Open debate: the cartoonist's salary


Open debate: the cartoonist's salary

Open debate: the cartoonist's salary


A few days ago, the digital newspaper Lainformacion, announced a competition in which it offered as a prize to join the staff of cartoonists for a month.

The mechanics is simple, to take a gamble on a single current affairs cartoon. Among all the cartoons sent to the gallery until 23 April, and after a first selection in which 10 finalists will remain, the cartoonists of the newspaper will have the last word as a jury to choose the winner.

In principle, the prize offered was a negotiable salary for the winner, which triggered more or less well-argued criticism and I don't deny that the rules seemed strange to me, to say the least, but I took it for granted that it was a simple error in the proposal with no ulterior or dark intentions.

There are many cartoonists who are self-employed, each one for their own reasons, and they set the price of their work according to their own criteria, the moment, their needs, etc. What could not be denied is that the rules were ambiguous.

The response came immediately and the newspaper clarified the rules, setting the total prize at 1000 euros for a month publishing cartoons from Monday to Friday.

This immediately made some people assume that if the prize was 1000 euros, that was the salary of the cartoonists of and that's all, they are convinced that 50 euros per piece is rubbish, just because, without any further information or analysis.

For these people, the cartoonists are "pulling" the prices, which forces them to publish in a lot of places to the detriment of their colleagues and that for this reason, they will not find work. Debatable opinion.

But it is true that few companies pay what others suggest that jobs cost and that the prices for graphic humour in the press have not moved for more than ten years and that in most cases they are imposed by the titles.

Page of indicative rates of "Libro blanco de la ilustración" according to this page that is circulating on the net, it is from 2006

And as everything is open to opinion, there were many opinions that I crossed with some colleagues who found the initiative strange, others even unworthy.

As is often the case, two negative comments out of a hundred empty positive ones make more noise than a well-argued critique.

For several days I had talks with several colleagues about it, some considered that it shouldn't be called a competition and renamed a "selection test" like any other job, others saw it as an opportunity to be seen, others applauded the idea, claiming that no other media, digital or otherwise, dared to take on such a proposal, opinions of all colours.

What I have always been very clear about, and even more so today, is that the salary of a cartoonist is very clear and in most cases it is: "it depends".

No two professionals are the same, and not because they have more or less rights than others, some look for commissions, others for a job with its timetable, its salary and its canesú and others none of these things?

and how much do you earn?

I don't know what each one charges and I confess that it has never worried me, but nobody related to this controversy has asked me, although it wasn't necessary either, it would have been enough to search a little to discover that since this blog exists I openly expose the price of the pieces.

I was struck by the insistence of some people that cartoonists should publicly declare their salaries, some even demanded the newspaper to do so. What company does that, would you want the company you work for to make your salary public at anyone's request? I suppose the answer is again....depende.

The job of press cartoonist has its particularities, which I don't think I need to explain at this point, there are not so many vacancies, nor are there so many vacancies or vacancies that there are so many vacancies that there are job offers every month.

In a country like this, which is a continuous joke, it's funny that there is only one satirical magazine, which comes out on Wednesdays, for which almost everyone wants to work, and let's not kid ourselves, more than one would do it even for free.

A couple of somewhat related links:

Por amor al arte, manifiesto del dibujante (For the love of art, cartoonist's manifesto)

Rules of the good cartoonist


Cartoonists spend half our lives making satires and the other half criticising almost everything, sometimes even subjects about which we don't have enough information or the information we do have is steeped in personal opinion. At the end of the day, a cartoon is still the personal vision of the cartoonist.

Now it's not a question of acting as a wuss, but of getting involved. I assume that all professionals know how much is charged here or there, but it is not information that is normally shared.

Some people elevate certain authors to the status of stars, almost to the status of impact leaders, when in reality they all tend to be forced to go by the current events, who stop only for a moment and then quickly sound the siren for the next trip.

Admittedly, I had hoped that one or another author would weigh in on this issue, but very few I have found who have done so publicly. So I have taken the time to send a common question to one of them.

Here are the first replies received, published in order of arrival. As soon as the pending ones arrive I will add them and continue to ask for other opinions.

I appeal to the courage, the critical spirit and the boldness of my guild mates to enrich this open debate on something that seems to be a subject we always discuss in the back room. Courage, brave men.

