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Artwork Cost Estimate

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sully1971
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Joined: 08/25/2008

The game I am working on is currently using my crummy photoshop artwork. It needs to be cleaned up and beautified. Basically, the game will have about 200 cards with minimal need for art (it's not ccg) and 2 different gameboards, puerto rico type. (each of the 2 is completely different). Anyway, my friend is an excellent artist and I want to commision him for the work. What is the standard going rate for graphic design on boardgames? Anyone have any idea? He would be cleaning up my ideas and helping with the box art, etc. I plan on self-publish, if that matters.

any input would be appreciated.

thanks

this site is unbelievably helpful!

Nandalf
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Joined: 07/13/2009
Artwork Cost Estimate

Unfortunately, its a pricey business, ive found most artists charge between $50-$175, pricey.

Johan
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Artwork Cost Estimate

Nandalf wrote:
Unfortunately, its a pricey business, ive found most artists charge between $50-$175, pricey.

This is a standard price for pictures, but it can be much higher (depending on the artist and the number of copies, if you have exclusive use of the artwork and so on). If it is a friend (and he is doing it for nothing anyway) and you want to give him something, I would give him 5 % of the income I have from the game (before you remove any cost for printing and distribution).

// Johan

sully1971
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Joined: 08/25/2008
pricey??

I certainly don't see $50-175 pricey for original artwork of any kind, really.

I mean a game's artwork is crucial to its success in a lot of cases.

I don't understand the 5% of income prior to printing and distribution -- so do you mean 5% of wholesale sales? I think cutting him in on the profit may be a reasonable way of doing it, and that is what I was thinking. 5% of profits, perhaps.

any other input is more than welcome -- has anyone ever done it this way? (having a friend refine your work, that friend being professional already??)

thanks for everyone's input

Johan
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Artwork Cost Estimate

I have a friend that works "half professionally" with photography for CD-covers. She gets a fixed amount for every sold CD. She also sells pictures to magazines. Then she always get fixed price per photo.

To give him x% of the profit will give you problem. What is the profit? Is the profit per unit or when you start to make money?
If you print 1000 units with a total cost of $4000. You will then have a basic cost of $4/unit. If you then sell 1 unit for $4000 and don’t sell anymore, will you do a profit of $3996 or a profit of $0.
I would suggest that either you have a fixed price per sold unit or a percent of what you receive.

// Johan

johant
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Artwork Cost Estimate

This is very simple!
You could give him/her x % of the profit after all expences, then you cant loose any money. I cant remember the exact word for this, net profit or something.

sales: 10000 $
Total costs 7000 $
Profit: 3000 $
5 % of 3000 = 150 $

Edit:

This was just an example of a payment method personally i dont know how it works in this business! Everyone should of cource be satisfied with the deal!

I think that if a game is going to be published this shouldnt the game designer worry about (am i wrong?)

If you publish yourself then its a different matter, all the people involved are doing it for the fun of it an therefore i dont think that its fair to pay the designer for all the time that he is putting in the project. I think that there are many designers/students that gladly would do it just to learn and to show employees what they have done before.

For most of us arent we just trying to get the design good enough so the publishers just arent going to throw it away?

OutsideLime
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Artwork Cost Estimate

I am a professional illustrator and graphic designer. I'm not sure how other designers do it (most designers I've spoken to are extremely reluctant to give out any pricing information... the answer is usually "it depends...."), but I've developed this system for pricing jobs:

I price out jobs according to my current hourly "rate". My rate goes up as I gain experience. I've been doing this professionally for about eight years now, and I've managed to drag my rate up to about CAD$50.00/hr.

When I'm considering a job, I get all the details about what is involved in it... conferencing, sketching, approvals, inks, revisions, colours, more approvals, dimensions, everything. I try to work out in my head how many hours the project will take me, then I multiply by my rate to come up with a number. Usually then I tack some more onto it since I always horribly overestimate my working speed. From there I work with the producer/editor/whoever to arrive at a number that is reasonable for both of us. I always include a limit on revisions in any contract that allows me to bill for multiple rounds of revisions. If I feel my rate is dropping too low, I politely refuse the project and recommend some less-experienced friends that I know do good work.

I also take the client into consideration... dealing with a large corporation that wants a logo (usually an entire branding system at that level) is different than dealing with a local rock band that wants a logo. One of those parties is going to pay $2500+ for that logo, and one of them is going to pay $200.00 - guess which is which. (Although even for the rock band I will often reserve some rights for myself on future uses of the logo... you never know who's going to explode, after all.)

Often a project manager will be able to provide me with other incentives that will lower my rate - royalties, future guarantees of work, free product, stuff like that. Sometimes I will be interested enough in a project that I will drop my rate willingly just to be on the job.

