How does one go about hiring a freelancer to model and texture a couple cartoonish and very low poly characters and objects without it costing a fortune (for a small mobile game that might end up being sold, but will probably just be released for free)?
Character models take a while to make, even if they're low poly. They also require a baseline of skill not to look like shit. Good low-poly textures can also take a surprising amount of time to create. You're probably looking at a solid 5-6 hours of work to create a single character model for someone who's experienced, more for someone who's not. Swapping palettes and hairstyles can add a couple hours, having unique models for each character can easily double your workload.
Low-poly blocks, by comparison, aren't that hard to make (but if you want them to tile and look good, do count a couple hours for each.)
No respectable 3D artist will work for free. No respectable 3D artist will work a job that effectively pays them under minimum wage. If you want a dedicated artist who will work for free, make it a hobby project, expect to work with a student who will probably suck (if you get anyone), and offer to share the revenue if you end up selling.
If you really do want to try to get an artist for $100, my advice would be to hire a modeler to do the stuff you can't, then have your team finish up. If you have no one that can do characters, then hire someone to model you a waifu, do three hair variations, and unwrap/texture face and everything skin. Then do the rest of the work yourself, since I'm assuming you possess some art skills and are not planning to develop a game on a $100 art budget.
You can find skilled people who will do work for cheap. You just have to look in the right place (college students, interns, and the like).
But you also actually need to release the product, since most people who will work for cheap are doing so to build their portfolio. And you are betraying their effort if the assets they create for you, never make it into an actual product.
>You can find skilled people who will do work for cheap. You just have to look in the right place (college students, interns, and the like).
I frequently use Upwork when I needed an extra hand for any projects that is too big for one person.
The results varies a lot but generally try to avoid freelancers from Russia or India, their work ethics kinda suck. If you specifically wanted cute low poly anime girl, go with SEA freelancers for the best bang for your buck.