Phone Us

UK: 0330 22 30 922

(Mobile Friendly)


INT: +44 1337 860 860

(0)Shopping Cart

You have no items in your shopping cart.

Monthly Archives: January 2017

  • A GUIDE TO PRICING YOUR ILLUSTRATIONS

     How should I price up my illustrations?

    Arthur Rackham - 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland ' - Lewis Carrol (1907)

    Having worked as a freelance illustrator for a number of years, you would assume that I would have managed to work out how to price my work for the various different commissions I undertake. Unfortunately – not so! It is one of the most stressful things you have to do as an illustrator.

    Clients often try to pay tiny amounts for your work, citing that ‘art is fun – not real work’, or telling you that the exposure you will get will advance your career and build up your portfolio. As all illustrators know, this is rubbish! Illustrating is hard work. Not only do you need the skills and imagination to be an illustrator, but it takes years of experience and hard graft to get to that point. If it was that easy, your client would be doing the work themselves. They need your skills, so you should realise your value and demand fees that are appropriate to the work you are being commissioned for and turn down those that aren’t.

    The main point to remember about pricing illustrations is that it’s all about the usage of your work and the rights to reproduce it, in what numbers, where and for how long.

    Where will your work appear? Will it be a front cover or inside? The highest fee will be for a full wraparound cover, followed by a front cover then a back cover, a full spread, full page, half page and finally a spot illustration. You have the same situation if you’re illustrating for a website – position, size etc.

    Brian Froud, Alan Lee - 'Faeries' (1979)

    How long is your artwork going to be used for?

    Usage is also a determining factor. How long will your work be used?  In an advert on TV? As background art on a TV programme? As a food label? CD cover? There is a direct correlation to how much your work is seen to the amount you should charge.

    The geographical areas where your work will be on display is also a factor. Will it be seen locally, nationally or internationally? Starting with a local audience and increasing up to an international audience. Adding value the more countries and languages the client intends to reproduce your work in. The entire world and every language is going to have a much greater cost to your client than Scotland and in English.

    Quentin Blake - 'The Enormous Crocodile' by Roald Dahl (1978)

    There is also the time factor. A magazine will have a short run, books much longer – for the life of the book. Some clients will want the rights to reproduce your work in perpetuity. The longer your client wants to use your work, the larger the amount you can charge.

    What about Exclusivity?

    If a client wants the exclusive rights to your work, you should charge a higher price, as being able to sell your work to additional clients would obviously increase the amount you could make on your illustration.

    Working in colour, rather than in black and white takes much more time, so colour work should be charged at a higher rate. The more copies of your illustration, the higher price you can charge.

    Norman Rockwell - 'After the Prom' - Saturday Evening Post Cover (1957)

    How & Where does your client want to use your artwork?

    Another consideration is the rights your client wants to your work. Is it just for a book jacket? Will they reuse it on a website? Will they use it in further international editions? Will they use part of it as an inside illustration? For every additional right to your work, you should charge a higher fee. The highest fee being for total rights control. There is also an agreement called ‘work for hire’, where your client will not only have total control over the rights to reproduce your work, but could also keep your original artwork, the copyright and wouldn’t even have to link your name to the work. In this instance a much higher fee would have to be negotiated.

    You must also consider who your client is – a multi national or a private individual and tailor your fee accordingly.

    Certain countries put a higher value on illustrators’ work. For example, working with a US client, you can command a much higher fee.

    Considering how long an illustration will take you and factoring in research, meetings and travel time. Make sure you’re not working for minimum wage, but earning a decent amount for the time and skill you put into your work.

    A rush job is when you are offered a last minute commission and you have to work every waking hour to complete it. In this case you should ask for a higher fee.

    Ernest H Shepard - 'Winnie the Pooh' - AA Milne

    If you are working on something that has a long run, such as illustrating a book, you should be entitled to royalties. Your fee will normally be an advance on royalties and sometimes the royalties fizzle out, so it’s advisable to ask for a reasonable upfront fee, as you may never see another penny.

    Two methods of pricing your illustrations

    There are two different ways of working out your pricing. The client approaches you with the fee they are offering, or the client asks you how much you wanted for the work. If the client has a figure in mind, it is much easier. From there you can negotiate up. If you have to come up with a figure yourself, it is much more difficult, as you could get it horribly wrong and lose a lot of potential money by undervaluing yourself. If you really have no idea where to start there are some excellent books that you can reference :- The Graphic Artist’s Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines; The Illustrator Guide to Law and Business Practices Association of Illustrators); Becoming a Successful Illustrator (Successful Careers) by Jo Davies; How to be an Illustrator by Darrel Rees. Alternatively speak to your illustrator friends and ask about their experiences and how they price their work.

    Janet & Allan Ahlberg - 'Each Peach Pear Plum' (1978)

    Arrgh - My Head hurts!

    If this all sounds a wee bit stressful, don’t worry. The more you do it, the easier it gets. It’s important not to aim too high and scare clients off, but it’s equally important not to undersell your worth. The best place to be is somewhere in the middle. Where the client and you are both happy.

    The most important thing to remember, is that it’s the rights to your work that you are selling and you want to keep as many of them as you can. The more rights the client wants and the more exposure your work will get, the higher the fee you should demand. If you’re not sure, ask a higher price – your client can always come back with a lower offer if they’re not happy with it. You should always be paid fairly for your work and your unique skills.

    Nicola Bayley - 'The Mousehole Cat' by  Antonia Barber (1991)

    Written by Mary Aitken - Freelance Illustrator & Designer

  • PRINTMAKING TECHNIQUES I.

    Printmaking is a very versatile and interesting process, which allows you to create lots of prints of the same image. Different printmaking methods achieve completely different results – therefore, this series, introducing the most common techniques, will hopefully be a helpful guide to find the most suitable for your art.

    Etching

    According to the Tate’s glossary, etching is a printmaking technique that creates images by lines that stay in the metal printing plate with the use of chemicals.

    Etching gained popularity in the beginning of the 17th century, even Rembrandt was a dedicated practitioner of the technique. Despite how long etching has been used, it still is not an outdated technique – both drawing and painting like characteristics can be achieved, and even better, due to the longevity of the metal plate, the same image can be printed over and over again for a very long time.

    Rembrandt (1630) Rembrandt (1630)
    Rembrandt: The Three Trees Rembrandt: The Three Trees
    Francisco Goya 'The sleep of reason produces monsters' (1797-1799) Francisco Goya 'The sleep of reason produces monsters' (1797-1799)

    Etching in History

    The printmaking technique of etching originates from goldsmiths, who decorated metal guns, armour and cutlery with ornate designs, the foundations of which had been made in the Middle Ages, or even before.

    Etching as we know it today was supposedly invented by Daniel Hopfer around the 15th – 16th century, who decorated armour with the use of iron plates.

    The earliest dated etching was made by Urs Graf, the Swiss Renaissance goldsmiths, in 1513.

    The Method of Etching

    Traditionally, etchings are done on a metal surface (usually copper or zinc) on which the ground is applied – a coat of wax. It should be applied on the heated plated with a roller, evenly. Optionally, in order to make the drawing process easier, it is advised to ‘smoke’ the waxy surface with candles.


    When the plate cools down, it’s possible to scratch into the surface – although, it is not necessary to push the needle very hard, as the exposed metal lines will be ‘scratched’ into by the acid. Keep in mind that the actual print will be the reverse of the image on the plate, therefore, in case of words you will need to write them the opposite way.

    Once the image is finished, you place the plate in the acid – for the first time, it’s a good idea to do a trial plate and test for how long you need to keep the plate in the acid – the longer it’s in, the darker the lines will be, as the acid can ‘bite’ into the surface more effectively, and it will be able to hold more paint.

    It is also possible to cover certain parts with stop-out varnish so you can influence which parts of the drawing will be darker or lighter, depending on how long you allow the acid to bite deeper into the metal. (Make sure to dry the plate and the masking fluid before you put it back in the acid!)

    Once you’re done with the plate, you can wash off the wax with white spirit, and then the etching is ready for printing! Apply etching ink to the plate with a squeegee, then press it into the plate with circular motion, removing any excess paint. You need to soak the paper in water before printing, but make sure to lightly squeeze the water out of it by placing it between other sheets of paper, before you put it under the press.


    Aquatint

    Stephanie Rampton: Fenestella (2013) Stephanie Rampton: Fenestella (2013)

    The technique of Aquatint is a good method to produce watercolour / ink effect. It is possible to achieve by dusting the plate with resin powder – then marking the surface of the metal with lots of small lines that will appear to be different tones.
    The resin dust should be applied onto the plate, then it has to be heated up so the resin can melt. After the plate has cooled down, you can stop out the areas you wish to remain white, and after it’s dry, the plate can be put into the acid. To create different tones, you will need to experiment with the time you leave the plate in the acid, as well as with stopping out different areas to achieve the desired tone differences.

    print of an aquatint test plate

    Soft Ground Etching

    Soft ground etching is used in order to create crayon-like drawings. It can be achieved by applying a waxy ground that is made softer by some sort of grease. It is possible to create different textures and patterns by pressing various objects into the waxy surface. Or for creating lines, a sheet of tracing paper should be placed over the plate and then drawn on. When the object / paper is removed, the exposed lines will be bitten into by the acid.

    Nelson Dawson Sc et Imp - The Gesuati 1915 Venice Nelson Dawson Sc et Imp - The Gesuati 1915 Venice

    Signature and Editions

    Signatures on prints are usually placed on the lower margin, on the right side of the paper. The place for the edition mark is on the left, and the title goes to the centre.

    According to the Glasgow Print Studio's guidebook, these are the edition markings that can be used:

    • A/P - Artist’s Proof – (the artist’s personal use.)
    • P/P - Printer’s Proof - for the printer
    • B.A.T. – (Bon à Tirer - means “Good to Pull”) the standard quality and colour for the rest of the edition.
    • H/C – (Hors Commerce - means “Outside of Commerce”) means that the print is not for sale
    • S/P - State Proof – a work in progress print to show the development
    • V/E - Varied Edition – prints of the same plate with hand, or differently coloured.
    • Chop Mark – it’s an embossed sign on the paper to identify the workshop where the printing happened.

    If you liked this post, keep your eyes on the blog to learn about more printmaking techniques in the future!

    References:

    http://www.tate.org.uk/learn/online-resources/glossary/e/etching
    http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/printmaking/etching.htm
    http://www.limitededitionprints.info/what-is-etching.html
    http://greatnorthartshow.co.uk/printmaking-etching-and-engraving-focus-on-aquatint-and-soft-ground-techniques/
    http://www.rembrandtpainting.net/rembrandt_etching_technique.htm
    http://www.gpsart.co.uk/DownloadDocs/GPS_Etching_Handbook.pdf
    how to do an etching, the old way
    Etching demonstration by Glynn Thomas — part one

2 Item(s)

BackTop
Post your comment

iartsupplies.co.uk ~ trinity arts