*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
August 12, 2022, 02:03:42 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 76 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: [1] 2
Print
Author Topic: Towards a Standard Price Guide for Illustration  (Read 7943 times)
greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


WWW
« on: July 16, 2009, 11:10:23 AM »

Some time back, a couple folks mentioned it would be a great thing if there were a standard price guide for contracting illustration work. After all, you wouldn't make a serious offer to a carpenter of $1000 to build you a house (for a number of obvious reasons), so as a designer, what are the prices you should offer to an artist or to budget for when you go looking for an artist? What's an offer you can feel is ethical when you make it, or ethical when it is offered to you?

Those are good questions for designers in the gaming hobby, and ones that don't appear to have easily available answers. This is an attempt to rectify that.

First off, however, know that pricing quotes for artwork can vary, because illustration work is contract work and works very much like hiring a contractor: there will be high bids and low bids, cheap contractors and expensive contractors, inexperienced contractors and experienced contractors, slower contractors and faster contractors, etc, and--more importantly for the purpose of this--standard price ranges you can expect things to fall around depending on what you want.

Like contract work, one of the reasons you won't find an exact list of prices is because no one can pin-down the exact rate you could point to and say that's "how much" it costs, as the price depends on the project and the artist and a number of factors such as size, materials, line/shaded/color, expected work time, expected exposure, intended use, rights, etc. There is often significant leeway in price (a standard $25 illo might cost anywhere from $10 to $120, depending. A standard $600 illo might cost anywhere from $200 to $2000).

The rates I presented below have been pieced together over the last eight years by talking to other artists, looking at various price guides other artists have posted on their sites, talking to publishers and what they've paid for what in the past, and finally from the Association of Illustrators standard rates and the suggestions of the Graphic Artist's Guild (via the latest edition of Pricing & Ethical Guidelines), modified for the RPG publishing niche.

I mention that last bit because, as a niche hobbyist industry, RPG publishing (to say nothing of indie publishing) tends to pay a fifth of what you'll find as standard in the book publishing or wider business industry--where you'll find standards of $225 for a quarter-page B&W interior, a full color cover for around $1200, or $20K for illustrating a children's book of ~32 pages.

Which goes to show you, if you're illustrating for RPGs, you're doing it because you love it, not because you're being paid what you could easily get elsewhere. As RPG writer/designers, you know plenty about that issue.

(Tangentially, I want to mention that I have noticed with economic downturn, many of the artists I used for establishing my baseline originally have increased their prices -- price points I was looking at a year ago for some artists have in some cases tripled on the low end. The following rates do not reflect those changes, and are still based on the AOI and GAG's suggested 2007 standards that I used to calculate the below.)

To break things down:

Artists usually present prices for illustrations by size and basic type, though some illustrators will charge based on time (or expected time, which is often how they determine their standard rates per size, they know generally how long it will take them to do an illustration of a specific size and type). Sizes are generally: spot, quarter page, half page, full page (at 8.5"x11"). You pay more for larger sizes. (Note: spot illustrations are usually little gew-gaws and bits used in various places in the work, page borders, little icons, that sort of thing.)

Black & white line drawing--that means no shading, just lines--is the most basic type of illo, though some artists charge varied prices depending on the media used (pencil lines, ink lines, ink and marker, etc). Grayscale is either line drawing with tonal depth indicators added with marker, ink wash, basic hashing, or etc, or a fully painted image in gray tones; again price can vary based on media. Color is the next step up, either line work with shaded color added in, or a fully painted image, and costs more as it requires more work, balancing a palette rather than just tonal shades, more expensive materials cost, and so forth.

Keep in mind some artists do some of these and not others. For example, I don't do line drawings, just grayscale and color--mainly because my line drawing technique is terrible and I'd have to pay you to use it (or to hide it from the world)--but I've also adjusted my pricing downwards for grayscale and treat them like line drawings. Other artists may only work in ink and acrylic, or pencil and watercolor, or ink and marker. Depends on the artist.

