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  1. #1
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    Iffy comic job - should I take it?

    Many pardons if I posted this in the wrong forum.

    I've been out of the comics-drawing game for a long time now and I no longer have a firm grasp on what one can expect to be paid. I remember being told that a very decent rate for a penciler to make was around $100 a page. I've been offered a $7,500 job with the promise of more in the pipe, but it's 100 pages... and I'm expected to pencil, ink, and color this thing. All signs point to not-worth-it, but I want to get other input before I turn it down. I think I can edge him up to $9,500, if that helps anything.

    Help?
    Tom Martin, stuff-drawer
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  3. #2
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    I also think I can get out of coloring it, but I'm not sure that $9,500 for penciling and inking 100 pages is worth it either... and that's best-case scenario stuff.
    Tom Martin, stuff-drawer
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    Hell man, if the contractor is legit take it. 7,500 dollars is a healthy chunk of change, and penciling, inking, and coloring all 100 pages would be most excellent practice. Plus you'd get your name out there (more out there if it already is). The name alone should be enough to jump on board. Your resume will be that much beefier when you finish, and if you got a badass well paying job partially because you had that 100 page comic under your belt, then you would be making that much extra money per month as a side benefit of doing the project. Right? I'm not a professional. I have been offered to be payed a couple hundred dollars for a T-shirt design, but assuming the guy who bought the design has the t-shirt actually produced and it sells then that's a boost to my confidence. The fact that he wanted my services in the first place was a huge boost to my confidence, which was enough for me to sign on. I'd take it if I were you.
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    Thanks man-
    Art is what I do for a living, so I can't waste much time for peanuts... Especially as much time as this will take up. Anyone else have an opinion?
    Tom Martin, stuff-drawer
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    I think you should take it. I'd kill for that kind of job here in my country. & as Sepulverture said, it's good practice! Think you're being paid for practicing. Just make sure they give you a fair deadline. would a month be enough? (that's a question I'm asking you). By the way I checked out your website, and I have to say you have some serious skills.. congrats!

    greetings!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Midnight
    Thanks man-
    Art is what I do for a living, so I can't waste much time for peanuts... Especially as much time as this will take up. Anyone else have an opinion?
    Exactly.
    You have to decide whether it's worth your time.
    Seven or nine grand sounds like a lot of money, but whether it actually is or not depends on both how much time it's going to take and what you could be doing in that time instead. Let's say we use your best case scenario, $9500 for pencils and inks, no color. If you churn the stuff out, maybe you can finish a page in two days. So for 100 pages that's 200 days, which works out to $47.50 a day. With an eight hour work day, that's a little less than $5.94 an hour, which is less than minimum wage in most states. Also, that's the better part of a year during which you won't be able to not only do other work, but look for other work.

    Tristan Elwell
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  8. #7
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    I agree with Elwell.

    The first thing I do is assess how quickly I can complete a page in the style they're asking for (some are quicker than others), then divide everything down to the "by the hr" rate. If it's less than I can make in a "day job," it's not worth it. UNLESS it presents other oppertunities like actual exposure, but that's a toss up--especially when you rely on artistic income alone.

    I'd tell the client flat out what I was used to getting for such a project, what the current amount works out to per-hr, and then see what comes up. At the very least they'll know where you're coming from.

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    back when I got hired to do some comic pages for local labels the payment for 1 finished page was around 200 Deutschmarks (about 100 dollars), but for the pencils ONLY, inks and colours excluded.

    depending on your working speed and your art direction 1 finished page in pencils can take up to 16 hours, so even your best case scenario sounds a bit weak.

    my oppinion: if you like the story and REALLY need the money, take the job.. that way you're on the safe side for a few months. otherwise its not worth it.

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  10. #9
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    do you have anything better happening? Do you have a high or low overhead? I personally like to keep working in the lean times, even if it's less money than I'd like, but that's because I have low overhead. It's a very personal choice, and depends on a great many things. I agree with Elwell that you'll be tieing yourself up for a good amount of time on a job that isn't paying top dollar, but that doesn't mean it should be flat out dismissed.

