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Getting Paid For Samples

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So I have some potential work with a local theatre and I'm feeling a little lost as I've not had to deal with many varieties of freelance work yet.

This is the first time they are hiring an artist outside of their internal department for a coloring book specifically for their show so the process has been a little unconventional. It appears as though I'm "up against" another artist and they would like me to complete 1 or 2 samples for them. They are asking how much I would charge for that.

I have a pretty good idea what I would be charging for a final product but I've not yet had to consider charging for a one-time maybe never used again artwork. Would you charge the same as any other piece or would you charge lower? It would be a single page black and white illustration. I'm afraid of underselling myself but also want to be reasonable as it is just a sample.

Please let me know if you think I'm considering the situation incorrectly. I'm still trying to figure out how to be confident in my pricing with only a few projects under my belt. 

 :shrug
#1 - May 10, 2017, 11:55 AM

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 :salute Unfortunately, I am going to be no help. More just wanted to say that I have been struggling a lot with the pricing element of things. I have only sold logos and a watercolor paintings in the past and one of those jobs was literally paid in steaks  :umm So I guess my advice would be to at least ask for money instead of perishable food items!
#2 - May 10, 2017, 12:43 PM
Books & Cats & Cups of Tea.

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I know absolutely nothing about this sort of thing and am not an artist. But the thought occurred to me that you might say something like, "Well, I'd like for you to be making your decision strictly on the quality of the work, so I'll charge whatever the other artist is charging."

That may be totally a bad idea, so please listen to whatever other more knowledgeable people tell you.
#3 - May 10, 2017, 04:18 PM
« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 04:20 PM by Ev »

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Hmmm, why not charge the fraction it is of the final book that you are planning on charging?
What would you pay for a single piece of artwork that size?
And congratulations for such an interesting gig!!!
#4 - May 11, 2017, 05:31 AM
TEN EASTER EGGS (Cartwheel/Scholastic, 2015)
www.vijayabodach.blogspot.com
Author of over 40 books and 60 magazine pieces

Neat opportunity!

First thing I consider is what style they're after, like where on the scale between realism and cartoony. Then, if there are characters, how many would be reoccurring ( assuming you'll want model sheets ) and if their design is your responsibly or if the leg-work is already done ( both will have licensing terms ). Last, where on the style scale will the background fall ( typically less detailed than characters ). With all this in mind I consider my base hourly, estimated time for completion, and keep within the fact this will be a sample and one-off so I'm not using up time on "nailing down" render design/lines EXCEPT in one "final render" sample spot within the whole. This is by definition a sample fit for review.

If someone wants a full resolution, completed piece for 'review'... congratulations you've been commissioned for a full resolution completed piece, licensed for stipulated use whether or not it would be ultimately determined that it was what the commissioner was "looking for".

Disclaimer, though: I draw concepts and render very quickly in a digital format, which is more cost effective for clients paying hourly seeking a 'deal'.
#5 - May 16, 2017, 03:04 PM

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mikemarsh gave some excellent advice! I am a full-time freelance illustrator and I work in a similar fashion. When I'm given a sample bid (much like you described - paid for 1-2 samples amongst several other illustrators) I personally charge between 50-70% of my normal fee (base hourly x est. hours). Exact percentage depends on the subject matter being requested, as it will dictate the level of completion and detail the work will require. I always discount sample bids to a degree, though I always indicate to the client what my standard hourly rate is when I provide the sample bid quote.

It's very important to garner as much information as possible about the subject matter before defining your price! That way you know aprox. how long it will take you. It can take time and experience to guesstimate your hours for a project - I've been at this for four years full-time and even I mis-estimate sometimes. Just do your best. :)

Hope this helps!
#6 - June 06, 2017, 04:29 AM
Allie MacAlister • Illustrator
www.alliemackie.com

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