What kinds of salaries do concept artists/character designers (video games) make?? - Page 5
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  1. #121
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    I also agree, Omen. I would pay about 350. The only issue is, what if the book sells a lot?(probably not, but I dunno. Weird stuff happens)

    IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMISSION ME: Please read this: http://www.imaginetheending.net/?page_id=151.

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  2. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImagineTheEnding View Post
    I have a question about pricing. So, I am not necessarily an Illustrator, but a comic book artist. Recently I have been doing more and more Illustrating, however have NO IDEA how to price myself since I haven't been doing it professionally (it's more like a hobby).

    So, since I am looking at myself in that kind of light, I don't know what's the appropriate price I should charge per hour. I don't want to over price or under price. For example, a man wants to use this image as a book cover:
    Attachment 1105138

    How much do you guys think this would be worth? How much would it be per hour? Since I don't take myself all that seriously (I know that's really dumb of me), I'd sell this for like $100. Since I spent about 3 (12 hours each) days on this, that would mean like about 3 dollars per hour. And that to me sounds a bit under priced. Or maybe it isn't?
    First of all, hourly rates have no absolutely no relevance when licensing existing work. Things you need to know to price this properly:
    Self-published or real publisher? If a real publisher, small press or major? (I assume self-published, since an individual contacted you.)
    Hardcover or paperback?
    How big a print run?
    And, most importantly, how extensive are the rights they want?
    This book is flawed, but it at least will give you a starting point and educate you about the issues:http://www.amazon.com/Graphic-Artist...dp/0932102158/

    But honestly, if you let someone use one of your images for a book cover for $100, I will personally come to your house and break your drawing hand.


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  4. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    First of all, hourly rates have no absolutely no relevance when licensing existing work. Things you need to know to price this properly:
    Self-published or real publisher? If a real publisher, small press or major? (I assume self-published, since an individual contacted you.)
    Hardcover or paperback?
    How big a print run?
    And, most importantly, how extensive are the rights they want?
    This book is flawed, but it at least will give you a starting point and educate you about the issues:http://www.amazon.com/Graphic-Artist...dp/0932102158/

    But honestly, if you let someone use one of your images for a book cover for $100, I will personally come to your house and break your drawing hand.
    It'd be a group trip!

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
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  5. #124
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    I respect Elwell and I believe him since he is actively in the market more than I am at this point. But how the hell are people doing covers for 350? My first crappy book cover in 1985 I was paid 1200. When I stopped and went into Games in 1990 I was up to 2000 a cover, 21 years ago... When I did netrunner cards in 1996 I got 350 a piece but they were cards. Ya'll need to get some R-E-S-P-E-C-T as Aretha would say.

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  7. #125
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    350 is still ridiculous, just less ridiculous than 100. If this is a self-published book, they probably won't want to pay any decent money, because they never do. Feel free to negotiate a royalty if you want, but it doesn't really matter, because they won't sell any copies, anyway. The only self-published books that ever end up selling are ones that get picked up by major publishers, and you can bet the first thing they do is get rid of the amateurish cover design.


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  9. #126
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    Okay, so 1000 dollars does seem like the price. I'll just go ahead and tell him this price, and if it is too expensive (which it will be), then I'll just keep the image and say this was experience.

    Does that sounds like a decent enough decision?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    you can bet the first thing they do is get rid of the amateurish cover design.
    My work seems amateurish? Oh well, that makes sense, so I really can't argue.

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  10. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImagineTheEnding View Post
    Okay, so 1000 dollars does seem like the price. I'll just go ahead and tell him this price, and if it is too expensive (which it will be), then I'll just keep the image and say this was experience.

    Does that sounds like a decent enough decision?



    My work seems amateurish? Oh well, that makes sense, so I really can't argue.
    Don't think he meant that as a swipe at you. He meant that if the book self-pubbed was ever picked up by a major house.

    And vanity press' don't do quality covers. Indie pubs do, self-pubbed, only if the person has some experience.

    Don't sell yourself short, as the cliche goes!

    "Everything must serve the idea. The means used to convey the idea should be the simplest and clear. Just what is required. No extra images. To me this is a universal principle of art. Saying as much as possible with a minimum of means."
    -John Huston, Director
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  11. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by OmenSpirits View Post
    Don't think he meant that as a swipe at you. He meant that if the book self-pubbed was ever picked up by a major house.

    And vanity press' don't do quality covers. Indie pubs do, self-pubbed, only if the person has some experience.

    Don't sell yourself short, as the cliche goes!

    Than I take what I said back.

