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"Generally, the good graphic novels fetch $100 - $300 per page, although professionals who have been in the industry for a long time can command as much as three times that amount. In fact, one elite illustrator commanded as much as $1,000 a page (on a 22-page comic book)! Most of the popular titles that artists, like David Cassaday, work on are monthly issues, which end up providing him with a six-figure salary. The back-end royalties on merchandise, trade paperbacks and movie royalties are also generous."

www.freelancewriting.com/artic…

"In 2008, Sean Jordan, founder of Army Ant Publishing, claimed established freelance comic book artists were paid anywhere from $220 to $4,400 per book project, which breaks down to $10 to $200 per page. Pencil and inker artists can ask for $75 to $200 a page. Colorists often fall in the range of $35 to $125, and writers and letterers make $10 to $50 a page. A lucky few dozen famous artists working for top companies bring in $1,000 per page."

smallbusiness.chron.com/much-c…

"While, I'm at it, there's a big matzo ball sitting out there. Sean gives us a pretty good idea of his page rate, which works out to about $450 a page, inking included. We're not talking about a big name star in comics (yet), but that's a lot of cost for talent, especially, when you're talking about a guy whose known work was on moderate selling Vertigo books."

ifanboy.com/articles/sean-murp…

"I highly encourage artists to NEVER charge less than minimum wage for their hourly rate when they are figuring out their prices. If you are going off the hourly as a way to figure out base prices. For the US, $7.25 is a very common minimum wage, so I suggest you round it up to $8 at least. Even at $8 an hour, your page rate should be $40 a page, assuming you spend 5 hours total on it. This method of figuring out your base really depends on tracking and making good use of your time. If your time is highly variable, you might need to use another method.

Another pricing strategy some amateurs/aspiring professionals take the base professional rate and half it as a way of figuring out their base price to break in and slowly raise their prices as they fall into more demand.

You may be tempted as an artist to under charge, and under value your skill. The fear of being denied a job because of charging a decent rate is a huge reason why artists don't get paid well. DO NOT UNDERCHARGE for your skill level. It devalues your work, and devalues every other artist's work too. Try to stay in line with other artists of your skill and resume level, and what you need to charge to cover your bills and make a living."

www.shadowsden.org/comic-artis…

"Figure $100 for the writer, $150 for the penciller, $130 for the inker, $90 for the colorist, and $30 for the letterer. Those numbers go up and down depending on talent and publishers, but that's a nice round number for us to work with."

www.comicmix.com/news/2010/09/…


"Top comic book artists reportedly make around $500 per page; that figure varies depending on the artist's popularity and the publisher he is working for. The best comic book artists may make around $80,000 a year."


"The first rule of freelancing is that paying work comes first. Love don't pay the rent."


"Though he won't reveal what he makes, his page rate—the amount an artist charges per page drawn—is among the highest in the business. Given that an elite illustrator can command up to $1,000 a page for a 22-page comic book and that most popular titles are monthlies, a top talent like Cassaday can comfortably clear six figures annually. And that's not counting potential back-end royalties for merchandise, trade paperbacks, and spin-offs, which are negotiated separately."


"I know a lot of people say this, BUT persistence truly is key. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Never give up. What one editor doesn't like, the next might think is gold. Also, never let yourself be taken advantage of. Never work for free. Always require pay, never work on the promise of pay if profits are met.

Not to sound pompous or conceited, just be confident in your work. Remain humble at the same time. You never know who you'll meet in the industry and who will be working for which company down the line. Don't burn bridges."

