Comics Creators

Writer/Artist Collaboration Etiquette


Artists, what do you want writers to know or expect?
Experienced writers, what have you learned about working with artists?

It seems the only way for amateurs to learn is to hear it from the pros themselves. Hopefully this thread can serve as a one-stop resource for clearing up all things dealing with the writer/artist relationship, including general etiquette and how best to approach and appreciate one another.


am i an experienced writer?
Not sure, but i self publish my own comics, so i have an opinion.
I guess! :smiley:

Over the last couple of years, i have learnt that by paying my artists, my comic production has gone through the roof.
When i first started out, i had guys working for free…and no disrespect to them, they were unreliable.
Not their fault, there was no incentive for them to produce the work.
We all have lives outside of comics, day jobs, family and friends.
Asking someone to use their free time to produce your comic for free is a HUGE ask.
So, i saved up…
I now get pages regularly and because i pay, i get to choose my artists.
Rather than settling for who offers, i get to find the right style that matches the story i have written and the quality of the art jumps up exponentially.
It really helps and the books i am producing look more professional than i could ever have hoped for.
It may have been a fluke, but i did my first comic con the weekend and (i’m not showing off, i swear because i am still in a state of shock myself) i sold over 200 copies of my comics to complete strangers.
Just by inviting them up to have a look at the comics and read a few pages, they flew off the table…
So, PAY your artists.

Hope that helps?! :wink:


I can’t offer any wisdom here, but we do have regular Fan chats with comics pros (usually on a Wednesday) . That might be a good opportunity to get a view on these sorts of relationships can work well from the perspective of both writers and artists.


I have found myself working on a project for big names but with only a slim hope of ever getting paid, only to find a project that will pay the mortgage dropped in my lap. A choice has to be made. Oh the lure of the big name project. But inevitably my attention goes to the project that pays. The bank deserves to be paid for trusting me with the loan on my house and the bills for food, heat or electricity need to be kept current. The editor for the free lunch, big name project understands the need to earn money now as opposed to the pot at the end of the rainbow, because often times the pot contains something other than gold. My editor knows his job will get done in time because I have made that commitment and he will be happy with my work. The same applies to my own projects, self written and illustrated, it’s not about fairness it is about reality.


how about kickstarter? Would that motivate an artist?

Also out of curoosity where do you print your comics?


Yes, if there is upfront money to cover the art for the Kickstarter pitch. Since most of the Kickstarter projects never see full funding, I have to know I will at least be paid for the pitch artwork.


Let me know if I can be of help on your next project.


how much should a person pay per page?


Promising subsequent kickstarter funds with no evidence that you can launch a successful kickstarter isn’t very appealing, no.

If you have a couple of them funded behind you, then maybe. But you’d better have some starting capital to pay for a video, a few preview pages, kickstarter fees, promotion al materials. You should have a network to help promote the book, too; facebook, twitter, etc.

Page rates differ by artists. Ask!


@mattgarvey1981, what is your going page rate?


I meam what is the industry standard rate per page?


Hey buddy,

If you are paying an artist upfront a kickstart will help motivate them.
But if you are using the Kickstarter to fund that money, I think that maybe a non starter.
It would be like saying to an artist, OK, I need you to do a couple of pages as a sample and a load of sketches and if I get funded I’ll pay you to draw the book!
Would you?
Unless that artist is a good friend and you are working really closely together before hand, I don’t think that would work.
Plus there is no guarantee that you’ll get funded.
I had two full comics completed (which I paid for out of my own pocket) and tried to use Kickstarter to help fund the 3rd…but flopped :tired_face:
I’d save up, fella and find a good artists and drip feed the, payment if you can.
You need to make sacrifices and start think in pages rather than money.
Example, it’s the weekend and you want a pizza STOP, that’s half a page!
Go to the freezer, cook something rather than throwing money away & put that cash towards a page.


It depends on the artist, fella.
Plus I don’t do page rates, I agree a fee for an issue and pay them off to do it but buy bit.
Usually 25% upfront and then 25% for the filling months…depending on agreed figure.


great info.

Lets forget the kickstarter. Lets say I want to find an artist. What are the rates I should think about for a single issue?


Reasonable ballpark figures for rates are important to share, but let’s be careful to not let this thread get bogged down in numbers. Maybe you can private message if you want to know a particular artist’s page rates.

A question for me as a writer: is it reasonable to try to gauge an artist’s interest in a project on its own merit story-wise before talking about finances? Could it happen that if you talk about money first, the artist may just want to agree because it’s a paying job and not because they’re on board with the story? Yes, I’m rather clueless about all this.


that is a very good point. I mean you want to work with someone that loves the project as much as you do.


The rate, should be something private between you and the artist.

How would you like to find out if you were being paid less or more than someone else your collaborator is working with?

Put and advert on here and similar sites and just say:
Looking for a artist, it’s a paying gig.
Give some info regarding the project it self, genre length etc.
Then when you find suitable artist, agree on a realistic figure. One that you can afford & one that isnt insulting to the artist…AND DONT OFFER TO PAY THE, SOLELY FROM THE BACK END PROFITS once you get it published.
One, you don’t have a publishing contract yet, so basically you are asking them to work for free again.
Offer then 50% split if the creative rights, because you are now a team and offer them a fair split of everything.


I am in the film world. Always pay upfront is my motto. Specially in the film world where most people use the share of profits excuse when there is never a share of profits. Hehe. Seems like the comic book world looks a little like it.

(btw did you had fun at the convention?)


It was amazing, I sold over 210 comics, I was stunned!
Thanks for asking


That is a very subjective thing to be negotiated between the writer and artist. Depending on the project and the budget the numbers can get large but in your circumstance, needing to crowdfund, it is understandable that the budget most be kept in check. Sounds like you need a per project fee agreed upon based on just the essentials you need to get the buzz generated to produce the crowd funding. You don’t need everything right now, you need just what you truly need not what you want, that can come later when you are fully funded. If you would like to check out my site and contact me about this further, I’m open.