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 lainformacion.com 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.
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:
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.
what 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
Jose 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.
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
José 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”
Ferran 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
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..
Santy Gutiérrez, Vigo 1971
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.
Santy Gutiérrez‘s website
A lot of documentaries about cartoonists: