AuthorTopic: Pixelartist salary?  (Read 28782 times)

Offline AdamTierney

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Re: Pixelartist salary?

Reply #10 on: July 05, 2006, 12:15:31 am
Why do you say $20/hour is a rarity? I still freelance in addition to my fulltime job and the only thing I've done for under $20/hr was for a former co-worker as a favor. It's not an unreasonable amount, given that we're performing a specialized talent, and most developers are willing to pay at least that for quality and reliability. If either of those aren't supplied, I wouldn't expect to be paid at all. Making money and a living hinges on building up a client list and ensuring that these individuals love your work and work ethic. And if that's the case, you're going to see not only your number of opportunities grow, but the monetary amount they'll agree to as well.

I guess I'm saying it's about getting continuous work v. not. And if you can, $20 is probably going to be a number within your reach. Chances are your first jobs (and even maybe your first years) are going to be well under that, but I wouldn't say it's a rare blessing. Freelancers get paid what they ask for. And the freelancer who has enough opportunities presented to him that he can be choosy is going to get the numbers he wants.

Touching on what nvision said, the client is also (or maybe even primarily) paying for your professionalism. Your reliability, constant communication, ease of submissions, correct formatting, intuition, understanding of brand, and so on. It's not just about pixelling ability. It's also about paying someone who gives the client absolutely no headaches, and maybe even (ideally) make the process easier than they imagined. For that, companies will be glad to pay above and beyond because finding all that in an artist who can also draw or pixel well is pretty rare.

"It's RARELY like that.  If you're an extremely consistent artist; I would say yes.  But if you're just starting out or are a little on the lazy side, I doubt you'll be hitting up that amount of cash any time soon."

If you're not a consistent artist or consider yourself 'lazy', give up the idea of making a living at this now. Freelance pixelling as a primary income is hard as hell. It's not something for the faint of passion.

- Adam
« Last Edit: July 05, 2006, 12:27:32 am by AdamTierney »

sonic_reaper

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Re: Pixelartist salary?

Reply #11 on: July 05, 2006, 12:36:20 am
Let me say that I don't mean to say it's a rarity in general, but a rarity among new comers to the pixel art scene.  Usually it takes awhile and some experience before one's work is worthy of $20 an hour pay.  I agree with your last statment and that was what I was also trying to get at.  Basically you work your balls off and at the end of the day it's hard to say if it's really worth it.  Personally I would recommend finding a job in another field; but that's just me.  As a hobby or an aside I think it's fun, but as a means of living, it's just not worth it IMO.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2006, 12:38:05 am by sonic_reaper »

Offline Feron

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Re: Pixelartist salary?

Reply #12 on: July 05, 2006, 01:00:07 am
New comers cant expect to work for 20$+ perhour because they wont have the experience or skills.  However its unlikely they will get hired at all, when theres so many other talented pixel artists out there, all looking for work.  I think it would be great to work as a freelance designer - if you dont like your boss, you find another one  :P.  The pay may not be that of a brain surgeon, but anyone with a love of designing would probably rather work as a designer than something with a higher salary.  And with freelancing, its a lot more "free" and less pressurised.  The work will always be different and interesting.  The work may also be hard but if your happy it shouldnt really matter.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2006, 01:04:26 am by Feron »

sonic_reaper

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Re: Pixelartist salary?

Reply #13 on: July 05, 2006, 01:03:23 am
Is there an echo in here?

Offline AdamTierney

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Re: Pixelartist salary?

Reply #14 on: July 05, 2006, 01:28:31 am
"As a hobby or an aside I think it's fun, but as a means of living, it's just not worth it IMO."

I whole-heartedly disagree. I make a very comfortable living and it only took me a few years of freelancing to get there. Are the odds against you? Sure. But I say if your heart's in it, go for it. Don't settle for a job without going after what you love, first.

- Adam
« Last Edit: July 05, 2006, 01:57:36 am by AdamTierney »

sonic_reaper

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Re: Pixelartist salary?

Reply #15 on: July 05, 2006, 03:21:45 am
"As a hobby or an aside I think it's fun, but as a means of living, it's just not worth it IMO."

I whole-heartedly disagree. I make a very comfortable living and it only took me a few years of freelancing to get there. Are the odds against you? Sure. But I say if your heart's in it, go for it. Don't settle for a job without going after what you love, first.

- Adam

That's why I said IMO.  I'm happy for anyone that really enjoys their job and benefits from it beyond just monetary means.  At the same time I also don't mean to stomp on anyone's dreams.  I'm just saying from personal experience it's not something I would want to do for the rest of my life or even as a means of supporting myself.