The complexity of and number of figures desired in an illustration is another factor to consider, as well as the use or complexity of background. More figures and/or a background will increase the price, especially on larger pieces, as there is more detail involved and thus also more work. For figures, this means distinct figures. A complex scene with numerous figures, such as a large battle-scene perhaps, will probably charged as a complex background rather than per distinct figure.

Another factor is time: if you want or need a rush job, or sooner than the artist contracts for, expect the price to go up. An illustrator who has to push to get things out and put off sleep or work twelve-hour shifts to get your illustrations to you is going to charge more. But this also depends on the artist. Some artists work slowly, some work quickly. Example: I have one artist friend who can bang out a full page complex color illustration in a few days (24 hours); going full-bore, I can do the same in a week (40 hours), but closer to two if the client requests changes during the process.

Time also comes into play if the artist has multiple commissions or is working more than 40-50 hours a week, at which point they will charge more for taking on additional commissions.

What rights you purchase for the piece will also factor in to the price: it is cheaper for you to buy one-time usage rights, while buying all the rights will quadruple (or more) the price because that image can no longer be resold, sold as a print, etc. and usage rights have changed ownership (the buyer can use it however they wish at that point, and you receive nothing for anything else it is used for). It is also cheaper to license the use of an image that has already been commissioned and paid for previously, since factors like time and materials no longer factor in to the equation (rights, exposure, and similar still do, however).

Exposure is another factor: this is why covers cost more than interiors, part of why large pieces cost more than small pieces, and why large companies are charged more than smaller companies. If your product is expected to have a limited audience, or is buried inside the product, you won't be charged as much as you will be if the audience for the work is expected to be larger or if it is part of the product's visual identity and helping to sell it.

You should also expect artists who are just starting out to charge you less, and established artists to charge you more. One reason you pay more for artists with established reputations is that you're paying for the name and the security and quality that comes with it. Established artists won't flake out on you and will provide you with excellent, recognizable work in a reasonable time frame.

And as you can see, all this is why there is no absolutely set standard, just standard guidelines.

Keeping all those variables in mind, I have found the following professional prices are a midline/ballpark/standard in the hobby, for commissioning one-time use rights for a single figure with a basic background, used for an interior:

Spot: $5-10
Quarter page, B&W line: $25
Quarter page, color: $40
Half page, B&W line: $60
Half page, color: $75
 Above with multiple figures: +$10-15 per figure
 Above with detailed background: +$10-20
Full page, B&W line: $75
Full page, color: $125
Full page, color cover: $225*
 Above with multiple figures: +$15-25 per figure
 Above with detailed background: +$20-50

*  Keep in mind a more likely price is higher, with detailed background and multiple figures

For indie projects, you'll find that professional artists will often cut even these prices if they really like the project on a personal or aesthetic level (I've done this numerous times, having done quarter pages for $10-15, and even a cover once for, as I recall, $150). Sometimes you can even get work for free--but you also get what you pay for in terms of artist commitment/reliability/quality/etc.

But as much as there are artists who work in the lower range, and will charge a buck per spot, $10 for quarter page line, and $100 for a color cover, be aware that potential upper ranges can run as high as $80 for a spot, $400 for a color half page, and $1000 for a color cover.

Now, to avoid the whole "But Raven said" thing, I'm going to hammer this home one more time: these are a guideline based on standard midline rates and average circumstances in the above listed factors; they are based off my own research and experience, and provided for indie designers to get an idea what a fair price is to ask (when they can afford to offer it) and/or around what number they will be quoted.

Note, too, that a quoted price may go up, as a project may require more time than the artist expected, you may request more drafts, or changes to your finals. This is, as mentioned above, because hiring an illustrator is like hiring a contractor. You'll probably pay close to your quote, but don't figure that as the set-in-stone final price depending on what happens during the project. Always communicate with your artist and discuss the cost (if any) of desired changes post-concept phase.

As the designer/publisher, you need to make sure you aren't over-paying for your product, either. If your design is only going to sell to your three best friends or small mailing list, paying out the nose for a color cover or hundreds of dollars total for spot illustrations shouldn't be something you are considering doing as a business-person (but if it's for personal pleasure, then whatever makes you happy). When soliciting for artists, mentioning it is a small print run product and what your budget constraints are is something you should do up front so artists can consider a fair bid price, and thus also whether or not it is worth their time.

