[identity profile] miryhis.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] artists_beware


Recently, I have been asked for two commissions, and I'm not sure how to handle pricing them. I purchased the Graphic Artist's Guild Handbook, but I can't seem to find a case that relates to the first one. I could be overlooking something, though!

1) Someone has asked for me to draw a logo, a mascot, and 4 pieces of art relating to their business. The 4 pieces are just going to be various electronics on transparent backgrounds. I'm not sure what to quote for a price, so I looked it up online, but I could only find prices just for logos and not for the mascot or the 4 extra pieces. I thought that mascots would fall under logos, but I'm not completely sure about that. All of the art will be used in signs and on their website. What do you think I should charge for this amount of work (logo, mascot, and 4 pictures of art)?

2) I have been asked by an author to draw illustrations for their children's book. I saw something pertaining to this in the handbook, but I'm at a loss because they want 40-50 pictures. I have no idea what to charge for that amount. I received advice that said I should charge a different amount per a page in case the author wants more detailed pictures for some of the pages. I'm going to meet with the client Sunday, so I will update the post with any new information. What would be a good price for a commission this size or what should I charge per a page?

Thank you for your help!

EDIT: Case #1 went through. Case #2 is in limbo. The client decided on 5-6 illustrations and wanted to pay $250 + royalties for the book. I was not sure if that would be a good price for that ammount of art.

Date: 2015-10-30 01:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zucci-zookeenee.livejournal.com
The mascot, to me, would be more like character design. You may have to go through various iterations, just like creating a logo, to get to the final product so to me I would probably price it the same because it has a similar process and development (research, sketches, refinement and final) The 4 other drawings though I'm not sure about.

As for the illustrations, I personally would keep a flat rate of per page based on information gathered from the client. Are they coloured pages? b/w? full spreads? Lots of white space left for text? Are you also expected to do text layouts for the pages? Are you responsible for choosing the font? Are they providing a script with direction or giving you a lot of room to make your own choices (which may also mean revisions)?
There's a lot that needs to be considered, I think, before just tossing out theoretical numbers.

Date: 2015-10-30 08:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kashidom.livejournal.com
Ok, I've got to double-window this to keep track but I'll try my best.

I've been in a variety of professional circles and the quotes you should give depend on a variety of factors. You'll have to use formulas to calculate the prices you'll have to ask.
If you want to you can shove me a PM with a few samples to give a better feel for what your art ranking would be, but the formula applies to pretty much all sold stuff of these types.

So to start off, both cases are distribution requests. This is a problem if you're used to consumer markets, because release/publishing rights are expensive and people with no experience can easily be exploited. Case #2 is actually easier in this since it's basically the same as most literary publishing. Case #1 is where things get tricky.

It's also worth noting that you need to specify your down payments, and say which part of them is refundable in writing, before they sign. The amount is yours to decide: full price, speculative quote, percentage, fixed price ..your call! Also offer a warranty and a refund guarantee.

So let's get started then!

Date: 2015-10-30 08:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kashidom.livejournal.com
Case #1:
You're dealing with not one but 6 commissions under one contract (you do have one, right?) ..it doesn't stop there, though; you're doing stuff over three distinct disciplines of creative release, a logo is a PR/PI design project, which are pretty damn expensive normally, the mascot is a marketing campaign, which is normally very rigorous to work on, and the four pieces of art are pretty much illustrative advertisements, which may or may not cost a lot depending on what you're delivering.

Now then, all six of them will fall under the creative-for-profit grouping, so that automatically includes your bonus and release rights.. this means contracts, big money, legal stuff, lawyers if there's a fuss and all that jazz. Fun times!

The formula I used to apply to logo design is based on files, file size and intent; will it be on just a site? Will they use it on letterheads, cards, printed media, billboards, or even the building? That all increases the scale of what you're doing. Will you design it in pixels or vectors? Will it be in colour, how many versions do they need, does it need to be optimised for certain media, etc. etc. ..there's a lot to keep in mind — however, the price to me was simply set to a specific amount I thought fair per file size or printed dimensions, or per hours if it was hand made (pixels/paint = drawing/painting). Public display cost more because of release rights and PR/PI campaign work (letterheads, business cards, etc.) was another bonus altogether. In essence a logo can bring you a couple hundred bucks easily!

The formula for the creative work (drawings/paintings) is usually: your personal value (time spent x effort taken[including frustrations, dealing with client, etc. if you want]) x your creative bonus (ego = is this my best work ever? or quality = how good of a job did you do? ..in percents of course) + release rights bonus (any sum that you agree will be worth their profit in your eyes — remember this is a one-time payment, don't cheat yourself!) ..if this is all too arbitrary for you, see surface area guidelines in Case #2 :P
Edited Date: 2015-10-30 08:41 pm (UTC)

Date: 2015-10-30 08:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kashidom.livejournal.com
Case #2:
This one is fairly easy because it relates to another version; comic books. There are more correct guidelines there but I'll not cite those here..

If you work per page, you might be biting yourself because that is a ton of pages, dammit! Here's where you negotiate with yourself: do you want to earn fair? Or do you want to get paid no questions? — in the former case, you're looking at at least a couple hundred bucks (potentially well into the thousand), in the latter case, you're looking at overtime slave labour :P

So, in this case the process is based only on the finished product. You can't look at anything before that stage, but you need to set yourself some rules to add to your contract: how many revisions per image/page/theme, how many modifications per stage, etc. etc. You're also working for peanuts compared to workload regardless the case, and the work isn't fair. As for procedure; you don't release anything until you have your concepts solid, you don't show the (raw) product before full payment, etc. (guess your guidebook tells you that already)

But, anyhow, to prices: take their maximum amount of pictures (not pages), page size and pages, then calculate how much surface area you're going to be drawing and calculate that base to a regular piece of your work at the same type and quality demand (say you usually do A4 illustrated works, or something), or go by comic guidelines per page for the quality required. Add to that the release rights bonus and you're done.

Now then, all that said, you're still left negotiating with yourself. Do you want to "get noticed", or do you want to get paid? That one's up to you.

For both cases, divide the final amount by any setbacks from your side (unwarranted delays etc — make sure to state when you have off days and such!) and keep a late fee at the side that you add on top per X-amount of days or so. So if all goes well you're looking at a nice amount of funds — usually somewhere in the hundreds for a logo design and somewhere in the thousands for the creative work.

Date: 2015-10-30 08:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] teekchan.livejournal.com
Whenever someone approaches me for anything commercial my automatic response is 'Commercial work starts at $1000'.
Most people assume they can pay you $5 and that's that. I dont bother wasting my time on anything where people can assume they can take advantage of me.

Once you find out the client is serious, you'll need legal stuff, a contract, and basically everything listed above.

Date: 2015-10-31 02:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kashidom.livejournal.com
I used to have down payments of €1000 before work starts on a secured account that neither could access without sufficient proof of reason. If the client broke their contract I would get my insured amount first and they'd only get their refund part (if any), but if I broke my contract I would lose my share, and if the transaction was completed I'd get that down payment plus anything else that I was owed before releasing the final product, or the client would get their refund balance if what I delivered was of a lower bill amount.

Even though software is something different entirely, it's still creative work and that high of a bill filters out anyone not being serious enough about it c: ..great suggestion, and great reminder of those old times too :P
Edited Date: 2015-10-31 02:18 am (UTC)

Date: 2015-11-01 11:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sableantelope.livejournal.com
You mean "deposit" not "downpayment", BTW.

I know you're in the EU so I just wanted to clarify for you that deposit =/= downpayment in English terms.

You have a right, during a custom contract, as a seller to keep a deposit(which is automatically nonrefundable whether specified in the contract or not) if the buyer breaches. So like what you've described, just you used the wrong term. Deposit is the protection for the custom contract seller from potential loss when buyer breaches

You don't automatically get to keep a downpayment, which is the intent to purchase, you have to return that. So just when dealing in English make sure you use deposit not downpayment if you want that legal protection.

Also I should add that in NA there is generally a maximum reasonable deposit amount based on a percent of the total fee. That 1000E may or may not be legally feasible say in the US,
depending on the total.

So sellers will want to check on that, also make sure their terms on what counts as a the buyer breaching need to be legally reasonable as well(for example missing one payment isn't breach, your buyer will have to miss two plus the grace period).

Yeah, so I just wanted to clarify that since it's important that in English language custom contracts that you use 'deposit' NOT 'downpayment' if you want that legal protection.

Also 10000000000000 internet points to you for using Escrow!! Majorly business savvy of you!

I wish that would become the standard for large purchases in the fursuit fandom. I know it wont, but I can dream.

Date: 2015-11-01 11:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kashidom.livejournal.com
The use of safety deposits like that is a standard in large sales that exceed standard consumer contracts, usually anything over €500 with major finicky/abuse risks. In dealing with software sale, for example, you have to consider all the time from first concept, data acquisition, design, interfacing, and pretty much everything up to sale, post-sale, client services (such as the dreaded customer support), warranty, and so on ..these kinds of contracts often exceed those €1000 but the "deposit" as you call it (we call it "pre-payment") is a safety for the developer/manufacturer and any court cases are also on the client's bill unless the company is in the wrong.

I should say I don't work for software companies anymore, and the startups I owned don't exist anymore either, but it's an entirely different world from this whole fandom consumer client stuff. I often get confused with how shifty/fishy people keep doing their business — I mean; the deposits can be put in at your bank for a minor percentage, it's not like you'll lose more than a typical hamburger meal's worth on it for yourself and some friends. They don't take big shares! ..and yet everyone still goes through insecure(ish) channels like just PayPal alone. One cashback claim and you're broke!