Offline sedgemonkey

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Re: Pixelartist salary?

Reply #16 on: July 12, 2006, 04:20:04 pm
I would recommend looking into your local market for general "design" and "illustration" rates rather than focusing in on one specific aspect unless you've already established yourself as a pixel artist. If you're in Los Angeles, New York, San Fran, London you are probably going to have access to larger clients that can afford to pay $20-30/hour.  I've only had a few paid pixel art gigs (mostly for Flash games), but they've mostly been for big companies that didn't fight me on $20/$30.  Look at job postings for your market (Monster, classifieds, etc) and break it down by hour.

A Los Angeles designer's salary range is between $45-65/K (based on my ancedotal evidence). If you break that down per hour $21.63 to $31.25 per hour for a year of 40 hour work weeks.  Realistically you would probably want to add  20% to those numbers for freelance work to cover your expenses so $25-$40/hour would be more realistic.  With the age of the Internet all the "local" stuff gets blown out of the water, but it's still not a bad idea to study what a client's city is offering for salary/freelance.

Don't forget that networking and self-promotion is as important as your talent. I consider myself a pretty decent programmer, but I make more than people who are more talented because I've worked hard at connecting with people. Which reminds me... if you have a steady income coming in (even working in some other industry) you can take your time building your client list and possibly take some cheaper jobs to get your foot in the door.  If you do work outside your chosen industry be careful not to let your full time gig wipe out your passion -- it can creep up slowly and it's hard to get back on that horse (believe me).

Offline ndchristie

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Re: Pixelartist salary?

Reply #17 on: July 30, 2006, 05:30:43 am
ive only ever done one paid pixel-art job, and it worked out to about $20 an hour when all was said and done.  i dont think i would want to be full-time freelance because i know the pay can be shit.  what's important to remember is that roughly $20 an hour for about a 30 hour week means that you pull in the ballpark of 30 grand a year, which will get you by but its well below par. 

since im not an experienced pixel artist and im only 16 atm, i cant say if my plan will work, but i intend to do freelance work while im at art school, enough at least to feed myself, and then hope that between that and my investments i have enough to get through the first four years of school.  with any luck, at that point the degree and the portfolio i will have established will at least give me enough qualifications to earn a living should i go into the commercial world, but at lesat at the moment i plan instead at that point to become a teacher and pursue freelancing on the side.

to make a long story short, i dont think freelancing should be pursued as your only source of income unless you are very serious about it, and very good.  on the other hand, if you say you are seriously looking for work, there will be so many full-time on-site job offers your head will spin.  i have to turn down jobs at least once every month or so (because im still in highschool), mostly in new york or la, and im not even looking for work.  the only problem would be finding a job that is right for you, but it you want on-site work, i cant imagine it taking more than a couple weeks before you land one you like and get all the arrangements made.  then you just have to pick up your entire life, which will probably be small if you are like me, and move everything over to a place near your new job.

anyone can correct me if im wrong again im not an experienced artist.
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Offline Blick

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Re: Pixelartist salary?

Reply #18 on: July 30, 2006, 09:06:39 am
There's an article or interview I remember reading in which Joe Murray (creator of Rocko's Modern Life and Camp Lazlo) where he mentions that he was asked how much money someone could earn doing animation. His reply was something like, "If you're looking to make money, art is not your industry."

I'm sure it's possible to live off a pixel artist's salary, but just remember, "starving artist" is a common term for a reason.

Offline jagged software

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Re: Pixelartist salary?

Reply #19 on: July 30, 2006, 09:40:24 am
I will agree in that a 'standard' rate for pixelling is going to be somewhere around $20 - give or take ten bucks. That is either what people expect or most indie developers can afford or are willing to invest. How many hours they can work you is a different matter.

When it comes to commercial developers, they have a much higher budget, plenty of hours to work, but deadlines. so you're basically being paid to expediate things. probably takes minutes off of your life from stress though.

Now, someone with a good sized portfolio has a lot more grounds to negotiate. But you're going to be making it harder on yourself because expectations will be higher. I think artists that get cocky end up having a harder time. but if you're on the flip side of the coin, never sell yourself short.
if your work speaks for itself that's all that matters. try to be fair and expect fairness from the other party.

In this line of work, there are always tradeoffs. Developers tend to pay depending on the artist and the artist tends to charge depending on the developer. it's a symbiotic relationship. But I'm only an indie developer, so treat my opinions as such.

I recommend setting a standard, 'fair' rate, charging more for intricate or detailed images, then the famous 'attitude adjustment fee' based on how things are going.

I tend to send more work to artists who have a good work ethic, and after that it comes down to price vs quality. I treat fairness with fairness.