Commissioned Illustration Offer - Short/Easy

This is a simple commissioned illustration agreement. I sometimes have my DeviantArt / Expo clients (including international clients doing business with US persons) use contracts like this when asked to do character illustrations, avatars, etc...

The contract fits on one page if you print it small enough. It is pro-Artist -- a flat, non-refundable commission fee is charged. ALL RIGHTS are NON-EXCLUSIVELY licensed -- the purchaser can do whatever
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This contract is an offer ("Offer") by Artist name/registered trade name ("Artist") to name of person commissioning("Commissioner") made on date for Artist to provide creative work ("Work" – as described below) as requested by Commissioner.

1. Work. Commissioner retains Artist to create Enter a description of the work here. Work includes only the final, deliverable art, and not any preliminary work or sketches.

2. Price and Delivery. The non-refundable flat-fee for Work is Price. Payment must be made in full before any work begins. Payment should be made in the method and manner specified by Artist. Work is to be delivered no later than date of delivery, but Commissioner agrees that the date of delivery is not material to this Agreement.

3. Grant of Rights. Artist agrees to the perpetual non-exclusive license of all rights (including, but not limited to, the right to display, modify, transmit, transfer, sell, and create derivative works) to Work to Commissioner, excluding only the right to authorship credit, which is retained by Artist. Artist agrees that Work is produced with the intent it be unique and will not seek to resell or publish Work, except as noted below.

4. Artist's Right to Authorship Credit. Artist may use Work in Artist's portfolio (including, but not limited to, any website that displays Artist's works). Commissioner and Artist agree that when asked, Commissioner must properly identify Artist as the creator of Work. Commissioner does not have a proactive duty to display Artist's name together with Work, but Commissioner may not seek to mislead others that Work was created by anyone other than Artist.

5. Commissioner Accepts Artist's Creative Vision. Commissioner agrees that Artist will complete Work in Artist's creative style at Artist's sole discretion. If Commissioner refuses to receive Work or demands Work be redone, it is understood and agreed that Commissioner is cancelling the Agreement, and no fee will be refunded.

6. Cancellation, and Expiration. The fee for Work is non-refundable. If Commissioner nonetheless does not want or refuses to receive Work, Artist may decide whether or not to complete Work, and will exclusively retain all right to Work. This Offer automatically expires upon 48 hours of being made and may not then be accepted. This Offer expires if it is verbally or through writing (including, but not limited to, by e-mail or text chat) withdrawn by Artist.

7. Limitation of Liability. Commissioner agrees that Artist will not be liable for any damages (including, but not limited to, incidental or consequential damages), that arise from Artist's performance of this commission (including, but not limited to, failure to perform in a timely manner, regardless of whether the failure was intentional or negligent.)

8. Dispute Settled by Arbitration, and Governing Law. Any dispute under or about this Agreement must be submitted to and resolved by arbitration through the arbitration services located at Internet URL Parties will bear their own costs. Any court may enforce the arbitration award. This Agreement will be governed by the laws of Home State or Region, in the country of Home Country.

This Offer may be accepted (within 48 hours of being made or if withdrawn, as in Expiration, above) and be enforced upon the signature of Commissioner (an electronic signature is acceptable).

Commissioner:____________________ (signature), on ________ (date)

Document Discussion

so, the artist doesnt need to sign this document, just the commissioner?

Here's what I don't see mentioned here: If I hire an illustrator to draw MY CHARACTERS I created in a children's book, those are my characters and there's no way I would accept the idea of the artist going on to reproduce my characters on anything to make a profit. The characters have unique features and are unique to my children's story. Why would I ever allow the artist to reproduce them somewhere while I am promoting my book and marketing it worldwide? That would be crazy! I go through all the work to write the book and develop the characters and market the book and pay for everything ...and then the artist goes and sells my characters on tshirts, posters, etc and makes a profit off of my marketing and my story? I mean that's laughable to me. Would love some serious feedback about this because I really need to know what's right here. Thanks Everyone!

In your case, you just make sure that's in the contract. I'm doing a children's book right now, and the only rights I have to the work is for promotional use (like, to show in my portfolio/website/blog to potential clients, ie 'Look what I did for this great person!'). The contract displayed here won't fit each and every transaction, but it's a great base.

I've often found that it's best to sign a separate non-disclosure agreement in the case of intellectual property.

Hi :) I think this is great, but I have a question about the rights. So I agree with the right to display, modify, transmit, transfer, sell, but I don't want my client to create derivate artworks (I'm thinking about toys for example). Basically, I'd like to say that in case they want that, another contract would need to be signed and I would get my part of revenues. Does it make sense? How could I do that? Thanks!

Make sure that's in whatever contract you use. I can't remember the legal jargon for that, but I bet if you look around the internet at other contracts, you might find some.

you guys are helping me out so much with your comments in new to the illstration work but have been getting ripped off and mistreated for a few months now for just simply not knowing better but i have taking down all of the great advise givine here.

