Why you should not hire illustrators & designers on freelance job websites


I AM MR. MAIJIN. Before you proceed, be forewarned… the inscriptions marked in this chamber is meant only for those who seek the sacred knowledge of a trained designer, illustrator, Graphic Artist, Concept Artist, NFT Artist, and Coder for hire. Knowledge that has led even the most timid of souls into realms of success and results after they’ve summoned me to grant their creative wishes. 

why you should not hire illustrators and designers on freelance job websites

Why you should not hire illustrators & designers on freelance job websites

So you want to hire illustrators or designers from one of the freelance job websites or marketplaces out there claiming to help you outsource the best creative professional for your project. Unfortunately, there are a lot of problems with these websites that I’ve personally experienced as a person who signed up with them as a freelancer and as an employer who’s hired freelancers to work for me. However, I cancelled every one of my accounts with all of the websites, and I will share with you why below. I will also share some complaints newer clients told me after they had bad experiences using freelance job websites, which led them to hire me as their graphic artist and illustrator. To be clear, this article is not being aimed at every single website that may be remotely associated with freelancing services and jobs, I am specifically referring to those that offer $5 logos (yuck!), bidding systems, and ineffective algorithms which often damages the quality and value of the work being produced. While there are some good things about some outsourcing websites, there is an overwhelming number of problems that we should go over.

Hiring freelancers on a freelance job websites is difficult

Freelance job websites, in theory, are a good idea for a consumer to get a feel for the available talent before they find an illustrator and make a proposal… but there’s too many downsides to ignore. For one, you cannot actively filter through the talent-base on the merit of their public reputation (just the reputation they’ve manufactured on the freelancer website) nor can you review an on-page art portfolio to find the right candidate for your project. You will only get an opportunity to sift through the people who have applied to your posting, and those first-comers are usually the least qualified, but the fastest to reply. So, you will see ten people in your inbox giving you sales pitches on why they are perfect for the job, yet the interface tells you that they do not meet your criteria (why the heck are they in the inbox then?!), and unfortunately many of them do not speak proper English fluently. Basically, you’ve just wasted your time signing up to the website, filling out forms, and writing an ad to create a post that did not yield qualified results. when the portfolio art is not front and center and the algorithm does a poor job in matching you with candidates who clearly do not fit your requirements…kinda leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

let’s talk about the candidates next.


Problems with hiring candidates on freelance job websites

Most of these freelance job websites are dominated by international candidates within third world countries, and even though it will give you a high volume of responses to your posting, there are major problems with ‘who’ and ‘what’ types of responses you’ll be getting.

  1. Bad Quality. Skilled and experienced artists do not use these websites for the simple reason that they are often drowned out by the international candidates who charge very cheap rates. I’ve found the illustrators and graphic designers who remain on the website have poor skills and portfolios lacking good work, and the reason id imagine is that they simply do not have the time to invest in creating quality art and design work. Under those circumstances, they need to focus on quantity of work instead of quality, so they bid the lowest price so they can get hired over their international competitors, then they must work fast with an overwhelming number of clients to support themselves. That’s not okay for their portfolio, nor is that good for you because I am confident you are looking for their best work when you commission an artist. Many years ago, I unregistered as a freelancer on all of these types of websites, and I’ve seen my fellow professional artists do the same. As professionals, we know the value of our work and the process that needs to be employed to give the client the highest quality of illustration & design, and it is not cheap.
  2. Language Barrier. Before hiring me as their illustrator and graphic artist, I’ve received feedback from many clients who told me they had to cancel their projects and account on other freelance job and service websites. The common thread among the complaints were that applicants from different countries were all who applied to their posting, and after hiring them they discovered the freelancer had sub-par communication/English skills, and due to the language barrier neither could adequately communicate their ideas and thoughts to continue the work. Communication is the most important thing for a creative collaboration to be a success, so if the customer or the freelancer cannot communicate with one another then the work cannot be completed.
  3. Cheap Rates Gets Cheap Service. Since many of the candidates are from different countries where illustration or design doesn’t seem to be a bankable industry. You will find many illustrators or designers from third world countries charge a small quote for artwork, but you can expect the time they put into your project work to be a small amount of time. You get what you pay for in most cases.