Finally, it is a good standard practice to pay your artist half the quoted price up front, establishing good will between the both of you. And it  means if either of you flakes out, each of you has only lost half. If you have a contract (and why wouldn't you?), all the better. If a project is canceled, it is also standard to pay an artist for the work they have completed, whether or not your project is going to print: they have done their work, their job. So if they've completed an illustration, pay them for it; if they've completed part of an illustration, pay them half for the work they've put into it for you.

(There's a reason for the title of "Towards a Standard": feel free to weigh in with your own experiences and the average prices you've encountered. Questions welcome, too.)
Logged

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2009, 06:17:53 PM »

Hi Raven,

Here are a couple of nuances of my own art policy which make your post more difficult to process - for me.

1. I don't buy the art, I lease it. It's a really weak lease, too. My use has absolutely no authority over the artist's current and future use. I'm not even getting first-use if he or she wants to do something with it before I go to print. To take that to its far-end extreme, I don't think I'm comfortable continuing to use the art if the artist didn't want me to. So far, no one has ever said "Stop using my art," but I've thought about it and considered the possibility anyway of abiding by that (maybe holding out for the current printed inventory so it's not dead loss).

2. I pay in full up-front after concept sketches and some back-and-forth about them. Or at least, I've always tried to and usually succeed. It occurs to me that you were one of the exceptions for one of the Sorcerer covers, but as I say, that hasn't been typical.

How would you suggest those nuances play into an artist's rate standards? Should they? I ask because I have no way to tell from this end.

Best, Ron
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2009, 06:27:30 PM »

Oh yeah, a couple of other things. Artists have been known to send me finished work as gifts, out of the blue. Or on occasion to get in touch asking if I want some art which is best understood as "fan art," to do with as I will. Say I want to use these in publication. It may well be my professional/ethical responsibility as publisher to contact the artist to say "Hey, I should pay you," even though, significantly, the artist is sometimes very explicit (in both situations I describe, of which I have at least a half-dozen examples each) that he expected no such thing at the outset.

That's a pretty personal thing. I think I have answers to these questions for myself, but let's say they came down to a payment-oriented conclusion. My question for you is, am I, as publisher, or is he or she, as professional artist, at a time like that, even in the same zone where we should be thinking in terms of the standards you're talking about?

Best, Ron
Logged
greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


WWW
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2009, 02:34:23 PM »

How would you suggest those nuances play into an artist's rate standards? Should they? I ask because I have no way to tell from this end.

I thought I had covered how rights purchased change the pricing: "What rights you purchase for the piece will also factor in to the price: it is cheaper for you to buy one-time usage rights..." and "...the following professional prices are a midline/ballpark/standard in the hobby, for commissioning one-time use rights..."

But that's with me thinking of "lease" as interchangeable with "one-time use", and on reflection I can see significant differences between the details. Normally, one-time use would be "you can use it for this (or these) product/project and advertising that product/project, but that's all" and the rights to use are yours, period, for that thing. Whereas leasing seems to imply the ability of the artist to have the option to break the contract at a future point if they so desired and say the art is no longer yours to use with that thing.

My educated guess is thus that it is worth a slightly cheaper price by the reasoning that since the artist can pull his support from a product at any time, creating a significant hassle for a publisher, the use-value to the publisher is not insignificantly decreased.

Regarding paying in full up front: that is awesome of you, but I say what I say about going in half by both as best policy in order to protect everyone at the table (and because of how things often turn out or are run in this industry, with artists never seeing a dime or payment taking months or years--the opposite of money-no-art is considerably rarer from what I've seen).

Now, if everyone knows each other, hey, whatever, but in many cases, publishers and artists don't know one another or don't have a prior relationship and are literally feeling each other out at the table, or so to speak. "Is this guy going to pay me?" "Is this guy going to disappear mid-project?" Etc. But I don't think it really affects in any way rates presented or total amounts of any sort.

