PRICING IT RIGHT WITH WILLA GEBBIE
In the first of our new series in association with AOI, we talk costing
At the AOI, we advise on pricing on a daily basis, covering everything from the smallest private commission to the biggest advertising campaign. We see illustrators being offered fair – and often generous – amounts of money every day, yet we also see many who willingly give away their rights or work for free, and then are not able to sustain a career in the industry. But with some support and a bit of basic knowledge, illustrators are increasingly negotiating better fees. We say a big yes to that.
We asked fashion illustrator and AOI member Willa Gebbie to share her insight on costing...
Willa Gebbie: Pricing is difficult. it’s hard to know what the going rate is, and no one wants to feel like they’ve charged too little.
For jobs in marketing and advertising, I charge based on usage, which is a bit complex as you need to think about how the illustration(s) will be used, who will use it (or them) and for how long. I loved Jessica Hische’s article, The Dark Art of Pricing, which gave me so much confidence in how to speak to art directors about money and usage. The AOI’s pricing advice has also been invaluable.
Sometimes, quoting isn’t a straightforward process. Recently, a regular client was interested in developing a short animation with my illustrations. I’ve never worked on an animation before, but I share a studio with some really great animators, and knew it could be great to involve them and work together.
When the role involves multiple people, you’re not just being paid to draw, you have to manage the project for the client, and make sure that everyone involved is being paid fairly.
From time to time, a client (usually a publisher) will ask me to assign copyright. It’s really disappointing. I’ll always give them a call and kindly ask them if they can provide a licensing contract. Sometimes that’s all it takes; not everyone understands what they’re actually asking for. If the money is decent, or if it’s obvious that the artwork will never be used for anything else, then I’ll settle with giving rights ‘in-perpetuity’. But often, I’ll turn work down rather than give away my copyright – mainly out of principle.
As for working for free? No way. Not for a company who is profiting from it. There are much better ways of working for free, such as collaborating with other artists on personal projects, so I do that instead. I already donate a lot of my free time to the community through Yo Illo. Sometimes I’ll do a freebie for a friend’s wedding invitation, but only for VERY good friends. More information about pricing can be found in the Members Area at www.theaoi.com
Willa Gebbie is a Scottish illustrator, working in beauty, fashion and portraiture. She also coruns the popular monthly illustration meetup Yo Illo (www.yoillo.com) that brings creatives together with inspirational speakers in both London and Berlin.