I personally like to be very frank and upfront about cost to people. My time is quite limited so I cant afford to dance around the subject on tip toes hoping to lure them in for a bite. The result so far has been I havent heard back. For me, thats okay cos like they say time is money and for me thats especially true. Plus, I dont want to put out for less than my time is worth. I may not be a big name (yet), but it doesnt mean Im going to sell myself short.
The result of all these queries though has been a closer look into what I should be charging. I dont want to charge for more than my name is worth (is stress the word name) and take advantage, but on what planet am I going to charge a measly $25 (£15.44) per page? Certainly not this one. So I turn, as Im sure many of you do, to the internet and the result just leads to more confusion on the subject.
The range seems to be $25 - $100 for those still forging a name for themselves. But I also note that some people today are still being paid the same $25 rate of many decades ago it seems. For me based in the UK, that translates to £15.21. now if it takes me 4 hrs to pencil and ink an A4 page thats £3.80/hr less than minimum wage for anyone over the age of 18! Now thats basic, cos we havent considered what it would cost to pencil and ink an A3 page with good quality detail, not to mention the cost of materials. I recently asked a professional here on DA how long it took him to pencil (not ink) this page . His reply 20hrs! So that then would amount to £0.76/hr. Yeah right! That people are being paid £25 in this day and age is slavery. Im guessing this guy is getting more than $100 for this page.
The most helpful document Ive found that Ive been using as a guide is from the ASA (Australian Society of Authors) which you can view here www.asauthors.org/lib/ASA_Pape… and also from www.graphicartistsguild.org/ha… (My copy is in the post so I cant comment on this particular one yet).
The question is how to solve a problem like comic fees? Why does there seem to be a lack of standards on the subject? For people starting out, its an absolute mine-field! I would say, work out a base rate which should be calculated on rate/hr and materials and translate it into a page rate.
For example, if I work out my time is worth £15/hr with an average of 4hrs per page, then we have £60/page.
Now looking at material costs, let say you spend £10 on materials for every 20pages, then per page youre looking at £0.50. Added to your page rate youre standard is £60.50/page.
Overall, Im guessing this rate would be for a more simple style or art and not the detailed example shown above. But then you have your formula: so £15 x 20hr = £300/page. Material cost would go up considerably cos you have to consider if £10 worth got you as far as 20pages, then with heavy usage if may only take you as far as 5 giving you £2/page.
I guess thats the best way to figure it out. According to the ASA my minimum should be AUD$100 which is £64.91. Not far off from our estimate.
For anyone starting out or puzzling over what they should charge, hopefully this has helped.
The question of comic artist fees will, I foresee, continue to be asked for many years to come and I guess it will always be left to the discretion of the artist. There are many up and coming creators who are individuals and wont be able to pay such hefty sums and I think it is this fact that will prevent there from being a definitive answer. Art is an industry unlike any other (save perhaps music) and comics probably the least recognised form of both art and literature (another topic for another day).