Typical page rates for manga, comics

Discussion in 'Artists' started by surfaceproartist, Apr 7, 2017.

  1. surfaceproartist

    surfaceproartist Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Anyone know a reliable reference for typical page rates for US comics pencilers, inkers, letterers and colorists? Are US manga creators compensated similarly? Is manga created with the same size team? Is there a different rate for digital vs. traditional publishing?

    Trying to help a colleague evaluate an opportunity...
     
  2. harrodeleted

    harrodeleted Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Hi, I make comics and can probably help you out.
    A good starting point is how complex the page is, how long it will take your friend to complete it, and if they will be doing pencils, inks, colors, or some combination of them.

    Also in the U.S. there are no manga creators, at least not in the way there are in Japan. In Japan, you have teams of artists, with the main artist usually doing the figures, and helper artists doing backgrounds and effects. Also here they will usually be called just comics, or graphic novels. Manga tends to specifically mean = Japanese comics.
    In the U.S. you will usually have either one artist doing everything, or one artists that does pencils, one that does inks, one that does colors, and one that does type and design. That being said, the assembly line way of doing comics is a Marvel or DC kind of deal usually.

    DC and Marvel will usually pay out 125$-$200 for pencils, $75-$175 for inks, and I'd assume a similar pay amount for colors. Remember this is freelance, so that's all before taxes. If you are totally unknown except to get the low end on all of these, and if you aren't working for a company and it's coming from an individual's pocket, the pay will likely be even lower.

    There's no pay difference between digital and traditional, but if you do traditional the artist can, of course, keep that original, and then sell it later if they like.

    Does your friend have a digital portfolio?
     
  3. darkmagistric

    darkmagistric Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    No clue on the Manga Side.....but I know the mid scale for a Penciler at an independent publisher liked Image Comics/Top Cow is usually $100 per page....or at least it was a few years ago. Bigger Publishers like DC and Marvel I believe pay as much as $200-300 per page.....but they could also pay as low as $100 or less.... it really depends on the Artist and Title/characters being drawn. Like I doubt the artist on a Plastic-Man book would make nearly as much as an Artist on a Batman book. It also depends on the quality of art and how many hands were involved in the making of it. Some Books have a separate Penciler, a Pencil Assistant, a background artist, an Inker, a Colorist, etc.......but thanks to the ease of the digital medium its becoming more and more common for some Artists to do more then one....like a Penciler may also do the inking......or an artist may do everything (provided they can do everything within their deadlines) from my understanding those Multi-taskers can technically make the most....but again it comes down to talent and name power. Like a book drawn, inked, & colored by a new....unknown artist wouldn't make as much for everything.....as say Jim Lee would make penciling a single Batman page.

    However Penciler are usually the highest paid out of all art hands on deck. Like even if the Colorists spends 10 hours coloring a page then the penciler took maybe 2 hours to pencil.....the penciler will still make more.
     
  4. surfaceproartist

    surfaceproartist Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Thank you @harrodeleted She's a storyboard artist who pitched a show idea to a digital company and got back interest in producing a manga instead. All very new territory for her. No idea what they will ultimately offer but trying to establish a base expectation level.
     
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  5. thatcomicsguy

    thatcomicsguy Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    A few fun facts...

    The internet has changed the comics market from what it once was, but not by that much. There are thousands of talented young 'uns out there today who have no idea what they're doing but who can draw a cute manga girl. More artists than readers, all perfectly willing to work for next to nothing.

    Twenty years ago...

    Western comics artists undercut themselves massively as compared to European comics artists. I remember a Marvel/DC pro forum where the boys were comparing peni- er paycheck sizes, and everybody flipped their lids when one Euro comics pro said how much he was making per project. They actually got rude, and used words like "Disgusting!" and "Greed!" And the Euro guy was stunned, "I'm making an honest living using a hard won skill set and the market is more than big enough to generate the profits needed to cut me my 'disgusting' paycheck." (He was making around the equivalent of $1200 USD per page, iirc.) Anyway, the Americans were very put out. I think they might have learned a little something about their vaunted capitalist society that day. Ha ha!

