Art Contracts

This week, I drew up my first contract. I have some potential logo design work, and the client dug up a good contract example from the great vast Internets. I liked the cut of its jib, so I used it as a guide and wrote one for my business. I also created one for fine art commissions.

I haven’t put it into action yet, but here are a few things I included in the contract:

  • Deadlines: How long I have to generate thumbnails, how long the client has to make changes to / approve thumbnails, how long I have to finish the art
  • Purchase Options: Original, prints, print rights (first print, one-time print, ongoing print, royalties)
  • Final Product: Original, prints, high-res file
  • Rights and Usage: Who owns what, my right to display on my website and make my own prints
  • Copyright
  • Alterations: I get dibs
  • Contract Agreement: can be done via e-mail
  • Termination: If one side or the other doesn’t deliver on time, if I croak, etc.
  • Payment: I require half as a deposit and half when done but before I deliver the final product (i.e. I send a low-res jpg showing the final, they send money, I deliver)

I tried to cover everything that could bite me in the ass later. I used knowledge of the process that I got mostly by example; friends, art boards, and sample contracts online. I also used the Graphic Artist Guild‘s Guide, which is a great purchase for any artist.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Comments, suggestions, additions? Anyone?

On a side note, I varnished two paintings yesterday; one on cheap board-mounted canvas and one on cheap stretched canvas. The varnish made the board warp and the canvas sag on the stretchers. I wonder if this is solvable, or yet another inevitable side effect of buying cheap supplies. People say, buy cheap stuff if you’re just starting out! See what the medium is like! Great advice, but after you use the cheap stuff once, you’re intimately connected with the reason why it’s cheap, and you want better stuff. The problem is, you have a whole set of pastels that you’ve used once, and what do you do with it?

Oh yeah, I updated my website on Friday. Go visit!

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