Quote
My question for you is, am I, as publisher, or is he or she, as professional artist, at a time like that, even in the same zone where we should be thinking in terms of the standards you're talking about?

In the case of fan art you want to use in a publication: gods, yes, always contact the artist and make sure it is OK, and check if they want anything for that usage if you don't already know beforehand. 1) It's polite, 2) you're covering your butt. However one wants to see it. But I know you know all that.

In case of fan art they have given you to use and said they want nothing for but you decide that isn't right, we're in completely personal territory at that point. If one felt obligated one could certainly use the above guidelines as a measure to judge how much of a return gift (or donation, or however you like) would be appropriate. Because that's what we're discussing in that sort of a situation: a gift.

Let's consider the completely fictional scenario: I paint a full-page cover piece for a game of yours that I really like and e-mail you the thing to express my appreciation for your work, there's a number of ways it can go. "Hey, I really love that! Can I use it in the forthcoming PDF? Do you want any reimbursement for that?" could be answered with "Cool! Yes! No, don't worry about it, just give credit." to "Cool. Yes! Whatever you think is fair/well, how about the standard rate/can I get a copy of the book/do you have an unmarried sister?" or even "Cool. But no, I'd rather it not. Thanks though!"

There's really no "standard" for that situation, because that's all in the realm of mutual gift-giving rather than contracting for services.

I'm hesitant to say that giving a payment to someone who has said they don't want anything is a good thing because some people may take that as an insult (they gave you a gift and now you're paying them for it and so spitting in the face of their generosity and so forth?). It might almost be better to find a different way to pay them back, in the form of a gift of comparable value, rather than with monetary payment. But I also figure most artists in such an "I feel I should reimburse you" situation will be just fine with whatever you kick their way, with the amount given wholly up to the giver.

All that make sense? Any of it not?
Logged

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2009, 04:48:51 PM »

Due to the internet, some of your reply is at a slight angle to my post which makes the dialogue not quite work. Let's try doing some of it over.

First, I didn't ask advice about what I should do as a publisher in the situations I describe, because that's my problem alone. What I wanted to know was how it affected the literal monetary standards you arrived at through your analysis, as you saw it. Most particularly, would it simply be out of the zone of that analysis? My thinking is yes, but it's clear that I need to re-explain what I do.

Second, the whole business about the artist canceling out my usage was a red herring, which was my fault for introducing. That's not the key part of the arrangement and has never even arisen as a faint possibility. The key part is my utter lack of authority over how the artist uses that art now and later. It differs greatly from the usual arrangements. If he sold it to me in full, that means the artist has fired and forgotten, with me as the authority over the art from this day forward. First-use means it goes to me for one purpose, shutting him down until I do it, and then goes back to him for whatever later.

My arrangement is neither of those because it stays his, and basically, my use of it represents one of his uses of the art, with payment from me for that. So having taken the payment and giving me the file, it doesn't have any effect on what he can or cannot do with the art in the next five seconds. It simply does not map to any of the standard deals; it's very close to saying that there is no rights transfer to me at any point, merely permission from the person who has those rights, which remain unaltered throughout the process.

Again, my concern is whether you think that arrangement fits into the existing paradigm enough to say your analysis applies to me. In practice, I've found it does not. I explain what I do, the artist says, "Hey, that means you get more art for less money," and that's what happens.

What I'm saying is that your analysis seems to me quite valid given a particular paradigm of "rights" contracting. But I don't operate in that zone. I don't fit the paradigm. I think that paradigm sucks donkey dick. As I see it, that also means the pricing analysis passes me by too.

For instance, I paid the artists $60 a half-page illo for S/Lay w/Me, which unless I'm mis-reading is well below what you analysis indicates, and one of them actually gave me the option of (i) refusing payment or (ii) paying only a nominal sum. Bad? Good? My claim is that it doesn't apply. I'm off that grid.

