Loads of questions on properly hiring an artist...? HELP

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Do you think artists should get paid fairly for their work in a visual novel?

Yes, artists are people, too
17
89%
No, I just want something cheap, no matter how good it is
1
5%
No, we can make free games. Why pay for art?
1
5%
 
Total votes: 19

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kura-ou
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2012 9:01 pm

Loads of questions on properly hiring an artist...? HELP

#1 Post by kura-ou » Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:00 am

I've only done work for something that could be categorized as commercial work twice (and both times, commissioners have disappeared on me without telling me).

I am currently working for FREE for a group project, since the premise was interesting, but as the only artist, it's really stressful for people to request MULTIPLE EDITS on a single sprite that I did for free (even when it was supposedly finished). I don't even do that for my own commissioners unless they request it (2 TOPS, not 10-15 edits; and if designs are drastically changed, I usually require a small fee). I've asked friends and artists alike and they've said that this is horribly unfair.

:?: I've only completed the first sprite, of 4 poses or so (for the 1st out of 4 characters, if not more...this doesn't include background work and CGs). Because I want to finish pending commissions and take on more to pay bills and tuition (if I'm even lucky enough), continuing this doesn't seem very financially viable for me.

Plus, the head of the team wants to make profit off this project (I just hope that it'll also be split equally among the team members). He has many talented people recruited, but if a game sells for $10-$15 each and doesn't have a big following, how can such a large team be paid for their services, even if they're all working for free? I'm sure that he intends to sell demos on disk so that he doesn't lose money on burning the demo, but for the real game, I am quite worried about the final product...

Additionally, he intends for this to be a project to surpass Katawa Shoujo (don't a lot of people?) and wants to get it done in half the time to sell at conventions... Now, I'm not attacking him in any way, but working for free in a demanding position and being the oldest member there does wear me down. I was expecting to work with people around the college level, if not older (and slightly younger), considering the content of the story. This is only my preference, however.

Since I've been advertising, only one person has been genuinely interested in paying me for my services; I was lucky enough to get accepted to work for free in a visual novel project, but... *sigh*

(whining coming up) <-I honestly need a personal rant journal

It's stressing me out so much, and because my parents and I are poor and in a very bad situation, I may have to opt out of this project. We desperately need funds, and working for free won't help... I'm not qualified for any small jobs in my city and am still going to school; I can only do commissions to pay the bills and save up to help out my parents in their time of need with medicine and all... Plus, my account has had such a huge negative balance for so long due to late bills that it may close in the next 10 days...everything is pretty bad...

(whining over)

Another interested commissioner had since contacted me after the previous one ignored me for months. However, it doesn't look like he knows what the difference between a CG and sketch is, even after I've linked my samples to him...

:?: He's willing to offer me a $5 royalty for every $40 the 'game' (which is basically a packet of 40 letter-sized illustrations) makes. It certainly does not sound like a visual novel... No discussion has been made for rates on illustrations, either and I'm afraid of being ripped off (as in being paid such a low rate for the illustrations) for my services :(

I don't know where to proceed from here...I really need money for bills and medicine, but I don't want to work for pennies when it takes me several hours to sketch, ink and CG an illustration.

If anyone could please offer me pricing suggestions or even advice and tips on marketing and rights for a visual novel game or anything at all, I would be really grateful.

Thank you to those 3 people who were kind enough to vote in my poll and many thanks to everyone who put up with my long entry.
I have been doing online freelance work for about 4 years :D

Please check out my <a href="http://kura-ou.deviantart.com/">gallery</a>

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FantasyFan
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#2 Post by FantasyFan » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:27 am

I'm not familiar with all the ins and outs of hiring artist, but I think that with a commercial game the artist should get a percentage of the sales that's comparable to the amount of work done. Like, say there's one writer and one artist and they both do approxamately the same amount of work, they should split the game profits 50/50. It sounds like your situation isn't so simple as that example, but I think that if you do a lot of work, you deserve a fair paycheck.

kura-ou
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2012 9:01 pm

#3 Post by kura-ou » Thu Sep 06, 2012 6:05 pm

FantasyFan wrote:I'm not familiar with all the ins and outs of hiring artist, but I think that with a commercial game the artist should get a percentage of the sales that's comparable to the amount of work done. Like, say there's one writer and one artist and they both do approxamately the same amount of work, they should split the game profits 50/50. It sounds like your situation isn't so simple as that example, but I think that if you do a lot of work, you deserve a fair paycheck.
Thank you for your reply. :)

I think that at this rate, I may just drop out of the project. My parents are frustrated that I even spent that much time on a free project when I could have been working to improve my art and somehow (with little hope) get commissioned to pay for the costs we had.
I have been doing online freelance work for about 4 years :D

Please check out my <a href="http://kura-ou.deviantart.com/">gallery</a>

<a href="http://kura-ou.ecrater.com">STORE</a>

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Spiky Caterpillar
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#4 Post by Spiky Caterpillar » Sat Sep 15, 2012 6:43 am

I can't tell how fair the pile of edits are without seeing the initial
product spec, the art provided, and the edits requested, but it does
seem to me like the big free project is full of red flags - the team
head is having people work without pay on an ambitious commercial project?
You're on tight deadlines to produce a salable product, but nobody knows
if they'll be paid or how much? It doesn't sound like a good idea to me.
If the idea's just 'make a free game and sell discs at cons' then that's
not so bad, but you can't prioritize unpaid work over paying work when
you need money.

General advice:

- Profit share *can* be a very good thing IF you work well with your
partner(s), everyone brings something to the table, everyone feels that
their share is fair, everyone has meaningful input into the project,
and everyone who will be handling money can be trusted. However, profit
share means that the workers are taking on all the risk - if the project
fails, the workers lose time that they could have spent on paying work,
playing Dwarf Fortress, or correcting people who are wrong on the
Internet. Profitshare deals where the recruiter is offering nothing
more than a game idea and telling people what to do while everyone else
does all the work should be eyed very, VERY warily.

- Hammer out the contract details before you do large amounts of work
on a project. It's fine to do a little exploratory poking before you've
agreed on pay, but you don't want to get halfway through the project before
discovering that half the employees think the project is going to be open
source and half of them want to sell it to Zynga. If you're partway through
a project and still don't have the details nailed down, nail them down - it's
better to have the contract negotiations catch fire with it half-done than
with it complete. And if you drop out of something, let people know you're
doing it (and why) so they don't sit there for months wondering when
their sprite will arrive.

- If you need money before 2014, don't rely on profitshare projects.

- When I'm commissioning artists, my standard practice is to pay half
on approval of sketches and the remainder on delivery of the finished
image(s); if it's a large project, I attempt to divide it up into
reasonably-sized chunks.

- If you're doing profit sharing and physical sales, you need to lay
out what expenses are deductible from profits - conventions are expensive!

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