Free cartoons are not free. Cartoonists such as myself do this on a full time basis and it is our chosen profession. For the most part, when a request to use a cartoon “for free” is made, many cartoonists simply ignore the request and move on.
I tend to decipher the request a bit further, to see if there is any merit in the request and whether or not the person making the request actually has a budget for using my work. There may be potential for negotiation! Most creatives don’t realize there is still negotiating potential for using cartoons.
Cartoon licensing fees are negotiable based on your company and other factors
For instance, if there is a construction company inquiring to use a construction cartoon on their company Facebook page, this of course tells me that they actually have a budget. I normally try to emphasize this point by indicating their social media is a form of advertising, or a way of reaching out to their vendors and potential customers, and any graphics, photos or illustrations (including cartoons) used from outside professional resources will add intrinsic value to their pages. Thus my requesting a “licensing fee” for using my cartoons.
Ways licensing fees are structured based on usage
Potential users of cartoons may wonder how actual costs and fees are structured for the use of a cartoon or image and some factors include:
- I have web hosting fees incurred to keep my work online which are expensive
- I have web developer fees that were an initial expense when first building my catalog
- I base my fees on experience, by investing over 40 years into full time cartooning
- Costs to advertise and promote a web site online are included in justifying fees
- Various web domains I have, require an annual domain renewal fee
I liken the above points to a very familiar video by Harlan Ellison called “Pay The Writer“. Harlan’s basic emphasis is on how full time creatives should get paid for usage of their content and creative efforts. Not for exposure’s sake but for the ethical aspect…the intrinsic value of the work. As he so eloquently puts it, “amateurs make it tough for professionals” and if you think about this, it applies to photographers, authors, cartoonists, content providers of all types. I bluntly reiterate that cartoons are not free.