Freelance Artists Know How to Communicate

One of my pet peeves is improper communication. Solo professionals such as freelance artists, designers, and writers (ironic), don’t know how to communicate. Here’s an example: I was looking for an illustrator for my client and a man left me a voicemail saying that I emailed him. Emailed him about what? He didn’t say why I emailed him, and I didn’t remember emailing him. I contacted the man and wanted to know what he wanted. He said I emailed him about an illustration for my client. I still didn’t remember his name and there was a good reason why I didn’t. The email address he used was attached to a woman’s name! I scanned his email response to my advertisement for an illustrator and found that he stated his name within the body of the email; I didn’t catch this when I first read his email. I’m not sure whose email address he used but he could have used his own. If you’re responding to an advertisement for an opportunity, please don’t use another person’s email address and use a professional email address. The email address this guy used was a “cutesy” email address and wasn’t professional.

I didn’t receive a good feeling from the illustrator when I spoke to him. He was abrasive and cut me off when I spoke. In fact, after I hung up with him, I got a headache. This is not the impression you want to make when you’re responding to advertisement for a freelance opportunity.

Many people wonder why they aren’t hired; they may want to look in the mirror. This is tough to hear but sometimes it’s true. I consider myself an artist as well but I’m highly professional. I have a professional email address which lets people know I mean business. My website is up and running and is revised whenever I feel it needs to be updated. I want clients and potential clients to know they’re working with someone who knows what they’re doing. If I used a cutesy or generic email address, I wouldn’t be sending the message that I’m a professional.

Communication tips

  • Use a professional email address. Using a funky or generic email address could prevent you from receiving opportunities. Create a professional email address and don’t use your personal one.
  • Know how to leave a voice message. Don’t say, “Hi you emailed me, please call me at 555-555-5555.” Do you know how many emails people send out each day? You need to be specific. Say something like, “Hi my name is So and So and you contacted me about a design for the front cover of your book. Please call me at 555-555-5555. I look forward to speaking with you.” Be professional!
  • Stop and listen to what the other person is saying. My father used to say, “Everyone hears but nobody listens.” Be quiet and allow your potential client to speak. When they’re finished, you can have your say.

Like it or not, you’re a business person and an artist. That may be a tough pill for some artists to swallow but it’s the truth. If you’re passionate about your art, don’t sabotage it by being unprofessional. Be professional because you may not receive a second chance at making a first impression.


Are you an effective communicator? What can you do to improve your communication skills? Share.