How much should I charge?

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  1. #1
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    How much should I charge?

    I hate to do this, but I'm pretty much clueless.

    For future references, how much should I charge for each illustration in a children's book exactly like this one?

    I know I didn't take enough for that one, but I let it slide as it was my first job, but now I'm not sure how much more I should take for similar projects..
    In a thread some time forever ago someone mentioned that people should not accept anything less than 200 USD pr. picture. Would that be accurate for something like Little Goldbrown as well?

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  3. #2
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    Estimate how long it takes you to do one illustration like this - factoring in the time spent on research, sketching, review with the editor, revisions, etc. Multiply by your hourly wage. Multiply by two.

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  5. #3
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    Based on what I could see in the preview for that book, your work at that time wouldn't have been good enough to warrant a professional rate. Some of your current work, eg. "Cute Little Librarian Monster", looks polished and professional and would work well as a style for a children's book.

    I haven't done freelancing, though I have worked on client projects through my company. For a rough formula:
    (the time it takes to finish an illustration) * (how much your time is worth to you) + expenses. Once you decide on your hourly/daily rate, you can find out what quality level the client desires and give them an estimate based on how long it will take. It's generally good practice to budget for double your actual best-case estimate to handle anything that goes wrong or wasn't accounted for.

    Clients always want adjustments, so be sure to set up clear limits on how many rounds of revisions are allowed. Indecisive clients are difficult to handle, but making revisions cost extra after a reasonable threshold (eg. 3 rounds) helps.

    Other people here should be able to advise you further.

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  7. #4
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    Have you checked the Graphic Artists Guild Pricing and Ethical Guidelines? They have a pretty thorough breakdown on typical children's book illustration rates, including info on how royalties factor into your payment.

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  9. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmallPoly View Post
    Based on what I could see in the preview for that book, your work at that time wouldn't have been good enough to warrant a professional rate. Some of your current work, eg. "Cute Little Librarian Monster", looks polished and professional and would work well as a style for a children's book.
    Really? Interesting. The librarian is older. I did suspect the book to be bellow professional level, but I also know that the client in question wants something exactly like the book.
    If its ok might I know what makes her more polished? The author had a really clear vision of what he wanted (particularly when it came to the colours), but if it's something I can work on for a possible similar book, I will definitely do that.

    *ahem* back to topic.
    Part of my problem is that I have no clue what my hourly rate should be. I can't base it on my old day job can I?
    My speed is a little inconsistent, but I can take and estimated average on that...

    Queen- No I haven't. I will google it now
    Might be a stupid question, but it occurred to me that rates might be location based? An American salary won't be the same as a German or Norwegian.

    Thanks people, this has been really helpful so far

    Edit: Oww. You have to pay for it? With transport and all extra costs, well, I kind of can't afford it right now.

    Last edited by Lady Medusa; February 25th, 2013 at 03:05 PM.
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  10. #6
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    Is there a Norwegian illustrator association thing? If there is, they should have a price guideline. Just like the AOI (UK) has different rates than, say, GAG (US) , or Illustration Quebec.

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  12. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lady Medusa View Post
    Really? Interesting. The librarian is older. ...
    If its ok might I know what makes her more polished? The author had a really clear vision of what he wanted (particularly when it came to the colours), but if it's something I can work on for a possible similar book, I will definitely do that.
    Let me see.. for this style, the appealing factors I'm seeing are:
    • Cleaned up (no stray marks, smooth gradients with no banding)
    • Limited color palette with colors that work well together
    • Clear, defined silhouette with very clean edges
    • Simplified features in a consistent style. good repetition of shapes
    • Generally cute & appealing cartoon style that uses sharp color/value transitions instead of line-work


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  14. #8
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    I'm Norwegian as well Lady Medusa, and you're right that where you live should be factored in when determining pay. I'm by no means an established pro, but maybe we could compare notes.

    I'm currently doing my first concept art gig for television. Twelve characters. The paintings themselves take me between eight to fifteen hours per character. Ideation, sketching, back and forth with the client probably adds another three or four each. The whole project pays 20 000 NOK. When I first saw that sum I was like "Holy shit! What a steal!" but when I really got into it I realized it was going to take alot more time than I initially thought. I roughly crunched some numbers now and I reckon I make around 120 kroners an hour (To give you non-Norwegians an idea, that's about 15 NOK less than an average low-level job, like a waiter or a shop assistant.) So it's a little on the low side. On the other hand, this is my first paid gig, and I'm acquiring some invaluable experience. On the third hand, I'm not dependent on this income. I have two other jobs and a student loan as well, so any money I make on top of this is really "extra".

    On the fourth hand, work is more fun than fun. Forgot who said that.

    I dunno if this brings you any closer to a conclusion, but at least it's something to compare with.

    Lykke til!

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  16. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qitsune View Post
    Is there a Norwegian illustrator association thing? If there is, they should have a price guideline. Just like the AOI (UK) has different rates than, say, GAG (US) , or Illustration Quebec.
    Didn't find one with simple googling, but I do have a Norwegian forum I can ask . It's kind of dead though. (Edit: Well I don't have to do this any more)

    SmallPoly - Yeah, I can see that when you say it. Helps a lot to know what people think about the points I'm really insecure about. Thanks a lot .

    Iambanana- It does! Thanks a lot !

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