Guide to Costing

A common question is “how much does a cartoon illustration cost?”

Unfortunately, it’s one of those “how long is a piece of string?” questions.

Every quote for a project is treated individually and the main that effect price are…

     •     The amount of detail in the cartoon

     •     The time it will take to produce the cartoon

     •     Is there a likeness or caricature? If so, this takes longer to produce

     •     USAGE OF THE CARTOON - is it for a one-off t-shirt or poster, or will it be used as company branding or identity?

     •     The time you would like to use the cartoon for. Think of it as if you are hiring the cartoon because that, in effect, is what you will be doing. Will it be for 6 months? One year? Two years…..?

COPYRIGHT © is the biggest factor. If you want to buy the copyright to the cartoon design I produce for you, this will incur a larger cost. Most of the time copyright buyout is not needed, but in the case of logos and branding, it is the norm.

As a general rule, cartoon illustration starts at $300 and moves upwards depending on the factors listed above.

Copyright is automatic to the artist (Sean Gaskin) and remains as his intellectual property until it is ‘bought out’ (by the client) for an extra cost. The Australian Cartoonists’ Association (of which I am a member) has published a guideline for

publishing rates. Branding (ie. logos, mascots etc.) for companies and products is seen in a different light to one-off illustrations and generally attract a higher fee.

If you are based in NEW ZEALAND add GST to the price. International clients are not charged tax.

For a more detailed quote for your project please don't be shy to email me or call me on +64 21 366 945

Deadlines & Timing

Never missed a deadline, and not planning to!

If I can't get the work done on time I won't take on the project. If your deadline is "tomorrow" and I have a free schedule, great - bring it on! But with a realistic time frame there is often a better outcome and everyone is happy.

Most illustrations are able to be physically drawn within a couple of days, but often are held up in the revisions and approval process. The faster approval or revisions are decided upon, the faster the work will be done.

The timing also depends on the amount and urgency of other projects I am currently working on.

Writing a Creative Brief

A design or creative brief is a written explanation outlining the job that you are wanting done. Here are some tips and ideas on how to write an effective brief for commissioning artwork or design. The better the communication of ideas, the better the chance of a successful end result.

Creative briefs are usually written in Word or PDF documents, but may also be written as an email if need be. Don't be limited by these points; they are just suggestions. So here we go.....


Tell me some information about your company. Be sure to include:

     •     The name of your company or business

     •     The nature of the business

     •     How big your company is (ie. how many staff are employed)


It is important to give a general overview of the job and the projected outcome.

     •     What is the project?

     •     What are you expecting this art or design to achieve for your business?

     •     Who is going to see the finished product?

     •     Who are you trying to attract?


Exactly what artwork are you needing?

For example:

     •     One (1) full colour character design

     •     Three (3) full colour poses with no background

     •     One (1) detailed illustration (A4 size) of the character driving a car in the countryside

     •     Etc.


It is best if you let me know how much you have allotted to spend on the project. This allows me the option to find an art or design solution that will fit your budget.

If there is a specific deadline that needs to be met, I will need to be informed.


It is very important that you show me images that incorporate the ideas or 'look' that you are after. Feel free to send over images that I have produced, as well as others that you may have found online.

Please note that I will not copy other artists' work. I always assume that you are approaching me to create a unique piece of art or design, tailored for your business.


While it is my job to bring artistic ideas to the table, it can help if you present your initial ideas at the outset. This way we can talk about the possibilities without too much trial and error later. Such things may be:

     •     Style of the art or design

     •     Colours

     •     Positioning or posing of characters or images

     •     Typefaces - handwritten, modern, traditional, serif, sans-serif etc.

     •     Look and feel


Please list the file format(s) you require. Generally, if the work is for print, the standard formats are:

     •     TIFF

     •     PDF

     •     JPG (RGB colour only)

If the work is solely for a website, or screen resolution, then the most common formats are:

     •     JPG

     •     PNG

It is always best to check with your printer or web developer to determine what the required format will need to be.

Well, that's the basic gist of it. If you have any questions regarding the design brief process, feel free to contact me and we can chat more.

Payment Terms and Conditions


     •     A schedule compatible with the Client’s timing requirements will be established at the outset of the project.

     •     All dates and time schedules are contingent upon prompt project commencement and timely Client’s input as required.


     •     At least 50% deposit must be paid before commencement to secure my time on the project. For private commissions I require 100% upfront.

     •     Final artwork files are delivered 'C.O.D style' - only after final balance has been received and processed.

     •     Direct bank deposit is the preferred payment method, though I can accept payment via Paypal or by cheque. If you are paying via Paypal, there is a small percentage fee to cover their processing costs.

     •     If you are paying by cheque, please allow extra time in your deadline for processing. International cheques (checks) incur a $20 fee.

     •     If you cancel the project before completion, there is a 'Kill Fee' of 50% of balance owing. If more than half the work has been produced, the cost is worked out as the percentage of work completed.


     •     Client acknowledges that Artist (Sean Gaskin) is first and sole owner of all “copyright” and shall retain intellectual rights of all Illustration(s) and/or Artwork(s).

     •     Under international law, copyright and intellectual property always belongs to the Artist (Sean Gaskin) unless copyright is assigned to the Client (yourself) in the form of a 'Copyright Assignment'. Copyright can be purchased if required, but usually an 'Exclusive License' is the best option.

     •     An Exclusive License allows the client full priveliges of the artwork in specified regions and agreed applications/purposes (ie. TV, Web, Print, T-shirts etc.) for a specific time period (ie. two years).

     •     All usage rights are void until full payment has been received.

     •     The Artist is entitled to use all Illustrations or Artwork for self promotion purposes or to enter into any contest.

     •     Reassigning of Rights : Client may not assign or transfer this Licence or any part thereof unless authorised in writing by the Artist.

     •     No modifications, changes or alterations may be made to Illustrations or any part thereof, directly or indirectly, without the Artist’s prior written consent.

     •     All original artwork sold is subject to 'No Reproduction Rights', meaning that if you buy an original sketch or drawing that you do not have the right to copy or reproduce the art in any way , including online or in printed matter without the express written permission of the artist, Sean Gaskin.


     •     Artwork is delivered in electronic medium unless printing is required

     •     Sketches and previews are sent via email

     •     Final artwork is sent via email, file transfer website, or post

     •     Artist’s Copies : Client shall furnish the Artist with two copies of the Work upon publication.


     •     Client agrees to include a credit to the Artist in connection with the Work.

If you are going ahead with a project or illustration please email me your written agreement to proceed.

Enough talk, let's do this!

Ok! You're ready to get in touch and commision me to draw you something awesome! Before you do, please make sure you can supply me with the following things:

     •     A nice creative brief. The more information I have the easier it is for me to quote you and create the artwork that you are after. Communication is essential, otherwise it's all guesswork, and will end up costing you more. If you're unfamiliar with how to do one I have written a few pointers on writing a creative brief (see heading above).


     •     I'll need your business details  or invoicing. These are full business/trading name, street address, phone/fax numbers, email address, website.


     •     Unless you are a book or magazine with an established publisher I will require a deposit before I start the job. I will send out an invoice with my banking details for the amount required.

Contact Details for the Communicative



Mobile: +64 21 366 945


Sean Gaskin

11 Black Street

Wairoa 4108

Hawkes Bay

New Zealand