    And thanks guys soo much! You guys have no idea how much this has helped me out. It's taught me a lot of information on the business and how I see myself.

    IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO COMMISSION ME: Please read this: http://www.imaginetheending.net/?page_id=151.

    Check out my website: http://www.ImagineTheEnding.net/

    And my sketch book:
    http://conceptart.org/forums/showthr...agineTheEnding
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  12. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImagineTheEnding View Post
    How much do you guys think this would be worth? How much would it be per hour? Since I don't take myself all that seriously (I know that's really dumb of me), I'd sell this for like $100. Since I spent about 3 (12 hours each) days on this, that would mean like about 3 dollars per hour. And that to me sounds a bit under priced. Or maybe it isn't?

    I seriously have no idea. I went to look it up on different websites and threads but it's all going over my head.
    Well, let's do some math here. You are charging $100 for 4.5 regular workdays (8h each) of work. Assuming this was a wage -- that is, if every 4.5 days a guy came to you and bought your artwork no questions asked for $100, you'd be getting about $660 a month. Of that about a hundred would vanish in taxes, so you're down to $560. The cheapest bachelor suite I see in the ads is $415 so every week you would have a shiny $36 to spend on food, phone, internet, entertainment, health, transportation and whatnot. Need to replace your computer? All you have to do is not eat for six months and it's yours.

    And this is ONLY if customers show up with clockwork regularity. If you only get one of these this month you are now living in a cardboard box and eating out of the dumpster.

    This is all based on living standards here, of course, where the taxes are reasonably high but the rents aren't too exciting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vineris View Post
    Well, let's do some math here... you'd be getting about $660 a month....The cheapest bachelor suite I see in the ads is $415
    Bear in mind that ImagineTheEnding is in NYC, where $415 wouldn't get her even the crappiest apartment...

    And what Elwell said is important: selling rights to use the work is completely different than an hourly rate. This is not a perfect analogy, but think of licensing you art like renting out your car: you get paid according to how much the client drives it around. If they only drive short distances on local roads, you'd get paid less. If they drive around a lot and take your car to many different towns, you get paid more. If they ask you not to rent that particular vehicle to anyone else (i.e. exclusive rights, meaning that you will be cut off from other income opportunities), then you should get paid a lot more. And if they want to purchase the entire car, that's called a 'work-for-hire' and it costs the most.

    If someone contracts you to do an original illustration, that's sorta like asking you to build a custom car from scratch. They should pay you for the labor to build it and the right to drive it around (assuming it's not a work for hire, in which case they'd be buying ownership outright). So, that actual time and labor spent is where an hourly rate is more relevant. But remember that contracting your services as a bookcover illustrator is very different than working as an in-house concept artist for games, which is what this thread was originally about. As a general rule of thumb, illustrators make their living more from licensing the rights to their images than they do from charging for their time and labor.

    Anyway, in this case ImagineTheEnding, you already had the art which means that this car was already sitting in your garage. So you're just selling one-time printing rights and an hourly rate probably shouldn't factor in so much. The question should be: "what is fair and/or the most this guy is willing to pay for the right to print this image once on his bookcover?" Pro cover artists can charge thousands for this right, but remember that he is a random self-publisher off the internet and that you are a self-described hobbyist.

    Backtracking a bit to the hourly rate thing, remember that illustration/design are highly specialized skills that take years to develop. Unlike a normal office job, an employer cannot take an average person, give them a couple training seminars, and then have a skillful artist at their disposal. So don't sell yourself short; even if not yet fully professional, you should be thinking more along the lines of $25 per hour and never never anything near minimum wage. After a few years, when you've taken your licks and are starting to develop some genuine capability, you might be charging $50 per hour. If and when you become an elite and sought-after artist, increasingly able to provide unique creative solutions, you can charge more and more accordingly. Your hourly rate is a reflection of your proven ability to resolve your clients visual problems, not a reflection of your minimal living expenses.

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  16. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Lambrakis View Post
    Bear in mind that ImagineTheEnding is in NYC, where $415 wouldn't get her even the crappiest apartment...
    Yeah, that's why I added that last bit. I imagine that you'd be stacking people into that bachelor apartment like sardines in a can if you were trying to rent something for $415 in NYC.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Lambrakis View Post
    Your hourly rate is a reflection of your proven ability to resolve your clients visual problems, not a reflection of your minimal living expenses.
    Although even just thinking about the living expenses helps to put things in perspective and figure out ways to not waste time. I remember abandoning a few "great ideas" when I realized how much work I'd have to put in just to match what was coming in as interest from my savings account. You know something is a bad bet when you have to work like a dog and you're not even beating the crappy rates your bank's giving you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    But honestly, if you let someone use one of your images for a book cover for $100, I will personally come to your house and break your drawing hand.
    Well, at least you guys now know what to do to get Elwell to come to your house.

