Ian Coate
Artist / Illustrator Rates & Conditions

A few words on artists / illustrators.
Self PortraitNot many stop to think what’s involved in being an artist / illustrator.  And why should you; it’s not your business. You simply want an original artwork to help sell your product or hang on your wall for the cheapest price possible.  As to pricing, well you’ve probably been down to your local supermarket and seen how much a painting sells for, right!  And you’ve got a pretty good gauge on how long an artwork should take – you’ve seen those performance artists whip up a finished artwork in less than five minutes.  So your original artwork should only take a few hours at most, right?

As an artist / illustrator, I find it important to educate clients on the realities of the industry.  Those artworks selling at the supermarkets usually are not originals but are mass-produced-art pumped out overseas where poor artists are paid cents per hour. As to the time factor, those talented performance artists may blow our minds by finishing an artwork within minutes, but we often forget how long they have practiced behind closed doors to get that one repeated artwork perfected for their performance.

Artist PaintingTruth is producing an original artwork for a client is a creative process that can often be time consuming.  Just like you, we artists / illustrators hope to be paid a fair hourly rate.  We are trades people just like plumbers and carpenters.  When working out our rates we have to factor in our business expenses, time spent on administration and marketing, plus our taxes.  Furthermore, we don’t get paid holidays, sick days or long service. 
Artist / illustrators are not trying to cheat anyone.  Nor are we getting rich at your expense.  Usually the rates we are charging are just enough to keep the lights on and put a bit into our Super.  The artists / illustrators that I know don’t have fancy cars or yachts – they usually charge just enough to stay in business so they can keep working in the industry they are passionate about.

Mona Lisa PaintingHow much do I charge?
This is always hard to give an instant answer to as each job has different requirements.  I can’t quote the same price on a simple line illustration as I would for a historical oil painting that requires museum standards using archival canvas and paints.  However, as a general gauge I charge $70 an hour (as stated above – there is many overheads in being a full-time artist / illustrator).  Unlike the picture on the right, my artworks don’t paint themselves. This rate keeps the lights on and allows me to continue producing creative artworks.   However, on big commissions or special jobs I am certainly happy to negotiate the rate.

How much time will it take?
stick manSAS Soldier The time it takes to complete an artwork is seldom dictated by the physical size of the artwork but by the detail (the devil is always in the detail).  If you want a stickman drawn, I can knock that out in seconds.  If you are commissioning a historical oil painting this will obviously take longer; especially when you factor the research that goes with this sort of commission.  But as stated: if the commission is very time consuming I am happy to negotiate the hourly rate. (If you want a stick man I am happy to give you a second-rate quote – sorry, terrible pun).

Copyright and Intellectual Property:
What a can of worms this is! Unless there is a contract to the contrary, the artist always keeps the intellectual property to their creation.  When you commission an illustrator to do an artwork you are paying for a license to use that image for a certain purpose – much like when buying software for your computer.  For further information on this misunderstood topic please visit Illustrators Australia.

Illustrators Australia Website
Illustratorsaustralia.com is an excellent resource for artist / illustrator and those thinking of commissioning one.  It has outstanding advice on what to expect when commissioning an illustrator, standard practices, an illustrator ‘code of conduct’ and helpful info on artists’ and clients’ rights.
Yes, there are other illustrators on the Illustrators Australia website displaying their portfolios.  No, I don’t mind if you choose to go with one of these talented people.  My hope is you find a local illustrator whose style best fits your needs.  Furthermore, when you commission a local Australian artist it’s a win for our industry.

" If you wish to contact me for further enquires, please send an e-mail to: ISCRE5@bigpond.com."
For those interested in publishing and commissioning book illustrations, the following rate structure is taken from the 'Australian Society of Authors' website: www.asauthors.org.

FYI - Australian Society of Authors Recommended Book Illustration Rates

Black and white $65
Colour $95
Finished Black and White Illustration
Finished Coloured Illustration
Quarter page or chapter head $215
Quarter page or chapter head $300
Half page $340
Half page $475
Full Page $455
Full Page $675
Double Page Spread $575
Double Page Spread $900
Cover $1300

These rates are based on A4 projects. For 'one-off' or single illustration paid on a flat fee without royalties add 20 percent... Rates can be increased on detail required, research and conceptual input required. The rates are exclusive of GST. (Check ASA Rates and Conditions. www.asauthors.org).