Quoting Illustrations: A Simple Formula

Quoting illustration projects varies among professionals. The formula discussed in this post gives authors, indie publishers, and new illustrators a simple formula for quoting picture book illustrations.

This “Simple Formula” was created using the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook average $500 to $2,500 pricing for a color, single page, picture book illustration. Illustrators with a fine arts degree and little to no picture book experience $500 to $1,000 is a fair per page price.

$1,000 per page will be the example used. 

An average picture book is 32 pages. Whether the title and copyright pages are excluded, a front and back cover illustration is needed. 32 pages is a fair estimate for any picture book quote.

32 illustrations at $1,000.00 per page equals $32,000.00. Encountering an author or publisher who purchases illustrations outright is unlikely. Negotiating a percentage deposit and a licensing royalty* is standard for publishing budgets.

The formula works in this way. Ask for a 25% non-refundable deposit**, which equals $8,000.00 (.25 X $32,000.00 = $8,000.00), plus a 10% royalty on the book and all licensed products. If a book has a Net Sale of $10.00, the illustrator is paid $1.00 (.10 x $10.00 = $1.00) as a royalty.

Low budget desirable projects allow illustrators to decrease the deposit and increase the royalty. If the illustration budget is $4,000.00, ask for a 12.5% non refundable deposit, which equals $4,000.00 (.125 X $32,000.00 = $4,000.00), plus a 20% royalty on the book and all licensed products. If a book has a Net Sale of $10.00, the illustrator is paid $2.00 (.20 x $10.00 = $2.00) as a royalty.

Meet any desired illustration request, create income during non-illustration time, and save time quoting projects using this formula.

*Note: Understand the difference in licensing rights verses assigning rights. One limits the usage rights while the other transfers rights. 

**Note: Deposits are usually paid in increments throughout the illustration process. 50% deposit, 25% after layout, and 25% upon completion or vice versa.

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