Open debate: the cartoonist's salarywhat salary do you consider fair for publishing a current affairs cartoon from Monday to Friday?

Cartoonists debate about the salary and/or price of the piece

Debate a tumba abierta: el sueldo del dibujanteJose María Bielza Maestre, Madrid 1971

"The truth is that I don't have any reference data. I've just been paid 100 eur for a cartoon on Mingote organised by a CC next to my house, but I'm going to spend it in the shops there (my son has already ordered a Lego)

The minimum wage for this year is 641,40 euritos, which means at least 32 euritos per vignette. Below that, it would be illegal. However, I believe that most comedians are self-employed, so they could be squeezed below that figure. But come on, 32 euritos is almost a joke. And without the almost. You end up like Coll, hanging up your gear and going to a construction site to work as a palette artist.

I take as a reference the American salary surveyof cartoonists and they have a gross range between 35,096 and 63,287 euritos. Let's round off the income tax bracket and assume a withholding tax of 37%. Add 7% more for Social Security. A 44% reduction leaves us a net range of 19,654 and 35,441. In 12 payments that is between 1,638 and 2,954 euros. To be divided by 5 weekly vignettes at a rate of 4 weeks per month: between 82 and 148 euros per vignette.

That's what I think we should charge for a vignette from Monday to Friday"

Author's links: JoBi's blog - Resources for graphic humour

Debate a tumba abierta: el sueldo del dibujante Joseba Morales, Tenerife 1983

"In this case it would be necessary to define whether we are talking about salary or tariff.

The cartoonist is not a paid employee of the newspaper in question but a freelance professional who is paid a fee for the service provided, in this case the daily cartoon. The question would then be what rate per cartoon would be fair for a periodicity of Monday to Friday?

Well, there is plenty of room for debate here, and each cartoonist should use his or her own common sense. For the sake of not being too low or going too far over the top.

In other sectors, let's take a carpenter for example, he knows what the other carpenters in his area charge per chair, to give an example, and he can set his price by playing with this. With the quality of his chair and with the price a bit lower than the rest if it is convenient for him in order to create his market share.

In the case of the cartoonist, and illustrator the same thing is happening in this field, there is a certain opacity about the prices of the professionals, so setting a fair price becomes a risky task since it is not clear if you are in the market with the fixed price or not.

So, to answer the question, I would consider a price of €60 per vignette to be fair, which would make a gross of €1200 per month.

am I going too low, am I going too high? I don't know. It seems fair to me

Joseba's blog

Debate a tumba abierta: el sueldo del dibujanteJosé Luis Padilla "Padylla". Las Palmas de Gran Canaria 1976

"I think you have to make a difference between what you think you deserve and what you are really willing to pay per vignette.

To calculate what you deserve, you have to take into account: number of hours spent (in thought and production) + recognition of the author. Frequency must also be taken into account, i.e., a contract for a few is not the same as a
the price per vignette in the first case is higher than in the second case. Another factor to take into account is the audience. A local medium is not the same as a national one, electronic is not the same as paper (sadly),...

In concrete terms, a cartoonist with some experience deserves 50 euros net for a cartoon of this regularity, i.e. (22 days *50=1100 net). If it were a sporadic cartoon, the price could go up more... 100 o 150 . In any case, 1000 euros a month gross for a digital newspaper with an average readership doesn't seem too bad for the way things are.

I spend between 2 and 3 hours on average.

You also have to take into account that a cartoonist is not exclusive to one medium, so he or she can get a higher salary working for more media"

Padylla's blog.

Debate a tumba abierta: el sueldo del dibujanteFerran Martín, Barcelona 1970

To that question, I can only say that it obviously depends on several factors.
It's not the same to collaborate in a medium like El Mundo or El País, as it is to collaborate in El Jueves, or in e-notícies. To give you a few examples.

It also depends on the professional career of each person.
I understand that a colleague who is just starting out doesn't earn the same as Manel Fontdevila, to cite a name at random.
Another factor, of course, is the frequency of publication.

The price of a cartoon will vary if it is weekly, daily (Monday to Sunday, or Monday to Friday), monthly or fortnightly. Another factor is the type of media: the rate will vary if we publish for a magazine, newspaper or other digital media.