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    This thread has been a pleasure to read. So helpful!



    ART. MORE. NOW.

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    OK, I just got out of college and am looking for any kind of work I can find. First guy to get back to me about potential freelance work says my work is functional, but he needs to see that I can draw in the particular style of the franchise. He gives me a description for a test illustration he wants me to do, and basically describes every detail including specific models of objects from the universe. However he doesn't give me any reference, and says that part of the test is looking up reference on these fictional vehicles and weapons on my own because he doesn't have time to give all of his artists references all the time. Not what I expected, but whatever, I can deal with it.

    Spent the last 2 hours scouring for any reference images I can find. Nothing. Keep in mind this is supposed to be a full color illustration, and is only a test, no pay. IF he likes it, the most I can make on subsequent full color illustrations is $300, and could be as low as $100. And I don't get paid until 60 days after the illustration prints, whenever that is.

    Feeling really frustrated right now and I'm not sure if it's even worth my time to work with this guy. The only reason I would want to is because it's my first potential offer (emphasis on potential), and perhaps working shitty jobs like this is part of the dues you have to pay to get into the career.

    What do you guys think?

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  22. #135
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    No this is BS. Pro developers pay for this kind of stuff. I never work for free, never have. And 60 days is wrong 50% upfront and balance due 30 days after satisfactory completion or he can go peddle his crap to the Craigslist/Odesk crowd. Who needs them.

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    Ok thanks. I had pretty much come to the same conclusion, but I had to be sure that it wasn't something everybody goes through at first.

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    Just remember these kinds of developers have always been there. Its like on any given day there is probably drug dealing and prostitution going on in your city but you don't want to be a part of it. Same with these developers they are the bottom end of the spectrum for contract work.

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  27. #138
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    I wouldn't touch it - not now, not when I was getting started. That is total bullshit that he can't provide style reference as well, and an indication of someone with no clue. You always provide style reference...at least I always do. Yeah, not part of the dues to be paid...that's the occasional 18 hour work day and 70+ hour weeks during crunch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Liffey View Post
    What do you guys think?
    Ask him for a test cheque. Tell him you can't possibly start working unless you know whether his bank account matches your specifications.

    (Actually don't... it's not very professional. It would be funny though.)

    But seriously... you could spend that time working on a personal project that might bring you income in the future. It's a much better investment than providing free art to Random Guy who might never be in a position to pay or promote you.

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    It's worth noting that Game Developer magazine puts out an anonymous salary survey every year. I wonder sometimes about the accuracy, given that A: there could be a skewing of the data based on who has responded to the voluntary survey,
    and more importantly B: the numbers given are averages but I'm not sure they're weighted - I'd love to see the raw data.

    That said, the average salary for someone in the art department of a video game company who has less than 3 years experience is 45k. If you'd like details the mag is pretty cheap- I'd encourage anyone interested to pick it up. The survey results were in the April 2011 issue. I also wonder if there's a difference in pay depending on specialty - I know in film technical artists who make particle effects for water or explosions get a shitload of money. That could be because it requires both art and programming training, but still- they make bank.

    Last edited by MLutz; May 19th, 2011 at 11:07 PM. Reason: said mode, meant weighted mean
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    This thread deserves to be pickes up again.

    After my first year of really low paid freelancerjobs in the fantasy field (cards and stuff like that) I will try to pimp my budget up too. ( I was shocked about the low budget payments in this genre)
    I just need to get an idea of where and how to make an application. There isnt much about concept art or movies here in Germany.

    My skill level should be good enough. ^^ Or at least I hope so.

    I am living in Germany, but that shouldnt change much.
    As an illustrator I learned to charge in 2 ways:

    1: The working time like 60/hour or more
    + the print rights.

    It seems that it isnt much of a difference when you call it concept art. Though I havent done much in that area yet.

    Any tips of where to start ? What do I have to keep in mind when writing applications?

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    I realize this is an older thread but..Liffey, your work quality is far, far and above you even giving that fellow the time of day.

    I recall being 8 years old when I started charging my mother just to have my work on her fridge...

    I have run into a lot of self labeled "could have been" artists working at restaurants or in car sales who have all said it was impossible to make a living in art, and the 2 things all these type of "artists" ALWAYS have in common is... 1.) They didn't charge enough for their art to even survive off of as an adult and financially FAILED as an artist and or ...2.) didn't put enough time into their individual works to even ask for a fair price they could live off of as an adult. We don't need to take our selves seriously but at least take our chosen profession seriously.

    Nothing takes me down faster then seeing an artist way better then me giving his work away for nothing, were as on the other hand nothing builds me up faster then hearing my superiors doing well for themselves as this gives me something to set my sights on.

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    Thanks Select, I appreciate that. And yeah, even after sending out 40 or so applications and getting no responses the last few months, I still don't regret turning that down. Better to get a dumb job and get paid normal wages, and do the art you want to do at home, making your portfolio into something that caters towards the job you actually want.

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  36. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liffey View Post
    And yeah, even after sending out 40 or so applications and getting no responses ... Better to get a dumb job and get paid normal wages,
    I sent out over 100 and have responses from some of the dream job studios, but no art job. Last week I brought home close to a K for ~35 hours of assembling office furniture in Canada. It's a strange time. Tonight I was wondering to myself what percentage of art majors would live better lives graduating from Bartending School than Art School.

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    Hello everybody,
    i've read the whole thread and want to thanks for all the info's, BUT, you guys talk really high numbers for a country like mines, where the minimum salary is 200e A MONTH, where you have a happy person if it's earning 300 - 400 euros, again, a month.
    I'm about to work for a small company as a concept artist/3d modeller and i'm afraid to ask them for 300-350e, if anyone is in my position and can give me a piece of advice i'd be grateful.

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    Great thread. Even though it's a bit dated .

    So I have a question for you who know about all this.

    I have a lot to learn, a lot. I'm currently majoring in Biology, but having second thoughts now that I've read this thread.

    Someone mentioned about 2D artists with 3D experience/skills.

    I like to think I have the ability and skill to be an artist, I think my work is great. However, I "re-create" things. My lacking of traditional teaching and or lack of any kind of training at all, has hindered my ability to create things "from scratch" out of my head. I can't pose characters, for example. Because of this, I have simply created cartoons, anime or manga rather. I "re-create" the characters as fanart. I could change majors and learn what I need to successfully bring things to life out of my head (composition, lighting, etc.)

    I self taught myself 3D some 10 years ago in highschool. I had a tact for "detail" on my models. I never could grip the UVMapping side of it though =P. I never really went anymore into that side of art due to it being difficult and without proper training it was, for me anyway, hard to learn things like UVMapping.

    That being said, with the proper training/teaching from school, and my knowledge of 3D, it would be a definite plus?

    Or, should I just focus on one or the other. Someone said that the gaming/film industry is seeking more artists capable of doing both 2D and 3D work.

    my DA page (with mostly 99% manga/anime fanart and some 3D and 2 "realistic" paintings). jatobi.deviantart.com
    Thanks.

    Keep up the thread, it's been awesome so far.

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  39. #147
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    ive seen solid in-house jobs offering anywhere from 55-75k/year.

    But, really if you look around a lot of the bigger names are making money also through Education, Books/Publishing, Prints, and Fine-Art, Personal IPs.

    I think the trick is knowing how/when to diversify to get the broadest arrangement of stable income.

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    BlightedArt is offline That annoying itch you just can't seem to scratch Level 11 Gladiator: Essedarii
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    I'm really not sure why a video hasn't been made to try explain this to potential clients.

    A 30 second motion graphic vid that sums up the main points on why design or illustration work "costs so much" (quotation marks, as many clients do genuinely think a couple hundred bucks is adequate payment).

    Most times artists and designers explain clients not paying enough and do it in a petty or frustrated attitude, which's understandable... But it seems to turn your clients away and not really educate them. My boss is polite when explaining to potential clients that "$200 isn't enough, really you're looking more at $2,000 - $3,000", and the way he explains it has often turned clients into agreeing on that price rather than just walking out the door.

    If there was a 30 second video that politely summed up key points as to why designs cost what they do, and what often goes into the many hours of work that follow and why (yes... it can be done... almost keen to just do it myself), then it could help...


    Edit: Forgot to add, it's not always that clients are assholes... it's often that they're not educated. Fuck, even a lot of artists and designers aren't educated on how much work should cost, and these fairly innocent misunderstandings CAN be addressed and informed clearly.

    Unless someone can link me to a vid already, in which case thanks heaps... I'd be keen to work on this myself, but know that I don't have nearly enough experience to do so, which kinda sucks and makes this post a bit redundant... lol :/




    Edit again..... http://www.davidairey.com/images/sig...ng-formula.gif

    Last edited by BlightedArt; November 29th, 2011 at 10:40 PM.
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    Concept artist. First paid gig.

