How much to charge for this particular job request

  • Hi y’all
    I just got a message on Instagram that goes:
    “Hey Aleksey - I’m a writer/filmmaker who’s developing animated IP and am looking to commission an artist for preliminary character designs & concept art to accompany a pitch packet. It’s anthropomorphic + post-apocalyptic. Scope is 3-4 character portraits and a more detailed cover page (all colored). Interested? I’d love to hear a rough estimate.”

    I probably wont give them an estimate off the back but what are some good questions to ask that might help me determine this? Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks everyone

  • Hi @Aleksey, firstly - Congratulations! Your work is amazing, and that’s why you’re being queried.

    Secondly, watch the below video from Marco! It’s right up your alley and I’m sure you will find some excellent takeaways.

    The big key is to ask him/her to point out which of your pieces they love the most so you can understand the reference. Also, have the director provide you with specific examples of how they expect the finished product to look like.

    Of course, payment terms and the such should be discussed in advance, but very important to get a clear Direction of expectation and milestone payments along the way (if possible).

    Good luck!

  • @Jeremy-Ross ohh thanks Jeremy i will watch this once i get home.

  • Yay! So excited for you!!! @Aleksey I have nothing else to contribute but my fandom. Proud of you!

  • @chrisaakins daw shucks thanks chris

  • Moderator

    Ditto to what Chris said😃. Keep us posted. Good luck!

  • @burvantill thanks!

  • Are there other things you guys think i should ask to Help me determine the price I should ask for? Or like how would you determine what to charge

  • I would think you'd need to see the story, treatment or script before you'd have enough information to know what you need to draw and how much work will be invested on your part. Only then can you determine a price.

  • Moderator

    @Aleksey Hmmm, If this was happening to me, I would start with what it takes for me to design a new character. Since I have more experience designing new logos (lol) I would probably compare it to that and give them a comparable price. I used to charge $200/ logo. The client would get a couple initial sketches to choose the direction they want me to go in, then I would do a semi finished logo for them to pick at before I gave them the final. These were always work for hire so I never thought of licensing which would probably raise the price a bit now. I have no idea if $200 / character design would be too little or too much? The last quote I gave, they never contacted me again, LOL, so I guess, ask yourself, "How little would I be willing to take to do 4 new character designs and a full cover and still be happy?" ...then add a little more $ on top of that. LOL.

  • @burvantill this is actually great advice haha thanks

    @Kim-Hunter i think im gonna do that. Thanks Kim

    1. I'd find out what level of polish they need in order to build the successful pitch packet. I'd say that might dramatically affect the cost because taking a bunch of rough characters to final might double the amount of time.

    2. I'd also include some kind of verification of what the process looks like, which would help you both understand what's involved and set some expectations from the get-go. For example you might say "Normally on something where we're working from the ground up, I'd like to do a few rough sketch rounds so that we are both happy with the direction, then move to a few semi-final works that include colors and we can then discuss what changes to make before moving to the final illustrations".

    If you're not sure what to charge at all, I'd create a baseline that you know would be a livable amount of money you'd charge if you needed this to pay the bills going forward. I'd say at the very minimum start with $60 an hour, and just run some basic numbers to say on average you're confident you could do 4 characters with say 3 rounds of initials, 2 rounds of semi-finals and a final at say 4 hours per character, add 3 hours for the final cover, and then add 20% on top of that for communication and overflow, and at 22 hours you'd give them a project cost of $1350 rounding up.

    Then track the hell out of your time so that you know if you actually hit your targets or if you're way off. You might find that you undershot your goal by 25% or 50%, which you'll then want to adjust for the next one.

    Other great suggestions here about getting a copy of the script and a better understanding of how the world will feel. But work out a numbers and confidently hand it to them even if it feels like too much. Make it clear you're open to negotiation, but also make sure they know there's a process so that they know they are being treated professionally as well. Someone that's putting together a brand new IP like this really should be anticipating spending more than couple hundred dollars on art if they're actually pitching it.

  • oh and per @burvantill definitely get an idea of licensing and make sure that's defined. Honestly I don't know enough about licensing to really give advice, so I'd seek some advice from those that know it really well. I don't know quite how it works if you're illustrating someone else's characters, but I imagine you'd want some kind of licensing on the works are available to use in a pitching capacity.

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