Written by S. Kalekar September 23rd, 2019

10 Literary Markets Paying for Artwork

Literary and other magazines can be a nice source of additional income for artists, illustrators, and photographers. Having work published here can also make a great addition to an artist’s CV.

The guidelines for artists/illustrators are usually found under the ‘Submission’ or ‘Contributor’ guidelines tab (sometimes these are under ‘Contact us’ tab, or ‘About us’ tab) on a literary magazine’s website, and are pretty self-explanatory. Often they are found after writers’ guidelines – scroll past these guidelines, and artists’ guidelines are at the end. Sometimes there are no artists’ guidelines, only a contact email address, so artists may want to get in touch with the magazine to enquire about the best way to submit their artwork or portfolio.

While this is a list of artists’ guidelines, all of these magazines also pay writers.  

Many magazines require artists to submit their online or physical portfolios for perusal, so the magazine can contact them if interested – either for the existing artwork, or for specific commissions. It is usually a good idea for artists to check out the artwork in a magazine to see if it fits their style, and target particular markets. The magazine’s focus and mission statement can usually be found under the ‘About us’ tab. Also, just like submission periods for writers, a magazine will also often (not always) have specific submission periods for artwork submissions, so artists should be sure to submit only during that period, and in the format specified for each magazine.

Many accept work through a submissions system called Submittable (it’s free to set up). So artists may want to sign up for this before pitching, if they do not have a Submittable account already. Several also accept artwork via email or post. They usually ask to never send original artwork by post, only copies. Several prefer to make payments via PayPal, so artists may want to set up a PayPal account, if they don’t have one.

Some of the magazines in this list pay token amounts, and some pay well. None of them require artists to pay a fee to submit their work, and all of them are open for submissions now. Here they are, in no particular order.

Bitch Media
This magazine publishes articles that speak to feminist responses to pop culture. They are always looking for new illustrators to work with. Their guidelines say, “We commission people with various styles appropriate for each individual article.

Payment varies (existing work vs. commission-based) but is generally between $300-$600 for magazine features, $200-$350 for spot illustrations, and $500 for a photo essay.

We do commission online illustrations, infographics, and comics too, though less frequently. Payment starts at $100 for online images.” Apart from Submittable, they also have an email address and a postal address where artists can send portfolio link and any specific suggestions (style, topic) for artwork directly to. Bitch Media also pays writers well ($150-1,000 for print), and they accept pitches for essays. They occasionally post themes for writers, and accept work on an ongoing basis. Details here.

Prairie Fire
This Canadian literary magazine has writers’ guidelines, but no artists’ guidelines. They specify pay rates for artists, though – $100 for front cover reprint rights, and $25 per page for illustrations, portfolios, portraits reprint rights. So artists may want to get in touch to ask the best way to send their portfolios. Pay for writers is up to $250 for fiction, $50-250 for other prose, and $40 for poems for the print magazine, and lower for online (all pay rates are in Canadian dollars). All submissions have to be posted. Details here.

Strange Horizons
This is a magazine of science fiction and fantasy. They publish original art alongside one story each month. This artwork will be commissioned or selected by the fiction editors to accompany the story’s tone and content. Their guidelines say, “We commission art that tells a story. To tell that story, we want to see artists use all the tools at their command: color, composition, lighting, and detail”, and invite artists to look at previous issues. They want artists to send them one portfolio (if available), as well as three examples of work that the artists feel would be the best fit for this magazine. They are looking for work with the following: full color work with depth, texture, and thoughtful composition, work that evokes an emotion, work that captures a moment in time, character and mood, unusual approaches to figure, line, and color, and imagination. Look at artists’ guidelines for what will be hard sells, and for the kind of art they will not buy. They accept work on an ongoing basis. Art submissions have to be emailed. Pay is $200 for original artwork, and $100 if they use a piece from an artist’s already existing portfolio. They also pay for fiction ($0.08/word), nonfiction, poetry, reviews, and podcasts. Details here and here.

