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Warning about a bad deal

Fewer things get me as riled as people not paying artists what they're worth. I'm writing to alert folks of a specific example of this, simply by giving the details of what the pay rate is. You can make your own decisions for yourselves to work for this individual for these prices, it's of my opinion that any artist who contributes to something like this further encourages the low pay of skilled artists and perpetuates the opinion of non-artists that good art is cheap.

If you are approached by a user named Ken09199 on DeviantArt to draw items for his virtual pet site LuraPets http://www.lurapets.com/, please be aware of the pay rate he quoted me when I asked for more information.

Pay rate for items: $0.50 per completion of each item. Example here:
http://i75.photobucket.com/albums/i315/maison66/items/lettuce_iceberg.png

Pay rate for NPC's (characters): $5.00

Also, you can get up to $2.00 for items and up to $7.00 for NPC's if the artwork is, to quote, "fantastic". The owner of this site told me that they pay based on the quality of the image. If your art is better, naturally they'll pay more. A dollar more.

I'm aware some people may feel this is a fair deal. It's your choice of course, but realize that items of that quality, for most people, would take about 20 minutes to a half an hour, earning you a pay rate of $1.00 per hour for an item you can't sell elsewhere. Minimum wage in my state is something closer to $8.00 for reference.

I asked if that price was per useage of the item, like if someone buys the item on the site, is the artist entitled to a fraction of the proceeds. The answer is no, this is a one time payment of 50 cents per item drawn.

Here's my official response:
I'm sorry but that is horribly unreasonable. Especially as pay is
completely based on someone's opinion . If my work is as good as you
said it was when you approached me you'd already know that I take my
work very seriously and consider it just that: work. I wouldn't ask
you to do your job for a dollar an hour for something you won't be
able to sell anywhere else, please don't ask the same of me.

Best of luck finding "quality" artists who will find these prices
reasonable but I can assure you, they're hard to find.


I'm of course not here to bash the individual, after all he approached me on his own accord and complimented me on my work, but I felt the need to draw attention to yet another example of why our market is so bad, that these are the prices people expect to pay for quality work.
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Comments

( 140 comments — Leave a comment )
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clickclackcat
Sep. 1st, 2008 05:43 am (UTC)
About a week or so ago, there was a person that thought I was overcharging for $5 pieces of art. They were ACEO's admittedly, but with full background and a of my time spent in them. They thought I should have been charging $15 for a sheet of eight ACEOs that I had spent a MINIMUM of four hours on because "You can buy a pack of cards at walmart for only $5!! I can get full page, full color commission for only $15!" Ignore the fact I was selling original watercolors and all that jazz...

Nothing surprises me anymore but I sympathize with the situation. :/
vantid
Sep. 1st, 2008 05:59 am (UTC)
Pshhh I prefer to sell my ACEOs for 30 to 50 dollars. People do not understand that the size of the art doesn't matter, but the time and skill that goes into it.
(no subject) - iluvhistory - Sep. 1st, 2008 05:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hollso - Sep. 1st, 2008 11:39 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fireklawz - Sep. 22nd, 2008 01:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(stupid question time) - snobahr - Sep. 2nd, 2008 09:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: (stupid question time) - clickclackcat - Sep. 2nd, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: (stupid question time) - snobahr - Sep. 3rd, 2008 03:20 am (UTC) - Expand
fallimar
Sep. 1st, 2008 06:10 am (UTC)
it's a big problem, especially for artists that are... you know... really good, but not well-known :|
NOT talking about myself at all here, since I'm not fantastic and don't ever claim to be - but it's a problem I see all the time happening to my peers on FA and other art sites - price wars.
In an ideal world we'd be able to charge by the hour, but realistically people want to see a price list and order art as if they were ordering food off a menu - piece w/ background, sketch, full CG coloured lineart, etc. The fact that each piece takes different amounts of time and effort to complete satisfactorily is something that most people who aren't artists don't really seem to understand - not saying they don't know there's a lot of work involved, it's more of a question of not knowing that there's no 'template' for the work that most artists do, and that you can't pull good poses and anatomy and colouring out of a hat (good referencing practices notwithstanding - a point for another time!). Really, it's a terminology problem - customers want a product when they're really asking for a service that produces a product, and it's the process you pay for.

