Brian McLane

Media and Social Commentary

Brian McLane header image 1

THE ECONOMICS OF COMIC ART AT THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE

November 10th, 2012 · No Comments · Social Commentary

First Check out Hugh LeDuc’s Artwork for Center of the Universe!

Center of the Universe Graphic  Novel

Center of the Universe Graphic Novel


The Economics of Comic Art
Recently I posted in a Comics and Graphic Novel group.

“Does Anyone Know Where…”

The premise was simple. As a neophyte I had no knowledge of the process much less how much money it would take to create a graphic novel of my own based on my film script Center of the Universe.

Here are some of the responses that were posted. They run the gamut from eager to bid to diatribes on slave labor. Amazing how even in a creative field like illustration all the same positions that one might see with respect to a jobs debate exist in a microcosm of our society.

Mark Ellis • Why overseas? I’m sure you can find plenty of professional artists in the US who can take your project from conception to the final, ready for press stage.
1 month ago• Like1

Follow Giuseppe
Giuseppe Pennestri • What do you need exactly? An artist that will create the art work from your script?
1 month ago• Like

Follow Ken
Ken Bastard • Really? Why overseas?
1 month ago• Like1

Brian McLane • Because over there you can get the whole book done for between 1-2k whereas here I’m told $300 page?

Can any of you do 40 pages for 2K?

If so definitely call me.
1 month ago1

Brian McLane • Because there u can get the work done for the entire book for about 1-2k and here it’s 300/pg?
1 month ago

Follow Ken
Ken Bastard • I could do the book for between 3-4k depending on what you need. Take a look at my site at http://www.kenbastard.com
1 month ago• Like

Follow Ángel
Ángel Rams Figueroa • Hi Brian, please have a look at my portfolio:
http://www.angelrams.com/projects

Depending on your deadlines and what you need, here are my rates:
http://anramfi.deviantart.com/#/d5cpmbk

If you are interested don´t hesitate to contact me.
Best regards,

Ángel Rams
1 month ago• Like1

Follow Jordan
Jordan troche • Ive had books done for 400.00 they penciled inked and colored a cover. Most of my deals with my artists are that they get 50% of the sales of the comic they are working on. This has allowed me to create 7 different series with 7 artists from around the world. And has made it so I dont have to pay out of pocket. check out our stuff!
facebook.com/fallenmangastudios
1 month ago• Unlike 1

Follow dario
dario iannaccone • Hello, Brian, take a look at my portfolio:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1246736502191.36926.1642789952&type=3
1 month ago• Like

Follow JD
JD Santibáñez • Over here it´s $200 a page (Black and White), $400 a page (color)

www.jdcomicbooklife.blogspot.com
1 month ago• Like

Follow Mark
Mark Ellis • Depending on the page count, I’m pretty sure you can get it done in the US for between 1-2K…of course that depends on whether you want it lettered and colored too.
1 month ago• Like

Brian McLane • Yes – I’m talking about everything. That’s why I was told China. Soup to nuts from my Script, Character Drawings, Mock-ups, designs, etc.
1 month ago

Brian McLane • So – nothing in China. Everyone wants me to look at their work and there’s some great stuff. But only one person on here says they can get it done for 2K. Anyone else? Here’s the link: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/centeroftheuniverse/center-of-the-universe
1 month ago1

Follow Pradip
Pradip Chakraborty • Hi, I am able to create the comics from your script cost effectively and at the same time with very good quality. To see my works sample please visit – http://pradiparts.blogspot.com
1 month ago• Unlike 1

Follow Gavin
Gavin Ross • Hi. Interesting project, looks great. I can do it for 2K.
http://gavinross-artist.blogspot.co.uk/
Cheers
1 month ago• Unlike 1

Follow Kevin
Kevin Storm • I would gladly do it for 50 a page, but that is cutting really deep into MY time, and MY chances of getting anywhere. I would really need to see what this book is going to do for MY career.
I’ve seen people on here promise to get the book read by Stan Lee, IF You make them their 300 pages for free. If you believe in the book and movie so much, how come the savings need to come out of the hard work of the artist? Not trying to troll, it’s just that with both music industry and comics (both of which I know very well), it’s always the people that work the hardest that end up on the shallow end.