    I guess what it comes down to is: Have you got anything better to do?
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  11. #10
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    Yeah, it's pretty much just what I thought. I don't have a lot to do at the moment, so I might take it if I can get the 9,500 pencil / ink version of it, but I expect work to pick up soon and I'm not sure if I want to be tied down. Rrgh.
    Tom Martin, stuff-drawer
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    If you are not sure about it and you think that you can get better stuff (but are not sure at the moment) then you have the better position. Try to get just the pencil job with a moreflexible deadline so you are prepared if you need to shift things around. Leave inks and colour as additional steps (if you don't get the other job). If you are not that concerned about losing this job then you can try to change the contract.

    You need to organize it with the other jobs so you can only work on the pencils (at that rate) and need to support yourself with the other jobs. If they really want you they will offer you something better.

    You have be better position if they need your work more than you need it (as you don't want to be tied down).

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    My opinion?... as has been alluded to by other posters, the key decision you have to make is 'how much of my life am I prepared to tie up in this thing?' I would say that you could probably do a page a day (pencils & inks), but even at that rate you're tying up over three months with little chance of earning extra. If it were a lower page count (around 30), I'd say take it, crank it out, it's only a month, you could go a month without work...but would you ever go three months without work?

    Fact is, this would be regarded as a total starter rate in American comics, & judging by the work on your site you're not just starting out, so do you want to work on something which isn't paying you what you are worth.

    As far as getting you name on a comic is concerned, the fact that this company are not paying proper rates leads me to believe that they are probably not a very big company, & as such are unlikely to be getting their books distributed to every comic store, so you might not even get massive exposure.

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    I'd haggle for more money and if I couldnt get a good amount more, then I'd pass on it. Dont take substandard rates just cause you dont have a lot of work at the moment.

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    Also be sure you're going to get your money. You always have to watch out that you're not going to get screwed with the smaller "independent" companies.

  16. #15
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    Does it really take like 16 hours or so to complete a page?
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    I think you're getting screwed.

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    Why 100 pages anyway? Is that an OGN?
    If it is make sure that there is a deal with a publisher or chances are you will never see it printed.
    And if you take the job make sure you are getting paid every 10 pages, and not everything (or rather nothing) at the end.

    BTW that rate is not professional. An average starting colorist can get $30 a page alone.
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  19. #18
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    30 a page! man then you're getting ripped off!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Staz Johnson
    Fact is, this would be regarded as a total starter rate in American comics,
    Back in the early 90's maybe. Today, starting rate is, you work for free, or percentage of profits, which is the same thing most of the time. I was offered such a job from Devil's Due - guess what - didn't take it. As a n00b it's not common to start out making anything like a living wage. Guys with Marvel and DC experience can be had for $60/page, maybe less.

    100 pages, done well, will take 100-200 days, penciled and inked. This is the equivelent of $12,000 yr. Only take it if it's the only work you can get your hands on, or if you love comics so much you'd give your left nut to be drawing them full time.

