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What sort of terms should I offer an artist to illustrate a web comic for me?

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Hey all, not sure if this is the right place to post. In short I've written out a story and I want to make it into a webcomic. My initial thought was simply to hit up an artist and pay for the art in itself.

Does anyone have any experience with what rights the artist should get, as well as what kind of payment should be reccomended? (I.e. buying 500 pages at once, vs 5 to 10 a month?)

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I only have three comic projects under my belt, so there are probably more experienced individuals out there.  I know @zenia was (is?) working long term as a comic artist for someone.

But your best course of action is to sit down yourself and figure out how much of your story you want into a comic.  You can't jam a lot of action into a single page, and comic page counts rise a lot faster than clients realize.  It would be best to further break down your project into scenes.  

For example a recent client provided me a four page story, and that translated to about 7 pages of comic work.  That was with us trimming some things out/ cutting dialogue.

Expect to pay between $150 - $500 a page depending the artist, and I would advise against going with just the cheapest person.  Watch the artist.  For some comics are very daunting, so I would avoid paying all up front unless you really trust the person to get to work.  This is assuming you don't intend to make money from it, but if you do some may charge more if you intend to print and publish.

How you want to commission each page or in batches is up to you.  Personally, from experience, doing batches is easier to ensure everything flows together.  The client can then sit down and review a set of pages to make sure they like how the pages and dialogue flows, and characters look consistent.  

Before you commit to anyone I would suggest to shop around and ask questions.  Make sure how someone works is something that makes you feel comfortable.  Do they offer edits?  When do they offer edits?  Do they offer preliminaries?  Do they do scripting for you?  (Or do you have to provide scripts.)  Do they take payment plans?  Ect.  Don't be afraid to ask questions.  Someone who has a lot of experience working with large, long term projects will understand that clients are putting a lot of faith in them.

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I've done a few paid comics, so I got to experience some of the bumps in the road you can encounter.


Most important thing to consider is that a large project like a three-digit pages of comic work is a huge thing to commit to for both parties. You will need an artist that behaves very professionally.

Since you're going for a long term deal... First make a selection of artists that match at least your quality and style minimums. Then study them carefully to narrow the group down to the most professional ones when handling their business.

Celestina's points seem pretty good, so follow that and then talk the terms of the deal with the artist you chose, see what they expect or demand from you through the duration of the deal.

It's best if you define all the aspects of the deal at the start, set soft and hard deadlines including what happens if they start being broken, how and when will be the payments done and what happens if you fail on making them, what are the outs like what happens if they or you want to stop the thing halfway, and what the posting/publishing rules are. If you plan to profit from that comic your artist needs to charge you for commercial purposes.

I'd suggest to work in chapters of 15-30 pages if possible(maybe a few more if it's only inks), so there are good stop-resume points along the way if you need to change the artist, so your thing can continue without a huge impact from the eventual changes in style.

Basically the more details of the deal you can address ahead of time, the safer you both will feel as you work together, instead of having to discuss these things as they pop up when the whole thing is already in progress and causes friction and stress.

Be fair and honest with your artist while they do the same in return. Be ready to be stern and hold your ground if the artist demands something that you really don't want to do their way, and be ready to concede certain aspects of the deal that will be pretty important for the artist to work their way.

👍 Good luck.

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