The final step in the selection of an artist was coming up with terms that were agreeable to both Manoel Magalhães and I. There is more to hiring an artist to draw your comic then liking his art and offering him money. The working arrangement needs to be defined.
I cannot divulge the end result of the discussion for obvious reasons, but here is a list of topics defined in the terms of our business relationship:
Story details: I provided Manoel with the basic details of the story, including the number of pages, whether the comic was black and white, grey-scale or color, whether or not he was required to draw cover art, and the title and synopsis of the story.
Page rate: How much Manoel would be paid for each page, and what constitutes a page. For example, some artists have a rate for pencils and a rate for inks, while others do both for one page rate.
Payment schedule: These are the details of when Manoel would be paid for his work. For example, is there a down-payment required before the artist begins the work; does payment occur when the writer receives finished, print ready pages or low resolution versions. There are a number of details to be considered here.
Delivery of payment: I am in Canada and Manoel is in Brazil so we had to figure out the logistics of how I could get money into his hands. The options available to you are going to depend on your location and the location of your artist. For example, using PayPal was not an option for Manoel and I.
Production details: These are the details about the creation and proofing of the artwork. Manoel and I decided he would send me a rough sketch of each page for my review. I would send feedback, changes would be made, I would see the changed page, and we would continue like that until we were both satisfied with the rough page. When approved, he would create the finished page– that is, do the pencils and the inks. Also, included in this topic were things like the dimensions of the pages themselves, such as defining the working space, the bleed, etc. We also talked about whether or not character sketches were required before work began on the pages.
Delivery of pages: The details around how rough sketches, low resolution proofs and finished, print ready pages would be delivered to me. Email would suffice for the low resolution stuff, but another method would be required for the print ready pages because the file sizes were going to be huge. We are considering FTP or an online service.
Additional stuff: There were some odds and ends I wanted to discuss with Manoel, like the fact I have this blog and would like to include some of his rough sketches and finished artwork in my entries as our project progressed. I also wanted to let him know I had photo references and background notes for him to use and was he comfortable working with these materials.
I have covered a lot of information in this post and I hope you find it useful if you ever find yourself looking to strike up a business relationship with an artist. In general, I would say the most important thing is to be professional and upfront with the artist. You and the artist should be willing to discuss topics such as these because it is in both your interests to ensure there is no unanswered questions during the actual creation of the comic.