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Test Sketches

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Hi everyone!  ::-)

I'm looking for feedback on an issue i've been running into lately: When a client/company asks for a test sketch for character design or whatever other purpose.

Test sketches are still work on the Illustrator's part and Illustrators SHOULD be paid for them, this is what I believe (and I think 'hope' that others agree here too  :laugh ) I know payment will not be full price and I've heard of companies that pay a 'test fee'.

I'm actually wondering what everyone else's experiences have been with clients/companies asking for test sketches just to get a general consensus.
#1 - April 01, 2014, 06:18 AM
« Last Edit: April 01, 2014, 06:20 AM by amandaerbillust »

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I usually charge for "test" images - some firms have a set fee, others are hoping for free. I charge a nominal fee for pencil roughs, full costs for full color. It's like going into an ice-cream pallor. A taste is free, but if you want a cone with sprinkles and two scoops, you got to pay.

*wanders away grumbling about how little respect the creative professions receive and about how high college expenses are*
#2 - April 01, 2014, 06:24 AM
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haha Wendy, I've been grumbling all morning about similar things...  :sigh

Thanks for your input! Have you ever worked for a client/company that asked you for a test sketch for a project but didn't offer to pay? I'm just wondering if that's ever been an issue or not...
#3 - April 01, 2014, 06:50 AM

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I've done test sketches twice for publishers.

#1: I was paid for test sketches (color) for a work for hire project, which I didn't get (still got paid nominal fee though). It was an easy reader or chapter book project. Can't remember.

#2: I was not paid for test sketches (final art quality color sketches with multiple changes) for a picture book, which I did get a contract for. I did a TON of work that was unpaid BEFORE the offer. It was my first picture book. (It comes out this December!)

So, you never know. Both were big, reputable publishers. One was WFH, one was trade with advance + royalties. Not sure if the type of project made a difference to whether they offered to pay, or not, or if it was because I hadn't published any books before, or what.

I've also done one set of unpaid test samples for licensing, with specific art direction requests for changes to my style (so it would fit their project). I only did the samples because they implied that the job was mine (lesson learned there). They went with an artist who did something similar to what I had been told not to do for the test. I won't ever do unpaid licensing test samples again! Or if I do, there will have to be a really, really, really good reason (right now I can't think of any reason I would).

I think that art samples should be paid for.

If you're doing work for someone, they should pay you.

However, the reality is that not everyone is willing/able to pay for samples.

For me, who I choose to do unpaid samples for in the future (if I decide to do them again) will come down to specifics of who is asking and what the project is. I also might ask for a fee, depending on who/what it is. It never hurts to ask, but before asking, I'd make sure to know if I would accept/decline if the answer doesn't work for me. There are certain things I'd never do unpaid samples for, and others I would. Every artist needs to set their own rules, and sometimes you can only do that after having a few experiences.
#4 - April 01, 2014, 11:58 AM
« Last Edit: April 01, 2014, 12:00 PM by Stephanie Ruble »
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I agree wholeheartedly with Stephanie.
 
Another factor to consider is how many sketches they are asking for. I'm not sure what the standard request is. However, I was asked for three images that were completed or new ones to go with the subject matter under consideration. I could have pulled old sketch work or rendered new. I did both. This was done upfront with no fee for a well reputed publisher. They wanted my work but asked for a character sketch after reviewing the manuscript as well. It worked in my favor.
 
If it were a private contract, logo design or work for a self publisher, I would probably go with a different process.
 
 
 
 
#5 - April 01, 2014, 05:36 PM
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