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Web comic pricing/advise

I hope it's alright to post this here - I'm looking for some advice on web comics.

I was approached by someone through e-mails about being the new artist for their ongoing web comic, since their previous artist had completed their part and was moving on. I have already decided not to take the job, but for reasons completely unrelated to pricing. However, it did pique my interest when I realized I had no idea what sort of pricing to apply.

He offered me $25 per panel - something about 2x4. With approximately 5 panels per page, he said that his script (already mostly complete) called for about 26 pages, meaning I'd be compensated $3000-3500 for a small comic book. He did not mention at any time compensation in book or product sales.

Each panel would have backgrounds, multiple characters and full color, and I would be in charge of layout, lines, color... everything from a-z, but he wanted final say.
Here's an example of the type of line and coloring that I would be doing:

I'd appreciate any advice or experiences! I'm not planning to do this job, but I'd love to do something similar in the future.

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( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 11th, 2010 02:06 am (UTC)
First web comic artist gig I've heard that sounds in the ballpark of reasonable.

... what exactly is your question?
Dec. 11th, 2010 05:09 am (UTC)
I don't have any experience with this sort of commission. Just hoping to get some second opinions on the topic.
Dec. 11th, 2010 06:24 am (UTC)
Well it depends a lot on how much experience you have.
I'm not too familiar with what pro comic artists make but I think it's in the area of $100 per page, but that's just pencils, or just inks, etc.
For someone who's not a seasoned pro, I think the price is reasonable BUT you would also want to have enough experience to know about how long this will take you. Hopefully you're spending less than 5hrs per panel XD
If you've never done comics before then I'd suggest not taking on a big comic gig. I don't think it's fair to yourself or to your employer - you'll be a lot slower because you don't know what you're doing and thus cranky at the pay but I don't really think they should be paying for you to learn soooo... yeah.

I'm not sure what's up with the royalties artists don't usually get royalties as far as I'm aware, unless they are actually a co-creator. But you'd want to specify all that.
A common scheme is to pay artists peanuts and promise "but you'll get royalties / a cut of the future profits / whatever" - cash up front is MUCH BETTER.

... also make sure said cash is up front. If they don't want to pay you for the whole book up front (reasonable) then page by page. They pay then you draw.

well that's about my thoughts.
Dec. 11th, 2010 03:26 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's not too bad a rate... IF you also discussed the possibility of royalties/something like that if he's expecting you to sell all rights for future physical books. You never know, his comic could end up being enormously popular. :P But that's an okay rate for the comic panels alone.

If I can ask, how come you're not interested? Previous obligations on your time?
Dec. 11th, 2010 05:03 am (UTC)
There were a few reasons I decided against it. First and foremost I didn't feel like the story was very suitable to my style or tastes; it's a long term agreement and I didn't think it would hold my interest. Also, there were some oddities with how he contacted me... It often took him anywhere from weeks to months to respond. I didn't trust him to work with me promptly on something as time sensitive as a weekly comic =/
Dec. 11th, 2010 03:52 am (UTC)
Find out how many hours it would take to do a page on average (including any back and forth with the author, editing, whatnot) then take that number and divide $125 with it. Hopefully you should make more than minimum wage.

You should charge by the page, by the way, not by the panel. Especially if he is also making you take care of the layout of the panels.
Dec. 11th, 2010 03:54 am (UTC)
The $125 I got by taking the average number of panels for his comic (five in this case) and multiplying that by the amount you get per panel ($25).
Dec. 11th, 2010 05:10 am (UTC)
That make a lot of sense actually, but why by page rather than by panel?
Dec. 11th, 2010 06:13 am (UTC)
You'll be doing a page of artwork regardless if there is one panel or six. One page shouldn't be charged $25 and the next $150, even though the work for either wouldn't vary that widely.

I'm making an assumption that this is more of a classical comic where you are working at 300+ dpi that will be printed on physical pages. Also if you are more comfortable with charging by panels instead of by the page then go for it.
Dec. 11th, 2010 06:17 pm (UTC)
I feel like a 6 panel page would take me a lot longer to do because it's essentially 6 minipictures. I'll spend a lot more time planning for the 6 panel one, and while the same amount of area will be inked and colored, the coloring of 6-12 people will take me a lot longer than the 2-3 that would be in the 1 panel ones because I have to determine how that panel will look and feel and it takes longer to color fore grounds than backgrounds a lot of the time.

Also, doing it per panel makes the client feel a bit better about the pages with larger panels. Let's say when working, the artist ends up doing 4 panels per page instead of 5 like the client had thought, they might feel like they're getting a lazy artist.

Granted, I'd charge like $x per page + $y per panel, but I think you're a little quick to dismiss charging by panel, there are good points to it.
Dec. 11th, 2010 04:03 am (UTC)
You'd also want to make sure that he can really pay this much.

"Comic done! Yay! Here you go!"
"Awesome, here's your Pay-Pal money!"
"And now I open a pay-pal dispute to get my money back. :D"
"Uwah! :("
Dec. 11th, 2010 05:10 am (UTC)
Uhg, good point x(
Dec. 11th, 2010 10:14 pm (UTC)
maybe you can avoid paypal and use money orders or something? I do this on larger payments so something exactly like that doesn't happen. The only issue I've had is explaining how to do it, and all my customers so far have been cool with it c:
Dec. 11th, 2010 01:07 pm (UTC)
That's honestly one of the reasons I like my commission delivery date at about a month out. It's nearly out of paypals dispute timeframe :X
Dec. 11th, 2010 03:31 pm (UTC)
You're a sly, sly goat. xD
Dec. 11th, 2010 03:34 pm (UTC)
It's never happened, but I'm starting to get bigger commissions (over 100$ and such) and if it ever did, OH THE HELL I WOULD RAISE.

So I'm kind of saving everyone the headache :B
Dec. 11th, 2010 03:36 pm (UTC)
I totally understand where you're coming from.

It's just a great idea; gives the artist a decent chunk of time to get things finished and it takes away the opportunity for someone to just file a PayPal dispute and get the art for free.
Dec. 11th, 2010 03:37 pm (UTC)
Yeah and I could possibly lose my paypal account if it was porn and I tried to prove my work XD
Dec. 11th, 2010 03:34 pm (UTC)
I should also say that then I do my best TO deliver on or by that date, I like having a reliable rep :X
Dec. 11th, 2010 04:19 am (UTC)
I have no idea on the pricing. I know that *I* would leap at the chance to do that though. Price seems really reasonable to me!
Dec. 11th, 2010 05:11 am (UTC)
The opportunity is great, you're right, but the comic itself just wasn't my style =/
Dec. 11th, 2010 08:32 am (UTC)
"I would be in charge of layout, lines, color... everything from a-z, but he wanted final say." would make me worry. Would he send back the completed page and tell you "this is all wrong, do it again"?

Particularly together with the lagging contact you mentioned, yeah, that would put me off starting a big project with that writer.
Dec. 11th, 2010 04:26 pm (UTC)
that's not a bad price. Most comic artist get $100-120 per page.
Dec. 11th, 2010 05:32 pm (UTC)
I get around an average of £95 for per page on the comic I work on. That's roughs, ink and illustrator colour in this case. If I just ink and colour it's £60.
I also have 4 years experience working on this publication and 6 years freelance experience. As a new artist I would most likely be paid less so I think $100 is about right, though it does depend on the level of detail, colouring style etc.
The payment amount is fixed and is per brief, sometimes there's more to do on a page or it's more complicated or the opposite so the amount of work ends up evening out. Usually my briefs are for a single page, a double page spread or for a 3 page strip and cover so you would be looking to charge either per page or per brief/job.

Another publication I worked on wanted 3 illustrations to illustrate a 3 page story and that worked out at £60 per illustration. That was roughs, ink and very detailed photoshop colour so that fee was definitely on the low side.

Hope that helps!
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )


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