Sunday, September 11, 2011
Ask an Artist on the 11th! - A3on11 - HOW much does working in comics pay?
Welcome back to this month's edition of A3on11.
This month's question is “How much do you make for each page”?
Rather than get into the specifics about me in particular, I’m speculating that this means: How much money can I make in comics? Is it lucrative?
Comics can be a GREAT living, but alas, only for a small percentage of folks in the industry. Comic art professional page rates range from $50-$500 per page. This upper rate can go even higher for superstars who sell a ton of books. After that, the artist can sell his or her original pages to the art collectors market. Here too some of the ‘hot’ artists’ pages can sell for thousands of dollars! But wait…there’s more! You can also get that lovely royalty check every quarter as long as your back catalogue of work is still in print. The larger publishers track all that and pay out your % of the trade paperbacks sold.
Sounds good eh?
Time for a reality check.
The vast majority of folks in comics don’t make anywhere close to the big bucks. Even if they do, it’s usually after MANY years of working for REALLY low page rates, or even working for FREE.
Yes, I said it. FREE.
In the up and down world of comic publishing, you MUST be able to endure long periods of what I call ‘delayed financial gratification’ (DGF)! You gotta love the comics medium, and MUST be prepared to work for free when starting out. A perfect example of this dirty little secret was recently highlighted over at PJ Holden’s terrific blog. He was talking about the upcoming Fearless trade paperback. He penciled 4 issues when he was first starting out, and hasn’t seen a dime from it yet. He’s a consummate pro who keeps busy NOW, but as you can see …this wasn’t always the case. He survived the ‘DFG’ period that comics almost always demand.
So…if you are reading this and toiling away on a book or project you believe in without getting paid for it, have faith! Many of your favorites in the industry did the EXACT same thing. Keep your dreams alive, confident in the fact that this price has to get paid before you can grow into bigger and better things….and a decent page rate. ;-)
Take it from me, if you keep at it and stay positive, the money will follow. Then you’ll be doing something you love AND getting paid for it!
(I have a pet peeve about updating an art blog without putting any art up. So, here's a new page from the 2nd issue of Undertow , which I'm currently hard at work on)
Previous month's 'ask an artist' articles can be found over here : A3on11
Remember, I’ll be answering any questions you ask on the 11th of every month right here. Questions can range from very basic ones about general art creation and processes, to very technical comic creation ones. To shoot me a question, just email me (address on the right side on this blog), ask me on Facebook, or throw it in the comments section here. What I talk about just depends on what gets asked! Thanks for the question. Keep 'em coming. See you next month.