How and how much do you pay to your artists?

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Post » Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:06 pm

Hello all!
Dealing with a team of two, soon 4, i come into something that i never had to deal before. Paying an artist for his/her work.
I want to now how do you dealt or deal with this based on your projects.

This is the background of my story about this:
I'm the main programmer. And a friend of mine is the artist. Both of us conform the "enterprise" so we decided to go 50 - 50 for any penny earned for sales.
She is in charge (is a she ;) ) not only in drawing but also every other graphics decision. Like a Artist Director. We both decide and write the story of the game and decide the setting and general gameplay (more i than her here).
So, to short the story, i need to pay her for her work. Even if she is part of the enterprise at a point to earn 50% of everything. (we will see when others comes)

I don't know how much, if i should pay per page, per final "usable" work, per time, per month no matter the results done.

If you have any experience about this that didn't end in bullets and regret i all ears. My friend too ;)
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Post » Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:47 pm

@Hillstrom - If you're in it together as a two-person team, splitting everything 50/50 and that was decided on from the beginning, I'm not sure why you would be responsible for paying her. Not that everyone doesn't like getting paid for their work of course, but your situation seems different than the standard 'programmer hires artist'. It seems more like co-owners of a company.

In any case, a conversation with her would probably be the best way to sort these things out - and if you're serious about your business, a contract would be a good idea as well. It can help to protect both of you.
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Post » Sat Apr 13, 2013 6:44 am

If she has a 50/50 stake in earnings/ownership/etc..., she shouldn't be asking for payment from you for work she's already done. You're not her boss, she's not a contracted freelancer, you're partners.

RogueNoodle is right though. Come up with some sort of contract before things get sticky. You already seemed to agree to 50/50, be a good idea to get that signed in paper by the both of you.

As for the 2 members you're going to be recruiting, definitely get an agreement written in paper with them as well, with signatures.TL222013-04-13 06:47:53
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Post » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:26 am

We've hired an artist for a new project at $70p/h. The artist has a very specific style and has loads of experience in the advertising industry, so that's as high as I would go.

It sounds like the artist is going to be pretty integral to the game though, so to get her invested in the project I'd recommend a rev share as others have suggested.
Moderator
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Post » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:38 am

Damn, I wish I was being paid $70/hr :(
slap it onto the flappy bird template...
bang it on google play with all the other shovelware...
sorted...
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Post » Sat Apr 13, 2013 1:16 pm

@hillstrom It sounds to me that you should be very careful here...

The fact they are wanting payment, when the project has earned 0.00 I find odd!, what happens when two more join the team? will you pay them also?

And don't forget, If it's 50-50 then any amount you pay her, She owes you...

Check out some of the "open source" graphics out there...Lots of free with attribution assets, that could get you started, Solo...Pixel perfick2013-04-13 13:34:03
As long as I can move left, right and fire, I'm Happy...
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Post » Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:35 pm

rogueNoodle, it's true that our relationship is a partnership and with a 50/50 of any sales i don't need to pay extra. But, in the other hand, hard worked art has it's cost in time and effort and no one can, for sure, know if a game it's going to sale enough or even get released.
So, to cover that possibility, i preferred to paid for the work as is being done.
I talked with my partner-artist and she, since is her first work, is happy to whatever decision i make (contract beforehand).

Thehen, nice insight about your experience. I will take your numbers as a reference.

For now, we are two. Any new member would require a revision to our divisions and payments. For all this my friend/partner agree.
I wan't to cover failure of sells with payment-for-work. The shares for sales is more a matter of my personal decision than a condition from her.

I will take Thehen example as a reference and all your thoughts about not go with big payments if i will share 50/50 in the end. Maybe a cut in the Percentage will work.

Thanks everyone! And any more insights are always welcome!
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Post » Mon Apr 15, 2013 6:47 am

Before you proceed, decide terms and draft a contract.

As for artists payment, it really depends on your financial situation, the artists experience, etc. With the artist I am currently working with, we agreed to a percentage of revenue with a small advance up front I will pay him on release.

With this model I will be paying him as long as the game is bringing in money, so if you have the resources you may be better off paying a flat fee for the project or an hourly rate like thehen is. Although 70/hr is way too high IMHO (most game industry artists make $30-50/hr which is around 60-100k a year), but paying up front or an hourly rate will take care of artists payment up front meaning you won't be sharing revenue.

If you are low budget, look for recent grads or people trying to get into games and offer a percentage. But in your current situation, if you already said 50/50 profit split then you should not have to pay anything up front, or if you do end up doing that, deduct if from the revenue share after release.

Whatever you do, GET IT IN WRITING!!
fat40oz2013-04-15 06:49:12
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Post » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:11 am

Here is a sample contract I found through IGDA that is a decent starting point if you are doing it yourself. You need to remove the watermark in Word but the red text/highlights will show you what to replace.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/0nqb2v9ae0704fd/1atiWrW9Zp/Sample_Contract.doc
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Post » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:10 pm

Fat40oz,
Whatever resolution we take about this will alway be backed up with a contract. That's totally in mind. I'm looking into a good "contract" to make so i can keep my friend/partner/artist motivated and payed (i don't know if that word exist) for her work.

My obstination about that 50/50 share is more of a personal decision than a concern about the contract, a condition from my partner or any doubt about this topic. That share is the only thing i want to keep writed on stone.

My concern is more in the "while" than in the "when".
I want to cover the possibility that our project never sells enough (or at all) to make taht share worth the work.
That's why i want to pay "something" as the work is done. No matter the future 50/50 share (wich remains as my stubborn way to be in peace).

I like those hourly/pay examples because it helps me to round a number. This number is mostly my concern, no matter the release shares.
My partner is a soon-to-be graduated from Art's Faculty, she enter in the inexperienced bag but i already saw her works and it's far enough for the project. I don't have much problems with payments. And the project, in terms of art complexity or amount of content is not demanding at all.
That's what i can add to help round a good number based on your experiences.

Thanks for your help on this, all of you! ;)
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