Excellent. I've never seen it in venn diagram form, but this is something that has been said in the game development and entertainment industries for a long time. And it is absolutely true.
KomiTsuku gives good advice, but I disagree with one small detail, which I'll point out below - the lump sum of money.
The inclusion of cost gives me cause to bring up some tips for recruiters that ARE paying. Again these points are all from an artist's perspective:
1) Profit Sharing, Interest Payments, or Royalties
This is typically an excuse to get art for free on the front end, so you can get good art you'd normally have to pay for without reaching for your wallet. It is also BAD. At best it is naive, at worst it is dishonest. Most indie projects, be they VNs or something else don't make a lot of profit. Fifty percent of nothing is nothing. And too many times I see recruiters offering this system and not even having contracts drawn up. Are the artists supposed to trust your altruism on handling the accounting and cutting the checks?
That brings up the second problem. Logistics. How long are you going to keep up with the profits and royalties from your game? How often do you do the accounting, calculate the profits and send out a check? Every six months? Every year? Did you answer 'forever'? Because for as long as you bring in ANY money in connection with that game or art, you will have to do the math and cut the artist a check. If that all sounds like a pain in the ass for both you and the artist, then congratulations, you've seen why this is a crappy practice.
Third, no professional artist will EVER except this kind of arrangement. It is typically used to lure in young and inexperienced artists who are suckers and think this is the way business is done. It is not. Artist's get paid by the piece of art, on completion of the art. Occasionally depending on the nature of the art, an artist might expect a certain royalty amount on every title or object sold. For example, a graphic artist designing a poster for a campaign with national exposure would expect $4000 dollars on delivery of the finished product and 10% of the price of each poster sold. In the game industry it is more common just to be paid a flat amount for the art done with nothing more expected, however. Which leads into the next point -
2) Ambiguous Work Loads and Lump Sum Payments
Be absolutely clear on exactly what you want done, how much, and what you are willing to pay for each. For instance, say you need 6 sprites and you will pay X amount of dollars for each sprite. Specify the level of detail you want, provide examples, tell how many poses and expressions, and expect a counter offer. Artists are paid per item
, not per job
. For instance, comic book artists make a certain amount per page turned in. A graphic artist makes so much per logo or poster or package designed. A VN artist should make so much per sprite or background created.
Do NOT offer a lump sum payment with an ambiguous amount of work to be done. No professional or self-respecting artist is going to accept a lump sum payment to do all the art in your game, because that is just an creating an opportunity for them to be exploited as you see fit. You could pay them and give them a light work load, or you could pay them and give them a nightmarish workload. They have no idea or way of knowing, and asking them to "trust you" isn't professional. Many contractors in the past have set up such arrangements to take advantage of artists, and any artist with experience in the field is going to view such an offer as a potential scam.
If you only have a certain budget for a game or art, don't offer that lump sum for all the art. Parcel and assign it out per item. If you need X amount of sprites and have X amount of money, divide one into the other and use that as your offer price for each sprite. This also benefits YOU, as you can see exactly where your money is going. You get a tangible product for a set price you can plan for. If you need to add more sprites you can see exactly how much more money you will need.
This also means you can pay the artist and go your separate ways. No keeping up with royalties, no phone or email tag, just a simple business transaction. Artists appreciate this, and you'll appreciate this when you see how simplified it makes your accounting.
If money is changing hands, you NEED a contract. After all the details have been worked out between both parties you can draw one up and get it signed and notarized. Most professional artists will have their own contracts - anyone belonging to the Graphics Artists Guild (in America) or a similar organization will have access and examples of how to create these for different jobs. But don't let that scare you - contracts don't have to be complicated and full of lawyer-speak. In the end, what you are looking for is something that lays out the expectations clearly on both sides:
- What is wanted
- When it is wanted
- What is given in exchange
- Any other terms or agreements both sides feel is important
A contract makes everything clear and provides a definitive start and end date for work ordered and expected, and puts the amount of money to be exchanged in writing. If anything goes wrong on either side you'll be glad to have a legal document available to settle arguments. If work isn't delivered or they run off with your money, you are now able to take legal action. Similarly the artist has protection against you saying they didn't turn in everything promised, because that is all laid out in the contract.
A contract also weeds out those who aren't serious or who may "flake" on you. You don't want to deal with "AmbiguousScreenname42". You want to deal with Mr. or Ms. Proper Name. If someone who is doing business with you and accepting money from you won't give you their real name, that is a bad sign. Likewise, you need to provide YOUR real name as the recruiter when you initiate business with them. A contract does all that.
4) Understanding Fair Rates
You need to be familiar with the fair rate of pay for the art you are asking for. Unfortunately a lot of amateur artists don't even know this themselves, but it is a relatively simple formula.
Time Spent on Art x Value of Artist's Time = Price of Art
"Time Spent on Art" varies from artist to artist and depends on the type of art being produced. Obviously backgrounds take longer than sprites, and CGs take longer than backgrounds.
"Value of Artist's Time" is the measure of how good the artist is and the quality of the work. The better the quality the higher this should be. Factor in the minimum wage the artist would expect to make an hour in their country of origin. You MUST pay them at least that much or the artist would be better off spending their time sweeping out a warehouse rather than drawing. You already liked their art or you wouldn't be considering hiring them, so do them the courtesy of offering them enough to keep food on their plate.
Let's try an example: You want to hire Artist Jane to do sprites for you - drawing them, inking them, coloring them. (In professional productions, these are all separate jobs, but most indie projects will roll them into one. This does not affect the money the artist makes, since the time spent scales to match.) Let's say Artist Jane knows it takes her 3 hours a sprite. Let's also say Artist Jane lives in America, where the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
3 Hours X $7.25 an hour = $21.75 a sprite
So Artist Jane should be getting AT LEAST $21.75 per sprite, otherwise she should flip hamburgers and throw away her pencils. Now, that is the baseline price. We also need to factor in how good Artist Jane is. Maybe she went to art school, maybe she has put in years of study to get as good as she is. That is all value that needs to be added to the "Value of Artist's Time" in the equation. After all, if her work is really good it is the result of practice or school, and she needs to make back the lost money she spent getting good - either student loans or lost work opportunities. Now, professional quality sprites seen in the big studio VNs cost between $80-$150 colored. Let's say Artist Jane is good, but she is a little shy of that level of quality. (This is an evalution that the artist and recruiter need to be honest about - normally the artist will do this price analysis and present the cost to the recruiter, but the recruiter can do this analysis on their own to present an initial price to the artist. Both sides can haggle as they see fit.) Artist Jane decides her time isn't worth the $27 dollars an hour or more a professional would charge, but she is still pretty good. She decides her time is worth $20 an hour where art is concerned.
3 Hours X $20 an hour = $60 a sprite
This is the price Artist Jane should charge per sprite she does.
As a recruiter you should be aware of this calculation, even though the artist themselves should be the ones doing it. This lets you know the ballpark figure you should open negotiations with to avoid being insulting or taking advantage. The specific number here aren't set in concrete, and if the art is truly amateur prices can be adjusted to match. Just don't go after professional artists or an artist whose work looks the same quality as official material and insult them by offering them a real low ball figure.
I just thought these additional points needed to be cleared up for when money is involved in recruiting, and DO keep that Venn Diagram above in mind. When you recruit an artist you can pick 2 of those things, but never all of them.