I don't think that I could be convinced to do work for a project for royalties/profit-splitting ONLY, unless the product had extremely bright prospects of selling well. (ie a winning franchise or an established designer/publisher with a track record.)

This is just my method... I can't answer for other designer/illustrators out there. Hope it helps shed some light

~Josh

seo
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Joined: 07/21/2008
Artwork Cost Estimate

johant wrote:
This is very simple!
I would give him/her x % of the profit after all expences, then you cant loose any money. I cant remember the exact word for this, net profit or something.

sales: 10000 $
Total costs 7000 $
Profit: 3000 $
5 % of 3000 = 150 $
But by doing this, what you are actually saying is "You work and do the art for my game, and I'll only pay you once I've recovered all my investment and begin making money. In short: my investment (game design, playtesting, production and marketing) is recovered first, your investment (art) afterwards."

That doesn't match sully1971's criteria about art playing a crucial role in the game success.

I would say either pay him whatever amount both agree as fair, or a fixed sum per game sold (thus both "investors" start recovering their investment as soon as the game hits the market).

As a designer/illustrator myself, given that scenario, I would probably prefer some money (maybe half the "regular" price) and some more (obviously less than on a sell % only agreement) per copy sold.

Seo

edit: I added the johant's message I was responding to. While I was riting OutsidLime answered, so my original post, while saying pretty much the same as OL's, seem to be totally absurd, as it looked like a reponse to OL instead of johant.

OutsideLime
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Artwork Cost Estimate

Quote:

edit: I added the johant's message I was responding to. While I was riting OutsidLime answered, so my original post, while saying pretty much the same as OL's, seem to be totally absurd, as it looked like a reponse to OL instead of johant.

It did look a bit absurd for a minute there, but I realized what you were saying... and I knew you'd fix it, too. ;)

~Josh

Julius
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Artwork Cost Estimate

So, a card game I'm working on has (rough count) 450 unique cards... No, it isn't a ccg. If I were to hire an artist for this undertaking, I'd be spending what? $200? $450? Is an artist willing to draw that many flipping cards?

NetWolf
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Artwork Cost Estimate

Draw as in black and white? Perhaps they would be willing to do it, but I would not do that many illustrations for that little money. In fact, I'm working on a job right now and It wasn't until I was halfway through that I realized that I had asked for far too little money for the effort required.

Think about it this way: If you want 450 unique illustrations and are able to talk the artist down to $10 per illustration you're still looking at a total of $4500. If they are B&W illustrations you may be able to talk them down a bit, but the person would have to bea lunatic to do 450 illustrations for $450.

Julius
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Artwork Cost Estimate

See, that's what I figured, and for that reason, I'll probably end up doing all of the art myself (because I am a lunatic). Fortunately, the look I want is somewhere between Munchkin and Order of the Stick.

NetWolf
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Artwork Cost Estimate

Now see, that's a key detail that you failed to mention. With that information 450 illustrations for $450 isn't really that bad. Tiny cartoon sketches (because those art forms are really more just 'sketching' rather than detailed illustrations) are much easier to do. If you were to seek an artist for this, though, I would say to make sure that the descriptions of each work are detailed.

VeritasGames
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Joined: 08/01/2008
Artwork Cost Estimate

You are looking at around $6000, minimum, for that kind of production on any reasonable schedule. To get expedited work you may pay upwards of $10000. $4500 is the lowest anyone would do this for, but then you won't likely get someone who does this for a living and so they may have trouble blocking out enough time to do 450 images in a reasonable amount of time.

I really think you should cut down your number of images. Heck, even sets of Magic the Gathering only have 150-200 new card images per set. You are aiming at like 2-3 full sets of Magic cards' worth of art, and expecting it for a few hundred dollars.

I highly recommend visiting my website:

http://www.veritasgames.net/

In the game design section, there's an article on obtaining artwork. It's mostly a set of links, but the first link is to a $5.00 article by Phil Reed (of Ronin Arts) on RPGNOW.COM.

Look over my links and then buy that article. Do not pass go. Buy that article. Review it.

And review the links in the "obtaining art" article on my site. It'll give you a lot of great links for clipart, as well as places you can go to commission art within your budget. There are also a couple of art tutorial and overview links.

Unless you pay over $10K, chances are you'll need to hire multiple artists simultaneously to get all your art done in a timely fashion.

Johan
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Joined: 10/05/2008
Artwork Cost Estimate

I think that we should rewind a little. The original question was:
- I have a friend that is willing to help me with the artwork for free, but I want to pay him something.
As I see it: If you don’t have any money to pay him the real value of it, give him a fixed amount per sold copy. That is the only way to both get the artwork and keep your friendship (he will also be interested in that the game sells).

// Johan

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