Merch conundrum...

Discussion in 'Creative Discussion' started by Shanny8, Jun 9, 2017.

  1. Shanny8

    Shanny8 Blue Belt

    I'm gearing this kind of more towards artist/creators...would you be opposed to using commissioned art from another artist(of your property) towards merch sales? I often see other artists whose styles I like and I have no issue commissioning them to do some work for me. Currently, I've been posting their art in my books as gallery pieces & I do post their names in the credits for this work...I've been thinking about commissioning art for other stuff like prints, t-shirt art, and stickers; once again, I have no problem paying an artist for art that I may use in that capacity, but I guess what makes me pause is more along the line of a "pride" issue. I guess I feel like in certain zones that I want my art style to be the selling point...
     
  2. DMBrigman

    DMBrigman 4-Stripe White Belt

    This is an interesting question. From a business side if it will make you money don't let pride keep you from going down that route. Obviously you will need to ensure that this is explained to the commissioned artist and make sure they are charging the right amount for their commission with that end goal in mind.

    As a creator this really depends on what you are selling. You as an artist? or your Comic? If it is about selling your comic then providing merch from different artists of your characters can bring in fans who may not be into your art style. If you are trying to have your art be the selling point then you don't really need competition! It is kind of like don't use Deviant Art as a portfolio, you don't want clients to easily compare you with "better artists"
     
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  3. Shanny8

    Shanny8 Blue Belt

    @DMBrigman you brought up a valid question that I havent factored into the situation, but I guess now that I think about it, I'm not quite sure. Part of me wants to be savvy enough to sell the comic- and if I could use commissioned projects of my characters to achieve that end, then it would be fun...but the other part of me wants to get readers used to my work(since I'm still trying to build/solidify my audience); I kind of feel selling other artists' rendition of my characters as merch might be a crutch of sorts- I'd like to sell on my own merit/strength.
     
  4. Anna Landin

    Anna Landin Purple Belt

    Hmm. I don't think I'd be opposed, as such - I mean, I just recently wrapped up a big character-art commission for Rusty Quill Gaming, explicitly for the purpose of putting it on various merchandise - but I'm in the position of wanting to prioritise my own art for merchandise? It'd feel a bit weird putting someone else's artwork on merchandise I intend to sell - but that might just be a personal thing for me.

    That said, if you are going to commission an artist for work you'll sell as merchandise, you should maybe be prepared to spend a bit more on it; you would be using it to make a profit, so it's not unreasonable that an artist would demand to be paid more for it than they would for a piece you'd just hang on your own wall.
     
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  5. Infected Blood

    Infected Blood 4-Stripe White Belt

    Yes, I would be opposed, because it would not be the same hand that's drawing the comic and it would feel like cheating readers. It's like when you have a cover in a style, so you expectations are set on that, but then you get the rest of the comic in another style - to me, it's misleading. I know other creators don't have a problem with the mixing of styles and I'm sure it works well for them, but it really isn't for me :)
     
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  6. Bob

    Bob 4-Stripe White Belt

    It's true about commissioned art costing more if you plan to use it for commercial purposes. The artist might charge a higher rate overall, they might charge their regular rate plus a flat fee for licensing (based on a set number of years or reproductions), they might want a royalty on sales, or a combination of these things.

    I've seen other creators commission popular artists to do guest art for select Kickstarter rewards, and it never struck me as weird, but it's not something I'd do myself because my art is part of my comic's signature, and it's why my readers are my readers.

    I too don't like the mainstream comic thing where the cover artist isn't the same as the interior artist and I agree that it's misleading. But if you're selling bonus merch by other artists in which it's clear that it's "guest art" and the artist is credited, and you have a contract with the artist allowing you to sell their work, I don't think there's any moral problem. I don't think this arrangement is super common with webcomics, but it's also not unheard of.
     
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  7. Shanny8

    Shanny8 Blue Belt

    @Bob I def agree about the whole cover art "bait & switch" thing- a massive turn off for me- whether it's mainstream or indie. I dont like it...
     

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