    In your friend's case...

    For an unknown media company.., depending on their release channel, a comic book isn't the same as a regular comic shop publication. It's a piece of sculpted advertising. If Nike wants to tell a Running Shoe manga, and there's no way I'll be able to increase my industry profile through their publication, get reviewed by the regular journals, etc., or basically allow me to be a normal comic artist in my chosen industry, then Nike's Running Shoe manga is a piece of Capital "A" Advertising, and needs to be billed accordingly. You don't charge by the page. You charge based on the number of hours you'll be spending total on the project, round waaaay up, and pitch. Nike doesn't get page rate.

    If it takes ten hours to pencil and ink a page, and you normally get paid $150 per page...

    No. Just, No.

    Of course, it depends on the customer, on your skill set, and your ability to deliver, but I've watched several cartoonists burn themselves by pitching page rates to corporate clients, receive an overeager "Oh god Yes! You're Hired!" -and half way through the project they start to think, "Waaaaaaaitaminute..." and start to hate their lives.

    I'd avoid that if possible.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2017
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  6. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    This is a great discussion, with the kind of information that is valuable to all of our artist members. Kudos to all of you for your willingness to contribute!
     
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  7. michaelws

    michaelws Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    I did work for Marvel and DC way back in the early 70's and good pencil artist were getting about $125. Even back then! I felt bad until one day I was talking to an inker working in the same studio and he only got $5 per page. He really had to earn his pay. He kept saying..."I should have opened a deli!" I laugh looking back but he was not a happy man and the comic industry was pretty uncaring. No giving back the originals and no royalties to inkers and letterers and colorist and the like. I remember Neal Adams was on a one man strike against DC comics at the time for just those reasons.
     
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  8. surfaceproartist

    surfaceproartist Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    That's back when I was doing my heaviest reading. What books did you work on, @michaelws ?
     
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  9. Steve S

    Steve S Pen Pro - Senior Member Super Moderator

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    @harrodeleted - @surfaceproartist - @thatcomicsguy - @michaelws - And anyone else who might have information, or an opinion:

    ...Does anyone have information about (or willing to guess at) the number of digital artists working in the US, Japan or worldwide? Also the rate of change (how many are entering or leaving the field per year)? Even a rough estimate / guess would be useful.

    By digital artists, I mean any person who would be using a screen (Wacom, Studio, etc) for digital creation.

    Thanks.
     
  10. steven

    steven Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I believe the information you are looking for does not exist. There is no institution to collect that data. The most likely candidates to have any information are the unions, if they exist, and even there it's most likely guesswork.
    For example in germany the illustrators union has roughly ~1500 members. In some press articles it was mentioned that there are around ~3000 illustrators in germany. The VG Bild Kunst which redistributes certain usage right fees to creatives has afaik ~54k members across fields like fine arts, illustration, photography etc. . The K√ľnstlersozialkasse, which is a mandatory social insurance for freelancing creatives, lists 64.456 members from the fine arts field. Every year about 100-600 students graduate as illustrators from universities in germany, the number range is so wide because only a few have dedicated courses for illustration, many graduate as communicatins designers or fine artists, or graduate from a private school with another title completely, some graduate with bachelor degrees, some with masters. And then there are those who cross into digital artistry through hobbyism.
    None of these institutes take into account digital artists working employed. None of them asks what medium you use to do your work. They all have varying definitions for what allows someone to become a member in their association. Some of them are mandatory but some people avoid them nonetheless, some are voluntary memberships and people join even though they are not working professionally in the field. And some areas of digital artistry are just to new to be represented by any of them, like "concept artist of games".
    Given the limited mess of data i've seen so far i think it's impossible to answer your question.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2017
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