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As the subject line says, I'm looking for some advice/input here.

I've been approached by a church friend of my uncle who is a professional artist to be a colorist for a children's book he has written and illustrated. He's seen my work and says my coloring skills are much stronger than his, and he likes what I do. The book is a personal project he's done on the side of his normal job which is in television production of some sort. He's planning on self-publishing this book and then going around to different schools in Texas to read, sign, and promote this book with the help of a publicist in Austin. He's sent me some sample pages from the book and the line work is solid -- he's definitely a good draftsman. I've spoken to him on the phone a couple times as well as exchanged a few e-mails, and he seems rather easy-going, sincere, and likable. He's also said that if we do end up working together on this I can feel free to use any of his marketing and industry contacts in the future to help get my freelancing business off the ground. This isn't one of those deals where he's wanting me to do it for free in exchange for exposure and contacts, etc., though; this is a legitimate payed job offer. He's just offering his contacts because I'm the niece of one of his close friends and he likes my work.

The thing I'm wondering about here is pricing. He's asked me to name a price for being the colorist, and I really have no idea what to ask for. I've only ever been approached as an illustrator, not a colorist, and my Graphic Artist's Guild handbook only has price listings for children's book illustrations. I don't know the length of the book yet, but I take it that it's a standard length. The illustrations aren't incredibly intricate, either. What kind of price is average for coloring? What kind of royalties would be negotiated? Does anyone here have any experience with being a colorist or dealing with colorists?

I've sent this same question out to all the other artists I know who are in the industry, and I figured artists_beware would be a good place to ask, too.

Thank you in advance!

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( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 27th, 2010 03:42 pm (UTC)
I imagine a great resource would actually be a community in which a lot of comic-book artists are in, given that colorists are a common job in that industry.

Sorry I don't feel I know enough to help, I think any advice I have to offer (cover your materials...blahblahblah) you would already know =3
Jul. 27th, 2010 03:57 pm (UTC)
I consider coloring a piece to be almost as time-consuming (and important!) as the lineart itself.

So... whatever your lineart rate is, adjusted for corporate fees, I suppose.

(That he's a professional artist asking you to "name a price" may be a clue he's either willing to pay whatever your rate is / sign a blank check, so I wouldn't be scared of highballing it. Put another way, it's ALWAYS easier to negotiate the price down if he balks.)
Jul. 27th, 2010 03:58 pm (UTC)
Check out the comic section of your book! Mine says comic colorists get between $100 - $150 per page. I have a friend who did some comic coloring for a small run comic and got $115/page, right out of art school.
Jul. 27th, 2010 04:27 pm (UTC)
Wow! What book is this and where can I get a copy? o.o
Jul. 27th, 2010 06:30 pm (UTC)
Graphic Artist's Guild handbook, get it on Amazon.com or any bookstore! A new updated edition is coming out soon, so I'd hold out for the 13th edition for a couple months.
Jul. 28th, 2010 04:14 am (UTC)
zomg, i so want that book @_@
Jul. 28th, 2010 04:22 am (UTC)
It's an amazing book. It also has a bunch of form contracts in the back that you can use even if you're not a GAG member.
Jul. 28th, 2010 05:23 am (UTC)
Yes! Most useful book EVER as an artist. =3
Jul. 28th, 2010 06:04 am (UTC)
When I was in college all senior illustration majors had to take a business of illustration class called Portfolio and the GAG Handbook was our required text. Mine is so tattered it's ridiculous. lol

I have it all tabbed for quick reference, but I guess I missed the comic section at the time. That would have given me the info I needed. :P
Jul. 28th, 2010 06:07 am (UTC)
If it were me I'd be thinking "ok, it's a children's book job" and with no relevant info on children's book coloring rates I'd be wondering too.

Same here, it was required text for our "grad portfolio" class, a combo studio and business class. Mine looks pretty ratty already too, even though it'sopnly been two years since I bought it! XD
Jul. 30th, 2010 10:57 am (UTC)
*drools* will def put some money aside for this one.
Jul. 27th, 2010 04:44 pm (UTC)
So I would agree with this pricing ^^

I have 5 years experience and get £70 (works out about $110) a page for inking and colouring a children's comic. The colouring is in Illustrator- basic shading and gradients. If it were more complex I would expect to get paid a little more, if I had less experience then I might be offered less.

Also, make sure you have a contract!
Jul. 27th, 2010 08:29 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah a contract is definitely a must. I have a degree under my belt, I've just never been hired to do solely color before... just full illustrations from scratch. I'm not doing the inking and the coloring is rather simple, so I'll adjust that number accordingly.

Thanks everyone. :)
Jul. 27th, 2010 08:30 pm (UTC)
I'll have to flip back in the index and look up the comic section. I have the book tabbed for my own quick reference but I guess I didn't tab comics because I wasn't planning on doing any. lol
Jul. 27th, 2010 04:00 pm (UTC)
Crap I hate this kind of stuff...which should be a stupid thing to say because this will always happen if you're gonna sell your art, you know?

Hmmm...if it was a singular piece I'd say charge by the hour. If it's a number of illustrations (like this one) I'd say charge a bulk rate for group of drawings you need to color. I can't say much else about exact numbers because I don't know how detailed the drawings are or how big they are, or if they're digital or traditional, but all those little details you might want to factor into your bulk price.

One of the tips I got when I first started out was to add at least 20% to the cost of your materials if you're doing traditional, or at least 20% to your cost of maintaining your equipment and programs if it's digital. I hate that there's math, but if you're sort of just starting this might not be too bad.

If you're really wanting to know how much you should charge once you start getting a beefier resume, (or even if you wanna do it now for kicks) look for the book Setting the Right Price for your Design & Illustration. It's a great book that does all the math in sort of a chutes and ladders chart form and it works if you're a self starting freelancer of if you're a business with 50+ employees.

Oh! The ISBN might be helpful too: 0891345698
Jul. 27th, 2010 04:04 pm (UTC)
If nothing else you could experiment? Find a lineart/do a quick lineart of something in a similar style/simplicity and see how long it takes you to color one page and do the math for how many hours it would take you to complete his project? You can always adjust of course.
Jul. 27th, 2010 07:27 pm (UTC)
This makes some sense to me. I'm not sure what style of coloring he wants and how long it would take to do the coloring (while the comic book pages might be a ball-park, they seem like they'd also be a lot more intricate just because there are so many scenes per page).
Jul. 27th, 2010 08:31 pm (UTC)
Oh yeah a comic would be MUCH more intricate. He's told me he'll send me a copy of the entire book before I price myself, so I'll look at the book as a whole before I decide a final number.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )


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