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  1. #1
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    Post Job/Life Advice: (UI Icon Art and rates)

    Someday I want to be an environment artist. Until then, a few buddies of mine who are in the industry are going to pass some icons and designs onto their boss and he might bring me on as a contractor. They need UI icons for the game they are making.

    These are similar to the icons in WoW in that they have a painterly look. They are painted at 512x512 (then reduced to 64x64) and have an alpha channel. They have not given me any lists to work from, but I knew the subject matter and made 9 -test- icons to show to them. These took me anywhere from 1-3 hours a piece to paint.

    Alright, so here is the deal. I have competition. I am not the best, but I know I am good. EVEN if they choose me they are going to ask for a rate, and I know they were turned off by other rates they have heard but I am not privy to those numbers.

    Going freelance, this could be the break I need to say I have worked in the industry, as a contractor; the problem is I also have to eat.

    They are not going to pay me by the hour, but I am certain that (considering some of my buddies make nearly twice this) $15 an hour is not too high. So what If I charge them $35 an icon? I have found some firms out there charging $38-$60 for icon between 16-50px. WOW. I am not that confident.

    So, in short, even if they choose me, I could blow it by setting the wrong amount. Please help me understand what is good, what is fair, and what is normal. I am not looking to rip anyone off, I am actually very excited to work with my friends again.

    Thank you again (sorry if this is the wrong sub-forum),

    -Incomitatum


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  3. #2
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    Well, the first step is to decide of an amount under which you don't want the gig anymore. Never go under that.

    Second, the bigger the job they give you, the more easily you can lower your price, so 6-8 icons would be way more expensive for each icon than 100-150 icons. Because you can batch approval and communication tasks, it becomes cheaper for you (and for them) to work on each icon.

    Not knowing what salary ranges are like in your area, it's hard to say if your price is right. Try to have them make you an offer. If all else fails, you can state plainly that you are open to negociations and say a price slightly over what you aim for.

  4. #3
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    If all else fails, you can state plainly that you are open to negociations and say a price slightly over what you aim for.
    This is sound, and appreciated, advice.

    I may however need the concept of "more is less" explained to me. If it takes me ~2 hours to make each one, and they want 8 icons; that is still 16 hours. As I have talked to my 'mole' I know they may want hundreds. Lets say I want to make the equivalent of $10 an hour and thus charge $20 per icon. The time spent is the same, what would incline me to give them a break? Especially when contract work normally includes stiff penalties for going over deadlines?

    I am not arguing, not at all, I am just ignorant, and thus require more perspective. "This is how it is done, and has always been done, and how it will be done if you want to survive", is not an unacceptable answer. Again, I am on egg-shells in my head because this could be a big break for me.

  5. #4
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    It just tends to be easier and faster to do a series of the same kind of work. You can, as Qitsune mentioned, do things in batches. For example, if you have 100 icons to do, thumbnail out the first 20 and send them for approval. While waiting you can continue to the next batch. No down time. When it comes time for color you can lay down the flats for a bunch of them and then go back and do finishes. People who need to change gears less tend to pick up speed.

    Also, most people just find they get more efficient at a job as they go. If you were doing 10 icons, you might find you were just hitting your stride when you finish. All of the hard work was front loaded (deciding on a style, figuring out your work flow, figuring out what the art director likes and dislikes, etc). With more pieces, at some point you find you just have far fewer bumps in the road.

    If you really want this first job, I'd probably be open and honest about being flexible on price. Unless the company sucks, they won't rip you off and ask you to work for nothing. They have a budget in mind, and shouldn't go a ton below that regardless.

  6. #5
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    So as it turns out they want to do about 100 icons; and pay me close to $5 an icon.

    I was shocked. As a GUI Artist I figured (with these taking me 2 hours a peice) to be making around $20 an icon.

    They told me they are used to being able to get their art at a half page (color) for $35-45. So why would they pay $20 for a 64x64 icon.

    I may just take the job. But I don't have to be thrilled about it.

    Any perspective is appreciated.

  7. #6
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    Considering that you'd easily make more money panhandling on the subway, I'm not sure why you're still entertaining this. You'd be making $2.50 an hour which is not a fair wage for any person working in any field, let alone someone w/ a specialized skill.

    Personally, I'd prefer taking a crappy day job at Staples or Starbucks or whatever, then busting my ass at night on my own artwork, slowly and painstakingly building a portfolio that reflects exactly the kind of work I'd ultimately want. This would be better than having someone else call the shots while paying you virtually nothing.

    I'd only consider this if it's truly a guaranteed way to break into the industry - maybe the client has some huge connections and you are absolutely sure to jumpstart your career. Otherwise, I'd just work on my portfolio and target better clientele when the work is up to snuff.

    Just my two cents; best of luck either way dude

  8. #7
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    Well, it all depends how long it will really take to make them. 100 is enough that your pipeline gets streamlined. I say, if they are easy to work with and the icons are simple it can be worth it, especially as a portfolio piece (to get more gui work.) No one here can tell you to take, or not, the job, but what is sure is you should ask for a percentage upfront, especially since you did an art test for them already.

  9. #8
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    Yea, that price is a joke, man. You should be getting at the very least between $15-$25 an hour. Ask them what their budget is but don't waste your time. It sounds they haven't worked with a real artist before.

    EDIT: Remember... icons are mini paintings and sometimes the planning and preparing for what to paint takes just as long as creating it. I think it's fair to charge a price for an overall batch. But just know your limits and try to factor in how much time it'll take you to do them. Don't over extend yourself. Painting icons sucks enough as it is. Trust me... I know. lol

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