Monday, March 29, 2010

Comics Art Career: A note about page rates

Hi, everyone-

Message boards are an excellent place to find countless threads on this subject, and most end with pretty good informations about what's "standard" in comics. What's gone before, what the highest rates are, what's considered entry-level, what is your time worth?

All that is fine information, but I think it's missing a key element.

What is a realistic amount to live on?
How much work will it be?

I think a lot of writer's with projects, and even a lot of publishing companies don't get this. They enforce monthly deadlines, but don't offer compensation to match. I think artists don't keep this in mind either. We ask, "What are industry standard rates?" not "What do I need to live?" and then we just go with what we can get.

For starting out, $75 is okay. But once you're established, and you have a family to take care of, that number becomes LOW. Think about it, $1,650 BEFORE taxes. That's around $1200 after taxes. That's not much to live on. Rent and groceries and you're done. And for full-time work, approximately 8 hours/day. That's about $9 an hour (not including the time for research, reading scripts, layouts, character designs--which are usually unpaid, paying for supplies, etc., etc). You can make that in fast-food. We're providing very specialized work. Without being money-hungry, WE need to determine the industry standard.

So, yeah, keep that stuff in mind. Who is your artist? Is he a single guy living in Kansas who can live pretty decent on $2,000, or a married guy with two kids living in New York who needs $5,000 a month to scrape by.

New artists (and old), please keep this in mind as you're forming your career. It's absolutely essential to be able to sustain it. Trust me, I'm still struggling with this stuff. Figure out your budget and if you can't get higher pencilling rates, try to find other ways to get to your budget mark each month, whether it be adding other skills (inking, coloring, etc.), moonlighting in other industries (film, video games, trading cards, etc.) or finding ways to do more work in your chosen area.

Oh, and just for the record, these are "Industry Standard" rates:

Entry Level: $25-$50
Mid-Level: $75-$100
Hardcore Pro: $125-$200
Superstar: $300-$1200
Ray Dillon: $5,000-$1 Million (includes inks, colors, letters, friendship, on-call assassin, lunch, dinner & a movie...)

Share your thoughts on this and feel free to ask questions.

Thanks for reading!


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1 comment:

Salma said...

Excellent article . LIke and appreciate your post man .