What does it cost to get a fantasy map?
That varies wildly!
Maps for Professional Publishing Industry or Business
Contact me for a custom no commitment quote. Your needs are likely to be more diverse and intense than the roleplaying game crowd.
So you want to commission a map for your Dungeons and Dragons campaign
and you want to know how much it’ll cost.
It’s hard to give a traditional menu, unlike some art forms which are very predictable in production time, maps vary a ton in the amount of time, based on the scope of the project. A couple of styles are very predictable in production time, but for the most part, I find cartography commissions quite unpredictable. Sometimes they’re fast, sometimes they’re slow and extensively detailed.
Content in my portfolio as of writing cost anywhere between $50-$1000+. Maps range in complexity. If this is for a commercially published project, contact me for a quote at calthyechild@gmail, please.
However, I understand those wondering have smaller projects for self published or private roleplaying games and you might want an idea of what you’re in for, so I’ve made a rough menu of the low-high range for artwork. It is subject to change. Prices subject to negotiation based on density, turnaround time, etc. The amount of custom elements created for your map and how fast you want it will impact the price. I’m willing to negotiate based on your budgetary needs, especially if it’s non-commercial and you’re not in a hurry.
Maps for Roleplaying Games, talking to you, DMs / GMs / LMs
- Printer paper sized handout of regional map – $150-$400
- Medium poster or any small city, period – $250-$850
- Large poster printout or larger city – $300-800
- Huge detailed full color painting with a ton of rendered out details, very large print size, highly complex custom piece – $500-$800
- Single location black and white or color “photobash” battlemap on a grid: $15-$50 per room–with some wiggle room for what’s considered a “room”. For example a prison cell block would be a room, not each cell. I created a hollowed out tree with four levels, each level was a “room”. If it’s a larger exterior layout, $50-$400.
Why are larger maps more expensive?
They take a lot longer to produce.
My rate for my work is $35 an hour, and while I will give you a quote that is a single digit based on the needs of your project, it will be based on how much time I estimate it to take. I do consider it reasonable to make a living wage from my work. I respect that not everyone has the budget for hundreds of dollars of map artwork, though.
Maps for Novels, talking to you, Indi Authors!
Independent authors, this is what you can expect to pay for a map to go into your fantasy or other map-needing novel:
- 1 page for a novel, black and white – $75-$500
- 2 page spread for a novel, black and white or parchment – $150-$800
Contact me specifically for anything else, such as chapter flare, illustrations for in-story, and maps that require more than a 1 or 2 page spread (fairly unlikely, but it has happened! Usually maps for a novel can be condensed into one or two page spreads however, and you can expect your quote to fit into that ballpark. I have some room to negotiate of course.)
Fee for Expediting Work
These fees are based on your place in the queue. If you require a fast turnaround it is possible to bump in line (I am a one person operation and I always have several commissions already on the go). This will increase the price based on how fast you require the work. Work done on “my time” can always be haggled cheaper, so let me know if you’re not in a hurry and my quote will reflect that time I’ll have to mull over the direction and doodle this and scribble that and be otherwise a fussy pain in the tush with my artistic integrity and whatever.
Fee for Editing Work
All commissions include a reasonable number of edits. I have found when it comes to emails there is a fairly expected number of back and forths. If you request edits at the appropriate time in the workflow, there is no additional fee as it is part of the construction of the artwork.
Requesting edits to work that has already been approved and will require pulling up the groundwork to change, will be charged on an hourly basis on top of the original quote, as this will alter my anticipated amount of time spent (which is fairly consistent I have found after doing this for many years!) Major changes are permitted but may incur an additional fee which will be explained immediately, and not sprung upon you at the time of the invoice.
Requesting edits to the work long after it has been approved is generally permissible, with a small one time fee of $20 for any small changes. Significant changes that would take hours of work will be discussed on a case-by-case basis as to the cost, though of course I am always happy to revise work. Mostly this has happened in the form of a client changing some place names, or an event occurring in one book, causing for example, a city to be replaced with a crater in the next book. Those sorts of minor changes to the map fit under the $20 post-approval revision fee. I reserve the right to request a larger change fee depending on the work.
Usage Rights and Reuse
A decreased fee to commission the art can be arranged if you want to give up commercial rights and just use it privately, allowing me to resell it in any way I see fit in the future. Basically, you sponsor the creation of something that could become stock or RPG Virtual Tabletop assets in the future. If this is not discussed explicitly at the time of commission it does not apply. If we do not talk about this you get the usual rights, use for any associated media around one project, and I retain my usual rights (In short: I don’t sell it, but I will use it to demonstrate my skill).
Commissioning art gets you the right to use the map in anything associated with the specific project you’re using it in, and I retain the right to display the art as part of my portfolio and demonstrate my skills. If you wish to use it for something other than the series you’ve initially attached the map to, I have a small reuse fee of $20.
This is generally unlikely to apply. You can put the same map into any successive books in a series, but there is a small fee for minor edits for changes in the timeframe. You can use the map to promote your book, give it away for free in a newsletter or social media page promoting that project. But say, 20 years down the road you decide to make an RPG module and use the map in there too, you would pay the reuse fee.
If you are a Game Master and you commission a map to use as a basis on which you run a game, yes, you have permission to use a map you commission from me in any future game you run. The fee does not apply to you, whether or not you are a for-pay DM. What it would apply to is if you decided 20 years down the road to write a novel and use the map as part of your novel. “You running a game” is the associated project.