If I were in retail then I could just walk to the store down the street and see what my competition was charging. Because illustration is more of a solitary pursuit, my only natural connection with other illustrators' business practices is through mutual clients. Now, these clients may be lovely people, but I can't exactly trust them to tell me what I should be charging.

Perhaps if I had gone for that MBA I could somehow analyze the current economic climate and figure this stuff out on my own, but I didn't get an MBA and I personally know no artists who have. In the absence of this training I am forced to rely on industry guides, like the GAG handbook, and on the kind guidance of others in my field. Unfortunately the GAG handbook never seems to have exactly what I'm looking for in it.

I would never make an agreement with any of you to charge a set price (no offense), but being open about what we're charging allows us all to understand the market conditions better. Every job is different, and each illustrator has their own unique issues (location for one), but knowing industry trends is an important part of any business. It's up to me whether to charge at the top or bottom of that range, but at least it will be an informed decision.

Jeremy Stoller
Senior Graphic Artist
California Science Center
(213) 744-2532
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www.CaliforniaScienceCenter.org