Recently a client whom I had previously worked for on a semi-regular basis for several years, contacted me about a new on-going job. For the original jobs I did I charged him less than my current usual since we started working together when I was more inexperienced and had less work opportunity, also he was a little tight on the budget. This time, I offered him a rate lower than the previous job since this one seemed easier, I also gave him a lower than usual rate since it would be on-going work, with very little editorial oversight. I was actually second-guessing myself for the low-ball offer I made when he responded. I usually don’t publicize my prices as they can vary greatly depending on the situation, project, and work-load I have at any given time, However I feel it is important to be specific in this example to show how reasonable my asking rate was. The following was our e-mail exchange:



How are things out west?

 How much can you do a simple comic for?

 I’ll need, about once a month or so,  a comic to use when I train.

For example, one company sells to librarians, so I want a pic of a librarian offering an objection and the reps going SHHHHH! With his finger on his lips (sweet irony).

Another is a rep selling to a feed store, telling the resistant buyer “It’s cheaper than a vet!”





Hey xxx,

 Long time no chat, thanks for thinking of me for this new project.

 All is well here, I been keeping busy, as it seems you have too!

 So, it seems like you are talking about a 1 panel gag comic like the far side or family circus in color correct?

If so I would charge 75.00 each, same as before where you see a rough first.

Let me know,





Thanks, I was surprised that xxxx from Bulgaria contacted me on this (my original artist). I’m giving him the work. Over there, average worker makes $120/week. So him doing this for $40 will be good for a semi-starving artist.




Continuing the outsourcing of American jobs.



-Now I know I may been overstating it a bit, and I doubt this technically qualifies as outsourcing in the traditional sense, but I think the point was made.

What bothers me most, is that the client told me about the other artist at all. It’s a bizarre arrogance or ignorance that let’s someone think this is an OK thing to say to another person. They could have easily told me, your price is too high, I’m going another direction, or your style is not right for the project :p, ect. Why throw in that seemingly passive aggressive information? It’s like breaking up with a girl and telling her, “there, there it’s not you, it’s just that I found this super hot Bulgarian girl who doesn’t know enough to see she can do better than a guy like me, and she is in a bad enough situation that she will marry and serve me just to get her citizenship. (overstating again?…OK, maybe.) I can only think of 2 logical reasons for this information sharing. 1. Maybe the client hoped that I would quickly lower my price so as to not lose the job. This would  mean that although the client would rather work with me, they find saving money to be of greater importance than quality of work and ease of communication. 2. It was a F.U. to my “high” price proving that other artists could be found cheaper. This would be a sort of bragging about their business savvy, or indictment of my lack of globally competitive prices. There of course are other reasons that cold have motivated them as well, but they are beyond my ability to easily guess.

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  1. huh…I don’t think $75 for a one panel comic, that you’ve already been given dialogue and concept for, is reasonable at all….I’ve been commissioned for art, and I’ve commissioned people for art, and that price is super, super high for what he described. ::shrug::. But hey, if you want to ask, ask for high prices, go for it.

    But when your told your client is going with another artist because of your high prices, you should at least behave professionally. Half the artists I know are overseas. Should I simply refuse to use their art because they’re overseas? Of course not – it’s a global marketplace, and artists need to understand that as well as other professions….

  2. Kaitlin, Gaz is a professional artist who is being commissioned for business purposes. Also, varying requests require various amounts of detail and skill level. Just because something is a “one panel comic” doesn’t mean it’s an easy throwaway sketch. There is the process of talking to the client, giving them roughs, getting revisions, enacting revisions, inking the rough, coloring the rough, taking final revisions and reaching a deadline. This is by no means the same as being commissioned to “Draw whatever” for a fan.

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