Artists, how much would you charge for an ACEO or 6x4" print?

Hi hi.

One of my plans with my book is to commission pieces of art of scenes, characters etc., from other indie creators. I was thinking that as I want to commission as many artists as possible, it might be fun to have every artist do something no larger than ACEO/ATC print (2-3"). Or at the most, 6x4" (I know ACEOs are tiny).

I’m working out budgets, so I’d love to know from everyone who’s a professional visual artist: what would you charge for an ACEO-sized piece and what would you charge for a 6x4" piece? I want to hear from fine artists, cartoonists, digital artists, everyone! I know it’s hard to know for sure, but an estimate would be a huge help.

I would also be looking at compensating for the amount of time it takes to read the book and plan your piece, of course (book is about 55k words, YA fantasy if anyone wants to do an actual estimate).

Thank you in advance!

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It’s hard to get specific for me personally, because it doesn’t just depend on the size, but what the piece is supposed to be. Is it a portrait? A landscape? Multiple characters? A sketch? Fully rendered? Etc.

I’ve seen ACEOs range from 20-50$. (These were Deviantart prices, so obviously not professional.) It can be more, especially if the artist is well known or the piece is particularly detailed. 4x6’’ pieces would definitely be more in general, just due to the size.

For pricing reading the book, my best guess would be to work it out by the hour. A Google search says the average reading speed from 200-300 words per minute. For your book, that’d put it just under four hours at 250 wpm.

Sorry I can’t be of more help. Best advice I can give is to be over-prepared, just in case.

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I’m definitely going to overprepare. I was thinking of telling people to just read and draw whatever they liked or connected with (instead of dictating a certain scene or character), so although I’m thinking ‘more than a sketch’ I am ideally just going to say ‘do whatever you like’. Maybe divvy it up so there are half a dozen character pieces and half a dozen landscapes or something.

We’ll see. I have a few friends I can ask for detailed estimates, but the more people I hear from the easier it will be to organise and the more people I can hopefully work with.

Thank you very much!

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I’d probably charge like $40. Might be more for time reading, I really do not have any intuitive feeling as to how big a book is when it’s measured in words.

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It depends on the type of art you’re looking for.

But a good “rule of thumb” is to pay min wage by the hour. That’s what I typically charge for commissions and pieces I get hired to do. I usually add more depending if I have to research or take time to learn what I’m drawing. For example I did a 8x10 piece for a book but had to read a chapter and research the time period clothing so that added up to another 100$ to the price.

So it really depends.

https://cynthiaher.com/commissions are my rates for commissions if you want one example! Good luck!

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I know, it’s so hard to tell how long it’ll take to read something. Thank you!

Thank you for the link! I usually work out my own rates in my day job by the hour too, but I’m very aware that some people’s hourly rate is quite a lot higher than other’s, etc.

For what it’s worth, most of my work is in the art card/sketch card/ACEO realm, both commissioned and for actual trading card companies like Rittenhouse and Topps Entertainment. Determining a price for a commission is tricky - there are SO many different styles out there, and you will have price ranges from $10 up to over $100 for a 2.5 x 3.5 piece, depending on who you ask, how they work, and detail involved.

Someone mention $40… That’s not a bad average, in reality. Most of the artists I know will average out at maybe $55 - that’s a rough guestimate. An artist/writer in my circle of online friends did a similar project to the one you are describing, and he offered $50 to everyone.

Your project sounds great! Best of luck to you!

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Thanks for your input! Around the $50 seems to be an average from what I’ve heard generally. Giving everyone $50 and saying ‘do whatever you would normally do for $50’ might end up being what I do, I just want to ensure that whatever that amount is, it’s a fair price.

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it’d def be easier to just say “here is $XX please draw what you see fit with this information”

Then you could also be surprised by what you get ^^!

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I agree that “can I get a little $50 commission that includes reading my book” is a nice way to approach it, not all artists will accept but it’d be within my range for a single character or a fun ACEO of some kind.

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That’s kind of what I’m thinking! I’d love to just let people do their thing.

Thank you for your input!

Alternatively, if you don’t want to deal with figuring out the ‘read my book’ part of the commission, you could divvy up chapters or your favorite/notable sections. Any missing information, like character descriptions that might’ve been in earlier chapters, could just be tacked on. That way the artist doesn’t have to read the entire book, and you can better hand pick what you might want.

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I’ve thought about that - logistically it might be more work than it’s worth to go through and pick out the relevant parts. We’ll see. Thanks!

One thing to keep in mind is that the personal commissions you see people doing on DeviantART and elsewhere are generally cheaper because they’re exactly that - personal commissions. While admittedly plenty of those artists aren’t aware of the difference, you should at least know that there is a difference between personal commissions and those intended for print or use in some other kind of product. The latter involves licensing and a transfer of rights.

While the artists you speak to may not be aware of this delineation due to a lack of experience, you sound like someone who wants to do right by people, and so it is something you should be aware of yourself. Of course I’m under the assumption that these illustrations would be used in your book - if I’m wrong then my point is entirely irrelevant.

That aside, a more useful way to think about pricing comes down to time. You can ask an artist to spend X amount of hours on your commission and then have them determine an hourly rate up-front (or X hours reading, Y hours producing the piece and an hourly rate for each as the case may be). You can also ask the artists for samples of what they might be able to pull off in that time to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth, and that the artist has established a relationship between the hours they’ll spend versus the money they’ll be making.

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I am aware of licensing and rights transfers; these commissions would be the artists’ to do with as they wish, they aren’t illustrations to go in the novel. I’d ask for something in writing regarding sharing on social media and using on my website, that sort of thing, with links and credits etc. The whole project is to make some cool art and support indie creators, so I’m not going to be that person who takes advantage of less experienced artists.

I hadn’t thought about samples, that’s a really good idea. I don’t want to commission work I can’t really afford so I think I’ll either have to ask for up front rates or do the ‘here’s x do what you would do for that’ approach. I have my eye on a couple of artists already so closer to the time I will get in touch with them and see how they prefer to work.

Thank you for your thoughts!