    Hey everyone! I hope i can bump this thread and maybe get a few replies from those more experienced than I. But first a little back story....

    I'm a 22 year old concept artist and illustrator living near Denver, Colorado. I graduated from art school last year in August of 2011. After high school I started doing commissioned work for tee shirts, logos, and album covers (newest one is soon to be released) For my first taste of production I had a 4 month contract as a background artist for a studio in the UK near my final semester at college.

    Directly following my graduation I managed to land an (un-paid) internship at a local game studio here in Denver. This internship lasted from August '11-December '11. I took this opportunity knowing there would be no financial compensation, but rather to get some in-house studio experience under my belt. And I can honestly say I learned quite a bit during my 4 months there.

    My art director had approached me on 3 separate occasions explaining that there was a very good chance that my internship would evolve into a permanent position once December came. He said for an entry level concept position I'd be looking at about $13.50/hr. Unfortunately that job never came and come January I was back to finding work in the freelance graphic design field.

    Despite trying to make ends meet through more branding, album covers and clothing graphics, I made sure to keep my portfolio current. In May I managed to snag a prize spot in Blizzard's Diablo 3 art contest, I've been working on building my own IP with personal concepts and production work, and I recently finished up my submission for a finalist spot in New Era's "Introducing" North American art exhibit. And while all of these achievements have been wonderful additions to my resume, none of it cultivated any income.

    I still live at home with my family and I'm trying my damndest to get this portfolio finish and start applying to studios all across the country (if not the world.) so I can get this career off the ground and start finally being independent.

    So imagine my surprise when that same art director I interned for last year called me up two weeks ago and asked if I was looking for work. I said absolutely! And the next day we met for lunch to discuss the job and payment. It's a 3 month in-house contract position (my first day was today. My last day will come at the end of November.) "Alright" I said. It's not too long but it will give me some time to save some cash and help continue paying off my student loans. He then asked what kind of price range I'd be looking for....

    Now, I have to mention. When I do commissions my general rate is $50/hr. I understand why freelancers have a right and an obligation to charger a higher hourly than someone who's a regular employee on salary. But when it comes to a studio position, even some someone like me who's only a temporary employee I'm completely lost on what I should be asking for.

    So in a panic I thought back to the original rate he proposed last year and told him "Somewhere between $13.50 and $15 and hour." He said, "Ok...That's about average for a recent art graduate in this field." It wasn't until AFTER I got in the car and started driving back home that I thought maybe I should have pushed for more. And it wasn't until I saw the disappointed looks on my parents faces that I realized I REALLY should have asked for more. And when he called me last week and confirmed that $15/hr wasn't an issue I realized what a mistake I had made.

    So here's my question/dilemma: Where should someone like me begin to look when it comes to price negotiation in this field? The Graphic Artist Guild handbook doesn't really cover concept/production design; only illustration and that's mostly for editorial work or book covers. I'm just really frustrated when it comes to the concept/production/entertainment industry because it's incredibly hard to find an average entry level salary (even a basic rage). Once you start moving up through the ranks then obviously the raises will follow. But where do you START?? Location, experience and cost of living affects these numbers across the board. I understand that. But for someone who's never been on his own I don't really have a frame of reference for how to determine ones starting pay. Especially now that it's been a year since I graduated, I have two game titles under my belt (one Facebook social and one PC), 4 months of in-house experience and an additional 4 months remote freelance, ON TOP of art contest awards and graphic design business.

    I suppose I can't charge more than $50/hr as an entry level concept artist. But I think $15/hr is too low. So where do find a happy medium? Is it all just a matter of negotiating with your employer until you find some common ground? Is there a number you should never ask below? I just feel like I'm selling myself short and I let my family down. They asked me the other night if I even knew what starting salary for someone in my field earns and honestly couldn't answer the question :/

    Many thanks to those that took the time to read this. This has been my dream since middle school and every time I think I'm moving forward I end up just spinning my wheels. Any help, advice or personal opinions are warmly welcomed. Free free to e.mail me directly if you have the time: dylan.pierpont@gmail.com

    -Dylan P.

    Last edited by S3CTR4; August 21st, 2012 at 12:13 AM.
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  42. #150
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    25 an hour is industry standard for entry level and has been for 20 years for contract work without bennies. In-house starting position is 20-25 an hour for just out of school, that's been true for the last ten years. I know there are firms that pay less but so what? Here is the thing about negotiating never quote your rate first when someone asks you. They ask you to come work for them; you ask them what the rate is; they quote you a rate then you come back with the rate you want and go from there.

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