When I first started, I would keep my price lower than maybe I should, but if you're going to make a living, you have to stand up for yourself and be a great agent for your work. Be proud and confident in what you do. They need your services, and you just need to decide who is lucky enough to receive those services.

www.payscale.com/career-news/2…

"Even if you are lucky enough to get an extended run on something, you're still not making $6,000 a month. Remember those extended production times? Yeah... these days, most comic book artists need more than a month to pencil a book, much less pencil AND ink a book. Some creators can, of course, but again, they're the exception. And to come in even CLOSE to the deadlines you have to work under in comics means a lot of long hours at the art table, 8-12 hours a day, depending on how fast you can draw."

matthewdowsmith.blogspot.com/2…

"For creator-owned books – which, again, do not always generate page rates – that amount ranged from $17 to $100 per page, while for-hire naturally was much higher. On the low end, publishers like Boom! and IDW paid between $50 and $150, with the higher end found publishers like Marvel, DC and Dark Horse paying upwards of $300 per page, topping out at nearly $500."

multiversitycomics.com/longfor…


twitter.com/forexposure_txt
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:iconjohnchalos:
johnchalos Featured By Owner May 8, 2018  Professional General Artist
Some great information about Marvel and DC.

youtu.be/J_ANOFxmFBM
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:iconblueoriontiger:
Blueoriontiger Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2018  Hobbyist Artist
What's your advice for a good flat rage per page? I ask for about $20-25/page and have gotten work for that, but someone was telling me today that I was "not competitive", and that I need to charge $10/page.
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:iconjohnchalos:
johnchalos Featured By Owner May 8, 2018  Professional General Artist
When you add up the cost of the supplies that you used (pens, paper, ink, etc. -- or an equivalent percentage of your software/hardware) and an hourly rate that justifies the time taken away from other paying work or even personal projects*, that's just basic compensation. It should at least come out to min wage plus supplies. Anything beyond that is determined by your skill level and your value -- things you'll have to evaluate for yourself.

All I know is, it takes me a full day or more to pencil a semi-realistic page and I can't afford to work an entire day for $10/day whether I want to or not. Inking it would take another day and could cost me that entire $10 in pens and ink. If I can both pencil and ink a page in a less demanding style in less than an hour (which I can) then maybe $10 is worth it. It depends on the investment you are making and how much you value your time.

* More often than not, I decide my time would probably be better spent honing my skills so my pages are worth enough someday to justify a higher page rate. In that way, personal time drawing my own projects can be more valuable to me than the $10 I earn from taking an assignment.
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:iconjohnchalos:
johnchalos Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2018  Professional General Artist
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:iconreenigrl:
Reenigrl Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2018  Student General Artist
I'm glad I found this. I recently was asked if I would be interested in inking and coloring one of my professors comics. And I was not sure how I should go about pricing per page. I'm always afraid I would over price or under price myself. I definitely need to take time to clock my self and see how long it takes me to ink and color a page. Thank you for posting this. It was greatly helpful.
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:iconlivington-guy:
Livington-Guy Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2018
At a freelance artist myself (I have a real job behind), I know the evidence of payment for the cartoonists works but didn't for each pages it's made. Since I do it all by myself, this journal is pretty usual if someday, I decide to pick my works to a book editor. I can't just thank you enough to make these statements clear at possible and educate fans and even several artists like me to the reality of what artists really wins for their works and for be able to paid their rents.

(Sorry if it may misunderstood you. I'm not an english-speaker person, tough I write very much in english for the need of this website.)
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:icongoblingrimm1:
GoblinGrimm1 Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Good to know. This is why everyone on a facebook group I posted in are acting like I'm having a huge sale on doing sequential pages for $25 a page for pencils. Had no idea I could charge a lot more and still be reasonably priced for a beginner.
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:iconjohnchalos:
johnchalos Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2017  Professional General Artist
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:iconnakunakutenshi:
NakuNakuTenshi Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2017  Professional Traditional Artist
Cool.
Now please answer me for sake of not devaluing mine and others skills should I commit suicide because the wage I can get is at best 20-30 USD for inking and penciling and most of potential clients just say "it's not what we are looking for" or should I stay unemployed and starve hoping I won't die before i get decent payment?
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:iconjohnchalos:
johnchalos Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2017  Professional General Artist
The purpose of this thread isn't to shame you. Your art has great character and potential. Rewards will come if you persist. I merely hope to give people an idea what professional artists should expect for full-time work. It's fairly impossible to create artwork full-time without making a livable wage -- as it is with any type of work. Compromises can be made here and there but people require food and shelter.

