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

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      Jalyha is offline
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    Question How does pricing for maps differ from other forms of art?

    Title says it all...

    On another thread I was talking about commission contracts, and realized that digital artists don't have the same costs as, say, landscape painters, or sculptors, or even sidewalk sketch artists.

    I was wondering, how much, if any, that affects the pricing?


    For landscapes, I take the cost of my time, and the costs of my supplies, and I don't factor in rights, USUALLY, in the same way.... except the right to exhibit/display the work in my portfolio... because, well, you sell a *painting*... it's an object.. they're probably going to sell it someday, or give it away, or something.

    And for the privilege of displaying my work in a gallery, I'll practically *give* it away... well, not really, but I don't make much actual profit.

    Now I know digital artists don't have the same supply costs, and there are different ways to worry about copyrights, and I don't really get the whole digital thing.

    And cartography is a whole different art form. So I'm wondering... how does that affect pricing?

    Anyone want to throw out some industry standards for me to compare?
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    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
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    You probably won't make as much money creating maps as doing other kinds of illustration work. I have been paid well for a few maps, but mostly create maps for $50 each, less for publishers purchasing at least 3 maps. Paizo paid me the most, but they have the money. RPG game publishers usually have limited budgets to create products from. I've done a job where I did both the cover design and a map, and I was paid twice as much for the cover art - with the same level of work involved in both. I do less and less commissions, however, mostly creating maps for my own publishing projects and may eventually only work for myself.
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      Jalyha is offline
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    Is that pretty standard for cartography, then? More of a flat rate sort of thing?

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    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
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    I charge an hourly rate, but pricing for maps is fairly standard - whatever the publisher will pay. In competition situations where my price and work is being compared to others, I have gotten the job even if I was the highest bidder, but it was still reasonably priced.
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    Gamer Printshop - We print RPG Maps for Game Masters!
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      Jalyha is offline
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    Cool, thank you. I probably won't ever be good enough at maps to charge commissions, but I was uber curious

    Just seems like it would be a whole different... world.

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      Bogie is offline
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    My experience is similar to GP's. Most of the time I charge about $50 for a full sized battlemap ( about 30" x 40" ), less per map if I am doing several maps. At the same time I have done a number of freebies for startup companies or for the opportunity to work with someone well known in the industry. Keep in mind that I am not a professional artist and do this mostly for fun. I am sure that some of the better cartographers here deserve much more.

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    I guess that part is the same in every industry

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    I think you'll find that rates for cartography commissions will vary considerably by artist, skill level and the nature of the project. While I don't consider myself a professional I have done several commissions over the years, some of which have been for independent RPGs, and the lowest rate I've ever charged for a commission was $100 USD (and that's only because I was friend's with the client). What I do is start with a base hourly rate, calculate it by the amount of hours I think a project will take, and then modify this by other factors such as how soon the commission needs to be completed (I charge extra for commissions that need to be completed quickly and less for those with flexible deadlines), and whether or not the client is seeking to license the piece or wants the copyright to it.

    Cheers,
    -Arsheesh

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    I see That's more like what I'm used to. Out of curiousity - does it matter what style of map it is? I mean... do you guys charge more for certain styles of map, even if they are smaller and won't take as long? (photorealistic as opposed to hand-sketched, I guess, is an example?)

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    Yes. Some styles may obviously require more work than others so since you're going with an base hourly rate, that may impact the price.

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