Episode 3 Homework

Illustration pricing varies among professionals and projects. The simple formula discussed in Illustrator Life Episode 3 helps illustrators customize pricing quickly for picture book author and publisher clients. Mark developed his “Simple Formula” by referencing industry standards in the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook.

Homework: Inside your sketchbook

#1.  Determine a base illustration fee using the example:

An average picture book* is 32 pages. 30 illustrations are a fair requirement for any picture book quote. Determine a minimum hourly rate for each licensed*** illustration.

($15 hourly rate x 8 hours production time = $120.00 price per illustration)

Multiply the number of illustrations needed by the price per illustration to equal the base illustration fee.

(30 illustrations needed x $120.00 price per illustration = $3,600.00 minimum illustration fee)


#2.  Determine a base royalty illustration fee using the example:

This formula is based on the full purchase price of a physical illustration with unlimited usage rights. Determine a fair purchase price based on: time, materials, and experience level.

($500 illustration purchase price x 30 illustrations needed = $15,000.00 project illustration price for ownership and unlimited usage rights)

Encountering a client who purchases illustrations outright is unlikely. Negotiating a deposit and a licensing*** royalty is popular for client budgets. In the beginning I required a 25% non-refundable deposit of the full price illustrations for my licensing royalty contracts. In this example, the amount equals $3,750.00.

(25% x $15,000.00 price of illustrations = $3,750.00 non-refundable deposit**)

In addition to the deposit, I require a 10%–20% licensing royalty on the book and all licensed products. If a book has a Net Sale of $10.00, the illustrator is paid $1.00 as a royalty.

(10% royalty percentage x $10.00 net sale = $1.00 royalty)

An illustrator may choose to decrease the deposit and increase the royalty. If the illustration budget is $3,000.00, ask for a 20% licensing** royalty on the book and all licensed products. This is $600 below the illustrator’s base illustration fee. If a book has a Net Sale of $10.00, the illustrator is paid $2.00 as a royalty.

(20% royalty percentage x $10.00 net sale = $2.00 royalty) The client would need to sell a minimum of 300 books before the illustrator would receive the $600 difference.


#3.  Where to meet prospective clients?

Inside your sketchbook list three book festivals within your area along with: event date, website address, number of author/publisher attendees, and the event coordinator’s contact information.

Meet any desired illustration request and save time quoting projects by customizing the “Simple Formula.”

*Note: Average pricing for a color, single page, picture book illustration

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

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

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