Look around for ART you really like, and get the ARTIST that best suits what you envisioned, not the BUDGET.
1 month ago• Unlike 2

Follow LeahG
LeahG Cartoonist Illustrator UK • Amazing how enthusiastic people are about slave labour. Yes things are cheaper abroad, slave labour and lower cost of living ensures it.
1 month ago• Like1

Follow christian
christian staebler • I don’t get the point here ! I’m always amazed that people accept to be payed that less. I can understand it in China when the cost of dayly life is much less then in Europe or US (and that’s not logic either but it’s a fact). But how can an american ilustrator live with 50$ a page, unless he does 2 pages each day he can’t pay a correct living. Or is life cheaper in the US then in France ? And is the quality OK if you do 1 or 2 pages each day ? If I want to do a comic I want it as good as possible, but that’s a personal statement. I don’t want to critisize anybody. Just astonished.
1 month ago• Like1

Follow John
John Dallaire • Lovely. The race to the bottom is alive and well.
1 month ago• Unlike 2

Brian McLane • Christian,

No one is trying to take advantage of “the poor artist.” I played in bands for many years and I never complained about being “the poor musician.” Though I never had to “pay to play” like I hear is now case in L.A. (guaranteeing a gate), I played dozens and dozens of gigs for no money – just to get a foothold in certain places. Ultimately – it paid off with my band getting on MTV (Google Mondo Boffo – I Wanna Be A Marine).

The deal here is the MOVIE I’m doing is about music. We did a Kickstarter just to make a kick-ass promo package to draw investment. I’m gambling that having some comic art (some of which was donated by the awesome Tom Grindberg), would help us sell the concept. Tom – like most name artists charges 200 or more a page.

I can’t afford that so I asked the original question. Bottom line is I have 1500 left over. I think it would be best spent on art. If you or anyone else doesn’t want the gig – that’s the free market…. but don’t give me this “poor artist” B.S. Been there.
1 month ago1

Follow christian
christian staebler • OK that’s fair and is a good explanation of the situation (I can very well understand it as I’m muician too and often play for free just for the fun…). I missed the point that lots of people do illustration also as a side job, just for the fun. As I said previously I didn’t want to criticise anyone, just wanted to understand. If I annoyed you I send you all my apologies here. And all my wishes of success…
Chris
1 month ago• Like2

Follow LeahG
LeahG Cartoonist Illustrator UK • You are absolutely right, I will never pay for a cd again. I shall just pop into the shop and ask for it for a massive discount or better still free. After all, me taking the stuff at a massive discount is going to help the artist in the long run. No mate it doesn’t work like that. You got lucky. Lots of artists have comprehensive portfolios and testimonials and if a client was serious about a project they would seek out the best person forthe job via that route. How do the better artists make their money as you claim if every client side steps them looking for talented newbies they can get on the cheap. You have a small budget .. like most wannabe comic book writers, at least though you have a budget. But your comic is nothing without great art, the art will sell it. No serious professional expects to exist on an annual salary of £4k. Which is all they’d earn creating two comic books a year at these rates. Comic books aren’t illustrated over night, I imagine they take months. Work out the hourly rate …
1 month ago• Like3

Follow LeahG
LeahG Cartoonist Illustrator UK • And if you want slave labour at least recognise the artist is doing YOU a massive kindness not the other way around. They are literally thousands of writers Expecting their book to be the next best thing, when chances of it selling are a bit like winning the x-factor. Thus the exposure of doing all that work is likely to add up to nought.
1 month ago• Like1

Follow Espen
Espen Antonsen • Sorry but even though youre ouside the USA doesnt mean it gets cheaper. I take at least $450 pr page and this is Norwegian standard page price for a comic creation. Unless I choose to work ideologially. And in this case NO WAY. Arent there any US cultural funds to apply for. At least inform the artist about that if you want anything done within the USA or Northern Europe!
1 month ago• Unlike 2

Hugh
Unfollow
Hugh LeDuc • I found your project very interesting. I can do 40 pages for 2k. Just let me know if you agree my style. This is my website: http://www.hughleduc.com If so, send me the script and I will start working.
1 month ago• Unlike 1

Follow Mark
Mark Ellis • This whole field has become ridiculously low-rent. Except for a handful of creators who work for three or four publishers, there’s no real money in it any longer.

