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Re: The Knight analogy
I've been thinking a lot about price deflation. I'm sure to some
degree competition in a crowded market does lead to undercutting of
prices, but I'm not sure it's as important of a factor as everyone
assumes. If a less experienced artist is charging 5-10% less than a
paleoartist that is well known and has a large portfolio, I'd expect
there to be projects that would favor either one - some people would
prefer the premium artwork/artist to try and differentiate their
project, while others would favor saving a little.
But there's another source of price deflation that can lead to much
more dramatic price reductions - simple ignorance. Artists are often
approached by a company and offered something...and it may not be a
competitive wage. In many cases a better wage could be negotiated
for, but if the artist doesn't know what going rates are they won't be
comfortable negotiating for a higher price (let alone walking away
from the deal if necessary). I know I personally can think of a
couple projects in the last few years where (in retrospect) I charged
less than I could have. And I know of several more dramatic examples
where young paleoartists were offered work at what I suspect was less
than half the appropriate scale (in most of those cases the artist
eventually declined because they were barely looking at meeting costs,
let alone any profit). Even one or two people accepting these sorts
of jobs can galvanize an unscrupulous company into expecting to get
work for similarly low prices.
Most artists don't get any business training. Bob and Tess made a
valuable contribution with their (now online) guide, but it's not
always disseminated as widely as it could be (especially to young
artists who have perhaps not met the more established players). I
also don't know how frequently it's updated (I'm not implying anything
guys, I really don't know, and I assume it's a lot of work). I
honestly think this second type of price deflation may have a larger
cumulative impact on pricing than simple competition between artists.
It should also be easier to combat.
So perhaps a constructive first step for any sort of website or guild
for paleoartists is one based around sharing information, so everyone
is better able to make decisions on pricing.
Scientific Advisor/Technical Illustrator