Microstock cartoons are stock cartoon images offered on sites consisting of tens of thousands of images. Microstock agencies began when photography was being offered across the internet.
I am personally against this so called business model based on many factors, and realize I cannot tell others how to run their business, let alone do it on the world wide web.
The only thing I can do is emphasize my disdain, based on the actual model itself.
Unlike huge image libraries on the web, I have a limited number of cartoons I offer on DansCartoons.
It has taken decades to actually perfect a decent, identifiable drawing style I feel comfortable with.
It’s taken an equal number of years to study marketing and self promotion and learning the art of negotiating one on one over as many years, with a myriad of editors, art directors, creative professionals, publishers etc.
Then to learn basic hypertext markup language and web design was yet another great investment in time and money in order to set up a decent archive of my work to offer potential clients.
That being said, I feel microstock undermines the overall value of gag cartoons offered online.
Even though I myself provide images for licensing, some have labeled my work online as “stock” . . . and nothing could be further from the truth, based on previous investments mentioned .
Cartoons are not part of the microstock genre
Microstock sites are licensing images for pennies on the dollar, based on their huge inventories.
At the same time, they are ignorant to the historical facts that overall licensing values are based on usage. The fact is microstock licensors pay no attention to this aspect in licensing.
A cartoon for example, licensed by a textbook publisher that’s licensed for multiple uses digitally, can be included on the company web page, in an ebook version of the intended titled, on compact disk version of the same title, in email promotions, in presentations for that same title and more.
Microstock undervalues cartoons
At the same time, that image will go into the actual hard copy book and then there are ‘world’ rights to consider not to mention possibly hundreds of thousands of copies of the proposed textbook.
Also take into consideration second and possibly third printings of the same title.
Many variables like this create an intrinsic value to that actual image. Whether that image is a photograph, illustration, infographic or cartoon, it has an intended usage and a finite value.
That value can be negotiated one on one between the copyright holder (you), and the interested permissions researcher or photo / picture editor who is interested in you work.
I’ve personally negotiated hundreds of dollars per image. Images being cartoons which I’ve invested years of time into.
That is the value I place on what I’ve created. Microstock isn’t concerned with this aspect of creativity. It’s only a numbers game to them.
What can potentially earn you hundreds of dollars per image will see a microstock agency offering that same image for fifteen, twenty or a few more dollars . . .it’s a concept that undermines the overall value of your work.
This is the impetus for my post, to actually shed some light on realizing the value of your time, work, investments and of course talent….the actual works you’ve created. Microstock cartoons are not just a series of images in an overall database.