As the holidays and New Year approach, I have been getting quote requests for commissions of illustrated work for gifts, graphics/branding packages, design, and more, which is really exciting! I'm very grateful for the enthusiastic response to my work and the overall appreciation for art by scientists, educators, and science communicators.
Many factors play into the price of original artwork. Here are a few things to know about what you want and expect before you ask an artist for a quote.
THE WORK What do you need? A logo? Spot illustration? Infographic? Comic? Animation? Animated gif? What is the scope of the work? Is it several pages/multiple images? Know what will best suit your project.
MEDIUM Do you want a wall mural? A watercolor painting? Graphite drawing? Iconographic vector art? Different media have different looks and take varying amounts of time and preparation.
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT Is the artist responsible for anything other than images? Writing, content development, and research not associated with creating illustrations adds time (and money) to a project, so if you have a fully realized idea, have your script and reference material ready to provide to your artist before they begin work.
BUDGET How much can you or are you willing to spend? If don't initially offer the appropriate amount for the value of the medium you prefer, consider increasing your offer or simplifying your request. The artist can usually negotiate a medium that suits your price.
USAGE Where will the finished work appear? Is it a figure in a paper? An interpretive panel for an exhibit? Concept art for a magazine or blog? Merchandise? How long do you plan to use the image in that capacity? Knowing where and for how long the artist's work is going to appear will help your artist determine output size and quality, as well as negotiate a fair price.
EXCLUSIVITY Is it okay to have the work (something with multiple uses, like a human skeleton, for example) appear elsewhere? It is beneficial for an artist to have assets that they can reuse. Asking for exclusivity will increase the price significantly.
DEADLINE When do you need it? Tomorrow? Three months from now? Is it a long term project over the course of a year?
EDITING How many edits do you wish to incorporate? To protect the artist's time, edits may be limited to just a few rounds.
These factors are usually negotiable to some extent and are tentatively outlined in a confirmation of assignment or letter of confirmation, a contract that outlines each party's responsibilities, and is passed back and forth between the artist and client until an agreement is reached. The artist may also include costs for materials, travel, and kill fees associated with the production of the work.
I accept commissions, and have set up a quote request form to help me determine a starting quote for clients. I hope this information helps you develop great relationships with artists going forward! If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact me!