The real problem comes from the fact there are so many artists around who offer commissions now - and why pay $50 for work from artist A who's charging 'real' prices when artist B does work of a similar quality for $30? People don't charge what they're worth because they can't afford to when people are undercutting significantly all round. The market's now full of customers who don't understand the process or value of the work involved, and so to survive you've got to either lower your prices or just... become much, much better and hope your work attains some sort of 'name brand' status, because no matter how good you are, unless people know about you and talk about you, you ain't going nowhere in the fandom :|

sad. :(
armaina
Sep. 1st, 2008 07:22 pm (UTC)
If it were personal work, I'd agree to a point, but this isn't personal work, this is commercial work. This is artwork that is being used to 'sell' a product to make money off of, even if that money is only via advertisements of the site. The art, especially in petsites, is what grabs people's attention and gets them to join.

Lesser known or not, you should not allow yourself to only paid for 50 cents to 7 dollars for a single piece of commercial artwork ESPECIALLY when when there are no royalties.
(no subject) - fallimar - Sep. 1st, 2008 11:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
dazen_cobalt
Sep. 1st, 2008 08:28 am (UTC)
Ugh I learned this lesson the hard way. A few years back I took a commish(as a way to test the waters to see if I could possible do them) At that time and still currently I didn't think my art was all that great so I charged relatively low. 15 for a fully colored pic. When all was said and done I felt like complete Sh*t. A lot of hard work and time went into that piece. of course like I said I don't have the greatest work but it made me reaize just how much effort and time artist put into a commish. So thats a lesson learned but it was a good lesson really. Since I understand how it works now I try my best to be understanding(and since my char is complicated especially facial feature wise I try to throw in a little extra) but yeah its uber sad to see artist reduced down to this
hobokitten
Sep. 1st, 2008 09:08 am (UTC)
I can see why people do this.
I myself charge crap change for my commissions because really? I've offered them at higher prices, and got no bites, and I really undervalue my work because frankly, I think I'm terrible.
I know part of my problem is because I'm relatively unknown, and because I'm rather nervous, and come off unsociable and distant.
We really need people to start giving general prices, or perhaps have a forum where we can get Price checks. That way, people like me who are not really sure about the quality of their art, can have those who know more about art, and pricing, give their two cents.
fallimar
Sep. 1st, 2008 09:19 am (UTC)
bingo. Same here. I'd LOVE to have a few other people who know artwork take a look at my stuff and help me price it - but truthfully, if nobody's going to pay it, I don't know really... I might just have to keep up the practice and art courses for another... twenty years >..>
(no subject) - hobokitten - Sep. 1st, 2008 09:30 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - the_lest - Sep. 1st, 2008 10:54 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - the_lest - Sep. 1st, 2008 10:57 am (UTC) - Expand
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thaily
Sep. 1st, 2008 10:30 am (UTC)
Pfft, if someone asked me for a 5 dollar commission I'd laugh in their face.

To add insult to injury, this guy obviously wants the commercial rights to the art as well.

Crap on that.
kuwaizair
Sep. 1st, 2008 12:15 pm (UTC)
if its for a pet site isn't that like a 'package deal'?
(no subject) - thaily - Sep. 1st, 2008 02:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rusti_knight - Sep. 5th, 2008 03:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kuwaizair - Sep. 5th, 2008 08:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
the_lest
Sep. 1st, 2008 10:55 am (UTC)
I'm revising my prices at the moment. I really don't know WHAT I should charge. If I charge low prices, I get more business, but I get paid crap money for what I do. If I charge higher prices I don't get much business. I considered making a post on this community asking for advice, but don't know if it would be an appropriate post to make... what do you (and anyone else) think?
fallimar
Sep. 1st, 2008 11:27 am (UTC)
since I upped mine I've had to scrape for commissions, but the upshot is that the people I work with now seem MUCH more connected with what they actually want, and not just the ones with spare change :)
(no subject) - hollso - Sep. 1st, 2008 11:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - the_lest - Sep. 1st, 2008 11:47 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - white_tean - Sep. 1st, 2008 12:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - the_lest - Sep. 1st, 2008 04:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
kuwaizair
Sep. 1st, 2008 12:14 pm (UTC)
how old is the site owner? I seen a few 'kids' seeking artists for their pet sites. they saw 2 dollars per drawing was a good deal.
hence in my opinion, 13 yr olds sholdn't try to run communial pet sites.

i don't know if there is one here that has something like powerpets or even wajas caliber here.
so i guess 'sorry' to them if they achived it.
white_tean
Sep. 1st, 2008 12:56 pm (UTC)
That was my first thought - "Gee, well when I was 5 I probably would've thought that was a great deal!"
(no subject) - kuwaizair - Sep. 2nd, 2008 12:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
hobokitten
Sep. 1st, 2008 07:55 pm (UTC)
Ugh. I'm 18 and I can't imagine selling my art, as well as the Commercial rights to it for so low :/
nambroth
Sep. 1st, 2008 02:01 pm (UTC)
A while later-- but I was approached by this fellow too. He essentially said he needed all rights (well of course, considering!) and was offering me a healthy $1/artwork completed. I also asked him about a contract and he told me that there would not be a contract. Sounds like a nightmare to me.
kyrahlynn
Sep. 1st, 2008 02:17 pm (UTC)
I got a note from him awhile back... and promptly marked it as spam XD I didn't even read it that closely, but he sure sounded full of himself.
lozpie
Sep. 1st, 2008 02:34 pm (UTC)
I've been contacted by petsites before, offering NOTHING, or the virtual money from their site (LOL)

The convo usually goes like this

me: How much will I get paid?
them: paid?

yeaah...

I also echo what a few other people have said about it being difficult to charge for commissions, being in the UK. I was offering conbadges for $30 usd recently but thats only about £10 gbp by the time paypal fees and shipping comes off. Which is really, nothing, everything here is so expensive. But I enjoyed doing them so I don't mind too much. But I spent about 10 hours on each of them... so, if I was to pay myself minimum wage, I should charge at least £50 (£5 per hour, min wage is actually 5.52..), but no one's going to spend $100 usd on a con badge!

examples if anyone's curious:
http://www.furaffinity.net/view/1496116/
http://www.furaffinity.net/view/1476758/
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - lozpie - Sep. 1st, 2008 03:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - iluvhistory - Sep. 1st, 2008 03:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
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zyleeth
Sep. 1st, 2008 05:22 pm (UTC)
He approached me just yesterday actually, but I was linked to your entry on your LJ and saw how cheaply I'd be paid. D: I politely gave him my usual prices and haven't heard from him since. XD His Deviantart page claims that he is 29, but I'm not immediately inclined to believe that.
ken09199
Sep. 1st, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC)
hey
I pay the minimum to maximum rate as petsites do thanks :P i understand why some of you decline b/c your art is just amazing which i have no problem with you declineing :) I assure you I am 29 years old and all this money i'm paying is coming out of pocket so i can't be spending 1,000USD each week on art as i have to pay for programming as well :/ I hope some of you don't get the wrong impression

Ken
Re: hey - thornwolf - Sep. 1st, 2008 07:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: hey - ken09199 - Sep. 1st, 2008 07:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: hey - thornwolf - Sep. 1st, 2008 07:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: hey - ken09199 - Sep. 1st, 2008 07:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: hey - thornwolf - Sep. 1st, 2008 07:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: hey - ken09199 - Sep. 1st, 2008 07:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: hey - thaily - Sep. 1st, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
ken09199
Sep. 1st, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC)
hey :P
I pay the minimum to maximum rate as petsites do thanks :P i understand why some of you decline b/c your art is just amazing which i have no problem with you declineing :) I assure you I am 29 years old and all this money i'm paying is coming out of pocket so i can't be spending 1,000USD each week on art as i have to pay for programming as well :/ I hope some of you don't get the wrong impression

Ken
thaily
Sep. 1st, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC)
Re: hey :P
So you pay the programmers 2 dollars an hour?
Re: hey :P - ken09199 - Sep. 1st, 2008 07:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: hey :P - thornwolf - Sep. 1st, 2008 07:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: hey :P - ken09199 - Sep. 1st, 2008 07:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: hey :P - armaina - Sep. 1st, 2008 07:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: hey :P - ken09199 - Sep. 1st, 2008 07:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: hey :P - armaina - Sep. 1st, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: hey :P - thaily - Sep. 1st, 2008 07:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: hey :P - ken09199 - Sep. 1st, 2008 07:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: hey :P - armaina - Sep. 1st, 2008 07:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: hey :P - thaily - Sep. 1st, 2008 07:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: hey :P - nambroth - Sep. 2nd, 2008 02:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: hey :P - feanyx - Oct. 13th, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
ken09199
Sep. 1st, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC)
oh also my payrates have went up as i've been working more for the site this month and i know there still not great but i'm offering

Items - 1.00usd - 80x80 image
NPCs - 7-15.00USD - 250x250 image :)

Ken
thornwolf
Sep. 1st, 2008 07:21 pm (UTC)
Again, its not the size, its the time that goes into it. Do you go to the grocery store and ask for a can of caviar for 3 bucks because it comes in such a tiny can?
(no subject) - armaina - Sep. 1st, 2008 07:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ken09199 - Sep. 1st, 2008 07:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
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vividuos
Dec. 3rd, 2008 02:05 am (UTC)
Agreed, 100 per cent.
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