What is the salary of a mangaka

How much can I ask for or earn?

How much does a comic book artist earn? How much money can I ask for an illustration? How high should I set my hourly rate? The subject of fees and cost calculation is a sensitive issue because many factors play an important role.

Anyone who wants to earn a living as a comic book artist or illustrator usually becomes self-employed. There are hardly any permanent vacancies for comic artists or illustrators in Germany. There are a handful of comic studios and animation studios in this country, but most of them already have their permanent employees and if they are looking for active support, internships are announced.

In order to find an answer to the fee question, one should differentiate between commercial contracts and publishing contracts from the comics scene.
An advertising agency looking for a comic artist has a completely different budget than a (comic) publisher.

How much can i ask? - Commercial orders

Big sums of money are traded in the advertising and film industries, but those high sums seldom find their way into comic strip artists or illustrators. Because one must never forget: a draftsman is at the bottom of the food chain. He or she is not the star actor, director, or famous basketball player. He or she is not the art director or producer.

A draftsman is interchangeable in the advertising and film industry and there are very, very many draftsmen. Craftsmen rather than artists are also sought here. Those who cannot / do not want to revise a drawing, cannot deal with criticism and are not willing to give up the rights to their images will have a very difficult time in the advertising and film industry.

As Comic artist craftsman you have the task to implement the wishes of the customer in a certain time.

If a customer wants your individual drawing style and there is no other artist who can implement your drawing style, then you have good cards in negotiating. But unfortunately, no drawing style can be copied or is legally protected. There are draftsmen who can copy or implement any style of drawing.

Usually the customer is the first to ask about costs. The customer briefly describes the task, the time frame and asks for a cost proposal. Professional cartoonists and illustrators are often one step ahead of their customers and ask first: what is your budget? How much can you pay or how much do you want to pay?
If you maneuver yourself into this position, then you have an advantage and can negotiate much better.

But how much can you ask? How much should you ask?

There are numerous rules and calculation suggestions that have been wandering around in the comic book and illustrator scene for years. They are average values ‚Äč‚Äčthat one often encounters and that many draftsmen and clients use as a guide. On the website Kontist you will find a detailed calculation of the hourly rate as a freelancer and an explanation of these average values.

If you want to earn the minimum wage as a freelancer (but who wants that?), Then you should calculate EUR 28.60 per hour. If you want to earn an average salary, you should be around60.00 euros per hour desire. Quote Kontist

As a rule, the minimum wage is 30 euros and the average is 60 euros per hour. According to industry proposals and calculations. Professionals already charge 100 to 250 euros per hour.

But every draftsman is different and every customer is different. Every job is different. That is why every draftsman needs an individual calculation of his hourly rate or flat rate.

In order to determine your individual price, you should answer the following questions:

Who are you, what can you do and what have you already done?

Are you a beginner, have you just finished your studies, or have you been with us for over 20 years and have countless orders from renowned companies behind you? Are you a famous comic book artist and well known in public?

The more famous and the more experienced you are as a draftsman, the more money you can ask and justify it with your popularity and your experience. Because then you are not only a craftsman, but also an influencer or private label. Your work receives added value through your level of awareness and experience. A high level of awareness ensures more attention and more experience ensures a better and faster result.

If you are unknown and you do not have much experience with orders, then this is a great risk for the customer. Many beginners often cannot stand pressure and criticism from customers. Deadlines are not met and there is simply a lack of experience to deliver the best or desired result. In such a case, the customer often has to look for a new draftsman and invest more money.

How much money do you need a month?

Do you need 500, 1000 or 3000 euros a month to maintain your standard of living or to survive? Your job is to earn the amount you need every month.

That means you have to adjust your prices and costs. You need jobs that bring you the amount you need.

Who is the customer?

Every customer is different and has a different budget. Just because a well-known and financially strong company contacts you doesn't mean they have a lot of money to pay an illustrator. In a large company there are numerous departments and every employee has to fight for funds for projects himself.

If a well-known and financially strong customer contacts you, then researches and asks exactly what they need your work for. You should ask the customer the following questions:

  • what exactly do you need (size, style, final format, etc.)
  • until when do you need it (time frame, deadline)
  • what do you need it for (internal project, international or local etc.)
  • what about the rights (usage rights etc.)

Getting the answers to these questions will help you determine your price and roughly imagine the customer's budget.

If it is an international project that is shown on television and used for a year, then there is a good chance that you can earn a little more money.

If the picture is difficult to implement and a lot of pictures are needed, and everything should be ready within two weeks, then you can ask for more money directly and justify it with the fact that nobody can do such a job alone and you need at least 2-3 other draftsmen . Otherwise you will need more time. Time is money, time is a currency these days.

Mention a high sum, but always mention that the price is negotiable. But don't overdo it. The customers are mostly not beginners and have probably researched themselves how much a draftsman usually costs. If you name supernatural sums because the customer is called Bill Gates or because it is the company MICROSOFT, then the customers will feel cheated and insulted by you. Then there will be no more round of negotiations, just a thank you and goodbye.

So, always be fair! And never compare yourself to other draftsmen or their assignments. It may well be that the other draftsman earned three times as much with the same customer and then you think: how unfair or what a processing!

But you are not the other draftsman and as the saying goes: the customer is king. Whether he pays your colleagues ten times more than you now is up to him. He sure has his reasons.

Draftsmen who receive very large sums for individual illustrations or comic pages are large exceptions and not the rule.

How long do I need for a job?

Every draftsman works differently and at a different speed. There are draftsmen who only need 10 minutes for a drawn portrait, while others need 5 hours for the same picture in the same technique.

Your speed also determines your price. Until you are faster than others, then you can trump it.

Example: A customer pays 1000 euros for 10 illustrations in b / w and in the style of MOEBIUS for a cinema production. For a draftsman who needs 3 days for each picture, 1000 euros is too little, especially if he needs at least 2500 euros a month to support his family and is supposed to hand over the work in a week. But you can create a picture in 3 hours and actually only need 800 euros a month to live, then the 1000 euros earnings are acceptable for you.

You see, every draftsman is different. Every customer and order is different.

Typically, most customers pay between 150 and 500 euros for an illustration or comic page. Of course there are exceptions. There are comic artists who get 1,500 euros for a comic page and 5,000 euros for an illustration that is used for countless products around the world.

Don't be afraid to name a sum you think is fair, but be realistic. There are guidebooks that say you should charge at least 3,000 euros per illustration in color for an international project. If a customer signs up for an international project and 30 illustrations are required, the customer will most likely not have 90,000 euros to pay you. Maybe he's willing to pay 30,000, or just 12,000 euros.

And don't be afraid to negotiate. If 30,000 euros are too much for the customer, then asks directly how much he is willing to spend on the work. If he says 12,000 euros, then he says you can do it for 12,000 euros, but then without a background or not in color. Installment payments are also an option for customers if your work is really important to them. There is always the option to compromise.

How much can I earn as a comic book artist with a publisher?

If you want to publish a comic with a German publisher, you have to submit a project to the publisher. A publisher rarely looks for a comic project. Every year a lot of comic artists apply with ideas or even finished comics, so every publisher can pick the cherry on the cake. As a rule, German publishers tend to earn their money with licensed goods. Well-known comics from the USA, France or Japan, which are then translated into German.

Even large publishers start with German productions with small editions. With small editions I mean 500 to 2500 copies. If you find the message in the news that the entire first edition of a German comic or manga has sold, then do not assume thousands of copies.

It is the big publishers who can pay a comic book artist for his work. It always depends on the project and, of course, the artist's popularity. The earnings per project are now between 500 and 12,000 euros. Usually between 2500 and 5000 euros.

A comic artist, if he can convince and receives a contract with a large publisher, can count on 2,500 to 5,000 euros. If the artist is lucky or can bargain well, he / she will also participate in the profit or turnover (which is not the same !!!). The participation is usually between 2 and 20% of the profit. As a rule, the artist receives a deposit and the remaining amount when the work is ready for printing.

Small publishers can rarely pay anything, but they guarantee a profit sharing.

2500 or 5000 euros sounds like a lot, but when you consider that a comic artist sits on a comic for almost 1-2 years and has to work on it almost non-stop, then 5000 euros is pretty little. This is often the reason why many comic artists slide into the advertising industry. There they often earn the same for about 10 pages of comics that they create in two months.

Most comic artists charge around 300 euros for a finished comic page. Unfortunately, most comic artists get between 60 and 150 euros per comic page. And often they sit on a comic book page for several days.

Here, too, every draftsman has to find his own price.


In the advertising and film industry, you can ask for between 300 and 2500 euros for each finished comic page or illustration in color.

In the (comic / manga) publishing world you can earn between 1,500 and 5,000 euros per comic at a large publisher. Often with a profit participation of 2-20% in the sale of the work.

Publishers or small customers usually pay between 60 and 150 euros per finished comic page when they commission comic pages.

Of course, there are exceptions and each draftsman has their own prices.

Further reading:

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