While developing a new website I needed some custom graphics, primarily anime style illustrations, based on story lines that I've been keeping in a desk drawer for at least a decade or more. Several of the stories involve robots, of course. They could have been published just as plain old text, but since I'm a huge fan of Scott McCloud and believe in the core principles of effective communications that are embodied in his work, I wanted to wait until I could locate a good artist to work with. And, it had to fit within my very limited budget.
Then last week I ran across a reference to the Fiverr.com website. Fiverr's approach is pretty unique. Suppliers offer to do a specific task, like create a drawing, web research, take a photo, etc. for exactly USD$5. There are no guarantees, other than the money you pay is held by Fiverr until the task is completed (please refer to the exact terms on the Fiverr.com website). Figuring I had very little to lose, and a lot to gain, I placed several $5 orders with different Fiverr suppliers asking them to create a manga type drawing based on a photo of me holding Mondai-noid, my MANOI humanoid robot.
Perhaps I just got lucky, but the first drawing I got back was definitely encouraging. It convinced me that it will be possible to outsource the drawings I need, and to get my stories out of the drawer and into print (or on the internet). We'll see what the other suppliers come up with.