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How Illustrators Receive Payment

So, you’ve wrapped up on your first illustration assignment and are ready to get paid. Congrats—that’s a big first step! But now you’re wondering how your payment will come in from your clients once your invoice is processed. Not to worry—it’s pretty straight forward.

The majority of clients will pay you by a physical check that’s mailed to the address indicated on your invoice. I’d say that accounts for 95% of all payments. Some clients, though, may enroll you in a direct deposit program so the money is automatically deposited into your checking or savings account while others—particularly international clients—may do a SWIFT bank transfer. There may even be the once-in-a-blue-moon client who wants to pay by PayPal, but that’s a rarity. For most, though, the majority will be paid by check.

One caveat to all of this is that, as the service provider, you yourself can specify how you’d like to be paid. While large institutions may have their own policies, smaller ones are usually amenable to whatever kind of payment terms work best for you. So, if there’s a payment process that you prefer, just suggest it to your client. A good portion of the time it won’t be a problem.

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Neil Swaab is a freelance illustrator, art director, author, and educator based in Brooklyn, NY. He's an instructor at Parsons the New School for Design and the illustrator of the New York Times bestselling book Middle School: My Brother is a Big, Fat Liar by James Patterson and Lisa Papademetriou. His new authored and illustrated book, The Secrets to Ruling School: Class Election, comes out this September from Amulet Books.

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