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Thread: How does pricing for maps differ from other forms of art?

  1. #11
    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
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    My hand-drawn/digital hybrid style takes more time to do, so my prices for that style is generally almost twice as much as my digital only style. Larger and older publishers tend to prefer the hand-drawn style, while the smaller and younger publishers prefer the photo-realistic style.
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    See, I would have assumed photo-realistic would take longer >.<

    It's a good thing I'm so awful at mapping that I can't sell anything, or I'd be over and under charging for everything!!

  3. #13
    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
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    Essentially, using photo mapping, all your textures are photographs - you only need to find them, not create them. When I do hand-drawn maps, I have to hand-draw all the line work, scan it, then digitally trace it to fill the interiors of shapes, which is rather time-consuming. Then even though my coloring is done digitally, I am choosing and mixing colors with fractal cloud filters, while optimizing its look. It easily takes twice as long to do the work by hand and finished digitally, as any other kind of cartography. All maps I create I do remarkably fast, but digital only maps - I am extremely fast at creating.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamerprinter View Post
    Essentially, using photo mapping, all your textures are photographs - you only need to find them, not create them. When I do hand-drawn maps, I have to hand-draw all the line work, scan it, then digitally trace it to fill the interiors of shapes, which is rather time-consuming. Then even though my coloring is done digitally, I am choosing and mixing colors with fractal cloud filters, while optimizing its look. It easily takes twice as long to do the work by hand and finished digitally, as any other kind of cartography. All maps I create I do remarkably fast, but digital only maps - I am extremely fast at creating.
    Oh, well now I feel silly. I've been trying to *draw/paint* a photo-realistic map

    Okay, that makes a lot more sense

    So basically, it's mostly a matter of time (and pressure to finish) and copyrights ?

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    Basically, yes (though a few other things can impact the price, like a short deadline for instance)

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    Not so different then (except for supply costs! )


    Thank you all for such great information!

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    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    The end use of the map and who's buying it matter, too. I imagine that Torstan's map for A Song of Ice and Fire paid better than any RPG commission would. Likewise, I'm sure Elissa Mitchell's map painting for The Wheel of Time was worth quite a bit, and may earn her royalties.

    As has been mentioned, roleplaying game publishers don't have a lot of money to throw around, but not all fantasy maps are for tabletop gaming.
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      RobA is offline
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    Like arsheesh, I charge based on time expected time, plus any extras like fonts I don't own already.

    Here is an example of my standard blurb when asked to quote on a commission:

    Regarding pricing, I set my price (roughly) on the expected to effort to create a map, based on my experience.

    For a single monochrome/greyscale novel style regional map in trade size at 300DPI, ready for print I would typically ask around $XXX. I would retain copyright of the image and retain the right to display it in my portfolio (printed or online). You would have a limited license to use the map in any version of the novel/series or for any related promotional purposes. (This really means that if you wanted to use it in some other form, say for example selling posters of the map, or in a board game, additional terms would be required.) This price also includes one significant client initiated re-work.

    As I said, this estimate is based on my expected effort, and can vary up or down depending on a number of factors:

    The amount of geographic detail in the map
    The number of labeled places in the map
    Detail of place icons (i.e. dots vs. little pictures for city markers)
    Whether the mountains are all hand drawn or can be "stamped" from a limited set
    If you have any specific fonts in mind that would require I purchase a font for which I do not already have a license
    The number of maps in the style (I do bulk discounts as artwork can often be re-used)
    The amount of "chrome" (details such as flourishes, iconography, special fancy graphic borders, etc.)

    In general, the more details you can provide the easier it is for me to construct the map. Ideally, a rough sketch of the geography, all of the place labels desired, information on the theme desired, and any other details. (Often I get provided snippets from the novelist where they are describing locations to understand the atmosphere).

    -Rob A>

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    Quote Originally Posted by Midgardsormr View Post
    The end use of the map and who's buying it matter, too. I imagine that Torstan's map for A Song of Ice and Fire paid better than any RPG commission would. Likewise, I'm sure Elissa Mitchell's map painting for The Wheel of Time was worth quite a bit, and may earn her royalties.

    As has been mentioned, roleplaying game publishers don't have a lot of money to throw around, but not all fantasy maps are for tabletop gaming.
    I'd imagine. ...WAIT, You mean he mapped for the series or for the map book. (Sorry, GoT addict here )

    That makes sense. It's the sort of clientele issue that tends to fade away when you open a shop or gallery. ("If you have to ask, you can't afford it" places don't attract a lot of people giving low-ball offers.) (Not that I would know )

    Quote Originally Posted by RobA View Post
    Like arsheesh, I charge based on time expected time, plus any extras like fonts I don't own already.

    Here is an example of my standard blurb when asked to quote on a commission:-Rob A>
    Okay, that's a lot of ifs and ands! It really is a whole different world.

  10. #20
    Professional Artist Cunning Cartographer's Avatar
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    I too charge by the hour because right now this isn't my full time job, so every hour counts and I want to make sure I'm getting paid for it. The majority of my work right now is work I've made for myself for my own D&D group that I will then release to the public and self-publish (it does mean spending more time designing maps for my players as they need to be of a sellable quality afterwards). My style is hand drawn old-skool line drawing for battle maps (Mike Schley-esq) so they can take quite a while in comparison to say the digital stuff I used to do (but never sold). Knocking up digital work with pre-made items from the likes of RPGMapShare.com is really easy; drop shadow, blending and some lighting effects. The problem is that most people can do this to some degree using Dunjinni and such programs, so it's not really worth it for me, plus I want to establish my style and offer something different.

    As for Torstan's SOIAF maps, there was an offical atlas book released with maps from Westeros and beyond, The Official Map of Westeros with region and city maps. Pretty awesome (I'd like to look at them in more detail but I fear the spoilers!).
    Last edited by Cunning Cartographer; 01-29-2014 at 07:07 AM.
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