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  1. #1
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    What kinds of salaries do concept artists/character designers (video games) make??

    Hey everyone...

    I'm a freelance illustrator, and I've just been offered a job as a concept artist/character designer.

    Would anyone be able to tell me what kind of salary concept artists/character designers make...in the video game market? I want to come up with a number that is competetive. I'm a good artist and I don't want to sell myself short!

    Help would be greatly appreciated!

    -Noosh


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  4. #2
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    The more skill / experience, the better you'll get paid.
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    well im kind of looking for numbers here....

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    Hello jemelitie,
    I posted some information about salaries in the games industry thread that I've been dumping info in. Click the link in my sig and scroll through until you see a title about game industry salaries.

    Gratz, and good luck!
    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.

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  8. #5
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    how about this. You tell us, where the job is (what city), how big/well known the company is, how much experience you have, and then maybe we'll be able to guesstimate some numbers.

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    well theyre based in florida, but i'd be working off site. theyre one of the best sellers out there.
    i on the other hand, have experience in illustration but not gaming. they're interested in me, and i'm good.
    theyre not offering benefits, so im thinking that should factor into my price too.

    does that help?
    Last edited by jemelitie; September 27th, 2006 at 10:02 PM.

  10. #7
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    If you have some work we could see by any chance also =)

    You could start yourself a sketchbook

    I m just surious to see your work and I m sure it will help people find a number
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    If memory serves...isn't the average 'entry' (ie first job in the industry) salary for an artist in the game industry $36k-$50k per year in the US, depending on skill/training/location/etc.?

    Your rate may be higher, but I wouldn't go lower than the minimum I mentioned.
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    From what I've heard it's between $20 and $40k on average for starters.

    No practical experience in ther matter, but that's what I keep reading.

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  13. #10
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    In the US the salaries are most of the time higher than in Europe. Then again in Europe you bound to get more benefits. I've seen websites saying that an average starting concept artist would make even $40k to $65. That number is in high contrast with what I earn a an concept artist. I think it would be good to go a bit higher than you would initially go for. This way it's not to shitty when they offer you less.

    Goodluck!

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    $20k to $40k seems like a pretty accurate number for an entry level art position, however, concept artist is extremely rarely an entry level position. I would guess the salary for a concept artist would be higher than that, because it usually requires a number of years experience, either in games or a related industry. Plus, concept artists have a lot more responsibility and influence in the overall project than the average modeller or texture artist, and the market for concept artists is quite a bit more competitive.



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  15. #12
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    $20 - $30 would be more realistic for a starter,
    A lot depends on the company, there are untold numbers of people wanting to get into games, so the companies can afford to be thrifty.
    With the bigger companies there will be extra perks like project/completion bonuses, shares, christmas bonuses, (from personal experience my last year of employment with a big publisher netted me approx. $7000 extra - including optioning my shares before jumping clear)

    But i wouldnt trade any money for my independence now,
    Let us know how you get on, best of luck

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    http://www.gamecareerguide.com/featu...2006_game_.php

    the data is from 06, but there wasn't a huge change from last year to this year IIRC.

    http://www.bankrate.com/brm/movecalc.asp helpful to get a general idea of cost of living for your area if you're on the list of locations.

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  18. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by hito View Post
    the data is from 06,
    To add to this, if anybody is interested in the newest data, Game Developer Magazine outs out their salary survey every year in their April issue.
    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.

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    I make a gafukenzillion dollars a year, have a mansion on a hill, drive big fancy car and a wacom tablet the size of your dining table.


    but seriously, I dont know- I dont do it for the money,, I do it for the nookie.
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  21. #16
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    Does anyone have rates for freelancers? Obviously they vary, but it's always good to know a bare minimum so that you're not getting ripped.

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    Visions- Im a freelancer, The rates go up and down, depending on the illustrations. On one job, I can charge from $350 - $950 per illustration- on another job I can charge $150 per character design, yet another $250. On the last project I worked on- I charged $3.50 per illustration, and I made a killing with a massive amount of illustrations. So it really varies on a per client basis. With your talent you should be up there on the $2k-up per illustration, brother.

    I always try to work with my clients budget, but I never sell my self short. If you feel you are selling your self short, you probably are. And don't worry if the clients feel you're over charging them, once they look around for other artist, they are sure to come back with a better offer (happens all the time). They get what they pay for.

    -JL
    J.L. ALFARO


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  24. #19
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    Thanks alot guys, these comments and links are very helpful. Feels good knowing you guys have my back -

    - Visions

  25. #20
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    I have a buddy who does motion graphics and web design and makes $100 and hour with an in house position, but I think he only works so many hours a week.
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    My jaw dropped.

  27. #22
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    damn. how many hours does he work a week at that rate?

  28. #23
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    Well, 100 an hour at 1 hour a week is 5200 a year.
    100 at 10 hours a week is 52,000

    I would guess anywhere between, 10 and 25 hours, but at either end he is a very lucky guy.

  29. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by JLAlfaro View Post
    On the last project I worked on- I charged $3.50 per illustration, and I made a killing with a massive amount of illustrations.
    Good on ya' if you can make this work, I guess, but three fifty??!!! What the hell were they, stickmen and smiley faces? Even if you're cranking out ten an hour, that still sucks.

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  31. #25
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    Also, I read in a book about Rockwell that even through the DEPRESSION, he was making 40k a year. I am not sure if this is 40k now or 40k then but if it was 40k then than damn, that's over 150k by todays standards I believe...

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    Justin,

    i have quite a few books about rockwell and he averaged around 250k a year for the majority of his professional career. He was the creative director for boy's life at the age of 17 for goodness sake.
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    It was a different world back then. Remember, in the early twentieth century, print media were the "new media" of the day. Before radio and movies, illustrators were the pop culture stars of the day. Gibson had a four-year magazine contract for 100 illustrations at $1000 each, and that was only one client. Maxfield Parrish's Daybreak prints were in one out of five American homes. By WWI, people were already complaining that the Golden Age was over, that illustration was dead. They've been doing so ever since.
    Each new mass communication/entertainment medium has a domino effect on the existing ones. "Video killed the radio star." And so it goes.

    Tristan Elwell
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  35. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Good on ya' if you can make this work, I guess, but three fifty??!!! What the hell were they, stickmen and smiley faces? Even if you're cranking out ten an hour, that still sucks.
    Yeah, basic line cartoon type of drawings, some inanimate objects- there was more to it but I made a k in one day- not bad in my neighborhood.

    What do you charge Elwell?
    Say if I wanted one of your spiffy paintings for my book cover? spit it out man
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[I made a funny post and I hope I wasn't quoted ]
Last edited by Dile_; July 31st, 2008 at 09:30 AM.

  • #30
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    Honestly, I'd rather not get into specifics on a public, google-able forum. But no, $2000 is far from a lot for, say a book cover from a major publisher in the US. It's at the low end.
    These discussions are so funny: all the amateurs look at the figures and think they're high, all the professionals think they're low.
    Last edited by Elwell; September 7th, 2007 at 08:55 PM.

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