Am I being paid enough?



  • Hi SVSers (Story tellers is my preferred group name but I have no idea!) I haven't been active on the forums for a bit, head is down focusing on Childrens Book Pro when I have free time to draw! (Great so far, I recommend it if/when it comes around again.)

    I also do a weekly editorial illustration for a podcast/newsletter. This takes up anywhere from 2-6 hours (very rarely 6, but it's happened) and I'm curious what fellow artists think my rate should be? I've talk to some friends who are designers and it's been a very mixed bag on their thoughts so , I thought I would take it to the illustrators.

    I'm not going to use actual figures unless really requested as this is public to all the internets to see and don't think it's really necessary.

    I was given a lump sum to make 54 illustrations over a year. I'm actually ok with the price as it stands right now, but I do wonder if I'm undervaluing myself and leaving money on the table.

    The contract will be renewing soonish so I'd like an idea of what I should charge as we move forward. What would you do in this position? I should also state:

    • This is usually a night where I'm watching TV with my family and drawing on my ipad, it's not really taking away time that I'm using otherwise.
    • I enjoy the work and usually have the freedom to do what I please.
    • Lately I've been parodying existing podcasts and those have been quite quick, on the 2 hr completion side.
    • The characters used in the illustration are becoming part of the brand of the newsletter and podcast itself, with my style and vision driving a lot of that.

    Here is some of the work to show the quality of what I'm producing. I'd love to know what you would charge for these illustrations. The contract will be for at least another full year of illustrations. (52)

    sp210607v1.png

    sp210524v1.png

    sp210503v1.png

    sp210315v1.png



  • What’s the lump sum? Because it seems like it’s a huge project and over the course of a year…that’s a big commitment


  • Pro

    @jakecrowe The fact you enjoy the work and do it in your free time while watching TV should not have any bearings on the price 🙂 You're providing a lot of value to this podcast with their brand identity and engagement (with humor) so you should be paid accordingly to the value you provide, not just how much time it takes you (or doesn't take you, as the case may be).



  • I like the princess bride ref!



  • What @NessIllustration said. This is a huge project (52 illos!) and quite a commitment, and your time should be fairly compensated. (Whether or not you love it or draw while sitting on the couch with your family has no bearing on your hourly rate. It’s awesome that you love the project but that doesn’t mean you should undervalue yourself.)

    You know it takes you between 2-6 hours to complete one illustration. What is the average? What is your target hourly rate? Multiply that by the number of illustrations and there’s the bare minimum you should be asking. (If you aren’t sure what your hourly rate should be, you can check out the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing and Ethical Guidelines for industry standards.)

    But like Ness said, there are other factors to add into that price, too. If you’re helping build a brand, if your art is contributing to the podcast’s success, if your client has a bigger budget … all those are factors to consider. It sounds like they really value your work — perhaps their budget has grown this time around because of that. Worth an ask.

    And … love the Princess Bride reference! Hilarious!



  • Thanks everyone these are good points, and I'm glad you enjoy the work!

    I guess what I'm asking for is what YOU would want to be paid in this situation, which is why I've added the details about enjoying the work and the time it takes. I think I've heard Will Terry talk about price factor being different in work he enjoys vs. work he doesn't, he charge more if he really wasn't too interested.

    Maybe the question itself is too nuanced to give any one person to give a definitive answer on what they would charge based on the work.

    Thank you!



  • Well, if it is a year of work and you (theoretically) want to make this a full time job, you would need this to be a year of expenses. That is probably not practical at this point, because an annual salary can be anywhere from 25k on up. That's not to say that you should not want to earn a full time salary, but I get the feeling that you're not quite ready to make this transition.

    What I've learned as I've been focusing on freelancing as a side career (I'm a full time high school teacher) is that there should be a minimum of money that I will not go below. For example, in my children's books, my bare minimum fee is $3500. It doesn't matter if I enjoy the work (which I do), that fee is the lowest I will go, unless I happen to be doing pro-bono work. That figure is based on the fact that that's about what I make per month in my day job and based on the type of service I provide (32-36 pages of work, outside of my full time job, takes a lot of my time and I should be fairly compensated for my time and skill).

