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Thread: [Award Winner] How to get commissions and get paid to map.

  1. #11
    Guild Artisan Aval Penworth's Avatar
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    Also, broaden your market. There probably aren't that many RPGers willing to pay top dollars for maps. But if you can appeal to the general population you are more likely to sell stuff. Maps of real places in a fantasy style might sell better than made up places.

    Hand Drawn LOTR style, comic book style, anime or cartoony ISO style maps of university campuses (back of the orientation guide) or shopping districts (flyer or local sign) might sell because they are fun and useful. Even a map for the local school fair showing the location of the stalls might generate a few dollars.

    Some businesses might like to have a clever "how to find us" map on their brochure.

    As a photographer I always wanted to do artsy, unusual portraits. I got to do some great work...I even got a few $10k commissions, which was great for the ego... But it was bog standard family portraits, corporate head shots and weddings that regularly paid the bills. So what I am saying is that you might do better taking work outside the purist fantasy mapper channel, so you can get paid, build your skills and get to keep doing what you love.
    Last edited by Aval Penworth; 06-11-2010 at 12:53 AM.
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  2. #12
      Gidde is offline
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    Good point, Aval ... my first semi-paid commission has come in the form of one of those actually; my cousin has offered some of her home-made wine as payment for an 1800's-style map of the Caribbean.

  3. #13
      tilt is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by ravells View Post
    Doesn't this Guild just rock?
    YES it does

    Quote Originally Posted by Aval Penworth View Post
    As a photographer I always wanted to do artsy, unusual portraits. I got to do some great work...I even got a few $10k commissions, which was great for the ego... But it was bog standard family portraits, corporate head shots and weddings that regularly paid the bills. So what I am saying is that you might do better taking work outside the purist fantasy mapper channel, so you can get paid, build your skills and get to keep doing what you love.
    Yep, definitly not art paying the bills here, the closest I get are creating logos - other than that its stationary, flyers, brochures and a teaching gig now and then. But that (and my wifes income) makes sure that I can do art and still keep the house
    regs tilt
    :: My art on Deviant Art :: My mapping blog tilts fantasy maps :: My work Catapult - Perry & Gehrke - EasyTruckIT ::
    :: Finished Maps :: WIP Cartographia - Breakwater -Market -Lands of Twilight -Battle City :: Competion maps Iron Giant ::
    :: FREE Tiles - Compasses :: Other Taking a commision - Copyright & Creative Commons ::
    Works under CC licence unless mentioned otherwise

  4. #14
    Publisher Gamerprinter's Avatar
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    My daytime business is 2me Studio, Inc. a family owned digital printing, graphics, sign shop for a small midwestern city, because of the local economy it has seen better days, I don't really niche serving such a small population maybe 50,000 across five nearby cities, with competition. Normally it pays for itself with some profit and have been doing that for 16 years - though its a "family business" nobody else in the family can do any kind of graphics, so its all me really. Gamer Printshop sprung from it 3 years ago, and basically the same shop after hours, though this too has never made lots of money, though it pays much better than cartography.

    While the mapping gigs are fun, challenging and grants me pro cartographer status, it doesn't pay anywhere near everything else. This is the reason I've been expanding to publishing and other avenues, while continuing to do commission, now and again. Of course its more because I love to do it than the money, but I have to try to better the income stream if I can.

    Two Publication Projects I'm Involved in:

    One, I'm building a trio of adventures for a dark feudal Japan-like setting for Pathfinder RPG, which though I published the first adventure back in October 2009, it is currently in the process of a professional upgrade by Rite Publishing and some of the staff of Kobold Quarterly with a hopeful re-release on or before Gencon 2010. Plans are to follow with each adventure a month apart. However, it might also become a patronage project which might delay release a bit longer, so that its completely paid for before actual release, then I will follow with the second and third adventure.

    Hope to release a setting handbook that introduces new classes, reflavors base classes and include a 50 monster bestiary. The setting is called (for those who don't already know) Kaidan: a Japanese Ghost Story. All of this will be published as an imprint under Rite Publishing, though I retain 100% ownership.

    The second project has also seen some delays, but is a three partner project, where I design a single mapped area that follows a specific theme, with supporting material in the form of NPCs, organizations, new classes, new feats, new spells, new magic items, intended as a drop-in piece to any existing campaign or adventure as an add-on complete location, almost a mini-adventure, but really a Lego set of RPG elements centered around the map that GMs can build for themselves as complete a location as they require in their game.

