Art Submissions to Misfit Studios
Misfit Studios frequently gets requests from artists looking for work, so please read this over first before approaching us so that you are fully informed.
We are a (very) small press operation — essentially, it’s me (Steven Trustrum) doing everything myself except for the illustrations. Misfit Studios primarily publishes and sells PDF products, meaning they are generally low-cost, low-return products requiring small budgets to put together. What does this mean for freelance artists working with Misfit Studios?
It means that we generally can’t afford to pay much for illustrations because doing so means little profit margin is left on products and, frankly, because I’m doing everything except the illustrations on a project (i.e., writing, layout, graphic design, marketing, logistics — I also do most of the art colouring), I cannot afford to publish at all if the artists are the only one’s making money on what Misfit Studios sells. I need to strike a balance, and that means keeping overhead down.
All art is meant for digital and/or print publication, so the inking requires crisp, clean lines and no dithering. This also means the final work must be clean — no smears, smudges, or remaining pencil marks, lines, or other artifacts. This is why I prefer to use artists who ink digitally, but it is not a prerequisite so long as the final work is a clean, crisp black and white, piece of line art.
Misfit Studios Flat Rate Payments
At the moment, Misfit Studios’ contracted, flat art payment rate is $20 USD for a black and white line art, 1/4 page illustration (wide or tall; essentially, a single character with little to no background.) The prices go up from there, relatively, based on size (e.g., $40 USD for a half-page b/w line art illustration.) Colour images are negotiated on a case-by-case basis because the value each artist puts upon adding colour varies, and I like to be as fair as possible.
Misfit Studios also has a policy of paying out an additional 10% of the original art payment if I use the art in an entirely different project down the road as a way of being fair to the artist.
Payment Method & Rights: You must have a working Paypal account capable of accepting payment from Canada. I pay immediately after the final art has been received and approved, and all contracts transfer total rights to Misfit Studios (while allowing the artist to sell prints and use in their portfolio and the like.) I do not make partial payments or down payments before the art has been received — I have been burned by that too often in the past.
Please feel encouraged to contact any artist who has previously worked with Misfit Studios to ask about what it is like to work with us, and how reliable we are with regards to payment. If need be, I can provide names and contact information.
Misfit Studios Royalty Payments
On some projects, Misfit Studios is open to working on a contracted royalty basis with artists. This means the artist does all illustration work for a share of the profits (i.e., the money that starts coming in once all other costs are taken care of.) This royalty share varies and depends upon the amount of work the artist does on the project versus the amount of work required of everyone else.
Better Mousetrap for our Superlink line of product was put out using this payment method, and is considered a success by both Misfit Studios and the artist — it has been bringing in money since 2007 and is soon to be re-released for an updated rule set, meaning it will bring a surge of revenues for both Misfit Studios and the artist being paid royalties. If you want to find out how well this has worked out for the artist involved, you can look up and contact Eric Lofgren about his opinion.
To be blunt, a royalty payment option offers more risk to the artist because it means less (or no) money immediately, but can pay off more compared to flat rate payments over time. From our perspective, it has the benefits of no need to set aside funds up front for an art budget, but it reduces our profit margin over time because it continues to pay royalties even after overhead would have been paid for if a standard art budget had been used. It’s a trade off for everyone.
Note that because of the additional logistics and accounting involved with royalty payment projects, this system is reserved for larger projects. It also means the artist has more say in the project’s development and direction rather than being a “hired gun” artist. The artist has input into the type and size of art going into the project, as well as its overall look.
Payment Method & Rights: You must have a working Paypal account capable of accepting payment. Payments are made monthly if more than $20 has been accrued since the last payment. The contract details that copyright of the art is shared by Misfit Studios and the artist, requiring both to agree upon circumstances under which any art may be otherwise used in the future, although the artist is still able to sell prints and use the art in their portfolio in the meantime
Even if Misfit Studios is not currently looking to commission an artist for a project, we are open to looking at artwork to sell as stock art. This is art you own all rights to that we sell on your behalf for people to use in their personal projects or that publishers can license for limited use. The downside is stock art costs are lower per piece than is the norm for unique commissions, but the upside is you an sell an unlimited amount of copies.
The license under which we sell stock art on behalf of artists allows others to use the art under limited terms (they can colour, crop, resize it, etc.), but they must include the artist’s name in the credits, present the artist’s copyright statement, and cannot resell the art in other stock art projects of the customer’s own.
For selling stock art on an artist’s behalf, Misfit Studios retains 5% of the price (on top of whatever the storefront retains per sale), with the remainder of each sale going to the artist. Payments are made monthly via Paypal.
The artists currently participating with Misfit Studios to sell their licensed art include:
- Brett Neufeld
- Eric Lofgren
- Earl Geier
- Elizabeth Porter
- Jason Moser
- Jon Gibbons
- Nicolas Boone
- Patricia Smith
- Ryan Sumo
- Scott Harshbarger
- W Fraser Sandercombe
If you’ve read all of this and are still interested in working with Misfit Studios, please feel free to email me with links to your portfolio.