Page rates are set at whatever the market dictates…or not.
1 month ago• Like1

Follow Nectar
Nectar K • As I specialize in going off-topic: you could go with one of the big guns as far as publishing it is concerned. Do the first chapter get it approved and distribution ready and ask for the advance. These big companies have got talent to send your way and you could get a better deal in the long run when going with established agencies.
On the other hand, and the reason we are all here debating the details of international page rates is to get aGOOD job done at the best price.
I’m sure US comic ilustrators are a dime a dozen your side, they are everywhere.
You could kill two birds with one stone: by finding an unknown with talent and get your work done cheaply – you’ll get 80% of your work done for less than 1/2 of your 2k and then spend most of the rest in calling a professional just to touch it up. What’s left is the drinks you buy the night your book hits the shelves.
The positive part here is that the unknown will always be available for future gigs until they take off on their own and you’ll get a professional product.
1 month ago• Unlike 1

Brian McLane • Okay – I never expected frankly to set off this debate. All I wanted was to spend some of the few bucks I had on something a little out of the box to help market my film concept. I’ve apparently touched a nerve which I assure you wasn’t my attention. For reference, I heard from several artists who said they could do it ($40/page) and never heard back from them. So – the funny thing is – 27 comments later, I guess it’s true that you get what you pay for – and I still have no one to do it. So I’m just going to stick with the few scenes Tom Grindberg (who’s Tarzan strip went live tonight) did and the end result is….. no artwork.
1 month ago

Hugh
Unfollow
Hugh LeDuc • It’s your choice Brian… But I said I can help you with this project. Just let us know if you found someone else.
1 month ago• Like

Follow Gavin
Gavin Ross • Sorry Brian , I can’t do it now. Hope you get someone soon. Best wishes. http://dwornboy.daportfolio.com/
1 month ago• Like

Follow LeahG
LeahG Cartoonist Illustrator UK • I suppose Brian, the better thing to do would be to go to the freelancer sites where these projects are bid on. I don’t like to promote those because they’re the reason very few people even the ‘best of the best’ can’t get any work. Everyone wants something for nothing and sadly they can get it … thus there will very soon be no such thing as a professional artist. That’s why people are so sensitive about this topic at this point in time, over the last two years the bottom has fallen right out of the market. Internet and overseas slave trade has ensured it.
1 month ago• Unlike 3

Follow Marc
Marc Olivent • this might be a dead discussion now, so forgive me if you’re no longer entertaining the idea, Brian- but how about settling on a few artists you like and asking them what’s achievable for the budget you have. Everyone usually has a baseline below which they just can’t drop. Instead of standing firm, you could tailor your needs to your budget and the artist.
1 month ago• Unlike 3

Follow Mark
Mark Ellis • Throwing around the term “slave labor” is very inaccurate and not a little insulting to Brian.

Artists have the choice to accept assignments or not, so by definition they can’t be slaves.

And yes, the bottom has fallen out of the market for just about every creator.

What I encounter are self-styled publishers/movie producers who express interest in optioning exclusive rights to some of my properties for a term of three years in exchange for…for…

Well, in exchange for what amounts to nothing.

In the example of self-styled publishers, they don’t offer anything I can’t do myself, yet they expect the lion’s share of the profits…if there any to be had.

With the self-styled movie producers, they want to lock in my properties for years while they allegedly shop it around to studios–without offering a fee.

This is what I meant by low-rent.
1 month ago• Unlike 2

Brian McLane • Maybe we’ve gotten off on the wrong foot here.

And this is not a dead issue as I am still trying to find a believer who can draw my ideas. I’m not promising the world and I have some, not a lot, of cash (between 1500 and 2000). What has happened is several artists on this thread have said they can do it and when I inquire I get the old 80/page rate. That would get me 20 to 25 pages and I’m not interested in that.

Also – I respect you all immensely. Some of you get it though – this is just about economics – namely mine. All I have is (at most) 2K. I can use it from the Kickstarter campaign or risk Divorce.

Hope you all understand.

Lastly I’ll say this. I’ve built an awesome team (almost 40 people now) working on this project which has now lead to my involvement in a Horror Flick (doing the soundtrack). If I can pass off storyboard work – whatever, I’ll do anything I can for those people who have agreed to work for admittedly far less than they’re worth, in order to see if some magic can happen. I have Pro-Tools engineers, Cameraman, Video Editors, actors, actresses, singers, make-up, stylists, props people, Green screen access, a PR company – all helping out on Center of the Universe.

