Lau­ren Panepinto

Or­bit Books’ art di­rec­tor gives the other side of the story…

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - ImagineNation - http://ifxm.ag/lp-or­bit Lau­ren has been re­spon­si­ble for de­sign­ing book cov­ers for pub­lish­ers such as Pi­cador, Yen Press and Or­bit Books.

Are com­pa­nies un­der­pay­ing their free­lance artists?

Artists don’t know man­u­fac­tur­ing costs, price mar­gins, whole­sale ver­sus con­sumer prices, ad­ver­tis­ing, staffing and so on. All of th­ese fac­tors and more go into what a com­pany’s art bud­gets are. Of course, I want ev­ery artist to make a fair liv­ing wage, but they might be sur­prised to find out that many com­pa­nies can’t af­ford to pay it.

How can artists de­cide whether or not a job is worth their time?

An artist needs to be aware of the qual­ity of their work and the speed at which they work. From that they should cal­cu­late a tar­get hourly rate and know that if they take a job un­der that rate there had bet­ter be a good, non-mon­e­tary rea­son.

Would you ever rec­om­mend work­ing for free?

You should al­ways work for some­thing – even if it’s not for money. You can work for ex­pe­ri­ence, for ex­po­sure, for char­ity, for a favour, for a re­la­tion­ship, for barter, for com­pany stock, for fin­ished prod­uct. Just make sure that some­thing you’re work­ing for is a sure thing, not a vague prom­ise.

How can you en­sure ex­po­sure?

You should do your re­search on the com­pany, look at their so­cial me­dia chan­nels. You can write up a con­tract that guar­an­tees pub­lic­ity and so­cial me­dia shar­ing. Any free­lance I do is of­ten for friends and it’s al­ways for barter. Ei­ther their pro­ject does some­thing I want, or they barter with leggings or whiskey. A job doesn’t have to pay ex­clu­sively in money to be worth­while, but you have to weigh it out se­ri­ously.

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