"'The true nature of anything,' Aristotle says, 'is what it becomes at its highest.' Not the embryo, but the full- grown man; not any man, but man at his greatest." ~ Edith Hamilton (The Echo of Greece)
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:iconhibiscus-hemorrhage:
Hibiscus-Hemorrhage Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
This wasn't directed toward me but I happened to stumble on this journal and saw you didn't have an answer yet: "Not what we're looking for" doesn't necessarily mean they don't like your work, just that the style won't work for what they have in mind. This is especially true with comics, where the style contributes to storytelling. I've had a few clients tell me my style doesn't work for what they had in mind for a piece, and even a commissioner who tried to force me into working in a style I wasn't comfortable with under the pretense they liked my style. Ugh.

Your work seems to be high quality, but very horror-oriented. Not a bad thing, but not everyone wants to work in the horror. You draw a manga style also, if I scroll down far enough, so I know you can work in "friendlier" styles. Maybe try putting together a sheet showing many styles you can work in to broaden your audience? Additonally, many independent comic artists nowadays are looking to work digital, so it might help to show you're familiar with digital inking too. From my experience, heavily hatched styles like yours are hard to translate to a colorable form, so perhaps showing you are well-versed in digital inking would help with sales. (I don't know that you are versed, but I saw some pieces said to have been edited and colored in Krita, so presumably you own a tablet and know your way around digital art?)

Kinda long but hope it helps?
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:iconnakunakutenshi:
NakuNakuTenshi Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2017  Professional Traditional Artist
We shall see if it help ,but thanks anyway.
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:iconbewareof713:
bewareof713 Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2018
"Cool.
Now please answer me for sake of not devaluing mine and others skills should I commit suicide because the wage I can get is at best 20-30 USD for inking and penciling and most of potential clients just say "it's not what we are looking for" or should I stay unemployed and starve hoping I won't die before i get decent payment?"

Now imagine you're in the same scenario but you're a writer who has to pay the artist. As a struggling artist(yes, writing is an art form), I can't afford to pay an extraordinary amount of money. Now on the other hand, if your name was popular and could sell my book by just being on there, then that's another thing but you guys are expecting hundreds of dollars from people who are starving, too. The work isn't just getting good at your craft(and you are very talented), it's doing it until you have earned recognition. Over-charging your peers is a good way for a quick buck but isn't very good for your end-game.

I guess my question is: If we're supposed to be working together and neither of us are famous then why am I working a job I hate to pay you so you don't have to?

Just something to think about.
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:iconblueoriontiger:
Blueoriontiger Featured By Owner Edited Apr 18, 2018  Hobbyist Artist
I stumbled upon here because somebody on Reddit was complaining that I was "overcharging" for comic flats. Turns out I was doing about okay.

Why do you have to work a job to pay her or me so "we" don't have to?

Because it's OUR JOB to create the content. When you devalue us with our skill an education to make creative content, we'll go to who pays, and walk away to leave you to figure that out however you want. We'll go take a job we hate that'll pay double what you offer (like factory welding), because that pays the bills and puts the food on the table in a city where we actually get Internet access. When you start saying I'm broke and that we should work for cheap, it's pretty much a literal spit in our face.

I came up with the concept for a visual novel in 2011. I coded it on and off while I was at school and tried to get someone to help me do the art, because I wasn't a good artist. It didn't go well. After two artists dropped who said (one said they'd do it for free and one had a half-barter agreement) I came to the realization that I needed to "pay someone worth their salt" to get the art I needed, and it was going to be more than $200 that I could ever offer for any project.

