Insights from Freelance CG Artist and Web Designer Oasim Karmieh

With over eight years of work with web design and CG arts under his belt, Oasim Karmieh is a full-time freelance artist who specializes in 3D Modeling, 3D Lighting, 3D Animation, Texturing, Flash Webdesign, 2D Animation, 2D and 3D Illustration Graphic Layout Design, and GUI Design.

Below, Oasim shares his thoughts on the value of formal training, involvement with various artist websites and communities online, and finding work as a freelance CG artist.

Did you get formal training as an artist or are you self-taught? What edge (if any) does art school give to those who wish to become full-time artists?

Oasim KarmiehI don’t have any formal training in graphic design, web design, or 3D design. Everything I know I’ve learned from trial and error and the tons of video tutorials, courses, and workshops online. The only formal training I have is in 3D character animation: I attended the initial three classes of Animation Mentor, where I saw first hand what an edge art and animation schools give you. It was quite a surprise for me; the most important thing you get while attending a school, even an online one, is a network and lots of friends- people who love the same thing as you do, who want to become better at their craft.

Do you work full time as an artist or do you supplement your income with other work? How many of your colleagues and friends who specialize in CG and web design support themselves exclusively from their work as artists?

I‘m a full-time freelance artist, most of my best friends support themselves exclusively from freelance art and design work.

You are present across many channels- from Flickr to DeviantART. Through which channel do you get the most new fans or clients?

Well, I was a big fan of DeviantART, but lately it’s getting lower and lower on my priority list of websites to which I upload my latest work. I think as an artist, especially as a freelancer, you ought to spend time marketing yourself as much as possible and upload your works on all the websites that are out there. I try to get invitations to all the new design and CG websites.

Lately, my website of choice is Behance, which is growing on daily basis and features lots of great artists and very high quality projects. I sometimes spend hours just looking through the amazing projects that are uploaded daily.

Social networks are very important as-well. I love using Facebook to promote my latest projects and make as many friends from the industry as possible. I use Facebook not only as a tool to get clients but also as a tool to get feedback and critiques from other artists.

Where can the most jobs in CG be found? Are there more opportunities for freelancers than there are for those who wish to work full time for a company?

I think there are more opportunities for freelancers because there are so many small studios starting up. They want great artists, but don’t have the budget to hire a full time staff member, so typically the best option for them is to hire a freelancer for a specific project. If the freelancer does great work and also has a friendly and respectful relationship with that client or studio, a short-term contract might turn into a full-time job, or maybe the project the freelancer works on will become a great asset within his or her portfolio, which will in turn lead to new freelance gigs or even full time jobs.

Having been on DeviantART as pixelbudah for over eight years, what would you say is the platform's greatest value? Does it help artists find new jobs and clients, or is it more of a place for artists to socialize and cultivate their skills?

I love DeviantArt; it helped me get so many awesome projects and make some really good friends. The platform’s greatest value was that it gave me really good exposure and enabled me to make some good relations with other amazing artists. That said, lately DA has been loosing that value from my point of view.