need your help. Spec Spread

  • Hi dear friends,

    A project manager contacted me seeking illustration work for a picture book and she asked me what's my fee for doing a spec spread and then what would my pricing for illustrating a whole 32 page for 5000 copies.

    Can someone please let me know what a SPEC SPREAD is, please?
    How should we charge based on the nr of copies?

    Many thanks,


  • Pro

    @CatOnPaper Hey Cat 🙂
    So the term spec spread here is a bit weird. Spec work, or a spec spread, comes from speculative work. It usually means to do some work for free as a test to see if they'll hire you for the whole project, and is frowned upon because of how disadvantageous it is for the artist. However here she is actually offering pay for this. So it's not really spec work, I assume she means she will pay you to do a single spread in order to see if you'll be a good fit for the project.

    As for a rate, the amount of work involved should also be a factor. The more characters and locations involved, the longer it will take you to do after all. 32 pages is quite a lot of work, at the very least 5-6 months worth. Quote accordingly.

  • SVS Instructor Pro

    Right. This is really a "sample piece" or "sample spread". But it does imply that if the client does not like your work you'll be paid for the time spent and that will be the end of your involvement with the project.

    Also on the quote: It is nearly impossible to offer a suggestion without additional information about the scope of the project as well as the rights licensed (the copyright you are allowing the client to use).

    It would be important to know if it was 14 spreads, or 10 spreads and 8 full page, or 10 spots and 4 spreads and 12 full page. You get the idea.

    You might also want to know how much the book will sell for as that may give you an idea of the value of the images to the client.

  • @NessIllustration

    Thank you so much for taking the time and sharing your knowledge about this! 🙏✨

  • Thanks @davidhohn , that makes so much more sense now than it did before your replies!

  • SVS Instructor Pro

    @CatOnPaper Sure! BTW, took a moment to check out your website. You do great work! I saw that you are in Glasgow. Are you familiar with Association of Illustrators? They have licensing/pricing information as well as a pricing calculator.

    I can't vouch for that last as I'm not a member, but my overall impression of AOI is positive. Here in the states I would encourage you to review Graphic Artist Guild's Pricing and Ethical Guidelines to get at least a ballpark pricing number. Seems like AOI would be UK version.

  • Thank you kindly, @davidhohn, Doing my best 🙂

    Subscribing to AOI is an awesome idea, I shall do that very soon! Cheers for all your time and gold info! ✌

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