Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pierre Speaks: The Surge

The Surge was the last project that I did for free.

I was a little dissapointed so far by the results of them free projects... once I would be done with the second issue of Surge... no money... no candy... or something like that. ;)
I did not need that big a page rate... but at least something that would make it worth my while would be required from now on.

Too often... I will see an ad... or I will be contacted and offered a "paying job".
Too often... it turns out that that paying job is something like 5$ per page for full pencil.... sometimes inked and lettered as well. And it is expected to be as detailed as... lets say... what Brian Hitch is doing.
And you have to do all that in one month.
Hitch himself does not do the pencils alone in one month... let alone pencil/ink/letter/and what else someone might ask for... and too often people expect some schmuck that they are paying 5$ per page to do all that??

Not very realistic.
5$ for a page does not even cover the expenses of producing such page.

A rough price for supplies/expenses to produce one page would go like this:
2 ply bristol board- $1
Light-Blue Colerase- $1
Steadler pencil- $1 (yes you can by a pack of 10 cheap pencils for $2 at the pharmacy... but when you are drawing professionally... you need some pencils that will not break every 10 seconds that you will keep on sharpening.... with them cheap pencils.... you spend more time sharpening your pencil then you spend actually drawing.... trust me you don't want to be stuck needing to use them cheap pencils)
Fine marker- $2.50
And shipping... using the cheapest way to ship your package- $1 per page

So a rough price for expenses per page would be around $6.50.

And that can be much more if you use some more expensive supplies or if you use a more expensive mean of shipping the pages to the client.

So when you are discussing your page rate with the client.... try to make sure that you let him know how much it might cost YOU for supplies and shipping, and wether or not it is included in your page rate.
Believe me.... too often... the client will assume that all those costs are included in your page rate. Even when the page rate he is offering you is not even enough to cover for the supplies costs alone. Once again.... many people have unrealistic expectations.
But lets get back to The Surge.

I was asked to pencil the second issue in a series. Since there already was a first issue published... I figured that odds were good that the book would actually see print.
So I agreed to do it on the side.

Anyway... that is always what I usually do with free work. When some paid work comes around... the free work is set aside to do the paid work.

And I mean REAL paid work. Not paid 5$ per page work. That equals to working for free in my book.
But around the time of Surge... I started making sure that the client would understand that since the work he offered me would not pay the bills or groceries... when some REAL work would present itself... it would get the priority over his project.

You HAVE to specify it... because too often some people do not understand that you must pay the rent like everyone else.

They too often seem to think that they have the next Watchmen that will make millions of dollars, and fail to understand that in the meantime you might need to work on REAL paying projects to pay the bills.
So I worked on the Surge on the side for a while. And I was fairly happy with it.

For once... the design work was pretty much done since this was the second issue in a series.

Although I did do some designs (like the EVIL Nazi chick at the end for example), but I was able to do them designs straight on the page.

I was pretty happy with the mood of the first page... or the double spread splash page. Overall.... I thought I had done a good job. It was once compared as a cross between Buscema (not sure which one) and Bagley.... which was a big compliment in my book.

I don`t think it ended up being printed... but I think it was online at some point.

Another example of what happens with `"free" work.
Since the publisher did not pay a single cent for the work.... he can do what he wants with it afterwards.
He does not have to try to recuperate his investment since.... there was no investment.

So it does not cost him anything to decide... like in the case of Abracadavera... to go in another direction artistically... or in this case... to put the comic online as opposed to printing/selling/distributing it.

But those are part of the risks of working for free.

After a while... you realise that if you are going to work for free... you may as well work on your own project.
So at some point... I decided that I would no longer work for free.

Or if I did... it would be on my own stuff.
I would have worked some more on my Heroes project... but I got into a collaboration with a crazy buckaroo going by the name of Jim.
But you guys already know that by now. ;)

More soon.

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