    I know you said you don't want to list the figure, but the fact that you're questioning whether or not this is enough might be a clue that somewhere inside you you think you're not being compensated enough. Again, this is a lot of work over a year. I'm curious what caused the question to be raised in your mind in the first place?



  • @lpetiti I would like to eventually move to full time freelance. I work in design for a large company in-house right now and make a decent salary for my area. My wife had to leave her job during the pandemic and has become full time childcare for our two-year-old but would like to return to the workforce when our daughter begins schooling in a few years, that's when I would like to make freelancing full time.

    It's not that I don't currently think I'm being compensated well, its more that the contract will be up in the next few months and I'd like to get ahead of things and make sure I'm not leaving any money on the table. I'm not great at figuring this stuff out. I had previously really undercut myself to the point that the owner I'm freelancing for came back and asked me to charge more as he felt he was robbing me.

    The sum of the work is $6200 for the year at I would guess 3.5 hours of work per week. Again, currently I am happy with the work and the pay, but as the company grows I'd like more of the pie, especially if my work is contributing to the success. However, I don't want to overvalue myself either and potentially harm a relatively easy working relationship.



  • @jakecrowe said in Am I being paid enough?:

    @lpetiti I would like to eventually move to full time freelance. I work in design for a large company in-house right now and make a decent salary for my area. My wife had to leave her job during the pandemic and has become full time childcare for our two-year-old but would like to return to the workforce when our daughter begins schooling in a few years, that's when I would like to make freelancing full time.

    It's not that I don't currently think I'm being compensated well, its more that the contract will be up in the next few months and I'd like to get ahead of things and make sure I'm not leaving any money on the table. I'm not great at figuring this stuff out. I had previously really undercut myself to the point that the owner I'm freelancing for came back and asked me to charge more as he felt he was robbing me.

    The sum of the work is $6200 for the year at I would guess 3.5 hours of work per week. Again, currently I am happy with the work and the pay, but as the company grows I'd like more of the pie, especially if my work is contributing to the success. However, I don't want to overvalue myself either and potentially harm a relatively easy working relationship.

    Ok, now that we see a sum…$6200 for the year is WAY underpaid. You are doing a massive amount of work and since you hope to do this full time someday, you really need to charge a lot more. With full time, think of this, would $6200 help you support your family 6 months, never mind a year? Not at all. You’re not overvaluing yourself by wanting a reasonable wage. If they don’t want to give you a livable wage (I’m not saying that’s the case but just playing what if) then you need to discuss that with them.



  • @lpetiti cool thanks for the response! so I'm see it as $6200 for 3.5 hours of work a week, comes to about 119.25 per image, or roughly $34 an hour. (Unless I'm mathing poorly, certainly something I am not great at) If they wanted me as a fulltime employee I would certainly talk about a wage that would meet what I''m making now (as well as benefits or added compensation in place of). In my place, would you double, or ask for more even?



  • @jakecrowe if you’re breaking it down per image, then it in theory sounds fair. The math for whatever reason doesn’t seem to add up for me. For tax purposes, I’d recommend not doing a lump sum because i think it’ll be harder for taxes (at least that’s what I’m hearing and understanding about taxes).

    Personally, I’d negotiate to get paid each time you complete an assignment.


  • Pro

    @jakecrowe Freelance rates are higher than regular employees rates (to compensate for your materials, taxes, benefits, time off, time chatting back and forth with clients and down time between projects, etc). In general freelance rate is double a regular rate, + experience and added value. A starting rate at a studio might be $25 per hour straight out of school with no experience. Double that for freelance, $50 straight out of school with no experience. You've been with them a while, helped shape their brand image and grow their podcast through your work. It's time to argue for a salary raise. I'd go for at least $60 per hour considering your experience and value added to their company. So you'd be looking at $11,340 AT LEAST for the 54 illustrations project.



  • Maybe you want to check out how other people are being paid for same-size editorial illustrations? Looks like it is between $100 and $800 per piece

    resource
    https://litebox.info/2019/08/02/wage-surveys/


  • Pro

    @idid Great resource! And @jakecrowe $60 per hour for 3.5 hours is only $210 per illustration. So in case you were thinking it's too expensive, it's really not! It's far from that $800 upper range quoted in the article.



  • @idid wow this is an excellent resource thank you. I’ve been scouring for something like this.


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