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    I tend to argue with this being a total rip-off, for one reason. My dad was able to buy a house, a new truck, and raise my sister and I on 12,012$ annual income (disability) without getting in debt. A few people mentioned that it would take approx. 200 days if you were to pencil, ink, and color (some people said just penciling and inking) assuming you only put in 8 hours per day. To say that this is a ripoff because you aren't being payed top dollar is like a baseball player in the minor league saying he won't play for a certain team because he isn't getting payed the same wages as say sammy sosa, or something like that. Now, I know that you said they are offering you 7,500 dollars for this job, and you may be able to edge them up by 2 grand. I still think if the company is legit and will be good for the money, it's a job worth taking for the simple fact that it's just that - a job, and one that is at your feet right now. I don't assume to know your skill level, or your personality for that matter, but just personally, saying you won't take a job because it dosen't pay a hefty sum sounds greedy, or at least a bit choosey. But then again I also don't know all the details of your situation. Hope you can find a solution to this that sits well with you. Also, I was wondering if you had info about the deadline for this project (if you already mentioned this im sorry, i didn't go back through all the comments, just writing from memory right now)? If the deadline is a reasonable amount of time (a few months, 3 or 4 months) then I think it might be worth taking because (knowing that an average month is 30 days give or take) if the dealine is 4 months from now that gives you 120 days to finish it, and the (apparently) low pay gives you incentive to finish the job early and move on to the next project. If some of this dosen't make sence I apologize, i'm not all here today...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack the R
    Back in the early 90's maybe. Today, starting rate is, you work for free, or percentage of profits, which is the same thing most of the time. I was offered such a job from Devil's Due - guess what - didn't take it. As a n00b it's not common to start out making anything like a living wage. Guys with Marvel and DC experience can be had for $60/page, maybe less.

    100 pages, done well, will take 100-200 days, penciled and inked. This is the equivelent of $12,000 yr. Only take it if it's the only work you can get your hands on, or if you love comics so much you'd give your left nut to be drawing them full time.
    I was refering to working for the big two companies...DC & MARVEL, which is the only experience of working in American comics I have, where such a rate would be unheard of.

    As for ex DC/MARVEL artists working for $60 per page....not this one boy, if that was the kind of offers I was getting, I'd go back to driving a truck for a living!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sepulverture
    To say that this is a ripoff because you aren't being payed top dollar is like a baseball player in the minor league saying he won't play for a certain team because he isn't getting payed the same wages as say sammy sosa, or something like that.
    Uhh, we're not saying it's a rip-off because it's not top-dollar. We're saying it's a rip-off because MINIMUM WAGE IS MORE (doing all three jobs is going to take two days per pg at least).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sepulverture
    I tend to argue with this being a total rip-off, for one reason. My dad was able to buy a house, a new truck, and raise my sister and I on 12,012$ annual income (disability) without getting in debt.
    Financing a vehicle or a house is debt.

    In terms of the comic world, this is a good deal for a guy starting out, if it's just pencils and inks, but in terms of the real world almost any job pays better, and that's if he can get his pages pencilled/inked in 2 eight hour days. If it takes longer, than the job is slave labor.

    Here's a little more perspective - Misfile pulls in somewhere between $800-1600 a month in donations, for a not-very-well-drawn pencil comic with quick tone work. If it takes the OP 9 months to do the job, he'll have made about as much as the Misfile guys, but for more work and work that he doesn't own.

    I'm sticking with what I said, I wouldn't touch this unless I was dead set on having a career in comics, and in addition thought I could make it to the stature of Jim Lee, Alex Ross, etc.

    Staz Johnson - Interesting. Can you give us a ballpark figure for Marvel/DC starting rates? I like your art - how long does a page take you?
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    Sepulverture, after reading your last post I have one piece of career advice: stock up on plenty of lube.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack the R
    Staz Johnson - Interesting. Can you give us a ballpark figure for Marvel/DC starting rates? I like your art - how long does a page take you?
    Difficult to say, since it was a long time ago (12 years) that I started at Marvel. Then I think I started on around $90/page, but that went up as soon as I finished my first job (a 10 page back up story) to around $110/page.

    I would imagine a start out rate would be in the $115-$130 range today...but I'm only guessing.

    As I have mentioned in my Comic Art Thread, I do a page a day on average.

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    I checked the comic thread first but the pics aren't showing up for me, so I hit the website instead.

    $115-$130 page would be worth working for, for starting out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack the R
    I checked the comic thread first but the pics aren't showing up for me, so I hit the website instead.

    $115-$130 page would be worth working for, for starting out.
    That's entirely true...the tricky part is (being good enough/fast enough/in the right place at the right time) to get hired

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