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NUJ Freelance Fees Guide
Illustrations and cartoons
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Clients may have a mental image of illustrators working at the kitchen table with a pen or brush - forgetting that they demand high-resolution digital files and in some cases vector graphics. Supplying those requires software and equipment that does not come cheap and that requires regular updating. These costs should be factored into illustrators' fees.

Extra money for free

All freelance illustrators should register with the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) to receive payments from secondary uses such as photocopying, and provide the Society with updated lists of their published works. See Rights and why they are important.

Book illustrators are also entitled to a share of Public Lending Right payments and need to register with Public Lending Right UK to be sure of receiving this: see Rights and why they are important. From July 2018 PLR payments apply also to lending of ebooks.

§ See: Association of Illustrators <>

Notes on negotiating rates for strtolower(Illustrations and cartoons)

These are some things to remember when negotiating rates for illustrations and cartoons. And please send us your accounts of successful negotiations.

Retaining rights is particularly important to cartoonists, who may always live in hope that strips will be syndicated and that this will lead to book sales.

The suggested rates: strtolower(Illustrations and cartoons

The fees suggested below are for the client to have the right to publish the work once. Consider charging extra for additional rights. See Rights and why they are important.

The Association of Illustrators has conducted surveys that in many instances find higher rates than these. The results are currently available only to AoI members.

Books - category: A: UK only

The cost of a licence to reproduce an illustration in a book depends on the territories in which it will be sold - click on the category names for definitions of these.

Book jacketsGBP600.00
3/4 pageGBP150.00
>1/2 pageGBP130.00
1/4 pageGBP75.00
1/8 pageGBP40.00
Books - category: B: UK and Commonwealth bar Canada
Book jacketsGBP650.00
3/4 pageGBP200.00
>1/2 pageGBP140.00
1/4 pageGBP90.00
1/8 pageGBP50.00
Books - category: C: one language world rights bar USA
1/8 pageGBP50.00
Book jacketsGBP700.00
3/4 pageGBP230.00
>1/2 pageGBP150.00
1/4 pageGBP90.00
Books - category: D: all Europe, or USA, etc
Book jacketsGBP690.00
3/4 pageGBP215.00
>1/2 pageGBP175.00
1/4 pageGBP160.00
1/8 pageGBP135.00
Books - category: E: world rights all languages
Book jacketsGBP920.00
3/4 pageGBP320.00
>1/2 pageGBP220.00
1/4 pageGBP180.00
1/8 pageGBP100.00
Commissions - Magazines - category: A: large-circulation and glossy mags

Magazine rates also fall into categories - bands determined by the budget of the mag, which is loosely related to what it charges for advertising.

Feature strip up to 4 framesGBP180.00
Minimum per imageGBP150.00
Commissions - Magazines - category: B: smaller consumer mags
Feature strip up to 4 framesGBP165.00
Minimum per imageGBP125.00
Commissions - Magazines - category: C: larger trade and trade union mags
Feature strip up to 4 framesGBP165.00
Minimum per imageGBP125.00
Commissions - Magazines - category: D: smaller mags
Feature strip up to 4 framesGBP150.00
Minimum per imageGBP100.00
National newspapers - category: Newspapers
Feature stripGBP230.00
One columnGBP150.00
National newspapers - category: Newspaper supplements
Feature stripGBP160.00
One columnGBP120.00
Public relations - category: High budget
Full pageGBP640.00
3/4 pageGBP575.00
1/2 pageGBP510.00
1/4 pageGBP380.00
Feature strip up to 4 framesGBP230.00
Single frame larger than 100 sq cmGBP200.00
Public relations - category: Low budget
Full pageGBP570.00
3/4 pageGBP480.00
1/2 pageGBP435.00
1/4 pageGBP300.00
Feature strip up to 4 framesGBP200.00
Single frame larger than 100 sq cmGBP180.00
Single frame up to 100 sq cmGBP120.00
Regional newspapers - category: Regional daily newspapers
Feature stripGBP125.00
One columnGBP75.00
Regional newspapers - category: Weekly/local newspapers

Notes: illustrations and cartoons / / all

  • Rates paid by many local and free newspapers are too low for the NUJ to recommend that members carry out this work.

§ See: Association of Illustrators <>

This is updated to 2018-07-09 00:00:00; if you have a printout, check the current version at

Text © Mike Holderness & previous contributors; Moral rights asserted. The collection (database right) © National Union of Journalists. Comments to please. You may find the glossary helpful.

The National Union of Journalists must not, can not and would not wish to dictate rates or terms of engagement to members or to editors. The information presented here is for guidance and as an aid to equitable negotiation only.

Suggestions apply to contracts governed by UK law only. In any event, nothing here should be construed as legal advice.