Thinking of anyone who might stumble upon this page, here are some links that should clear up any confusion or misstatements found here. U.S. Copyright Law, clearly stating that creators of visual content own all rights upon creation: Solid advice on pricing and negotiations: A good resource to develop your own contracts: A general good resource on this and other related topics:

OMG I'm so confused now, I'm about to develop a serie of 35 illustrations for an international client who's very worried about confidentiality, so he asked me to sign an agreement and I want to do the same by sending a contract with dates, fees, responsabilities and rights. My client keeps asking is at the ending he will be the owner so I thought that it was correct, I will only be allowed to keep it in my portfolio, but after reading this I'm not very sure since he mentioned to have a printed version of his illustrated story and in the future is planing to have an interactive one. He's not from an editorial, but a person who's looking to publish the fairy tales with his funds (mentioned kickstarted as a way to make it happen). So I'm not very sure how to manage this situation, he seems to be one of this clients who requires lots of details and have "a lot of comments", the first problem is that he's in UK and I'm in Mexico and I don't find any agreement online with such specifications. So, my concerns are: *Under which region should I specify the laws for the agreement? *Should I specify the media to use my art work? *printed *interactive *How can I define the number of corrections allowed to tle client since he seems to be one of those who have a lot to describe? *What about the royalties? if he's the author of the book and pretends to publish it *Is it correct that he'll be the owner fot the art works at the end of the project? *Can I keep the originals of the art and selling postals in a future? Thabk you very much, I will appreciate your comments.

This reply may have come too late, but let me see if I can offer some advice. I only somewhat know rights as they pertain to the United States, so it may be different for you. Rights are not on a bundle basis, nor do they have to be forever. You can say 'you have the right to this for this price, but not this'. From what I know, digital reproduction is considered different from physical publishing, so he should come back to pay you for the rights to digital reproduction instead of assuming he already has them. If there's any confusion and the contract does not define one way or another, you'll need to sit down with the client and talk with them, then write up a new contract. Royalties can be something that kicks in after a certain amount is reached. For example, if the client wants to first make back the amount he's put into the project, your royalties can be set to kick in after profit reaches a certain amount first. Again, this needs to be defined in the contract. As for corrections, you can define how many corrections you are willing to make until you charge an extra fee in your contract. Not only are they paying for the piece, they're paying for your time. If they're going to be picky beyond an acceptable amount, they need to pay for the time you'd be spending elsewhere.

"As a person who pays for commissioned work... If I pay you for the work, I own the results of that work." -Vonshavingcream That statement is true only if you and the artist agree to it in writing. Anyone that creates a piece of work will hold the rights to the creation. Most people never pay to own the full rights of the work. By saying you own the work an artist makes, it means that the artist would not be allowed to sell future copies of the piece they created. (lets say that the artist retains scans and digital copies of the work) So if I make someone a really cool drawing, I retain the right to sell prints of my work in the future. You would not see any money from my prints selling because you do not own rights to the work. If you are trying to get an artist to make an illustration for a series of shirts or posters, the artist will still retain the rights to use that work elsewhere so long as it doesn't conflict with your license. You pay for the license to use the work on a shirt or poster for X amount of time. You could propose a buy out, which is what most companies/clients want. The only issue with a buy out is that no artist would ever sell their work with full rights for $250, that is simply too low. Any upstart illustrators should now that a full buy out should always be avoided unless the client is offering a stupidly large amount of money that would cover your for your potential losses. Most people don't understand how the art industry works, even in the fine art world, buying an original painting doesn't mean you purchase the rights to the work. I'f I create an oil painting and you buy the original for $4500 I still retain the right to sell digital copies to a calendar company to generate revenue. You as the purchaser of the original will not see any of that money, because you did not create the painting. "'I will pay you $250 to draw a picture of my boat.' You draw the picture and I pay you .. I own it all the rights and liabilities that come along with it." -Vonshavingcream The same is true with a boat painting/drawing. I retain the rights to take copies of this boat picture and sell to make additional profit, unless you tell me, "Nope, I plan to sell copies of this boat paiting to to make some money." Then I say, "Well if you plan to make money off the painting, I'll have to up my charge from $640 to $4500" This will cover the loss of revenue I had expected to make. You'll note that I did not type out the "$250" If I take 16 hours (2 working days) to get you a spectacular boat illustration then I expect to make $40 per hour for the job. I expect to make $40/hr because I'm a trained artist and probably have a degree in art that I earned from a college or university. I expect that my time and effort studying and developing my skills has earned me the ability to charge at the very least $40 an hour.

Thanks, Dave, fixed to net-arb, much obliged for the heads up.

As a person who pays for commissioned work... If I pay you for the work, I own the results of that work. I would never sign or pay anyone based on this agreement. There is no way that I would commission a work and not expect to hold 100% rights of all forms on it. Now .. if you were showing a piece of art that you previously created prior to us meeting and I wanted to purchase for whatever reason .. that is a different story. But if I come to you and say "I will pay you $250 to draw a picture of my boat." You draw the picture and I pay you .. I own it all the rights and liabilities that come along with it. Why would I pay you to do work if you could go elsewhere and make money based off the concept that I presented to you and paid you to work on?

I'll see if I can add my few cents to this, just so you know where this comes from. I am by no means an expert at this, however. Rights are as much a part of the piece's price as the piece itself, especially when it comes to advertising. That's why things seemingly as 'simple' as logos can command a lot of money, because that company is purchasing all rights to display and use that work for promotional use forever, while the artist may only retain the rights to use the logo as portfolio work. It also helps the artist in case an image somehow becomes extremely popular- there's many stories about artists signing away their rights to an image that goes on to become extremely popular, with them only having a measly fee to show for it. The boat you mentioned in your example could easily be for another gig, but once the use for it is come and gone, the image could easily be used again, changed, or used for prints by the artist if they have gained back their rights to it after a certain period. Personally, I generally keep a contract in context- if the image is for a client's personal use, I'm going to charge differently than for a company, and even that will vary on whether it's a local business, or a large multinational company.