I had to wait almost five years and work an office job I hated until I had almost $1800 to pay a proper artist to do all my character art and backgrounds. It looks professional, high grade and people liked it because it didn't look "anime". The game got Greenlit on Steam and now I can finish the process and concentrate on completing the game engine to modernize it to today's standards.

And you know what? I had problems too. My parents were in massive debt and 2/3rd of my paycheck was going to them for over two years. Up to this day I don't own a modern gaming console. I never did go to vacation anywhere on my own. But I took my money on what mattered, published a book and now will be releasing a game soon.

Would I have liked to have my game out when I was a 24 year old college kid, and not a 31 year old man? Would it have been easy to work with someone who'd do it for "free"? Would my game have even passed Greenlight if it didn't look up to polish? Would a professional artist have taken me seriously if I approached them to draw several high-grade art assets for $200?

That's something to think about.
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:iconcra-zshaker:
Cra-ZShaker Featured By Owner Edited Jul 15, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
:clap: 
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:iconnakunakutenshi:
NakuNakuTenshi Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2018  Professional Traditional Artist
How much time you need to write a script of 1 comic page? 30 minutes? 1 hour?
How much time i need to draw and ink 1 comic page? 6-9 hours at best.
I think we are clear
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:iconzefram:
Zefram Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Very good resource. Much appreciated.
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:iconriversreverie:
RiversReverie Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Bookmarked!  A good resource, thank you for sharing!
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:iconmonkeyjb1988:
monkeyjb1988 Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2017
I'm saving this. I want to make a comic book, but I can only draw and color.
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:iconkamicokrolock:
kamicokrolock Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2017  Professional Traditional Artist
Oh thank you for this! I've had a client approach me about illustrating a graphic novel. I'm all up for the challenge but was utterly confused as to how to charge for it. I was worried that applying the same pricing scale I use for my paintings would be off but it looks like it works in this situation too!
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:iconhaulport:
Haulport Featured By Owner May 18, 2017  Professional Filmographer
Very useful, thanks!
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:iconjohnchalos:
johnchalos Featured By Owner May 7, 2017  Professional General Artist
Awesome interview with Sean Murphy!
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:iconjohnchalos:
johnchalos Featured By Owner May 7, 2017  Professional General Artist
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:icongreater-wolf:
Greater-Wolf Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2016  Student Digital Artist
Question:
Say someone commissions someone for a comic, they charge say... $100 per page... the person then decides they will publish the book, should there be more payments after per book that is sold?
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:iconjohnchalos:
johnchalos Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2016  Professional General Artist
There should always be a contract for any significant amount of work.

If you agreed to the job under the stipulation that it would never see print then... it's kind of shady for the guy to then publish it without your consent or permission. It might be illegal. I'm no expert so I don't know. I mean, it seems like it would be fraud for someone to hire you for a personal commission under false pretenses, totally intending to publish the material all along. And, it seems like someone experiencing unexpected success would want to share the wealth with his collaborator.

I'm not the one to ask about this sort of thing. I'd speak to a lawyer.
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:iconjohnchalos:
johnchalos Featured By Owner Edited May 23, 2016  Professional General Artist
Mark Millar offers $10,000/issue to work on one of his side projects:

"Instead of messing around emailing people privately
 I thought I’d just do a big shout out right now to the comic-book community. We’re looking for someone truly great for this, someone who can really handle a monthly deadline (we’ll be publishing around 8 issues a year, two four issue arcs) and I’d like to get them started around four weeks from now as all the scripts are being readied. Payment is $10,000 dollars an issue for black and white art and a generous royalty package for monthly books and trades."

www.bleedingcool.com/2016/05/2…

That's roughly $500/page (a page a day, five days a week, four weeks a month) for a page of pencils and inks. Plus royalties.
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:iconjohnchalos:
johnchalos Featured By Owner Edited May 22, 2016  Professional General Artist
The Death Of Freelance Illustration, Passion Projects & Why We Quit Our Dream Jobs by Chris Oatley and Noah Bradley.

youtu.be/mJQiVSrihXU

The relevant conversation doesn't crank up till about 44:25, really. Before that, it's background and financial precautions.
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:iconindieexec:
IndieExec Featured By Owner May 20, 2016
Indie publishers simply can't and don't pay Marvel & DC rates. If you are publishing an indie book, you will find that most artists that have been slogging to build their craft will gladly accept work at a reasonable lower rate that is somewhat ongoing. 

