I did have two more things to share about artist transparency from yesterday’s posts.
This is in no way supposed to be aggressive, but expressive and informative. I want to share my experiences and help those who may be unfamiliar with the business side of art.
This one breaks down hours spent on art. Grab a seat and a snack.
Now, after calculating all the things I did last year, I broke it down into average time spent. Note that I tend to work a little fast.
I have spent 25 years learning how to draw and practicing everyday, cause I’ve been drawing since I was 3. I have cultivated speed from this (not to mention from hitting deadlines with studio homework assignments and deadlines with clients).
I officially started freelancing nearly 4 years ago, and have received formal education.
So, 25 years experience, 99% of it being unpaid.
So, think about this.
How many professionals practice their craft outside work?
How many of them are paid MORE when they receive certain certifications, such as a degree?
Have you been selling insurance since you were 3?
If so, you are a genius and I am so proud of you! Way to go!
The average person works 34 hours a week, 4 weeks out of the month, 12 months a year, that comes up to about 1632 hours.
If you worked 1730 hours and were only paid for 675 of those hours, would you still work at that job?
I still do. I didn’t even work Sundays.
I don’t spend a lot of time to make art, because of my speed.
Most professional artists take more time.
They sketch, they plan, they start over numerous times, they thumbnail, they draw, they paint, they edit, they may start over a few more times until the composition, lighting, acting, and expression finally fits.
My average time spend on a page or piece is around 5-6 hours. More meticulous artists, especially those who master color and paint (that’s right, MASTER. Color theory and learning to render is insane) spend MINIMUM 8 hours and it can go on for weeks.
Not because they are lazy. They gotta eat and sleep and raise a family too. But I can guarantee you, at least 10 hours of every day, if not more, are spent on getting art done for clients.
So, why would anyone not pay an artist to do that much work if they’d pay renovators to work the same long hours?
Art is a job. A profession. A career. Whether one works for a company or themselves. They must pay their own bills and groceries like everyone else. They must also make enough to pay for their OWN sick/maternity/paternity leave, paid vacation, health and dental care, insurance, phone and car, taxes (especially the overhauled self-employment taxes) and also pay for their materials to keep doing business.
So, I recommend not telling artists they charge too much, cause they don’t.
All these hours, and most artists -self employed or in the industry – have one or two day jobs ON TOP OF THIS.
Artists sacrifice a lot to make material that is cool, lovely, or expressive not only to try to please nameless others, but also themselves. That’s hard to do in itself.
It takes a lot of your mental prowess, as well as a big dip into the creative ether that we don’t even understand sometimes. It can be exhausting and frustrated when we can’t just tap into it immediately or constantly.
Another thing to think on.
The art economy is bad enough when artists (whether inexperienced or not) actually listen to people tell them they charge too much.
For example, 10$ for an inked portrait is NOT a good deal, nor should it be normal – it’s a sign of ignorance or insecurity.
It’s not a fair deal to the artist, and it devalues their skills.
Let’s say an inked portrait takes the average artist 3-4 hours. If minimum wage is 10$… how much are they actually making? Would you work for this little to provide for yourself or family?
A good starting professional rate is $30/hour. You have minimum wage implemented, PLUS all the other things self-employed artists need to be able to pay for.
Your art may not be great right now, or where you want it. That’s okay, don’t charge as much. But you still gotta keep tabs on your time! Grab some honest peers who can critique you and show you what you may need to work on. As one’s skills get better, that hourly wage (or flat rates) should ALWAYS increase.
My rate used to be $30/hr. Now it is $50/hr USD. My flat rates reflect the average time it takes me to do something, but overall revolved around $50/hr.
Here’s a handy dandy rate calculator by Xavier for rush, hourly, assests, and the dickwad rate.
Some tips for individuals that would hire an artist for a portrait, a logo, etc!
– Please don’t ask artists, or even family members or friends, to work for free or for discounts. This MAY only work if you can actually do something for the artist, too.
Can you fix a dishwasher or help with taxes? Can you babysit for a month? Can you cook every meal for them for two weeks?
– Please don’t tell an artist they charge too much, cause they don’t. In fact, tell them to charge more, especially if you want to see them succeed and you enjoy their work.
– Save up for an artist if you can’t afford them at the time, or find another to suit your budget. There’s millions to choose from who would love to help you out.
– Please don’t try to manipulate them into lowering their prices or cutting you a deal. No guilting. No pushing.
If they like you they might give you a discount.
But liking you has absolutely nothing to do with the business.
– Start thinking of art as a real profession. Treat it like one. If it were a hobby, artists wouldn’t be charging you OR doing work for you, would they?
– Get used to seeing numbers for art costing greater than $15. It’s time to join the rest of the big kids!
Expect to see $20, $30, $50+ an hour. Expect to see over $200 for single illustrations. THAT is normal.
– Share their work. Whether you have commissioned them or can’t, if you love an artists work, tell people about it! Get them
some additional business! It means a lot to us.