Sample Illustration Agreement / Contract / Terms

By heather at 1:00 am on Wednesday, March 21, 2007

When working with Clients on illustration or design projects, establishing the terms of working together before the project begins protect both the interests of the Artist and the Client. A contract which clearly includes your Terms & Conditions is one of the most important documents you can set up for your illustration business… it will set you apart as being ethical & professional. Having your clients sign a contract doesn’t take much time… and if taking a minute to sign an agreement for the project ahead scares them away, they probably weren’t legit anyway. In my experience, any legitimate business would not bat an eyelash at signing a contract before the work commences.

When writing your own Terms & Conditions, be sure to specify :

  • • the timeline for the project
  • • what you are providing to the client
  • • what rights the client will have to the artwork
  • • what rights you will have to the artwork (i.e. intellectual rights, the right to use the art for self promotional purposes, etc)
  • • whether you are willing to allow the client to alter your designs / artwork
  • • cancellation fees
  • • number of copies of the finished product you hope to be provided free of charge

Sample Illustration Terms & Conditions

Below I’ve copied my Terms & Conditions (which I include when I give a quote,) feel free to use this as a starting point to create your own:

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

TIME SCHEDULE
A schedule compatible with the Client’s timing requirements will be established at the outset of the project, with project commencement contingent upon prompt acceptance of this proposal, and with anticipated completion date of March 31, 2007. All dates and time schedules are contingent upon prompt project commencement and timely Client’s input as required.

TERMS & CONDITIONS
1. Client acknowledges that Illustrator is first and sole owner of all “copyright” and shall retain intellectual rights of all Illustration(s).
2. Upon payment in full of all fees, the Illustrator shall grant the Client’s unlimited rights for all approved designs and shall transfer
ownership of high resolution scans of the illustrations, design mechanicals, and reproduction specifications to the Client.
3. Illustrator is entitled to use all Illustrations for self promotion purposes or to enter into any contest.
4. Reassigning of Rights : Client may not assign or transfer this Licence or any part thereof unless authorized in writing by Illustrator.
5. No modifications, changes or alterations may be made to Illustrations or any part thereof, directly or indirectly, without Illustrator’s prior written consent.
6. Cancellation: Should Client choose to cancel work after commencement, Client agrees to pay Illustrator 25% of the final fees if the cancellation occurs after sketches; 50% of the final fee if cancellation occurs after revised linears; and 100% of the final fee if cancellation occurs after final art.
7. Credit : Client agrees to include a credit to Illustrator in connection with the Work.
8. Illustrator’s Copies : Client shall furnish Illustrator with two copies of the Work upon publication.
9. Terms become effective upon the signing of the agreement. It will be retroactively cancelled if the Client is in default of carrying out the complete payment of the invoice in the 90 days of receipt.

If you found this post helpful, you might also like to read about other Business Tips for Illustrators here.

Filed under: business of illustration

19 Comments »

1
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May 18, 2007 @ 2:27 am

[…] For all you aspiring illustrators, Illustration Castle provides a sample illustration contract and terms. […]

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Pingback by The Anachronic Herald » Blog Archive » Agreement, contract and terms for illustrators

May 28, 2007 @ 10:55 pm

[…] Seen at Illustration Castle Read All About It […]

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Comment by Nick

June 18, 2007 @ 9:45 pm

Thanks yet again Heather. An invaluable resource, especially when needed at the last minute!

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Comment by heidi

January 21, 2010 @ 7:00 am

just a quick query - if I want to add in that my fee is an advance on royalties, how do i go about adding that to the t+c?

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Comment by heather

January 21, 2010 @ 9:22 pm

Hi Heidi, I just wrote a new post about illustration contracts with details on royalties here :

http://blog.illustrationcastle.com/2010/01/21/childrens-book-illustration-contract/

Cheers,Heather

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Comment by Denise

February 6, 2010 @ 7:29 am

What kind of contract do I need to purchase if I want to own the work I have someone illustrate for me… and is this the way its done? i just dont want anyone ruining my life in the future.. I’d rather pay upfront…

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Comment by heather

February 8, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

f you’re working with illustrators, you would use this same sort of
contract and just state that you would own exclusive rights to use the
artwork. (It is very unusual for authors/publishers to purchase the
original artwork, and doing so costs more.) I can understand your
concerns about unforseen problems arising in the future…
illustrators have the same worry! Just make sure everything you want
is clearly in your contract and you’ll be ‘right!

Also, carefully choosing an illustrator you feel is responsible and
reliable (not just talented!) will help you feel more at ease working
together on a project, as it can be a wonderful collaborative
experience!

Cheers,
Heather

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Comment by sample templates

June 8, 2010 @ 8:41 pm

This is good for many people.

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Comment by Ashley

June 12, 2010 @ 12:14 pm

Should we changing the word “illustrator” to our own full name in the copy we give the client?

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Comment by book publisher

July 27, 2010 @ 3:45 pm

This is so useful, thank you!

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Comment by Holly

October 15, 2010 @ 9:37 am

What are typical terms for future editions of a book with illustrations? The artist will retain the rights over her drawings, and we will be paying a specified amount for the use of them in our book - is that usually a one-time fee? Or is it customary to pay an honorarium upon additional editions? We are doing this book as part of a nonproft project (we have some grant money), and do not have the resources to manage royalties.

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Comment by google talk download

January 26, 2011 @ 11:25 am

This is a good,common sense article.Very helpful to one who is just finding the resouces about this part.It will certainly help educate me.

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Comment by hector

February 25, 2011 @ 8:22 am

Thanks, this has been very helpful. I have just a question.If your illustrations are going to be published in other countries do you charge an extra fee and which is the percent?
Warm regards and congratulations for this blog.

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Comment by michael antoniades

March 25, 2011 @ 7:19 am

Heather,
I have browsed through your website to a great extend but and I was wondering as to what would be your method of payment to be stated on a contract. I have not seen anywhere in the conditions of the contract anything regarding this matter. What payment method would be acceptable to the client without taking into consideration the complexity of the project.
Thank you.
Michael

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Comment by Spring Flowerchild

May 4, 2011 @ 7:49 pm

Thanks for sharing this. It’s written simply. Just what i needed.

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Comment by Madeleine

July 26, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

I am an artist and someone wants me to illustrate for them. They want to own the artwork outright and I would have no claim to the artwork as far as royalties go. I have increased my price because of this. However, an hour before we were to sign the contract they sent me a new contract changing it to they have ALL rights and if my name is published with the book it is up to their sole discretion. THey want to buy the artwork with rights to “change” if they see fit, as well as, not give me credit if they believe in doing so it could “harm” their book. They said it protects them in case in the future I would not be of the utmost character (???) I REFUSED and told them I would think about this. They attempted to pressure me saying I am not a business person because I am an artist. Can you give me your professional opinion on this? I was already reasearching and preparing to do this work, I am disgusted with the person now and feel they are trying to take advantage of me.

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Comment by Jordan

March 3, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

In response to commenter #9 “Ashley”: No, usually in the beginning of the document there is a section where you list who the word illustrator will refer to for the remainder of the document. That way you don’t have to keep writing out a long name.

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Comment by Jiji

March 14, 2012 @ 6:40 pm

Thank you Ms. Castles! This was wonderfully insightful and will definitely help me get started. :D

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