Out of our respondents, 45% were confident when it came to giving pricing estimates when quoting for jobs, a 2% increase on last year’s figure. Asia was the most confident at 54% and Australia and New Zealand were the least confident at 31%. North America was 10% more confident than the UK and 6% more confident than Europe (excluding the UK).
This chart shows what resources respondents used to come up with their pricing figures. For comparison between 2019/2018 we have hidden “online groups” and “other” by default as these were only added this year. To see how these change things, click on the greyed out categories to add them to the pie chart.
With regards to “other”, this was dominated by respondents getting pricing advice from their agents. As for professional services who offer pricing advice, respondents used the AOI (who no longer offer pricing advice), their agents, Hire an Illustrator, and Illustrations Organisation Deutschland. The pricing reference books most mentioned were; Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing & Ethical Guidelines, Trade Customs & Pricing Guidelines: For Graphic Artists, and Honorarwerk Illustration (German).
Following on from our pricing questions, we asked the respondents: if there was a regularly updated online pricing guide with standard rates, should it be made public or kept secret to allow individuals to be more competitive? 63% said it should be made public as they needed guidance, 11% wanted it to be kept secret for risk of being undercut, while the other 25% said it made no difference to them either way. Of the ones who wanted it to be made public, we followed up and asked them whether clients should have access to this hypothetical price guide. 31% of them said that illustrators should be the only ones who have access to it and not clients. This suggests that while freelance illustrators want more information on pricing, they were also very cautious about potential clients having a reference for what they should be paying, especially when you take into account Value Pricing. One aspect of Value Pricing that is taken into account when working up a quote is the size of the client, which normally goes hand-in-hand with the value the work has to that client. If a set price can be referenced in a public pricing guide, this makes it difficult to quote on a sliding scale which may vary widely from client to client depending on the perceived value of the work created for that specific client .
According to the results, those based in the United Kingdom are the least likely to ask for a deposit, while those based in South America are the most likely. In North America, although they’re not the most likely to ask for a deposit, they are the most likely to be paid it when they do ask.
When asked if having their initial quote emails ignored by clients with no reply forthcoming was a regular occurrence, 42% said it was. 12% of the respondents also said they would ignore client emails if they suspected or knew the client didn’t have a viable budget for the job they were being asked to quote on.
With regards to contracts, we asked if respondents read a contract supplied by a client before agreeing to it. While most did read it, 7% said they sometimes did while 3% of those who answered the question never read the contract.
The results of the individual commissions price range question have been merged into a single currency (GBP) to give an overview. Most respondents were generally asked this question in their own currency, which may have been USD, GBP or EUR. On the 12th October 2019, the exchange rate was as follows, 1.1459 EUR = 1 GBP = 1.2645 USD. The United Kingdom has the highest proportion of high paying jobs, while North America has the most low paying jobs overall. Europe (excluding the UK) had the most jobs in the middle ranges based on the respondents who answered the survey.
Shown below are the other sources respondents used to supplement their incomes. We assume in some cases these more than supplement their income as we didn’t specifically ask if any of the options were a respondent’s primary source of income or not. Please note, in 2018 we didn’t ask about conventions or gallery shows so these are shown as 0% for that year, but not because it wasn’t something people were doing prior to 2019.
The different currencies have been merged into GBP in the same fashion as the commission ranges, also please note that incomes have not been adjusted to take into account differing costs of living between countries in order to allow comparison between 2018 and 2019.
Over 57% of the respondents who earned more than 200,000 (GBP) per year were based in Europe (excluding the UK), followed by 29% in North America with South America coming in third at 14%. The South American respondents also include the most low earners, showing the highest income inequality. Australia and New Zealand had the least income inequality, with the United Kingdom coming a close second.
Average income by identity
The following chart shows the average income based on the number of years experience our respondents have in their chosen profession, which will primarily be as a freelance illustrator or artist. The national average for an artist based in the UK is £28,785.00 according to the 2018 Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings from the Office for National Statistics. Without breaking our 3564 respondents down into groups, the average annual income for all our respondents is £26,020.89 GBP.
42% of our respondents are supported financially by a spouse, family member or friend in some manner. South Americans get the most support at 52%, while Asia has the least support at 28%.
28% say they have a part-time or full-time job unrelated to the creative industry in addition to their “creative” job. Respondents based in Asia (39%) are the most likely to have a second, non-creative job.
38% have a a pension plan or a way to financially support themselves in retirement or old age. Europe (Inc. the UK) and North America both come in at 37%. While Asia comes in at 48% and Australia at 55%.
Of our American friends, 85% had health insurance coverage. According to the United States Census Bureau, this is slightly lower than the national average of 91.2% (2017). Although it’s widely recognised as a given in nearly all developed and wealthy countries, the United States of America does not have a universal health care system.
Illustration © 2019 Pete Underhill