I've found an illustrator, who's work I really like. I saw his work online so have never met the person in 'real life'. He's named his price which is quite a lot of money. Therefore, I have concerns about paying someone who I don't really know. The last thing I'd want is for them to take off with my money without doing the work.
I've proposed half now and half on completion, although half is still quite a lot of money. If possible, I don't want to go through one of those freelancing sites, like Elance, as I can imagine they'd probably take quite a large cut.
How can I tackle payment safely so that I know the freelancer won't run off?