Letters: $10 and up per page
Colours: $25 and up PP
Pencils: $40 and up PP
Inks: $30 and up PP
Writing: $25 and up PP

We tend to pay more than this if they have some published experience, but if you are starting out or have no real credits to your name, you shouldn't balk at those lower rates. You build a portfolio and work your way up to $150 per page in your chosen field. You pay your dues, you build your body of work and you simply get better by working. 
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:iconjohnchalos:
johnchalos Featured By Owner May 21, 2016  Professional General Artist
"Do you think the one who had gotten out of the cave would still envy those within the cave and would want to compete with them who are esteemed and who have power?" ~ Socrates (Plato's Allegory of the Cave)
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:iconjohnchalos:
johnchalos Featured By Owner Edited May 21, 2016  Professional General Artist
Maybe try starting new artists and writers on side stories that you include in the back of your established comics. That way, you can pay them a decent hourly wage (or a decent page rate) but only for a few pages. It'd be like they're working part-time. They could do it as a second job. That might be a better way to go than taking advantage of them by expecting them to complete entire issues for super cheap wages -- something that will take them forty hours a week and preclude any sort of demanding day job. Drop the number of pages rather than the rate of pay by having them produce short stories to include in existing comics. I've seen independent companies do it. It seems like a decent way to test the waters with a new employee. Quit making their "dues" so expensive and you might have more luck getting people to "pay" them. Just a thought.
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:iconjohnchalos:
johnchalos Featured By Owner Edited May 21, 2016  Professional General Artist
IndieExec, 

You want new guys to pay their dues? Like it's a fraternity.

Bottom line: I can't afford to work for you because my basic living expenses are higher than what you pay -- in spite of my rent being super cheap. I'm not sure who could afford to work for you full-time outside of someone living rent-free in his mom's basement or someone living in a third world country. You only want to hire college kids on summer break?

I really think you need to reconsider your business model. 
You're never going to make much money selling your comics if they suck. You're never going to produce great comics hiring artists at those page rates. You can't pay someone $40/day (less than "high school kid mowing your lawn on a Saturday" wages) for a page of pencils (for a full day of artwork) and expect to get anything back on any kind of reasonable time frame that's going to be worth publishing.

I mean, I hear what you're saying. "Running a business is tough. Everything is so expensive. Taxes. The government. Those crazy artists don't know how expensive it is these days. They don't pay for things too. They aren't paying taxes too. They aren't real people. It's like they expect to eat and clothe themselves and pay their rent on time just for working full-time. From day one! They expect to not be homeless from day one! Like it's a real job or something. It's so horrible."

Nobody gets hired to work at OfficeMax for $2/hr and told they'll start making min. wage when they get a little experience or pay their dues, man. If you work full-time, you make enough to support yourself from day one, you make enough to be independent i.e. live like an adult. Maybe not enough to buy a house and raise a family (maybe not a living wage) but enough for an individual to live indoors and pay his bills. That's the starting point for full-time work. Incentives go up from there.

That's what it means to run a legitimate business. You pay your employees a reasonable wage for their time and effort regardless of what they end up producing. If you don't think they can produce then you don't hire them. If they don't meet your standards then you fire them. 

This is why I won't take freelance work. It's just not worth it. I'd much rather take my chances producing my own stories.

I mean, $40/page is $800/mo minus 30% for taxes so $560/mo for working eight hours a day five days a week. Man, get out of here.

An employee makes more than that working at McDonald's. He can draw his own stories on the weekends. Stories he owns. Stories he cares about. Stories people might actually want to read. Maybe he'll get them published at a real independent company. Maybe he'll publish them online for free (getting experience and exposure without you). Any guidance you could give him, he can find books or online or get by talking to industry professionals at conventions. He can get a table and market himself. Whatever. It's better than starving so he can make your dream come true when you don't even respect his efforts enough to pay min. wage.

Keep your $40, man. Keep it.
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:iconmobys:
Mobys Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2017
I'm not going to keep it. I am going to find someone to make the book and I'm going to get it out there with his name on it and he's going to have a great reference and keep on enjoying his life somewhere on this blue dot where people are thankful for the opportunity to earn $40 in their spare time. And I'm happy to pay him it, on time and with a thank you. 

Thing is, he's probably not from your neighborhood. There are places where $40 will pay for a root canal, or a month of college, or some other major expense. Some people are thankful to get the opportunity, and I'm happy to provide it for a little line art that in the end I am still going to lose money on, given the costs of printing and marketing and such. 

Maybe I should bellyache and call out those printers, let the world know that I deserve what I feel I do and if I don't get it then I've been wronged. Woe is me. Pffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffft.
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:iconjohnchalos:
johnchalos Featured By Owner Jul 2, 2017  Professional General Artist
I am just going to refer you back to my previous comment. It refutes everything in your retort.
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:iconnucicoms:
NuciComs Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
I needed to read this. Thank you. I wish you could have slapped me in the face with this when I was making my selling pricelist. 
I fall into the category of someone who is desperate and not confident enough to charge minimum wage. I'm hoping to fix that...
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:iconletadarnell:
LetaDarnell Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2016
Should I take out a loan to pay for a good artist?
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:iconjohnchalos:
johnchalos Featured By Owner Edited Apr 11, 2016  Professional General Artist
I wouldn't. Most people don't make a profit their first time out. You can save up, start a Kickstarter, have a bake sale, work and pay by the month in installments, rob a bank -- you can do something. Don't go into debt.
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:iconletadarnell:
LetaDarnell Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2016
Thank you. 
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:iconlb-lee:
LB-Lee Featured By Owner Feb 10, 2016  Professional General Artist
Thanks for this post!  I've made comics and also done art for hire, but was a little concerned as to how to sell my rate for a comic I'm commissioned for.  This gives me a good base to start off, while still being able to work with my commissioner's monetary level.

Very helpful. :thumbsup:
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:iconwinddrawn:
Winddrawn Featured By Owner Edited Feb 3, 2016  Professional General Artist
It's interesting reading this.  I'm working with a writer on a comic book.   It's his first and my first comic book.   I'm doing the sketching, inking, color (it's grayscale) and print ready setup.  This also is more of a book rather than a magazine at 1/2 size (8.5 x 5.5).  He's self publishing so he can do that.  I'm sure I'm undercharging but since it's my first I'm okay with it.  Just taking longer than I would want being that it's 80 pages.
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:iconmichaelaw1:
michaelaw1 Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2015  Professional Writer
This has been invaluable! I now know what to set my kickstarter goal at.
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:iconsharknob:
sharknob Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Interesting, thanks for sharring :iconmonkeythumbplz:
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:iconnuthingoodatfour:
nuthingoodatfour Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
thanks for the info..do you know the etiquette around selling a book that one has done artwork for? say if I want to sell a comic or a book that my artwork was used in at comic con in my personal booth?
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:iconmichaelaw1:
michaelaw1 Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2015  Professional Writer
Depending on the terms of your contract, you just need creator/publisher permission for the book itself, for your artwork, as long as it does not violate the terms of your contract, you should have no issues. It's your work after all.
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:iconmickmurillo:
MickMurillo Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2015  Professional General Artist
This post contains interesting information.
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:iconjorgevasconcelos:
JorgeVasconcelos Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2015  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you very much, John.
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