The industry of Illustration and design is fairly narrow, but those claiming to be a qualified designer or illustrator are far and wide. Yet, you’ll find the majority of these artists are merely “fast food order takers” who will take on any project, even if they are unqualified for it, try to get it done as fast as possible and produce horrible work, then repeat the process! That’s not a career you’d want to invest in, and that kind of business practice should not be rewarded. The consumer may think this is normal protocol for creative professional – but it isn’t! A client should not have to keep their expectations low due to the reputation that these freelance websites have propagated, we are all aware that a large portion of the artists and designers on these freelance job websites are more concerned with looking the part, than showing past examples of delivering high quality work, designing excellence, and creating bankable results for their clients. Most simply don’t have it! That is the inherent danger of putting your trust in freelance job websites where any regular person can sign up and say they are a professional artist or illustrator.

No Legal Protection when Hiring on Freelance Job Websites

What kind of legal protection are you offered if you hired a candidate on freelance job websites? What if the candidate you hired gave you bad service, what rights do you have in a dispute?

  1. Different Country, Different Laws. As far as I’ve seen, none of the freelance job websites offer a standard work for hire contract, non-disclosure, or non-compete agreement that will allow you to protect and secure full copyright and trademark to the work created using their platform. It is very tricky to protect or establish IP rights when you are working on an international scale. Let’s say you are hiring someone out of the country using one of the outsourcing websites, because you want to save on budget costs for your project. If you are creating a new intellectual property where your rights and ownership to the artwork are important to you, you will want to own the right to everything unquestionably. So outsourcing work in another country may not be in your best interest, unless of course, you are an expert on international I.P. and trademark law. Overall, you’d be better off to hire a freelance artist or designer in your country even if it will cost a little more, but you can sleep better at night knowing that you’d have more protection in retaining your full copyright and trademark to any of the work produced by the freelancer.
  2. Little to No Client Protection for disputes. If you read the fine print of most of the freelance job websites who claim to want to match your project with a creative professional, you will see that they favor the freelance worker over you, the client. Meaning, if you run into any of the problems I mentioned above where you are unsatisfied with the service of the freelancer and you decide the cancel the agreement for a refund. Under the terms of use, the freelancer has a right to dispute the refund even if they didn’t deliver the product or service, and 99% of the time they will win the case. The only way you can dispute the matter is if you pay a few hundred dollars in outside arbitration because most freelance job websites refuse to take the position of an arbitrator, as it saves them on liability and extra costs. So, you could be potentially out of time, out of product, out of money, and out of luck.

Freelance job websites may work well for some, and I’d say the clear majority of creative professionals and clients will lose significantly in the long term because the freelance job websites are encouraging the behavior geared toward price gouging. When a site is built on an auction of services where price bidding is the central function, then you can bet that bidding system will quickly compromise on value, corrode quality, and crush results on all levels. Freelance job websites also devalue the rights of the client, because they do not offer a definitive method to protect your Intellectual Property or trademark rights, nor do they protect your money against bad service due to a loophole in their dispute process.

If you want to find and hire a reliable illustrator, graphic artist, concept artist, or graphic designer. See how i’ve helped past clients by reading their feedback and reviews about my art and design services, then get in touch with me at and let’s start talking about your project needs with a free consultation!

Picture of DREW


A professional graphic artist, designer, illustrator, and concept artist for hire who serves as the art outsourcing solution for a variety of industries. He also shares his expert knowledge through his blog, by delivering his brand of rich content in graphic design, concept art, illustration, logo design, storyboards, architectural renderings, book cover, drawing, painting, and much more. Learn More >

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.