Then again, nobody selling their stuff has an official registration, so that also makes things a little more complicated too — and also very dangerous; your business is your home = your business goes broke, you lose your belongings! But yeah, I'm not here to lecture on business skills.

Date: 2015-11-02 04:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] celestinaketzia.livejournal.com
Royalties are too much hassle unless it's a big company. Juding by their ridiculously low price they are not big, and you're very unlikely to see substantial payouts on royalties if any. If they can't afford to pay more than a paltry amount per image then they can scale back their project or bring their expectations to more realistic numbers.

Date: 2015-11-02 05:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kashidom.livejournal.com
I'm going to second this, however I'll also add that, seeing how you even consider $250 for your art and time, it does say a few things about your own work and your perceived value for it.

Out of curiosity with this new information I had a quick glance at your off-site gallery (which I won't link to) and saw that you're in for probably work that goes well over your head for a realistic deadline — you're looking at something within tight timeframes and your ranking doesn't look at the professional level (especially in regards to dedication/consistency) to keep up with that kind of a demand without burning yourself out. It simply doesn't seem feasible for you right now.

To be frank, I would strongly recommend you either share the project across artists of similar levels and collaborate as much as you can or cancel this request. If you decide to collaborate, negotiate how you will share the funds and workload and work as a group effort rather than an individual — whoever signs has their name on the line.

Another thing to consider, given this low offer, is that they might not intend to publish your work fairly, as in making more profit off your labour (being a startup/small publisher for example), not being so intent on publishing at all unless the whole thing is already great enough, generally not being super serious and suchlike.

You mention it being "a children's book", which likely means that the value they attach to your stuff is already pretty low compared to industry standards (being in line with your own value for it makes this a real problem) and they might not treat you with the respect a published artist deserves/needs, add to that the entry level inexperience and you have a disaster waiting to happen — they're fairly likely to screw you over sooner, so unless you have a solid contract (which will likely scare them away) it's not really worth the effort seems me, especially since the whole experience is going to be pretty much a learn-the-hard-way-as-you-go ride for you.

Final line on this whole project is: work on your consistency and "artistic stamina" so that you can actually keep up with a large batch of at least similar pieces with a previously established (and very rigid) conceptual style — best is to invent one that differs from your own for the practice. If you're confident that this goes smooth you can attempt something half-serious, such as a donated project or a collaborative effort with a story writer for a non-profit published set, such as a webcomic. That's going to give you a lot more experience and keep things fun for you, compared to this overkill project that may burn you out and will likely make you want to give up on art entirely.

As for price in itself; by the 10th+ piece or so you're probably going to regret the $250 already.

Date: 2015-11-02 08:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kashidom.livejournal.com
Oh, in that case the price seems fairly reasonable. I personally know an illustrator who offers inks and quick colour work for a similar price per piece (royalties not included) at easily a fivefold of your average level. She's on the low end because her work doesn't sell much, she doesn't have time and she also doesn't offer published illustrations though, because of the hassle, but that's a different matter than creation pricing.

Updating/maintaining your galleries properly might be an effort worth taking up when working professionally, though who am I to speak when I have unstable moods? (I burnt out, nothing is ever the same after that!) Alternatively, you could keep an updated portfolio which avoids the embarrassment of a gallery :P

Date: 2015-11-02 09:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cidal-fun.livejournal.com
You say that they already paid a lot to publish the book, does that mean it's a "vanity-publishing" sort of thing? If so, you should forget about earning much more than they pay you, as vanity-published books rarely sell well. If it is a vanity-published book, it also won't have the same level of recognition for you as the artist that any other type of thing would.

I'd say find out the name of the publishing company and where and how the book will be sold/advertised before you move ahead with anything.

Date: 2015-11-02 12:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] celestinaketzia.livejournal.com
Your comment "the publisher charged them a lot more" speaks volumes. It's been quite a while for me, so others are free to correct me, but this reeks of self publish. Self publish means put out the money up front and don't even hope for royalties.

Date: 2015-11-02 09:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cidal-fun.livejournal.com
I think you might be thinking of vanity-publishing. My mind jumped there as well, and it's definitely a red-flag for not earning money from royalties. The author may believe their book will be succesful, but realistically they'd be lucky selling 100 copies from a vanity press.

Date: 2015-11-02 01:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spartanwerewolf.livejournal.com
Mm, the only thing I can think of, instead of turning in full sketches, would be to turn in something like a storyboard* instead, for each page, and perhaps a couple rough sketches of, say, the main characters.

If they've seen your portfolio/galleries, then they already know where your skill level is at.

*I'm talking like, stick figures/doodles. Enough for them to get an idea of poses and such, but not anything they can run away with or use.


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