A cartoon animator creates drawings either freehand or computer assisted, which are incorporated into a video. A freelance cartoon animator chooses to work directly with clients rather than through an agency or company. They therefore answer straight to the client and not a “”boss””. The freelance cartoon animator should always clearly understand your objectives and expectations and you need to know what you are looking for in a freelance animator.
Know what you need
Spend a little time reading about animation, styles and techniques so that you can speak the language of your freelance animator. You need to know what you want. You likely already have some knowledge or experience, so determine if you need to expand it.
Write it down
Based on what you’ve learned, write down what you are looking for in a concise way. Locate examples of the styles and techniques you are looking for and list them. Be aware that some styles may be cost-prohibitive so provide options if you don’t know pricing.
Evaluate your budget (time and money)
You need to have an idea about what you are willing to spend. Sometimes saving money means hiring someone who is less experienced, which can cost you more either in time or money in the long run.
Now you know what you are looking for so it’s time to find an animator.
What to look for
Evaluate the complexity of the work. Does it show creativity, good color selection, smart transitions? Are you in awe of the animators work? If not, you may want to keep looking. Be careful though, because animation is often a collaboration. Make sure it is clear what your candidate’s role was in the samples you are viewing.
Review the breadth and depth of their portfolio. Your freelance cartoon animator should have experience in the style you are looking for. Sometimes creativity doesn’t transfer from one style to the next. You should love the style of your animator.
Look for enthusiasm and excitement about their work. It’s even okay if they seem “in love” with their work. You want to hire someone who loves what they do. Passion is what drives creativity and will ultimately allow your animator to deliver. But know that you need the other 2 for it to work.
Questions to ask a potential candidate
What is the timeframe?
After you have completely laid out your expectations, ask for a time frame. Does your animator foresee any challenges that could change that timeframe?
How do you recommend reaching the target audience? Your animator should have a clear understanding of how various styles/techniques reach a certain audience.
Who do you consider your greatest influences?
If possible, take a moment to view them.
What is the piece of which you are most proud and why?
Find out where the passion lies.
What would you change about the above piece based on what you know now?
This question helps you determine if the animator can look objectively at their own work, take constructive criticism and if the animator is continuing to learn and develop. These are all highly prized traits to be on the look out for.