Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Warhammer [ish] two, or, that second 'promised' post.

Right, taking some time out from other 'stuff' to create that second post regarding Warhammer world related images. Thanks to Steve Moss, he has helped to identify  two of the sources for the illustrations: Marienburg: Sold Down the River [1999] and The Enemy Within: Power Behind the Throne (Hogshead Publishing edition) [1998] and Le Grimoire's Warhammer related titles such as, Sartosa: City of Pirates.

Now,  on a different tack; on occasion I have requests for advise and support about starting out, and other such matters, and if I have the time, which is limited, but think I can 'help' I try to do just that. Recently, I was able to take some time out to reply to one such query, which was about when starting out how to price work and I'll re-state my 'pennies worth' later in this post, in case any others are interested.

But first, the important bit ... some more work


Now onto that query about 'pricing your work when starting out'.

The original question was, ''I am a starting artist and was wondering if you could give me some tips on how to value my art for publication. I don't want to overprice myself, but I also do not want to be taken advantage of either. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I mostly work in pencils or ink''.

Now this is not an easy question to answer, and my reply is very much a personal one. As I remarked earlier, 'my pennies worth'. The following is my reply, with a couple of tweaks.

 You asked about pricing, You are right, it is difficult, especially at the start of ones hoped for 'career' to find that 'right' balance. [I put 'career' in inverted commas as it is rare to be able to freelance, especially at the beginning, without having a fall back other job of some sort. Of course some are lucky and go onto greater, and greater things.]  In the 'old' days, when I started, approaching many publishers was very difficult for a variety of reasons,  but there was the possibility to find an artist's agent, who works on your behalf. They can be incredibly useful, especially if your work is going to be in high demand, and they do all the tasks for you of finding jobs, etc., to ensuring you get a fair wage. The down side being [for some] that they take a commission of what you earn. However, to a certain degree, the internet, etc., has changed all that as many jobs can be found, or sought after through a variety of social media and other sites.

Now when starting out there are some points, from a personal point of view, I feel are crucial. I will state them  key 'rules' you must never try to break:

1. Deadline ... consider it sacrosanct. It must be kept. IF you cannot meet it [for what ever reason] warn your client in plenty of time.
2. Consistency... You are hired often on what you have done [what your client has seen]. Never 'rush' a job and never cut corners, or allow a low price offered, if you accept the job, to ever influence you not doing your best. We can all have ''off days'' but you must always try to do your best.
3. Price ... consider the value of your work [I'll come back to that] work out costs, such as materials, etc., plus time taken and set a fee price for different sized work right from the start. This can be changed/adapted as you gain experience, etc.

Lastly. Know when to turn down a job ... It's hard, but if a job offered appears to be not 'working' for you then tell the client, and reluctantly turn it down, with the hope they will take that into consideration, and not hold that against you, in the future.  

Now, with today's markets in mind here are three other things, I think you also need to factor into your work plan, so to speak.

First... that simply, you are starting out, and should not consider you can command 'high' prices, but set what you think is fair. You'll soon know if others do too :).
Secondly... promote yourself. Show off work you are proud of [not just anything you do]. Create a web page [lots of free ones on offer] as an online portfolio, and, if there are fanzines/sites you like then make a point to offer work for 'decorative' purposes, it is all exposure [and practise].
What you are doing with Google+ is sensible, however, consider ... by posting 'weaker' work [in your opinion] to bulk out what you want to show can in fact prove counter productive. Pay attention to feedback.
Third... look for clients who are looking for artists and send examples, if they offer work, but at a very low price, especially in your opinion, remember the work gives you professional practice, experience, and promotable material. Then promote it, however, if they like what you did and then offer you another job, but at the same price then do not be afraid to ask for more, siting practical reasons. Yet at the same time remembering they too have often limited budgets.

That last point reminds me, in fact, of my original dealings with Puffin Books, after the second book in the Fighting Fantasy series I asked [as I was representing myself] again, for more, and sadly, like with Oliver, they said no, giving various excuses. The joke being that an artist's agent I knew took some of his artists work to Puffin and not only did Puffin say 'yes', those artists received more than I had been asking for.
I did not work then on another book, until Dave Morris [who remarks about it on his excellent blog Fabled Lands] 'found' me in Papua New Guinea, and offered me work on the title, 'Eye of the Tiger'.

Now back to those pictures...

So there you have it for another post, there are more to show [these last two are shown original size], but these are much bigger pictures and will need to be scanned with care so my next post, which may be a few weeks away, will be about something slightly different but does involve 'The Fiend Folio'.

Till then, stay safe.

PS ANy offers, as usual, will be considered [evil grin].


  1. I had forgotten many of your cityscapes, so inspiring to me at the time when I was writing up my own RPG city. I used to shows the guys them so they knew what I was talking about - a picture being worth a thousand words and all that.
    You continue to be an inspiration Russ, so don't ever give up :)

    1. Thank you Craig,as long as people want my work I intend to keep going, or until arthritis gets me ;).

    2. Thank you Craig,as long as people want my work I intend to keep going, or until arthritis gets me ;).

  2. Great post =)

    You must be one of the best 'massed battle' illustrators ever!

    1. thanks Tim... it's a subject I enjoy, but it does take a lot of time.

  3. Great work once again Russ.
    Sound advice for beginning artists too.We all had to start at the bottom rung.Practice,practice,practice.Prostitute yourself artistically everywhere you can. Join lots of Art forums, showcase your work.Prospective employers need to see that you are currently in the market for work. So regular updates on Websites help.You have to take cheap gigs initially, but this builds up your portfolio of work and clients.The better the quality of your work reflects directly how much you get paid too (obviously).I know some artists that received contract upon contract just because of one really good piece the completed and showcased.Nice thread Russ. :)