What is Hire An Illustrator?
Hai! is a portfolio website service for artists, created in late 2007. The artist pays a fee to the site, and in exchange is able to post their work to an online gallery. If you are familiar with sites like CreativeShake.com (formerly Portfolios.com), ChildrensIllustrators.com, or theispot.com, then you have a general idea of how this site works. They are not an agency or representative, and do not take commissions from the work you gather there. They merely collect the artists and put them in a place that is easy for art directors and potential clients to browse through.
The site is run by a guy named Darren Di Lieto. He used to work as a freelance illustrator and designer, and is best known as the creator of another website called the Little Chimp Society, an illustration news portal.
This is how the site describes the creation of Hai!:
[Darren] gave up illustrating after losing a number of high profile jobs by recommending illustrators he considered more suitable for the jobs in question to his clients. They got the jobs and, as they say, the rest is history. It was this passion (after 5 years in business) for being able to always find the right person for an illustration job that put him in a unique position to set up Hire an illustrator! and become a conduit for the commissioned art and illustration industry.
What makes Hai! different?
Hai! features many artists whose work I admire. I hate it when I enter a portfolio site and cringe at some of the ugly artwork that is featured, because I know that is exactly what the art directors are thinking too. And who wants to pay to put their work on a site like that? The first thing I notice upon entering Hai! is that there is TALENT. Potential clients are likely to think so too, and stick around long enough to browse through the artists.
Hai! is heavily promoted online, in print, and through email.
Since Darren had a strong web presence before the site’s creation, it got a good amount of hits and publicity right out of the gate, and still goes strong. He consistently sends out newsletters and emails. For these, he gathers news about the artists and accepts contributions from the artists themselves.
Hai! also puts a call out regularly to its subscribers to contribute to its “mail shot packs”. These are collections of the artists’ own personal postcards, tearsheets, and mailers, which are all collected and sent out in packets.
Recently, Hai! also put out a promotional magazine featuring some its artists. A print version was sent to art directors and publishers, and an online version is available to view on the website.
I would also like to emphasize that Darren does a lot of promotion personally, and knows many of the artists by their work. He has the ability and know-how to suggest individual artists on a case-by-case basis.
Hai! is still a new site compared to its competition, but I’ve watched it grow significantly over the past year or so. It was featured by respected sites like Drawn!, and has received high praise from artist rep Anna Goodson, who had this to say about the site:
“I am very impressed with this website so far. AGM is on several illustrator websites, but none have given us as many job opportunities as Hire an illustrator!. To be honest, I am quite amazed and surprised how quickly this website has caught on and am very glad we decided to sign up. I also like the international exposure, that some of the other portfolio websites don’t seem to offer.”
Have you ever joined a portfolio service and posted your artwork only to watch it disappear into the sea of other profiles? Do you ever get the impression that your portfolio site is concentrated more on sponsors than promoting artists? Did you fork down insane amounts of money, only to feel you got nothing in return?
I have joined several portfolio sites in the past, and have had all these experiences with them. I have developed a distaste for them in general. However, I’m a fan of Hai! This is one of the only services I have used where I actually feel like my work is being seen, and by the right people. The attention to detail, care for the artists and the industry, and numerous promotional opportunities exhibited by the site make it a good option if you are looking for a new way to market your work.
Give the site a visit: http://www.hireanillustrator.com