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Commission Questions

naporeonnaporeon Registered User regular
edited October 2007 in Artist's Corner
Hello, talented gentlemen and ladies of AC. I do not post in your subforum, not being an artist, but I do lurk here quite a lot (since you have a lot of talent here), and I have a question that seems better suited for AC than for H/A.

I am looking to commission a single drawing, involving a fair amount of detail and full color/shading. Specifically, I am looking for a piece in the style of an old pulp novel cover, to feature along with a novel I am writing. I do not plan to seek publishing for this work, so use of the faux cover would almost certainly be limited to my website, where I will be posting the novel in serial format. I don't have a specific reference to request, either; most likely, I would just give the artist I commission a synopsis of the novel, as well as a physical description of the hero and his nemeses, and would work together to decide what would make a workable piece. If the artist enjoys the work, I might also commission a few simple, un-colored details of various characters, for the purpose of embedding in the story as I post it.

My problem is mostly that I don't know how much to offer for commission. I don't want to insult anyone by offering too little. Also, I don't know where to go to solicit an artist; I am sure there are websites, but there are also a few art schools here in Seattle, and I'd be more than happy to post a flier there.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks, and keep up the awesome work.

naporeon on

Posts

  • naporeonnaporeon Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Apologies if this post would have been better made in the Questions sticky, which--admittedly--I did not notice until after I'd posted it.

  • bombardierbombardier mr. mully Vancouver, BCSuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited October 2007
    That's fine, I'll leave this open though. Would be good to get some discussion on commission pricing in general since it's always a confusing thing to talk about.

  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    I don't get any commissions myself, so I can't speak from experience here, but I'll offer a little insight.

    To illustrate a novel cover that will be in full color, highly rendered with lots of detail and also mimics a particular style of another novel cover is not a small job. I would expect at least $100 for something like this, probably significantly more if you want to commission a very skilled artist.

    Posting an advertisement at a local art school is probably the best way to get slave labor. You might want to try posting in the freelance jobs sections of a forum like conceptart.org if you want to offer work to a specific artist.

  • MagicToasterMagicToaster Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Is the amount of colors to be used really a pricing issue? A printing issue, yeah... but I don't think the colors should affect the price.

    tostadas.png
  • TonkkaTonkka Some one in the club tonight Has stolen my ideas.Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    I always make it a point to establish an hourly wage for comission work whenever possible. It helps me to track my own time on the project so I don't go overboard on the time spent. If budget is an issue (which it always is), I feel an artist needs to get as much as they possibly can if any at all.

    If there's no way an hourly wage can be set up, a lump sum with half up-front and half when the project is finished usually works pretty well. I then track my hours spent and divide it out at the end to see how much I made per hour. It's never enough.

    But the most important thing to think about from your end Naporeon, is a contract. Will you own the artwork? Will it merely be first-run rights? And getting deadline dates and milestone meetings are always super helpful to both parties.

    Going to an art school and posting something is never a bad idea, or even finding someone's art you like and getting in contact with them (e-mail, whatever) works too, as a lot of artists get their work this way.

    tonkkatrikesig.jpg
    Gamertag: T0NKKA - Steam: evilumpire Twitter Art blog/Portfolio! HEY SATAN
  • naporeonnaporeon Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Even so, there won't be many colors.

    Here are some examples of pulp novel covers in styles I would like. I would not necessarily be looking for anything quite so detailed as any of them, but they capture more or less what I'd like.

    Doc Savage
    Spoiler:

    The Shadow
    Spoiler:

    Captain Future
    Spoiler:

    Dan Turner
    Spoiler:

  • TonkkaTonkka Some one in the club tonight Has stolen my ideas.Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    naporeon wrote: »
    Even so, there won't be many colors.

    Well, even so, it's not necessarily that the number of colors that drives the price up.

    But more complexity (which Pulp is not known for) would = more time, and as Einstein proved Time = $

    tonkkatrikesig.jpg
    Gamertag: T0NKKA - Steam: evilumpire Twitter Art blog/Portfolio! HEY SATAN
  • naporeonnaporeon Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Tonkka wrote: »
    naporeon wrote: »
    Even so, there won't be many colors.

    Well, even so, it's not necessarily that the number of colors that drives the price up.

    But more complexity (which Pulp is not known for) would = more time, and as Einstein proved Time = $
    Oh yeah, I know that complexity = cash.

    I plan to pay well regardless, but I'm far more concerned with finding an artist that will have fun with the material than I am with finding a hyper-talented professional who will be able to do precisely what I want. This is not to say that I'm looking to find an inexperienced amateur to rip off (that would be easy enough to do without advice)...more that this is just a silly, fun project on my part, and I'd like to find someone who will take the same approach.

  • TonkkaTonkka Some one in the club tonight Has stolen my ideas.Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Yeah, really one of the most important things is the common understanding of what the end result needs to be. My current contract/comission project was pretty funny when it started, since the sculptor had already tried a few different artists and when I sent him my first sketch he freaked and thought I was reading his mind. Always makes the project more enjoyable when everyone is seeing the same thing.

    That Dragonflight project though... yeesh that was like pulling teeth.

    tonkkatrikesig.jpg
    Gamertag: T0NKKA - Steam: evilumpire Twitter Art blog/Portfolio! HEY SATAN
  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Is the amount of colors to be used really a pricing issue? A printing issue, yeah... but I don't think the colors should affect the price.

    Painting a full color illustration takes longer than doing it in grayscale or monochrome.

  • MagicToasterMagicToaster Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Scosglen wrote: »
    Is the amount of colors to be used really a pricing issue? A printing issue, yeah... but I don't think the colors should affect the price.

    Painting a full color illustration takes longer than doing it in grayscale or monochrome.

    Mmmmm, I didn't think about someone actually using paint for it. I think I've gotten so used to the fact that digital painting is so popular on these boards that switching colors would be like blinking.

    Still, I'm curious. What do you guys define as full color? When I hear it, I immediately think of the press, 4 colors or more = full color.

    tostadas.png
  • naporeonnaporeon Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Well, I guess that I didn't use "full color" in any technical--or sensible--sense of the phrase.

    I did more or less mean the press, though.

  • ScosglenScosglen Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Scosglen wrote: »
    Is the amount of colors to be used really a pricing issue? A printing issue, yeah... but I don't think the colors should affect the price.

    Painting a full color illustration takes longer than doing it in grayscale or monochrome.

    Mmmmm, I didn't think about someone actually using paint for it. I think I've gotten so used to the fact that digital painting is so popular on these boards that switching colors would be like blinking.

    Still, I'm curious. What do you guys define as full color? When I hear it, I immediately think of the press, 4 colors or more = full color.

    I'm still talking digital paint. By pure virtue of the fact that when you start working in color you suddenly have to juggle around getting saturation and color temperature and all that other shit right, it's a lot more difficult than simply working with grays. I suppose technically someone can "color" a piece with just an overlay layer or something but that isn't really the same thing.

    When I say "full color" I'm using is as an arbitrary term for something resembling a real-world color pallete. Not monochrome or grayscale. Just how many colors that ends up being seems kind of moot to me.

  • rtsrts Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Your commission price should depend upon the artist and the project. I can give you some professional numbers though:

    WoW card illustration: $1000
    Magic card: $800
    Book covers: More. Depending upon the artist and the cover.

    I would suggest that based on these numbers, hiring an amateur artist to do a book cover should run you around $300. And that is if they are good.

    skype: rtschutter
  • naporeonnaporeon Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Crazy. WoW cards pay more than Magic cards? And it's only $1,000? Weird.

    Anyhow, thanks for the numbers. I am not looking to have professional quality work done, since A) I am not a professional quality writer (and consequently, my work will not be published), and B) even a real "pulp novel" published today would not have a cover like the old ones--that I seek to emulate--did.

    I am just looking for something fun to throw up on my site, alongside the novel itself. I think I've got an idea what would be a fair initial offer, considering the work I'd like, but now my question is location...where do I solicit artists? Is the consensus that the art schools around here are a good place to start? Or should I look somewhere online first?

  • TonkkaTonkka Some one in the club tonight Has stolen my ideas.Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Whether you look online or at art schools, I do suggest you find some in your area who you can sit down with and articulate your desires with. This includes wild gesticulations with tharms to illustrate any point you wish to make.

    This may just be a personal perspective, but I've always benefited from personal IRL communication with clients.

    tonkkatrikesig.jpg
    Gamertag: T0NKKA - Steam: evilumpire Twitter Art blog/Portfolio! HEY SATAN
  • super...super... __BANNED USERS
    edited October 2007
    fliers art schools are a good way of find cheap illustrators, hell my first commissions were found at an art schools message board. but if you hire a student realize your not working with a professional enitiy

    a face to face with an illustrator is the best way for you to get what you want and to help them make what you want. communication is key. be sure to give them a dead line, even if it's not important that they keep it work is usually prioritized by what needs to be done next so make sure you have a spot in their que.

  • GrifterGrifter TorontoSuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited October 2007
    The last time that I commissioned a full color painting from a friend of mine he gave me a price of $400. He's basically worked out how much he needs to work in order to justify that price. However, if an artist really likes a subject then he'll put more effort into it. He spent way too much time on his Galactus painting and kind of got hosed on that deal but he loved it so much.

  • Forbe!Forbe! Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    As far as sculpture and metalworking goes, I rarely take cost of materials into consideration, unless I am dealing with particularly expensive materials (fine/pure/sterling silver, or gold). Depending on the difficulty of the object made, I price it depending on the time spent on it. Anywhere between $25-$100/hr. I don't do any commissions really, but the work I do sell is almost always based upon time spent on it.

    Some production blacksmiths say "A good blacksmith can make over $100/hr", but it all depends on your work quality and the weight your name pulls in the field.

    Pricing is always difficult, especially if you put a lot of time and effort into your work.

    JcZ8JIM.png
  • srsizzysrsizzy Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Only $800 for Magic cards? Now I understand how artists are ridiculously underpaid in comparison to the amount of work that they put into gaining experience and maintaining their skill. Though, realistically that price makes sense, since there are so many magic cards made. I guess the artists making them don't have as much trouble completing them quickly as I would because of their skill level, but the amount of time to reach that skill level can often be daunting and one would hope for a better payout. I guess that's why people sell out in being modern artists, if you can get someone to like your work then you're better off, no matter what your work might entail. It's all kind of depressing, but I guess that art does make you really happy when you do it, and getting paid at all for what you love isn't a normal occurrence. That fact is even more depressing.

    Wow, that was an interesting rant I had there. Anyways, I don't know much about commission payment, I just had a sudden need to formulate and share an opinion.

    BRO LET ME GET REAL WITH YOU AND SAY THAT MY FINGERS ARE PREPPED AND HOT LIKE THE SURFACE OF THE SUN TO BRING RADICAL BEATS SO SMOOTH THE SHIT WILL BE MEDICINAL-GRADE TRIPNASTY MAKING ALL BRAINWAVES ROLL ON THE SURFACE OF A BALLS-FEISTY NEURAL RAINBOW CRACKA-LACKIN' YOUR PERCEPTION OF THE HERE-NOW SPACE-TIME SITUATION THAT ALL OF LIFE BE JAMMED UP IN THROUGH THE UNIVERSAL FLOW BEATS
  • MykonosMykonos Registered User
    edited October 2007
    for new and talented artist, the incentive of exposure is greater, to a degree, than actual cash payment (depending on the individual of course), so the fact that this is something that wont be published may force you to skew your price accordingly.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    "I was born; six gun in my hand; behind the gun; I make my final stand"~Bad Company
  • rtsrts Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    srsizzy wrote: »
    Only $800 for Magic cards? Now I understand how artists are ridiculously underpaid in comparison to the amount of work that they put into gaining experience and maintaining their skill. Though, realistically that price makes sense, since there are so many magic cards made. I guess the artists making them don't have as much trouble completing them quickly as I would because of their skill level, but the amount of time to reach that skill level can often be daunting and one would hope for a better payout. I guess that's why people sell out in being modern artists, if you can get someone to like your work then you're better off, no matter what your work might entail. It's all kind of depressing, but I guess that art does make you really happy when you do it, and getting paid at all for what you love isn't a normal occurrence. That fact is even more depressing.

    Wow, that was an interesting rant I had there. Anyways, I don't know much about commission payment, I just had a sudden need to formulate and share an opinion.

    Magic cards are actually $850, I dont know why I left off the 50 the first time. Anyways, keep in mind that unlike fine artists, illustrators provide a service, not a physical product. This means that at the end of the day after they get paid $1000 for painting the WoW card, they can turn around and sell the painting itself for another $500 if somebody is willing to buy it. Which is usually the case. Of course, more and more new illustrators are focusing on digital art which has no physical product whatsoever. Fools!

    skype: rtschutter
  • icebergiceberg Registered User
    edited October 2007
    Hey. I'm a poor art student. Who's an illustrator. Who needs to buy food. I can help.

    bische@gmail.com

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