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June 17
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The Starving Artist

This topic is about rates and wages that an artist should start to consider when taking on a new job. This is my advice, so take this as advice.

So let’s begin. As an artist you  should know right away that you are valuable. You can recreate people’s imagination and ideas into reality. You are the one who brings people together to be able to all see the vision for the final product. This is valuable. Keep this in mind when you take new jobs. Think about how many hours you plan on slaving over iteration after iteration. Because even though you may have a voice, if you agree to whatever the arrangement are, you must live up to their standards. So make sure you are paid well.

Imagine a client asks you to do 50 hours of work for only $500 dollars. That’s $10 an hour. That is not enough. You can go get a job that could pay you as much if not more, without being an artist. I’ve seen people’s salaries as low as 30k a year. This is not acceptable especially if they graduated from a college that costs them 90k in loans.

I suggest the following to all my fellow artists, that the minimum for your time should at least be $30 an hour. I have seen people make as much as $200-500 an hour to give you some perspective. Now that may seem like a lot but some of these artists deserve it, but some don’t. Either way the flux in income needs to be equalized so we all benefit from this, especially artists who are just starting out. It’s not fair that people get paid dimes and nickels for stuff that actually has tons of value.

If you have quality work, I’d highly recommend charging in the $75-$150 an hour, Novices $40-$60 an hour, and beginners no lower than $30 an hour. I hope this guide helps you and informs you of your worth. Your time and skills are valuable, don’t lose sight of that.

Good Luck,
AJ

And to give you guys some more perspective. I never go below $100 an hour for freelance gigs.

Also some images for a comic I'm putting together of many. Sneak peek
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:iconcheneytoons:
Cheneytoons Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2014  New member Professional General Artist
Excellent thinking here.  On behalf of all pros, thank you for posting such a well written piece.
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:iconflyqueen:
FlyQueen Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2014   Digital Artist
Finally somebody who just tells straight forward what's the deal! Thank you for this journal! 
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:icondracos123:
Dracos123 Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014
*glances across at random*

You're very right on some things.  Artists should value themselves, charge a reasonable living wage depending on how many hours they expect to spend on a project, what they'll need for food, rent, luxuries, taxes (hopefully paying those), etc.  Knowing a good eyeball cost level is important to know when a project is worth taking, and knowing how much you can generally be effectively charging while filling work.

A lot of people can be terrible and cheap, though also being open to negotiating the project size to fit the budget is an excellent skill too, and can serve an artist better than a hardline, at least for projects of at least a minimal budget range.

On the other hand, it's something of a blinder to not recognize how things are trending.  There's a significant glut of available artistic workers.  The easy international interaction, and increased purchasing weight of certain currencies, doesn't help at all, and in many places is strangling even high end professional talent against the readily available crowds willing and able to compete on quality at a fraction of the price.  It's an overpopulated career area, and in some degree fair valuing suffers from it.  I've totally seen companies that hire 5-10 artists at the 40-100k range here, and and 40 artists in another country for a few hundred dollars a week, less than what any one of the ones here is making.  This is entire companies of people playing the we can under-bid you game while still making a reasonable living in their country.
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:iconsuper34sonic:
super34sonic Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Student Artisan Crafter
This will help me in the future thank you for this advice
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:iconmishai:
Mishai Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
uhm....just uhm in my country normaly people work for 2-5 dollars per hour....the great payed ones for 15dollars:/ some really good layers may have here around 100 dollars per hour :( damn i feel poor now
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:iconmia2014:
Mia2014 Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I wanna become an artist's when I grow up but my dad says I'll be  starving artist and that I should just do art for  a hobby.
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:icontalxorfire:
TalXorFire Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014  New member Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is fantastic advice! I've been curious about this for awhile, but could never find someone to just tell it straight. 
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:iconsilverace88:
SilverAce88 Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2014  Student General Artist
This is excellent advice. I've never been sure how much the average price to charge should be, but this makes it far clearer. Best of all is that you put your own personal experience in at the end to prove that it works.
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:iconpeasantrebellion:
Peasantrebellion Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2014  New member
Just my two cents.

This happens to writers also, probably even more so. The fact that everyone gets taken advantage of initially separates the working pros and the future hobbyists. Eventually you either make it or it breaks you badly. 

Good luck to all of you, some seriously talented artists on this site. 
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:icondeathbydays:
deathbydays Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014
In my opinion, I've come to see that people will undercharge and devalue themselves in a type of competition with other artists. They see someone who might be better than them charging cheap (either because they don't know what to charge, or they're competing because they saw someone else do the same thing too) and just want a better chance at getting commissions.

It also doesn't help that people are always demanding lower prices. They, of course as the buyer, would want a better deal or to get the most bang for their buck. They might not have much to give, and if there are plenty of people who are like this gaining on one artist, it can nearly force them into lowering their prices just to get a buyer.

Or, there's the chance that they don't network themselves well and hardly have any exposure. They could get let-down at seeing no one buying commissions from them and lower their prices, hoping to gain an audience.

Then there's also people who just don't know what they should charge, and probably go off of everyone else's prices, further adding to the problem.

It's a cycle that both burdens artists, and is caused by them, and it's sad. It's sad, because many people won't make enough to live off of, and it can destroy their dreams or cause them to be poor.
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