The flip side of the “page rate” discussion is what happens when a writer / producer commissions an artist and he / she just disappears. I can attest this happens a lot. I’ll find an artist I like, negotiate a page rate, write a script (often tailored for that specific artist’s style), send it along and then… nothing.
I’m currently going through this with two different artists. With one, I’ve sent 6 emails in the last month with no reply. He’s a recognizable industry name, a professional artist who (so he said) really liked my script and who told me he had already roughed out a few pages. So being the gullible guy I am I thought we would be working together. Luckily, I didn’t send him any money yet (although that’s happened too), and it's a small commission that I can easily switch to another artist.
Most likely the situation is that the artist agreed to a rate below what he ideally wanted because it seemed like a fun project, and
then he got busy and regretted his decision. I understand that, but can't understand why he can’t be upfront about it. Refusing to answer emails is just unprofessional.
So… if you’re an artist in this position, please do us writer / producers a favor and let us know what's going on. If you tell me that you got busy, or other things came up I can understand. But just blowing someone off without the courtesy of a reply is rude and unprofessional.
The other repercussion is that these experiences affect my attitude towards other artists. If I find a new artist I’m always thinking in the back of my mind “Is this guy really serious, or is he just jerking me around?” For that reason I tend to give new artists small commissions that won’t hurt me financially if they fall through. So one artist blowing off a project affects other artists too.
Luckily most of my experiences with artists have been really great. But the few bad seeds can make it harder for everyone else.