My real concern overall is that some artist reads what you wrote, then he and I meet and talk about art, and he goes, "No way man! Raven wrote ..." I mean, he can charge what he likes, but if your analysis is understood to be some kind of ultimate standard for all use of art for publication, then I have a big problem with it. I'm off the grid of the whole suckalicious framework of reasoning in which those prices you're analyzing operates. I also recommend that others try doing that. If your analysis drags people's thinking into that framework, then it muddies the water.

Best, Ron
Logged
Lance D. Allen
Member

Posts: 1962


WWW
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2009, 02:03:46 AM »

I think it would be very educational if other artists posted to this thread, with their own thoughts on pricing in general, and Raven's standard in specific.

I believe Raven's done his homework, but as I'm one of the people who commented that a price guide for illustration would be dead useful, I'd like to see it challenged and/or vetted by other artists.
Logged

~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


WWW
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2009, 05:02:06 PM »

Quote
For instance, I paid the artists $60 a half-page illo for S/Lay w/Me, which unless I'm mis-reading is well below what you analysis indicates...

By the prices above, $60 would be a good average for a half-page illo in this market. That's around what is average. And actually pretty good in the indie niche part of that market.

Quote
I mean, he can charge what he likes, but if your analysis is understood to be some kind of ultimate standard for all use of art for publication, then I have a big problem with it.

You're right, this has become very confused. Yay internet.

There is a reading of "standards" I was afraid would happen, a kind of set-in-stone "Toilet Paper Costs This Much and a Carburetor Costs This Much", rather than being conceptualized as a guideline/set of averages, or as an example for a specific set of general rights and a typical artist doing their typical thing.

So let me try to reinforce what I was getting at above in my lead-in to the prices; this bit right here: "...the price depends on the project and the artist and a number of factors such as size, materials, line/shaded/color, expected work time, expected exposure, intended use, rights, etc."

Yes, if you're not operating along the given paradigm for the prices I gave above, then the prices above don't necessarily apply, because you're doing things not-that-way. The same guidelines still apply, because they are part of why I said "averages": while prices vary by artist, the bigger part of the variation is all those variables, which include the terms of rights between the artist and publisher (and even the expected viability and scope of the project).

Make sense?

Also remember, the rates I list above are going to be lower in indie publishing circles because a number of the variables are different than with larger game publishers. The averages above are for the whole games market, not just Bob Publisher typing things up on his living room computer. The prices provided are so a publisher knows, generally, what's around a fair market value to expect/offer for work.

It is not "They are worth at least this much, and no less!" It is not, "Ok, I have to offer at least $60 for a B&W half page."

It is, "I shouldn't expect a half-dozen half-page illos for a hundred bucks." It is, "If I ask, this is close to what I'll be quoted."

But the prices are not non-negotiable points, like toilet paper and carburetors. They're kind of floaty.

But only "kind of", because time, effort, materials, etc. are still a factor. If it takes you 14 hours to put together a full-page B&W piece, and you're being paid $100 to do it, you're only making about $7 an hour. For skilled labor. (Yeah, that's crazy. Then consider that most artists charge 50% and 25% respectively for half and quarter, but are often still doing around the same amount of man-hours per piece, and that halves and quarters make up the majority of the work they get. The math is scary.)

However, a small or beginning indie publisher could probably halve or third those prices and feel it is a reasonable offer on their part (assuming a client isn't asking for things like exclusive rights). OTOH, a person shouldn't be surprised if an artist says, "At the price you need, even with that contract, it isn't worth the investment I have to put into it" no matter what rights deals are offered, because an artist has to ask how close to free their time is worth?

If the artist isn't paying his bills or feeding his kids with the money, if it's just something he does on the side, sticking close to the a standard or worth-ratio is less of an issue. But people relying on their craft to pay the bills are (rightly) going to be sticklers about standard pricing, because they have to make so much income from so much work every week in order to get by. They can't afford to take contracts that don't provide them at least a certain amount of guaranteed income.

And yet, in this industry, they probably will take those sorts of contracts if other, better offers aren't coming in: given that some is better than none.

Which is why I'm posting about standards, because publishers should know generally what's a fair offer--even if they can't offer that much themselves, it's not a judgment against them if they can't--and because I don't like seeing artists taken advantage of by unscrupulous publishers who know all these things and talk artists into doing more for less than what they should (or need to be) making.

Especially because there are publishers out there who basically shit all over artists as people and demand ridiculous, pathetic rates for work--rates far below industry standard--openly, publicly claiming that paying an artist less than a goddamn burger-flipper at McDonald's or grocery chain cashier is not just reasonable, but paying them MORE than that is an outrage against decency and artists who do want a better rate than that are greedy, haughty little froo-froo artiste prima donnas with no business sense.

No one on this site says that or thinks that way, that I'm aware of, but there is a fairly well-known PDF publisher in the RPG industry who expresses those exact thoughts regularly on his blog. Meaning I'm not making any of the above up, not the language, not the attitude. It is why, in many markets, artists get screwed regularly: they get paid late, never, or less than what was agreed. The work they put into something is discounted and dismissed because "it's art" so it must somehow not be much work so why should someone pay THOSE kinds of prices or THAT price for the standard?

It's infuriating, to say the least.

BUT this guide isn't for artists! It's for publishers. Artists know, or better know, what their time and work and rights and so forth are worth to them, how long a piece will take them, how much client pickiness they will deal with, and so forth, and should be able to tell their clients all this. And they can make a decision from "Honestly, people giving me any amount of money for doing this is cool" to "I need to make this amount on each commission or I'll have to stop eating breakfast" or even "I don't need the money for anything, but my time is valuable enough to me to make it count, though I'm willing to negotiate."

Publishers, though, are often pretty much in the dark about how those decisions are made. I'm trying to provide a simple guide for such, with the common rates you'll find from artists so there's something concrete to latch onto and apply all of it to. Maybe "standards" is the wrong word, even, with the wrong connotations. But I can't think of another way to put it that isn't wishy-washy and makes it seem like the price really doesn't matter, or is so loose that it doesn't matter. Because that's not true either.

I feel I'm forgetting one of the points we talked about earlier, Ron, but I think I hit on most of them. Is this all gelling, or am I being as clear as mud?
Logged

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


WWW
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2009, 05:03:03 PM »

...I'd like to see it challenged and/or vetted by other artists.

Me too, Lance!
Logged

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
David C
Member

Posts: 262

lost in the woods...


« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2009, 10:14:14 PM »

Other than it being an age old practice, is there any practical reason covers cost more?  (Just out of curiosity)

Thank you for the post, it was informative.
Logged

...but enjoying the scenery.
greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


WWW
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2009, 08:19:25 AM »

Other than it being an age old practice, is there any practical reason covers cost more?  (Just out of curiosity)

Yep, see above: "Exposure is another factor: this is why covers cost more than interiors, part of why large pieces cost more than small pieces, and why large companies are charged more than smaller companies."

The cover is the piece that everyone sees, and more exposure=more value; and I don't mean "exposure" in that squirrelly "I can't pay you but it will be GOOD EXPOSURE!!" line people try to use to get something for nothing*. I mean literally how visible to the public at large the art is. An image inside a book is only exposed to those who pick up the book and flip through it, but a cover is visible to everyone.

Art is used by being seen, and the cover is the most used illustration on a product. It also serves as the largest visual advertisement for the product: making it the largest value piece to a publisher. Given both, a cover is worth more in product visibility, both to the artist and the publisher, than an illo tucked into the corner on page 57, or even the full color pages in the middle of the book.

*If it will be such good exposure, then clearly it is worth quite a bit.

Quote
Thank you for the post, it was informative.

Glad you found it useful!
Logged

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
RabbitHoleGames
Member

Posts: 21


« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2009, 06:33:24 AM »

As an artist, I usually submit my portfolio for review and hope to be taken seriously. I am not a bad artist, but I am no Will Terrell or Francis Tsai. My personal commission prices are somewhat lower than the original poster suggests paying out. I may use their rubrick to fix my pricing scale on my personal websites, and do it by image size. Currently they look like this.

---COMMISSION PRICING---
Characters
Sketch: $5 + $2.50 per additional character
Ink: $10 + $5.00 per additional character
*Color: $15 + 7.50 per additional character

Background Art (Includes up to 3 figures in the base price)
Sketch: $15 + $2.50 per figure over 3
Inked: $30 + $5.00 per figure over 3
*Colored: $50 + $7.50 per figure over 3

*= More for digital work, to be discussed with client.

Here is a rough example of what I can do in pencil sketch/shade mode http://lucaspuryear.deviantart.com/art/Grayscale-Basilisk-116273313
Logged
David C
Member

Posts: 262

lost in the woods...


« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2009, 06:30:35 PM »


Yep, see above: "Exposure is another factor: this is why covers cost more than interiors, part of why large pieces cost more than small pieces, and why large companies are charged more than smaller companies."

...and I don't mean "exposure" in that squirrelly "I can't pay you but it will be GOOD EXPOSURE!!" line people try to use to get something for nothing*....

Sorry, I must have missed that paragraph my first time reading through. Now, I know that exposure isn't worth taking a pay cut, but in my mind if I was a fledgling artist and going to do any interior work for a RPG, I'd want to do the cover. So if there was two artists working on the book and I was new to the scene, I'd want to get the exposure of the cover.

The exposure thing didn't make a lot of sense to me, until I realized it was basically a convoluted royalty system. But instead of paying a percent after sales for "good sales" you're paying before hand for "expected sales." 
Logged

...but enjoying the scenery.
greyorm
Member

Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


WWW
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2009, 07:25:47 PM »

The exposure thing didn't make a lot of sense to me, until I realized it was basically a convoluted royalty system. But instead of paying a percent after sales for "good sales" you're paying before hand for "expected sales."

If it helps you make sense of the cost that way, great. But it isn't about royalties, post-sale or pre-sale, at all, and I really don't want that confusion to enter into any public perception of what "exposure" means. Because it's like comparing a screwdriver and a hammer because they both put pointed iron shafts into wood when they are very different things and not useful measures of one another.
Logged

Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Doplegager
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2009, 11:17:32 AM »

Quote
Other than it being an age old practice, is there any practical reason covers cost more?  (Just out of curiosity)

I agree with the above reasons, but there's also another factor. Not to say that any commissioned artwork can be subpar, but cover art tends to need to be exceptional. It's iconic and, whether fairly or not, is seen as reflective of the overall quality of the book. If I have ten color commissions, all the same size, and one of them is a cover... that cover is going to get special attention, which means more time and more labor. In a commercial setting, more of my time means more of the publisher's money.

'Course, I don't really work commercially, so it's a null point. But, if I were, that's part of the logic I'd use to explain the price increase.

Quote
Spot: $5-10
Quarter page, B&W line: $25
Quarter page, color: $40
Half page, B&W line: $60
Half page, color: $75
 Above with multiple figures: +$10-15 per figure
 Above with detailed background: +$10-20
Full page, B&W line: $75
Full page, color: $125
Full page, color cover: $225*
 Above with multiple figures: +$15-25 per figure
 Above with detailed background: +$20-50

Off hand, that all seems pretty on par for the range I'd be willing to work for (if I were actively looking for commissions). With a caveat that has been thoroughly brought up already- that pricing is a highly individual arrangement based on the interests of the artist and company- I'd give a nod to the above numbers as reasonable.

In my regular freelance work, last year I was paid about $20-$40 for quarter page pieces depending on complexity by a local (non-gaming) publisher with circulation around 5-7k. For the circulation, I might've asked for more, but it was a very regular gig adding up to about $160-$180 a week on top of the day job ($4k+ worth of work throughout the year). I consider myself a hobbyist, so those numbers were quite comfy.
Logged

"Never trust a cartoonist who has disappeared.  Cartooning is a way of life.  Odds are, when a cartoonist disappears, they are cooking up some sort of new project."
David C
Member

Posts: 262

lost in the woods...


« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2009, 03:01:24 PM »

Thank you Doplegager, that was a very good point.

Greyorm, I suppose I don't really understand the mechanisms behind "Exposure." However, I do feel I understand now why a cover costs more.
Logged

...but enjoying the scenery.
Pages: [1] 2
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!