WHAT IS AN ILLUSTRATION?
The main purpose of an illustration is to visually communicate an idea. It is also a great way to bring many elements of a story together in a visually appealing way.
WHAT CAN ILLUSTRATIONS BE USED FOR?
There are a myriad of uses for illustrations. They are most commonly used in the following applications: Book Covers, Picture Books, Cartoons, Comic Books, Graphic Novels, Editorials, Scientific Purposes, Fashion Design, Concept Art, Packaging, and Posters.
A cartoon is an illustration that is not drawn in a realistic style —these illustrations usually have exaggerated features and stylized qualities. They are used used in children’s stories, satirical pieces, and for humorous effects. Cartoons can also be a short series of images used to tell a story.
Comics are similar to cartoons, but are generally longer stories told by sequential images. They tend to have specific page sizes and/or page counts for standard issues (or books); and they generally run in story arcs. These specifications do not usually apply to cartoons.
Graphic novels are generally longer than comic books. They contain a complete story as opposed to serialized skits like comic books. Think of comic books as the chapters than make up a graphic novel.
"In a racist society, it is not enough to be 'non-racist'.
We must be 'anti-racist'." --Angela Davis
THE DIFFERENT STAGES OF ILLUSTRATIONS
“Any form of art is a form of power; it has impact, it can affect change. It can not only move us, it makes us move.“ —Ossie Davis
HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU PAY AN ILLUSTRATOR?
ILLUSTRATOR PAY RATES
Hourly rates for illustrators range from $25 to $100, and can be higher depending on the area of specialty and artist reputation. Nationwide, the average costs for an illustration project can range from $90 to $465, but larger projects will command higher rates, and every project is different.
Professional illustrators offer traditional (such as pen to paper) or digital illustration services. Many digital illustrators also offer graphic design services for individuals, companies, and nonprofit organizations that seek logo design or visual branding services.
Some illustrators charge by the hour, but most estimate flat fees, which are based on how long it takes to complete a particular job. Other variables that go into project fees include the level of difficulty of the illustration, the number of anticipated revisions, and the usage rights a client requires.
WHO OWNS THE RIGHTS TO THE ILLUSTRATIONS?
It is important to determine the usage rights of the illustrations between the illustrator and the client at the beginning of the project. Usage rights determine the illustrator’s and client’s ability to use the sketches, line art, finished illustrations, and any other creative collateral beyond what is specified in the initial scope of work. Technically the artist, or the person that creates the illustration(s) originally owns the illustration rights.
Some illustrators typically specify a few common types of usage rights, and others give clients a choice that is reflected in the total project cost. Here are some examples:
Rights Managed: The illustrator gives the client permission to use the illustrations in a specific way. Typically this choice restricts the length of time, the medium, the size, the format, and the location of use. This usage option is typically less expensive because the client does not have exclusive use of the illustrations.
These illustrations are usually available to everyone or stock images.
Royalty-free: (Recommended) The illustrator charges the client a single standard fee for repeated reuse of the illustration (usually by that client only). The artist typically retains the rights to the illustrations.
Exclusive use typically costs 20 percent to 50 percent more than rights-managed use. It is also common for the illustrator to charge their hourly rate for the amount of time it takes them to actually complete the project (assuming they have an accurate way of determining the total amount of time spent working), but the exclusive use fee is ultimately determined by the illustrator.
Work for hire: The illustrator creates a work and, under the contract signed, gives the purchaser sole ownership and rights to that work.
"If you are short on cash, and are set on an illustrator, it is highly recommended that you negotiate illustration, or book royalties and a flat fee for the artist in exchange for their services. Most artists aren’t heartless, and many are looking to build their portfolios —the more you give, the more you can expect to receive. Be generous in any way that you can, and you will be rewarded with an abundance of creativity and assistance." --Tiye Samone
These details are usually outlined in an “illustration agreement” between the illustrator and the client. Download our free “illustration agreement” template, here.
Check out this video to learn more about copyrighting creative projects:
“When you put love out into the world it travels, and it can touch people and reach people in ways that we’ve never even expected.“ —Laverne Cox
WHERE TO FIND ILLUSTRATORS?
PHASE COMICS CREATIVE STUDIOS:
We have a plethora of visual artists and creators, ready to do-create your legendary project with you! Learn more about our process and how to connect with our team, here.
PCCS FREELANCE CREATOR NETWORK:
You can find illustrators in our creative network of BIPOC creators, here. They creators are not directly employed by Phase Comics Creative Studios, but are legendary through and through! Check them out and show them some love! You’ll be surprised at how many creators you will find within our community!