    It is intended to be published as an OGL/Pathfinder/4e product. (Tilt should appreciate that last part!) with an original goal of a monthly product, but development has been slow due to more personal situations with the other partners, but its moving forward as well. Though I am the cartographer of course, I am the partner in charge of the Pathfinder development, as well as participation in the overall product. No idea, myself when release will occur. One cool marketing aspect, since the project (tentatively called Legacies) is since its more a bunch of parts that can make a whole, thoughts are posting some of those parts on other blogs and RPG websites, link built into the main product, so cross promotion by larger entities, such KQ brings traffic to them in support of the total project - more free advertising.

    New Website and Ongoing Battlemap Tile Set Project (just me):

    Finally, I'm building a new website with blog, forum, gallery with slideshow, ecommerce site, news site and other possible features called FreeRPGmaps.com where I plan to create two of mostly my digital photo realistic style every week a post as a free PDF download whole or sliced, color and grayscale, with varying grid types, planned for every Monday and Thursday morning (CST).

    As mentioned on other threads I have a product I developed three years ago, a geomorphic map tile set that come as four double-sided printed tabloid size laminated maps, called Endless Terrain Battlemaps. From my Gamer Printshop store, this item has sold more than anything else. I know its original and different than any other map tile set, though currently only available as laminated 100#, not heavy board stock. The only two ETB sets I have in my inventory is Heavy Woods and Swamp.

    I plan to give this product more live by creating a new terrain set every two weeks for the next two years (at least). The two free maps offered for two consequetive weeks will match the terrain of the currently offered Endless Terrain Battlemap set. I'm hoping to get the site operational by the weekend (it will still need work, but I can get it operating to do its job for now - I will need help for that... hint).

    My First U-Tube Demo Video...

    This Saturday, I'm planning to shoot a Hi-Def U-Tube commercial 4 to 8 minutes long demonstrating how the ETB sets work, what they look like, in use with miniatures, showing a printed version of my first intended free map, which I will give the same geomorphic edges at the ETB sets, thus can work directly with them - like a cool fight site, that the ETB sets serve as crossing some wilderness to get there. For the first time I will show myself in the "flesh" and speaking (!) to worldwide gaming community. After shooting it will be edited, given titles, music, some effects. So another first for me. [I will post a link to the U-Tube demo in the Industry News forum and everywhere else, when its uploaded...]

    Maybe this should be better as a blog post, but since we're talking getting professional, I thought it might worthy to post this here.

    This is my current status, as far as publisher/cartographer - I look at it as the next step, if doing map commissions alone is a start in our field.

    Wish me luck!

    GP
    Last edited by Gamerprinter; 06-11-2010 at 03:03 AM.
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  5. #15
      Jaxilon is offline
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    Well GP, we did see you in that newspaper article you shared with us a few months back. Still, I look forward to hearing more and seeing your video.

    Good points on expanding your market base as well. It's worth thinking about. It's sort of a given that making a living as an artist is pretty rough unless you can just blow away everyone else. Digital seems to be even tougher.
    “When it’s over and you look in the mirror, did you do the best that you were capable of? If so, the score does not matter. But if you find that you did your best you were capable of, you will find it to your liking.” -John Wooden

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  6. #16
    Guild Member TheSilentOne's Avatar
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    Awesome guide, but I doubt that many of us will take this past the hobbie stage. At this point I don't see myself doing pro maps within the next few years, even though I have heavy exeprience with photoshop and some drawing skills. I will try to build up a portofolio though, just in case.

  7. #17
      mmmmmpig is offline
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    One small piece of advice to add into this wonderful thread. Always get paid. Always charge something. The payment can be in the form of barter, it can be a dollar it could be lunch it could be something, but if someone pays you for your services, you can use them as a client reference and not just a friend you have done some stuff for. Hell, right now to build my character illustration portfolio I am doing 5 for $.01 for friends. Building up volume and quality that way.

    The other point that I am not sure has been beat on as much as it should is that you should only put YOUR ABSOLUTE BEST WORK IN YOUR PORTFOLIO. If you see any mistakes or issues with the map, take it out of your portfolio and fix it before you show nit to anyone else.
    Last edited by mmmmmpig; 07-01-2010 at 11:01 PM.
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  8. #18
      tilt is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmmmmpig View Post
    I am doing 5 for $.01 for friends. Building up volume and quality that way.
    I'll take 500 then - thank you *lol*
    regs tilt
    :: My art on Deviant Art :: My mapping blog tilts fantasy maps :: My work Catapult - Perry & Gehrke - EasyTruckIT ::
    :: Finished Maps :: WIP Cartographia - Breakwater -Market -Lands of Twilight -Battle City :: Competion maps Iron Giant ::
    :: FREE Tiles - Compasses :: Other Taking a commision - Copyright & Creative Commons ::
    Works under CC licence unless mentioned otherwise

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