patience, and a willing to learn and to take critiques on a regular basis.
What is most challenging about what you do?
Being able to work in general. Sometimes, I just want to sit and wander around the internet, or watch a movie, but you just have to pick yourself up and get to work. You don’t have a boss, so you have to be your own motivator, as well as your own supervisor.
What is most rewarding?
The most rewarding thing about being a freelance artist, is that you get to see your finished art be used for something that people will use or play with, or even just to look at. Its also nice hearing the ooh’s and ahh’s for your artwork.
What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
Study. Don’t slack off and do a doodle or two a week, you will need to work on your chosen art skill almost every day. Look at reference pictures, study on your favorite artists, learn new techniques every day. In this field, you never stop learning. Also, don’t give up when you see that you don’t have anyone liking your work. Listen to them, or ask them what’s wrong with it, and improve yourself with those critiques. Take some classes as well. They help.
How much time off do you get/take?
Surprisingly, not much. Though I may not be doing jobs 24-7, I am also learning, advertising, practicing, and just studying in general.
What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
That its an easy job that you do whenever you feel like it. Some people may be able to do this and live off of it, but most artists starting off wont be able to. Most artists starting out wont be able to live off of their art in general for a while, that is until they get their name out there.
What are your goals/dreams for the future?
To get better at what I do. As I said before, you never stop learning, so I want to be able to learn as much as I can and become as experienced as possible. Oh, and to get more jobs on big name video games.
What else would you like people to know about what you do?
Its fun, though it can be tiresome. This is by far the best job I have ever had, I get to do my dream job: I sit at home and create 3d weapons on my computer. Though its non stop studying and advertising, when you get the hang of it, its pretty awesome, so if you want to do this, just go for it, and don’t hold back.