Time Frames & Prices for Book Illustrations?


  • SVS OG

    I'm with everyone else way, way, way too low....My price for one spread is more than twice what they are offering for the whole book. These people just have no idea of the time it takes and the amount of work. Plus I always let self publishers know before I start the work that they will more than likely never make the money back that they put into the book if they are hiring out a designer and illustrator. Typical self published children's book makes less than $500.00 so they are better off if they think their manuscript is good enough trying to an agent.


  • Pro SVS OG

    Things like this still make me mad, even after experiencing it myself and hearing about it over and over again. For me it is not about prices that much, because my freelance activity is so small as to be nearly non-existent (this is hopefully going to change next year). However I get a lot of "we need an animation so and so, and it would be nice if it could also include something we have seen here, and we are still working on the script, and we need a couple of awesome images at the end....and can we please have it by the end of the week?"......and even though now I am pretty used to this, I always think - "What the.......Even if you do not have any idea of how this work is done (and in a visual day and age like this one, I find this already disturbing), a cursory moment of reflection should make anybody older than 4 realize that there is probably quite some work involved.... I mean, offering 200 USD for 20 illustrations means that you seriously believe that it takes less than one hour to come up with an idea or two, make some sketches, show them to you, get one chosen and finish an illustration. I don't understand this, it is like a mental blind spot that so many people seem to have....
    Sorry for the rant - to me these kind of offers are an offense to the whole creative community and I believe we should find a way to make the customers understand this.



  • @smceccarelli I wonder if "speed paints" on Youtube contribute to people's ignorance.

    I know I spend a couple hours (at least) just brainstorming and gathering reference materials before I even start to sketch.



  • My first chilrens book I illustrated was very low, but $200 is ridiculous I would not do this.



  • @amberwingart Oof, I get this question alot.

    1. Always see when the client wants the deadline by and make sure it is something you can reach because deadlines are incredibly important in the freelance industry. If you don't do digital, try doing a test piece from start to finish and time yourself to see how long it takes you to complete it. That is something that I have found crucial in my freelance career.

    2. That is ridiculous. I'm sorry. That's 10 USD per page and I wouldn't take something that is a full illustration for that. No way. Plus being traditional, and this is something I have found that not alot of artists take into account is the cost of your materials and your time. Time is worth a price. So no, don't take that. It is underselling and pushing it for even a digital artist. I myself do professional work for 20-30/hr depending on the client's needs.



  • @MuttsGraphix That helps a lot to hear your time frame! I can't even imagine how the artists who are taking these gigs are able to get 15-30 full color illustrations done in 1 month! I typically take 20-30 hrs for a full color piece too... I'm so glad I asked here because seeing those job postings, I was feeling really discouraged. There are a ton of postings where they're asking for full book covers for $20-30! I'm thinking they have to be taken by people in poor economies, where that amount is a lot of money.

    I hadn't even though of my material costs (I can't believe I didn't!). I'll definitely remember that from now on as I'm looking through the job listings.



  • @Lee-Holland Thank you Lee! What would be a reasonable price for a complete newbie to ask for a book cover or internal illustration?



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  • SVS OG

    In my day job I talk to clients constantly so I have really good phone skills. But I find most people would rather converse over email and I don't think I come off very well that way. I'm always wondering "wow, did what I just typed make me sound like a jerk?" So, that is a hard part for me.

    As far as how much you should charge being new. I think that is a very personal thing. I've listened to Lee White and Will Terry talk about this stuff and there are a lot of factors to consider. Me myself I did my first job for a self publisher for $125.00 a spread and that was about 6 years ago. It was super low and I didn't make any money...but I also wasn't very good and it was great to be able to say I did finish a book. And it was good to learn how to work with a client. The sites you are looking on like Freelanced tend to be garbage sites. They are pretty much set up to screw artists. Artists are all competing against each other for table scraps. I wouldn't go that route. Do your personal work for your portfolio or your own project. Get yourself out there and advertise a bit (post cards and mailers contact some agents if you want to go that route) when you think you are ready. (Your work is amazing. I can't see you not getting any bites if you do some advertising)



  • @amberwingart I do have a children's book agent but When I got my first job It was only $700 for a 10 spread book which was very low and I didn't feel great doing it, also this was 5 years ago. but i was new to children's book so i did it to gain the experience. But I think that for a first book I wouldn't go lower than $150-$200 per spread.

    I am still new to children's book but last year I got 3 baby books to illustrate. I got $8.000 each for 2 of them, and the other one was a baby counting book and I got $12.000. also I got 6 text book covers to illustrate for $1400 for each one.

    So $200 is terrible.

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  • @amberwingart Unfortunately there are those who don't value what we do but I'm glad I was able to help!


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