You can also check out the following platforms for freelancers:
You can always check out your favorite social media platforms like instagram, Facebook, TikTok, etc and use hashtags to find some really cool illustrators. Artists usually put in their bios whether or not they are accepting commissions or projects.
“Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.” —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
WHAT TO EXPECT WITH OUR ILLUSTRATORS
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN WORKING WITH PCCS ILLUSTRATORS?
The typical way PCCS processes working on a single illustration is the same way we approach creating books or animations.
(1) 🌑 | MEET & GREET
First we discuss the project. I like to gather information on what my client is looking for, deadlines, book/animation inspirational and information, etc.
(2) 🌒 | BRAINSTORMING
We will read, review and sit with the ideas, manuscript, and/or information for a few days to brainstorm creative visual ideas. For single illustrations, we will present you with a few rough sketch ideas; however for books and animations, we will present a rough storyboard for us to walkthrough and discuss together.
(A storyboard is a rough draft of how the book will be setup with pictures and words. Pictures are not detailed here but provide enough information for the viewer to know what is happening on each page . Some authors create their own storyboards —which we always encourage them to do because it conditions the brain to translate the words into pictures the way that that individual sees it. Learn more about storyboarding, here.
(3) 🌓 | SKETCHING
If the project is a single illustration, the storyboarding stage is replaced with the sketching stage of the project —where we review the ideas we have compiled and create sketches. For books, comics, graphic novels and animations, we will review the storyboard together and create character concepts (if needed).
If the project is rushed or has a shorter timeframe for completion , then we will skip the storyboarding stage by asking the author to create a rough storyboard or presenting a storyboard for the author (with minimal revisions because of time constraints).
“It is best to take the time to plan your book and characters if you want it to be something memorable. Often times people want to rush creating their illustrations, books and animations; then get upset when their audience is not invested in their messages or project. We are all for bargaining, but do not let pride, fear, or scarcity stop you from creating the masterpiece you deserve. Most people are trying to find the best bargain or keep everything about the book to themselves out of fear that people will take their ideas. So, unfortunately the artwork in these books suffer because the originators didn’t take the time to really share their vision with their team to create a unique experience for adults and children to enjoy.” —Tiye Samone
(4) 🌔 | REVISIONS
We will go back and forth on perfecting the sketch until you are in love with your illustration or design. Once we have a final plan for how the illustration(s) will appear in the final product, and finalized how our characters will stand apart from the crowd —we will began the line art (or inking) for the final illustrations! This is also where we will take our storyboard and fill in all the details!
For animations, we will begin drafting the animation sequences to ensure that we are showing the story the way that you want it to be seen before the final illustration review stage.
(5) 🌕 | LINE ART
Once the final line art illustrations are complete, we will begin the coloring process! First we start with base colors (or flat colors) to get an idea on how the colors flow together, and then we will add highlights and shadows for the full color illustration.
(6) 🌖 | COLORING
Once the full color illustrations are complete, we will do a final review of the illustrations to make sure that everything is perfect! We will be able to tweak everything we need to make each illustration perfect! We will send you a full pdf of the single illustration(s).
(7) 🌗 | FORMATTING
At this stage we will ensure that your illustration(s) are sized and formatted to your required specifications.
For books we will format it for web/print (depending on how and where you want it to be viewed) and typeset it (adding text). Should you choose to format your own book, no worries, we will send you the illustrations and be on standby in case you need our assistance. We will continue to final review and tweak the book until it is perfect!
(8) 🌘 | CELEBRATION
Celebrate a job well done! We will send you your final files for you to use as you please, and with your permission we will also feature and share your project with our audience to help you get the word out!
Please reach out to us if you have any questions about our process! It will be our pleasure to answer any questions that you have! Email us at PhaseComics@gmail.com .
PHASE INTO OUR ILLUSTRATION SERVICES!
Check out our network of legendary creators for your next project!
Are you an artist and want to be featured on our site? Email us at PhaseComics@gmail.com
JOIN THE COMMUNITY
NEED ILLUSTRATING ASSISTANCE?
BUT YOU ARE SAVING MONEY OR SHORT ON CASH?
If your budget is tight, and you are still looking for a writing critique or advice? Become a member of our site and chat with other creators in our free community forums!
Share your writing outlines, short stories, queries, and bits of your manuscript with other creative and insightful people in our forums!
Be open to opposing, ideas, advice, feedback, criticism, networking, and being inspired by fellow legends!
We are all on journeys to telling AMAZING stories that the world is dying to hear. Let's work together in order to make sure that our stories have the impact that we are intending for them to make on our audiences.
Once you are happy with your manuscript, get ready for CHARACTER CONCEPTS!