As you can see, I can't give you a single price. All these factors are relevant, at least for me, when it comes to setting a price. Haven't I been too specific? I think the prices for a vignette can vary between 50 and 120 euros, depending on everything described above"

Ferran Mundo Visualwebsite

Debate a tumba abierta: el sueldo del dibujante Mauro Entrialgo, Vitoria 1965

"As in any other professional illustration or comic commission, several factors should be taken into account when considering a fair remuneration..

1-The profit that the company that acquires your rights is going to make: a strip for the local newspaper is not the same as a strip for an agency that is going to reproduce it in a thousand newspapers all over the world. Nor is a purely digital medium the same as one that has a paper and a website. When a client claims that a job is going to be seen by many people in order to pay less for it, he has not understood anything.
2-You also have to take into account the volume of the order: it is not the same to do a monthly strip or a sporadic collaboration as it is to do one every day. It is logical that a client who guarantees you an almost daily purchase over a long period of time will receive a good discount.
3-Another very important consideration is the labour regime in which you work: it is not the same to be employed and have paid social security, holidays, extra pay, sickness, severance pay and the possibility of unemployment when you are fired than to invoice as self-employed.
4-Finally, it is logical that the price fluctuates according to the author's popularity because it is directly proportional to the number of readers he or she will get.
How long it takes a person to do a creative work is irrelevant. When Leonardo finished the fresco of "The Last Supper" the client reproached him for charging that amount for something that had taken him only three days to finish. Leonardo explained something very important: yes, it had taken him three days to do it, but a lifetime to learn how to do it.
Taking these factors into account - and some others that I won't go into here - I consider a payment of between 125 and 250 euros for a strip or a cartoon to be fair"

's website

Santy Santy Gutiérrez, Vigo 1971

"I've been making cartoons for the press for 16 years, I've never had any other job, and during this time I've learned (I think) a couple of things.
The question has its intricacies, it doesn't ask "how much do you pay for doing cartoons", but "how much do you think you should be paid". The answer is obvious, "should be paid" much more than what is actually "paid" for them.
I have read some pretty well-argued answers. All professionals know the criteria by which we budget our work (circulation, circulation, periodicity, type of medium, etc...) but none of them have so far mentioned something that I consider key: we cartoonists are prestigious contributors to the newspaper, at least on the same level (if not higher) than the highly respected columnists. We are an opinion firm and our rates should never be lower than those of the columnists. There is even a fundamental difference, and that is that while as a general rule a newspaper usually has at least ten or so columnists, cartoonists are usually (with some exceptions) at most one or two
And the cartoonists are the "star" contributors (if you know what I mean), because it has been proven that readers do not read the whole newspaper, many columnists are ignored and some news sections are overlooked, butthe cartoon is ALWAYS read
Many readers read the front page (or the last page, depending on where they start) and then skim the cartoon. The cartoons are commented on, spread on the internet, cut out, pinned on noticeboards... The cartoonist is one of the main and most effective tools for building reader loyalty. As a general rule, the public tends to adore the newspaper's local cartoonist and his or her joke is talked about in the bars
It has been calculated that a good cartoonist contributes significantly to newspaper sales, and the social impact of a cartoon and its duration in the reader's memory is greater than that of headlines. All this is not trivial. These are the reasons why all newspapers still have cartoons in their pages after more than a century of printed information. We are still in newspapers because we generate revenue for them.
And so my answer is that cartoonists should be paid at least as much as the highest paid text columnist. How much is that? Well, it depends on the newspaper, of course: those who can pay stupendous figures to reputable opinionators should budget a similar figure for their star cartoonist

My personal opinion is that cartoonists should be paid at least 120-150 euros per cartoon. Does that sound like a lot? More is the profit we generate for the newspaper. "A lot" or "a little" are subjective concepts, in any case they seem to me to be "adequate" figures.

What happens is that reality tells us that most of the Spanish press is local or regional, and their figures are MUCH lower than those of the generalist newspapers, so we have to be rational and take into account the numbers of the newspaper that hires us. Charging in the order of 50/60 euros per cartoon would also seem to me to be appropriate.

As a fact that may help, I have a maxim that under no circumstances should I charge less than what a staff writer costs the newspaper. For a serious newspaper, a humourist is worth an extra salary"

Santy Gutiérrez's website

A lot of documentaries about cartoonists:

Open debate: the cartoonist's salary

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