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  1. #1
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    I need some advice for pricing a future job.

    Alright, here's the scoop:

    A friend online is willing to pay me to draw him a larger version of the samurai that can be found in my sketchbook. He's the first to actually offer to pay for work, and he's been a friend for a while now. We're thinking the total price will be around 250, maybe into the 300's. I'll be doing this when classes end so I can devote my time and energy to it.

    Size: 18x24
    Media: Graphite
    Support: Cold Press Water Color Paper (this one kid in my drawing class uses it and his work is definitely something you'd pay for)
    My time: probably around 20 hours, @ 10/Hour
    Framing/Matting: None

    Keep in mind, I haven't got any overhead right now, so this is just to make extra cash. I don't want to sell myself short, but I dont want to rip off the first person willing to pay for my work. Any suggestions?

    On a small side note: It's legal to buy a frame from big lots, then use that frame to reframe a photo and charge for my time, and juice up the price for the frame yes? I'm pretty sure thats called "retail" right? Or is it better business to give clients the "you pay for parts, I'll do the labor for free" deal sometimes? Also sorry if this is the wrong forum - I cant see it being anywhere else and I'm new to this stuff.
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  3. #2
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    i can't imagine that taking 20 hours unless your a very very slow drawer, i would say be more realistic, after all he is your friend, i don't think its fair to rip him off just because of that.

  4. #3
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    I have to echo Krato on this one. I'm good friends with an artist on here and even though we're friends, she's a professional and I pay her the correct amount for her work. I suggest you take this one down a bit and offer him something more reasonable. Yes, it's your time and energy, but it would only be fair to charge him something that is comparable to your skill level and professionalism.

  5. #4
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    Oh goodness no, I *dont* want to rip him off. I dont actually expect this to take 20 hours either. Slight exaggeration, sorry. Just wondering if all the costs and stuff seem justified and if I missed anything (solely due to not knowing it would be a cost). This is why I'm asking for advice on how much to charge. Besides, 250 may not be far from the actual cost - especially because this will be shipping from the US to Canada and I'm not sure what international shipping rates are. The supplies, time, and shipping, I'm thinking could potentially add up to 250. Dont know exact numbers yet. I haven't extensively looked into this because the whole thing came up about 2 weeks before college started for me. But the time is coming.

    --edit-- Please also notice that I specifically typed in the starting post of this thread that I DON'T want to rip him off. He's been cool, he's a gaming buddy, and he's had my back a few times with various things online. Hence, ripping him off is the one thing I want to make sure I don't do.
    Last edited by hitnrun; October 28th, 2009 at 12:11 AM.
    The usual staples for anatomy:
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    Joseph Sheppard
    Andrew Loomis

  6. #5
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    Well since its with graphite that should make it pretty cheap, i doubt its going to cost to much to mail it either, I also assume that this 18x24 project is going to be done on paper, i would say fold it, but really, do what ever you need... As for $250 i would say its too high, try 100 or around there.

  7. #6
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    Welcome to freelance hell...I mean art

    That sounds like a fair to high price for a black and white image for a new artist if you're going to spend that much time on it, but it depends on usage and rights transferred also. Is it being used for business or just personal? If personal tell him you retain usage rights including reprint rights (and you can tell him if you do ever make prints his original will multiply in value) if he wants all rights figure out what it's worth to you and him with that understanding. I always retain self promotion rights(can use in my portfolio). Might want to find a contract for freelance art and use it. I have one I made up myself so I'd be afraid to offer it because of any errors...actually I'm going to try and attach it, maybe if I put it out there others can help me improve it. Send me a PM or email if you find things that can be improved...
    http://rapidshare.com/files/29891341...10_27.zip.html

    Is he going to have input along the way and make you revise things? I'd charge at least 50%, and probably 100%, more if you allow art direction. And in any case always make it clear that time=money. With any client. Working for friends puts the artist at a disadvantage I'd say. You give a low rate and then put in more time and effort then usual so they make out all around. I'd mention something along those lines so they know that they're getting a good deal.

    This is for a friend so this doesn't really apply but for future reference, some ideas: I generally take the time I estimate I'll spend on it (and double it if I don't really want to do the job--then I'll still be happy to do it if they pay that much) and multiply the hours by $35. $50 when it's corporate or I think it's warranted because I know or sense the client is a pain in the ass. Don't sell yourself short, don't sell all artists short by working for $10/hour. You can do something VERY few people can do and it's valuable. Your time is valuable and so is all your practice and training. When someone asks how long it took me to get good I say "my whole life, so far". I hate to see all the "great for student or intern" art jobs on craig's list. You (and other broke, willing to work for peanuts artists-I was there too) working for $10/hour now makes it harder for you and all artists to earn a real income later on in life. It cheapens the industry-for lack of a better way to say it. By a real income I mean buying a house having a kid or two and maybe-I know it's a silly thought-being the sole income for the household. That not easy working for "lead fry cook" wages.

    "Legal" or ethical to buy a frame and charge more for it? I wouldn't do it any other way. I charge extra for printing out a copy of digital art, for every in-person meeting a client wants, for mailing anything including a backup disk of art I already emailed. If they want any revisions beyond what it says in the contract... I'm not going to wait in line at the post office for free. Or frame something for free. I have a scar on my shin from the glass falling out of a frame--dangerous stuff!
    Time=money.

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  9. #7
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    I agree about the price being between high and fair. But my advice is: Don´t put the shipping costs on the price. Tell him the price of the image, and say that the shipping costs are going to be paid by him.
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    Don't do business with family or friends...

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  12. #9
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    I appreciate all this input - I'm going to reply in sections so as to give you, and other viewers more information. All the answers are in the quote, which wasn't actually intentional..

    Quote Originally Posted by feral714 View Post
    That sounds like a fair to high price for a black and white image for a new artist if you're going to spend that much time on it, but it depends on usage and rights transferred also. Is it being used for business or just personal? Just personal

    If personal tell him you retain usage rights including reprint rights (and you can tell him if you do ever make prints his original will multiply in value) if he wants all rights figure out what it's worth to you and him with that understanding. I dont plan on doing reprints, but I guess you never know who else might see it and want a copy of it? Plus, the ref's used were NOT mine - I had a few of them, one being from "The Last Samurai" with Tom Cruise. I wish I knew the law better..

    I always retain self promotion rights(can use in my portfolio).The smaller version I have posted IS in my sketchbook - he suggested I put it there for people to see.

    Might want to find a contract for freelance art and use it. I have one I made up myself so I'd be afraid to offer it because of any errors...actually I'm going to try and attach it, maybe if I put it out there others can help me improve it. Send me a PM or email if you find things that can be improved...
    http://rapidshare.com/files/29891341...10_27.zip.html
    Erm, legal stuff is *way* out of my area, I don't think it'd be a good idea for me to "improve" on it

    Is he going to have input along the way and make you revise things?

    Probably not, cuz we worked all that stuff out in the preliminary drawing stage - all I have to figure out is how to make the values because I'm not trying to draw/render direct sunlight onto armor - it's suppose to be a foggy morning

    I'd charge at least 50%, and probably 100%, more if you allow art direction. And in any case always make it clear that time=money. He's well aware of this, and is also the one who said that if he likes it he's willing to pay into the 300's - which would be awesome, but I can't charge him *that* much. Not for a pencil drawing. If this was a color oil painting, I'd be charging a lot more

    With any client. Working for friends puts the artist at a disadvantage I'd say. You give a low rate and then put in more time and effort then usual so they make out all around. I'd mention something along those lines so they know that they're getting a good deal. Him and I have covered that base already.

    This is for a friend so this doesn't really apply but for future reference, some ideas: I generally take the time I estimate I'll spend on it (and double it if I don't really want to do the job--then I'll still be happy to do it if they pay that much) and multiply the hours by $35. for just about anyone else, I'd probably go with a rate like that. $50 when it's corporate or I think it's warranted because I know or sense the client is a pain in the ass. Really? 50 an hour for a black and white pencil drawing?

    Don't sell yourself short, don't sell all artists short by working for $10/hour. Well, I've recently found a few people who blow the hell out of my artwork (One guy in particular is where I want to be, in more ways than one), and it's made me realize just how much I suck so I'm thinking 10 an hour might a fair price.

    You can do something VERY few people can do and it's valuable. Very few people? I thought the market is absolutely saturated with artists.

    Your time is valuable and so is all your practice and training. When someone asks how long it took me to get good I say "my whole life, so far". I hate to see all the "great for student or intern" art jobs on craig's list.Never been on Craig's list before but it did take me a while to develop what little skill I have now.

    You (and other broke, willing to work for peanuts artists-I was there too) working for $10/hour now makes it harder for you and all artists to earn a real income later on in life. If I was better, and wasn't doing this for a friend, I wouldn't have gone with 10/hour. 35 is some real meat though. Still, this is just a supplementary thing. I'm still in college, about a year and a half from earning my BA in Education, and this is the first real art job I've accepted. My mother's attorney offered to pay me to paint her daughters portrait, but I didnt have time to do it.

    It cheapens the industry-for lack of a better way to say it. By a real income I mean buying a house having a kid or two and maybe-I know it's a silly thought-being the sole income for the household. That not easy working for "lead fry cook" wages. Sole income for a household? Hrm, I'm thinking promotion as an artist up the wazoo, with some hardcore skill to back it up. This is why I want my Masters in Fine Art. Letters behind the name (B.A., M.A., Ph.D), by law, garauntee a higher income. Or at least thats the case if you're hired by a firm or something. I think its true for Freelancing as well.

    "Legal" or ethical to buy a frame and charge more for it? I wouldn't do it any other way. I charge extra for printing out a copy of digital art, for every in-person meeting a client wants, for mailing anything including a backup disk of art I already emailed. If they want any revisions beyond what it says in the contract... I'm not going to wait in line at the post office for free. Or frame something for free. I have a scar on my shin from the glass falling out of a frame--dangerous stuff!
    Time=money.

    All of that stuff from "legal" to the end of the paragraph sounds reasonable to me. You never frame stuff for free, unless its agreed to - and I dont see why anyone would. Even though if you go to a place like Dick Blick or AC Moore, the frames there are easy as pie to put together - the challenge of assembling those rivals the tieing of ones shoes. Unless I'm not thinking the right kind of frame?

    Carlos If he's paying for shipping, why not include it in the price? Either pay for a piece then pay for the shipping, or pay one solid lump sum. If I was buying it, I'd rather know the *total* of what I was paying. I'm also assuming it's going to cost an arm and a leg to ship a drawing from US to Canada. Plus, if I was doing work for a business client, I dont think I'd ever pick up the S&H.

    Jason Rainville Yea, I know, I shouldn't mix the two. I don't know this friend in person - he lives in Canada. We're gaming buddies. I sort of thought that might make it a more acceptable practice.
    Last edited by hitnrun; October 28th, 2009 at 09:54 AM.
    The usual staples for anatomy:
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    Joseph Sheppard
    Andrew Loomis

  13. #10
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    Maybe this will help all with questions like this. These sites are just guides.

    Here

    Here

    and

    Here

    This last site is more a service about all graphics stuff, but it is a wealth of professional knowledge and freelance info.

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  15. #11
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    Thanks ArtMessiah, I'm going to look over them more in depth when I have time. Woke up at 9, class at 3, got NOTHING done at all in the time between.. Pissed off about it.
    The usual staples for anatomy:
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    Andrew Loomis

  16. #12
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    Are you talking about this pic?
    Attachment 739898
    Get some of the money up front. 10 bucks an hour is a more than fair price, but he may flake out in the end. I've made that mistake before.

    PS don't lie about your hours, or waste time.

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  18. #13
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    I too am wondering the same thing.... so far I've been doing things for free for family and friends, since they are the only ones approaching me for art... I do it in good faith thinking that's how I will get exposure, and that they will talk about my work to others (that's what they also tell me they will do instead of paying me.) I admit some I willingly give for free for any occasion like birthdays, but other times (like the million times I hear "when are you going to make my portrait??") I really dont want to, but I feel like I have no other choice because I want exposure, and they think its unfair that I would ask them to pay... especially because Im still a student and not really a pro artist. I dont know the value of my work

  19. #14
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    18x24 isn't a small drawing. Now, if it's just a character on a blank background, then of course that changes things. I'd price it at X hours @ $20/h. Drawing is a skill, I wouldn't want to be paid less than a Home Depot cashier for that kind of work. But I think 20 hours is a little inflated...

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  21. #15
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    Raoul, I wouldn't lie about my hours. If I did, it wasn't on purpose. But there is a work I'm doing now, and I'm up to about 7 hours on it. I'll get a picture of it up soon. Oh and yes the work you "quoted", if you will, is the one he wants me to do bigger.

    Ryer, I'm confused by your post. You recommended to price my work at 20/hour, then you said 20 is a little inflated?

    The finished drawing will be a character, full value, and the background is suppose to be a foggy scene - but he doesnt want much of the surroundings visible.

    btw, how much does a home depot cashier make?
    The usual staples for anatomy:
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  22. #16
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    twenty hours is inflated, whereas the price would be $20 per hour. So maybe 16 hours at $20 an hour. And I don't know, but a manager at most of those places probably only makes like $13 or $14 an hour? A skill like drawing is worth considerably more.

    But for a big drawing like that, I'd say 20 is fine. But you would probably do it first, then tell him how many hours it was.

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