Leading Edge Magazine
This is a science fiction and fantasy magazine affiliated with and run through Brigham Young University; written and visual submissions must conform with the BYU Honor Code. This includes no nudity, sex, excessive violence, belittlement of traditional family values or religion, or drug use. They want emailed art submissions. Their guidelines say, “All images must be 300dpi or higher. Please note that you are submitting a portfolio, so you must send at least five examples of your work. You will be given roughly five weeks from time of commission to complete a piece for us.” Regarding art portfolio reviews they say, “If your work is selected to accompany a piece, you will be contacted by the Art Director in an email. We do not store portfolios, so if your work is not chosen for a specific issue, please resubmit in the future.” Art payment depends on the number of pieces contracted, but generally does not exceed $75. They also pay for fiction (up to $50), nonfiction, and poetry. Details here.

parABnormal Magazine
This magazine, from Alban Lake Publishing, is about the paranormal. This includes ghosts, spectres, haunts, various whisperers, and so forth. It also includes shapeshifters and creatures from various folklores, but not creatures like vampires, werewolves, and zombies. Shapeshifters, for the purpose of this magazine, refer to the spiritual shift, not the physical. Think Native American shaman. Paranormal activity centers around the human, not the creature. They are looking for innovative art on the theme of the digest. Work should be black and white, suitable for reproduction at 9” by 12”. Cover art should be–but not necessarily must be–in color. Work should be emailed as a standard JPG or GIF attachment. 300 dpi, black and white only. For interior art, they pay $5.00 each. Cover art will receive $100.00. They also pay for fiction ($25), poetry, and articles on the theme. They are open for submissions now, according to their website. Details here.

The Introspectionist
This online feminist magazine is always looking for new illustrators and photographers to work with. Their guidelines say, “Our articles and magazines are based on ideas, so we often commission illustrations and photographs with an eye to expressing an abstract concept or illustrating a particular visual, rather than a photograph of a specific subject. We look for people of various styles to appropriately represent the theme of an issue.” They are looking for photographs and artwork to be displayed on electronic screens of varying sizes, so look for pieces that will look good on multiple screen sizes. Artwork has to be emailed, and pay is $25 for a cover piece and $15 for other pieces. They also pay for writing – poetry, short fiction, and features ($25-200). They accept submissions on an ongoing basis. Details here.

Split Lip Magazine
This is a voice-driven literary journal with a pop culture twist. They publish online monthly and in print annually. They accept artwork, fiction (flash and short stories), memoir, and poetry. They accept fee-free submissions during some months of the year, and September is one such month. For art their guidelines say, “We want everyday & unusual art. Art steeped in memory & awareness. Art that’s subtle. Art that’s loud & kinda punk.” They want one high-resolution image or a link to the artist portfolio via Submittable. Materials may have been previously published online. They pay $50 for artwork, and for all for other contributions to the online magazine. Details here.

Analog Science Fiction and Fact
This is a premier science fiction magazine. For art their guidelines say, “We are interested in professional-level, mostly realistic work. Photographs are not normally used, but artists illustrating for us have worked with photos, using surreal effects.” Also, “The illustration must be able to visually interpret the story in such a way that it accurately represents the story, hooks the reader, and doesn’t give away the ending. Our stories contain a wide range of subject matter that that you must have the ability to draw. We like to see the capacity to illustrate an entire scene: one that not only has a character or characters, but also has a detailed background. You must know anatomy, perspective, balance, and figure proportions. We are not a comic book company, so please don’t send samples of comics pages.” They want four to six samples of the artist’s work to be posted to them – no originals, only copies. Pay is $1,200.00 for color cover art, and $125.00 for black and white interiors. Analog pays writers $0.06-10c/word for fiction, $0.09/word for fact-based articles, and $1/line for poetry. Details here.  

Fun For Kidz
This is a children’s magazine for 6-13-year-olds. For artists their guidelines say, “Most art will be by assignment, in support of features used. We are anxious to find artists capable of illustrating stories and features. We welcome copies of sample work, which will remain on file. Our inside art is pen and ink. We pay $35 for a full page and $25 for a partial page.” They also pay $5 per photograph, and $0.05/word for fiction and nonfiction. They also accept poetry, craft, and recipe submissions. All work has to be posted. Details here.

Cricket Media: nine magazines
They have several magazines for children, both literary and non-literary. Their literary magazines are Babybug (for ages 6 months to 3 years), Ladybug (ages 3 to 6), Spider (ages 6 to 9), and Cricket (ages 9 to 14). They also have science, technology, culture, social studies, and ideas magazines for ages 3 and up – Click (science and discovery for ages 3-7), Ask (science and discovery for ages 7-10), Muse (science and discovery for ages 9-14), Cobblestone (American history for ages 9-14), and Faces (world culture and geography for ages 9-14). Artwork is commissioned for all of these magazines. They want artwork samples. Artists should not send originals – “Send postcards, promotional brochures, or color photocopies. Be sure that each sample is marked with your name, address, phone number and website or blog. Art submissions will not be returned.” They want artwork samples to be posted. Pay is unspecified. They pay well for fiction in their literary magazines (up to $0.25/word), and they also buy nonfiction, poetry, games, puzzles, and activities. They often post themes for issues. Details here and here.


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