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Advice for Comic Commissions

Newbie here! First post, please let us know if anything is incorrect.

We're very very new at this whole commissioning thing. We've got our TOS almost worked out, and our prices pretty much ready. We haven't posted anything anywhere yet, as we have one question still up in the air.

We like doing comics, and have done them for Big Bangs in our fandoms. We'd like to have that available for commission purposes as well, but have no idea how to price it.

Per page?
As a set?

It would differ from black and white to grayscale to color but we honestly have no idea where to start.

Say, for example, someone commissions a five page comic. Should we charge per page the same rate as five individual pieces or should we discount it like someone buying multiple pieces in bulk?

If a commissioner doesn't have a set page limit or idea of how long it would be, should we charge for hashing out thumbnails of the story?

An example of both black and white and color comics (link leads to a DeanCas Big Bang fill from last year): http://made-of-tin.livejournal.com/4081.html#cutid1

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you for your time and consideration.

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Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
rileycostello
Aug. 19th, 2011 08:14 pm (UTC)
First of all, great comic work. I have to say that I like the amount of detail in the grayscale pages a lot!

Secondly, I have no idea what this Big Bang thing is.

That having been said, as a consumer (and not a comic artist), if it were me buying it, I'd appreciate a bulk discount (e.g. 5 page book is cheaper than if the pages were added singly) and I do that sort of discounting in my own commission offerings simply because people like deals and if they perceive that they're saving something, they'll likely spring for a more expensive package (I know I do, and I've seen other people do it).

You could price them per page, but then also offer discounts in like, increments of 5 or something- I don't know what your typical request is, but clients love discounts and like to feel like they're getting a great deal.

If a client doesn't have a set page limit in mind or a complete idea of what's going on with what they want, charging a fee for storyboard workups, to me, is reasonable. Again, I don't know what it's like in the comic industry, but I feel that both as an artist and as a consumer, time is money. If a person is, say, harder (in terms of work) to work with because they don't have a set idea of what they want/want your help working something out, that should be appropriately compensated. Alternatively, if a person says, 'I want 5 pages of three panels, here is the basic story,' that person is going to naturally be a little easier to work with because a lot of the legwork has been done already.

I hope I made sense!

Good luck!
made_of_tin
Aug. 19th, 2011 09:18 pm (UTC)
Sorry! A Big Bang is when people agree to write a fic for a fandom of at least 25,000-50,000 words. At about the half-way point authors post their summaries and artists can request which one they'd like to do. It's kinda like NaNoWriMo, if you've heard of that.

Thanks for the advice, as well; typically for these fandom things we've done comics, so if we get any business from there we think that will be a common request. All of your comments have been very helpful!
neolucky
Aug. 19th, 2011 08:26 pm (UTC)
Oh wow! First off, let me say you have very lovely work! It's stylish, and really interesting overall. You shouldn't have a problem getting at least $75-$100+ a page, if not more depending on the detail.

However I am only basing this on previous comic work I and my friend have done for Slipshine, and ours was black and white no less so I think you should definitely get more then $100 for that sort of work.

I would give a small discount for bulk purchases, although not too terribly much. Given that comics take a lot of time, effort, and tweaking during the process, you should make sure and charge what you feel is worth your time, by the hour if necessary!
made_of_tin
Aug. 19th, 2011 09:32 pm (UTC)
In all honesty we were thinking of charging just 15 to 20 dollars per page (and even then we were wondering if that was too much), which after we worked it out would be... maybe making only 4 bucks an hour? So I think we will definitely have to reevaluate how much to charge.
It would blow my mind if it were at all possible to get that kind of money from our art o_O
ljmydayaway
Aug. 19th, 2011 09:41 pm (UTC)
Oh lord, please don't undersell your work! What you linked here was fabulous, and definitely worth at least what Neolucky is suggesting! Don't offer a penny less than that.
neolucky
Aug. 19th, 2011 10:04 pm (UTC)
Oh god ahhhh nonono. 15-20...a page. Comics take so much time! Layout, pencils, inks, color, lettering, oh my god no. You should be asking for $100 AT LEAST for that kind of work. Please reconsider your prices! <3
dinogrrl
Aug. 20th, 2011 02:25 am (UTC)
$15-20 a page? Good lord no. You'd be setting yourself up for endless aggravation. You do wonderful work, do NOT undersell yourself. I've seen far too many artists who start low and never get to where they should be and end up burning themselves out playing catch-up. If you find that the price you quote truly ends up being something nobody can afford, then you can certainly lower your prices a bit. But honestly I don't think that'll be too much of a problem for you.
spiffystuff
Aug. 19th, 2011 09:40 pm (UTC)
Sweet, moar comics!!!

I would say, offer a per page rate, and a bundle rate - for like 8 page sets. Make sure you're comfortable with the price (price it for you, not the commissioner). BUT for me at least, doing a longer comic (say, 8+ pages) gets to be considerably faster per-page than doing 8+ totally separate comics, so for me it makes sense to offer a discount for longer stories.
ladysnakebite
Aug. 19th, 2011 09:43 pm (UTC)
I'd suggest to figure out how long each level (b/w, grey scale, color) would generally take you, and estimate an hourly wage range from there. As I'm sure you have found, comic pages are different from regular illustrations and take different amounts of time. :)
likeshine
Aug. 19th, 2011 09:43 pm (UTC)

i have no advice, just wanted to comment and say that comic looks fantastic!
temrin
Aug. 20th, 2011 02:42 pm (UTC)
I hod to calculate this myself a couple weeks ago.

I did the sketch of the first page and calculated how long that took me. After doing commissions for quite some time i can kind of guess how long inks, flats, and final colours will take for each stage.

If i want to get paid lets say, $10 a hour, just calculate the hours, be GENEROUS to yourself. Its better to over estimate and tell the client they only have to pay a part of that, then to cut yourself short and ask the client for MORE. Create a base price from what you find. Obviously, complicated topics or characters might raise the price.

The client i'm working with is quite patient and kind, but even so, the price i came up with seemed expensive even for me, even though i've seen prices that high for commission pages before. So, what i'm doing since this is my first time really doing this, is i'm getting a deposit on the first page, and using it as a test to see how long it really will take me. I know he will most likely not pay as much as i calculated because i'm sure itll take me less time to complete.

Thats just my process anyways. Comics arent cheap. I know very few to do a comic page for less then $100 unless its only a few panels. What setup you have for the page (4 panels, 6 panels, whatever will fit on 8x11, etc) will depend on price as well.

I do personally say, i would charge PER PAGE. because each page is a different 'piece' and i figure it should be treated as such.

There should be a charge for hashing out thumbnails imo. Its work and you should be paid for it. I did mine for free for the simple reason that i know the client well enough and that he's good for his work. He's also a guinea pig for my first comic so were both being quite free flowing in this process.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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