When unexpected work creeps into an existing illustration project

Dealing with project creep and how to properly and successfully add extra charges to a cartoon illustration assignment can be frustrating. Project creep is not some goon who’s who’s assigned you illustrationproject creep work and wants a specific cartoon created, while peering over your shoulder.

It’s may sound like that but it’s far from it. It’s actually a business phenomenon that occurs while you are actually working on an illustration project.

In the case of a cartoonist or humorous illustrator, it’s when extra work “creeps” into a project after the cartoonist or illustrator has actually accepted a job from a client.

And many times this “project creep” will occur after the illustration costs have been quoted to the client and the client has accepted that quote.

Let’s examine – say a cartoonist was approached for a quote to illustrate a cartoon for an article about safety, which will be used in a national trade magazine.

The art director or editor provides background information on that story and the cartoonist reads through to get an idea of what might be a good illustration.

Don’t let project creep make you feel creeped out!

In turn, the cartoonist quotes $500 and the art director accepts the bid and tells the illustrator or cartoonist to create one or two rough sketches which will later be done in color.

All went well so far…now the editor or art director asks if some changes can be made to the rough sketch. Fine, that’s usually a part of the overall quote and to be expected.

Later on, the art director realizes that image would look better as a two panel cartoon or comic strip. This is where complications begin.

It happens all the time. It is later decided that after the strip concept is introduced into the equation, that the characters within each panel represent the owner of a certain company in the article.

More complications. So a basic five hundred dollar illustration assignment develops some complicated “project creep” along the way, I think you get the idea.

Use tactics of making notes throughout your cartooning project

How to deal with it is yet another tactic…keep notes along the way, add details into those notes, and save them in an MSWord file or Notepad file.

And before you finalize that artwork, you will need to re-quote the fee with these extra charges added to the overall initial quote.

Perhaps one hundred dollars extra per itemized change or modification based on how much time or complications were involved.

Some may say that “creep” is a misnomer and shouldn’t even be an issue if a quote is done properly. I agree, but this happens on occasion no matter how established the illustrator or cartoonist may be in sending out quotes.

Consider this information for those who are beginners or experience project creep on those unexpected occasions based on the client!

As always, thanks for stopping by the ToonBlog and feel free to share this article with a fellow creative you feel may benefit from it. Have a comment or question? I am here for you!