My goal is to keep us together. What’s going to happen? Hell if I know but I do know that if you don’t try – nothing happens.
1 month ago1

Follow Gregory
Gregory Giordano • Brian, I am not sure if you are aware of how labor-intensive it is to draw full comic pages from layouts to rendered colors and letters? Most pro pencillers can get a max 2 pages a day. For many it is closer to one pencilled page. So forgive if I and others take offense at your dismissal of “the old 80/page rate”. A days work costs a days pay- I sincerely doubt you do less at your job- why should anyone who is capable of producing professional quality work entitled to less either? Having said that, if someone has said that they can do the work for you at a lower rate and think it will be an advantageous exercise; expanding portfolio, first paid gig, etc, well we’re all adults here.

Just know that when I, and I am confident to say some others, read the following,
“…and when I inquire I get the old 80/page rate. That would get me 20 to 25 pages and I’m not interested in that. …”

My answer to that is sorry, It’s not sold by the pound.

I would think that if you were using Kickstarter to finance your project that you would price out the costs of professional artwork, include that in your budget and try to fund raise _that_ amount of money. I think it bears pointing out that by not researching page rates before including their cost in your campaign is a red flag to me. Adjustments may be in order, you may want to assess costs and re-submit your Kickstarter campaign.

No one on here who has been through what you are going through(backstory: I have been a fellow traveller/done production help, writing and storyboards on site in many friends/local film projects- up to and including one feature) would not want you to fail. No one here would want you to end in divorce- that would be truly sad and tragic and horrid. What I think we DO want from you is to simply take into account the fact that the buyers market theory does not apply here at such a low price and, frankly, in order for someone to do the work( or a duo maybe- not impossible)- they are doing you a solid by doing the QUANTITY of pages you seem to need at so low a price per page.

I hope that you find someone to get you what you need. I also would hope that if that can’t happen, that you would be flexible to altering what you need to accommodate even low page rates- to be fair to whomever would do the work for you. Best of luck!
1 month ago• Like2

Brian McLane • Just so everyone knows, I have found my artist who has agreed to the $50/page rate. I have seen the work and am THRILLED!!!! Thanks LinkedIn. So in sum – Kickstarter so far at $3200 – $2,000 for graphic novel, $1200 for recordings and we keep shooting. Just doing the best I can. Many of you artists are very talented, I just finally found one I could afford. And if the movie gets distributed or the concept sold to television, I will be loyal to my artist. The name of the film is Center of the Universe.
1 month ago3

Follow LeahG
LeahG Cartoonist Illustrator UK • Well said gregory, I recently had an interested author ask me to illustrate his book, he needs in the region of ninty illustrations , a minimum of six months five days weeks work. The budget for this six month full time project … £150. Who the heck has a salary of £300 a year ! Really … It is beyond a joke how little people expect to pay for services that take so much time to deliver. I have written an article some may find useful on what goes into the artistic process .. http://leah-graphics-studio.com/what-goes-into-a-cartoon-how-are-a-cartoonists-fees-justified-some-charge-hundreds-how-can-that-be-fair/
1 month ago• Like4

Follow David
David Campiti • Brian, my company can help — with art, lettering, coloring, production, design. Yes, we even broker printing from mainland China, for the best possible price. Check out www.glasshousegraphics.com
1 month ago• Like

Follow John
John Dallaire • When will people who are supposedly good at business finally figure out that the continued outsourcing of production actually hurts business? The production workers in China won’t be buying your book, because they don’t make enough money to afford it. And the unemployed worker here makes even less.

So who, exactly, is going to buy your product as we continue the race to the bottom?

Oh, and as an added bonus, all the materials for the reproduction of your intellectual property will now be a world away. Sure, it’s probably paranoid to think that your book would end up bootlegged and sold on the streets. I mean, the fact that there are Apple stores in China that sell nothing but bootlegged Apple product knockoffs is just a coincidence, right?
1 month ago• Like1

Brian McLane • It’s a movie, we’ll be pitching it to production companies and networks. The Graphic Novel is an add-on that I’m actually taking money from the production budget for.
1 month ago

Follow Shefali
Shefali Randeria • I live in India and have a studio specializing in comic art, you can check my website www.cirque.in. Would love to do your work and please feel free to contact me.
1 month ago• Like

Follow Bob
Bob Gallo • Hi Brian,
Will you be printing the novel after the art is complete. I have a partner plant in China that I’ve known for 10 years and can get you great pricing.
regards,
Bob
1 month ago• Unlike • Reply privately• Flag as inappropriate 1

Tags: ····

No Comments so far ↓

There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment