Thursday, August 17, 2017

Comics Economics 101: Comic Book Budgets

So, do you want to be an independent comic book publisher or release your own comic? Well, dreams definitely come true but this one may cost you a pretty penny! People rarely think of the cost to produce a comic book. Keep in mind that this is not to deter you but to inform you of a realistic budget to make your comic book dreams come true.

Firstly, comic books are an art form that is mainly done with a team, that is, unless you can or want to do it all yourself. Many people do, but that takes a LOT of time to do correctly or at least to the level that will sell enough books to make the time worth it. If not, you will need a writer, penciler, inker, colorist, etc. All of these people need to be paid depending on their personal rates. We will look at some of these rates, based on pro artists that I know and we will build our budget!

Most, if not all, of these artists are professional indie freelancers. They cater their prices to the common audience and not to big publishers like Marvel and DC, so they are much cheaper but still good. Despite this, you’ll see how quickly their prices can add up.


Every book needs a cover, so we'll start here. A good cover will cost you between $100 and $300 so let's choose the $200- right in the middle. Pencilers charge between $25 to $100 a page but I know a good one who charges $35 and a great inker who charges $40 per page. I'm a colorist and my rate is $45 a page and I work with a separator (who lays down the flat colors for me to do my stylized detail work) who charges $10 a page. A letterer typically charges about $25 a page.

To round out our team, we'll pay our writer, an editor and a graphic designer a measly $100 per book, each. Also remember that a typical comic is 24 pages. So let's plug in these figures and add this all up with the chart below: 


Yes, $4,220 for ONE 24 page issue! Remember, this is a more conservative price because many of these artists are on the cheaper side! So now, you can see why you would need additional income outside of comics to start publishing. Many people just don’t have that kind of disposable income and end up doing it themselves, which takes a LONG time. Even if you have the money to pay a team, the artists also have other jobs on their plates as well, in order to survive, and have to balance their time for your project with other deadlines, which also takes a LONG time! Either way, patience is a virtue that not many people have to complete projects in this line of work. It’s just too costly and takes too long.

I know you are thinking that you can probably cut some corners and consolidate or eliminate some of these jobs on your book. Some you can and some are more essential than you think.

Take the graphic designer for example. You may think his job is done with just the title and company logos but these days comics are sold digitally as well as print. You need a graphic designer to import/export and convert to correct file formats, make sure the page bleed is correct, the color-coding and resolution are print ready, pre-flighting, etc. Hell, even the legal info on the inside cover and all of the ads are laid out and designed by a graphic designer for each issue.

Looking at the editor, you need one for proofreading, spotting art and layout inconsistencies, plot holes, continuity errors and all around damage and quality control. Simply put- if you want a GOOD book, get an editor.


Here’s where it gets real… again. If you plan to sell your book at the common cover price of $3.99, it’ll take you to sell more than a thousand copies just for you to break even and get that $4,220 back before you'll even see any profits. Do you think your book can sell those units? Well, it’s possible if the quality is there. That quality just may cost you $4,220.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

New Interview w/ Comic Creators Anonymous!

Wow, does time fly!

Earlier this month I had an interview with Gary Watson of Comics Anonymous in the UK. Gary is dedicated to keeping up with the independent creators in the comic industry. It was a pleasure to talk with him about how I got started in my career and the projects I'm working on now and into the future.

Thank you Gary Watson for the feature and I hope to chat with you again with updates!

You can read the interview at his website here:

Also, earlier in the year, I was interviewed by a radio show called StudenTalk, whose purpose is to help and inform students of for-profit colleges like Art Institute. I was featured on their fifth episode on May 7th. The one hour interview focused on my own personal challenges and goals to help such students after the crippling debt we tend to end up with after our over-priced and often fraudulent art education.

It's possibly one of the most personal interviews I'd ever do but the object was to share the ups and downs of being taking advantage of as an artist and how that's sculpted my business sense as an entrepreneur.

Many thanks to Joseph White and Sanders Fabares for the opportunity to share my story! You can check out the episode here: