Pricing Your Illustration Work
Pricing your work is one of the most stressful things to do in the business of illustration. Asking for too much money may cause the client to walk away, but asking for too little will leave a lot of cash on the table that could have been yours. So, how does an illustrator determine an appropriate fee for each assignment? Let’s examine the criteria you can use to help decide a fair and honest payment.
Whether or Not to Take on an Assignment
Getting an email from a prospective client about a new gig is always exciting. However, before accepting any assignment, it’s important to take a step back to consider some things—there may be budget issues, rights issues, or a whole host of other matters that need to be addressed. The following checklist will help you determine whether an illustration job is worth taking on or should be politely declined.
A Rogues Gallery: People Besides Art Directors Who Can Give You Work
In last week’s post, I discussed building a contact list. While I mentioned Art Directors as the primary target for your mailings, they’re not the only people at a company who can commission work. Let’s explore the other folk you might want to send your promos to if you’re so inclined:
Building a Contact List
In order to promote yourself as an illustrator, you need to get your work into the right people’s hands. The traditional way is to send out a promotional mailer. Before you can do that, though, you need to build a solid contact list of art directors to send it to.
Promoting your artwork is one of the most crucial aspects of the business of illustration yet can be daunting for those who are just starting out. Luckily, though, there are some proven ways to get your work seen. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, these are the most common strategies for driving art directors to your site:
Content and Your Illustration Portfolio
No matter how much work you put up on your website, it won’t be effective unless it’s been properly scrutinized and edited. There are a variety of factors you’ll want to consider when weeding through your portfolio to see what makes the cut and what gets left in the pixel graveyard. Here are some simple rules for putting together a portfolio that will dazzle art directors:
One of the first things you’ll need to do to get your illustration business off the ground is put your work online. While there are many options available for portfolio websites, I’ve narrowed down the best choices worth discussing.
While it may seem like simply creating art in your bedroom, when you begin your career as an illustrator, you’re actually starting your own business. One of the things you’ll need to be aware of are the startup costs for getting yourself up and running. The good news, though, is an illustration career has a very low overhead. You don’t need employees, transportation, or retail space like a lot of other businesses. All you need is a website, some materials to work with, and a few hundred promotional mailers. (OK, you might need a little bit more than that, but not much more.) Here’s a basic list of what the average illustrator needs to start their business and the associated costs:
Ten years ago, I started teaching a Professional Practices class for illustrators at Parsons the New School for Design. Since then, I’ve had many graduates come up to me, wishing they could repeat my course now that they’re out of school and actually living what I was talking about. I decided to build this website as a repository of all things related to the business of illustration—not just for them, but for anyone interested in learning more about this creative field. This site is intended for new or aspiring illustrators to learn the best practices towards starting a successful career.