Thanks for taking the time to post this. I know you didn't write it, but I really appreciate you taking the time to look out for other folks out there by posting this. A lot of this stuff I've never heard before (new to the field), so it's a big help.
as someone who hired numerous artists since the start; I have been hit with a lot of "delays" of getting completed artworks from artists despite paid the artist up front as requested (read: giving sizeable donations to them)
Great write-up on tougher aspects of independent/freelance life in the field. Especially in today's economy (and the future, too) we need to do all we to collect what is owed. Sometimes the money collection process aggravates everyone involved in the project, so to have everything run smoothly is a godsend. Cool tips!
actually most people think that just because it's "art" it should be cheap or just simply free.....bastards :S Half of my clients have heart attacks when I quote a price because they think that I'm only going to cost them a few euros.....
interesting read,but i really dont do contracts,but i do pay up from what they ask for,or i offer what i can afford at the time,i make no promises or offers i cant pay up,but then again,i let them keep their art and pictures,i just show it on my site,and tell them before submiting to register their work and watermark them
but i appreciate those 10 tips,at least i know i am not in those 10 catagories(i hope so)
On the other side of the commission, we would ask one thing:
If I send you a note proposing a commission, please have the courtesy to reply if you are not interested. I assure you, it will not hurt my feelings. Fully 50% of my 'Here is what I would like... how much $$$ would that be?' notes are not replied to. The sooner you say 'nope', the sooner I will be able to offer the job to one of your peers.
all true and very usfull, ya gotta watch out for those money grabbing business types, they will give you no respect until you take your stand and let em know that it is the designer who is in charge and payment is a must. you just cant let them tell you how its done, it doesnt matter how hard you push them back the bottom line is that as a designer or illustrator ect they need us and they would have picked a specific person or agency for a reason so never back down if someone trys to not pay you or insists you dont have a contract or whatever.
I really wish people would stop supplying stockpilers with free design work, I know that most of these kids have no idea just how creepy things can get it the commercial art sector. They think they are helping someone out, and so they get into contests and logo this, and t-shirt that. Most of these people needing work are either stockpilers or lazy bastards that are looking for free, or nearly free material for a job that will pay THEM big money. They know that these kids don't copywrite, and they can cover their ass further by by making minor changes to the design. The internet provides a real ripe and furtile valley for pirates. You figure for each little contest they can get a few hundred freebies. I really hate to see talentless bastards making money on the talent and kindness of others.
Oh yeah, and it's this type of activity that makes it possible for some designers to work their entire life and never come up with a single idea. The real atrosity is that some of these kids may want to get a job in at a design firm someday, but their will be this little toad sitting in their office, recieving their money.
I contract can be made even if the client is online. Technology allows for such things and u can even use the old snail mail (post). Once done correctly both of u are leggaly bound and under certain rules and obligations no matter where u are.
I am currently taking a course in business, and it gives an overview of contracts. Note that unless there is a specific legal requirement, contracts can be in any form, and do not even require signing - but it is hard to prove otherwise. Here is the basic process for the US:
Party A and B agree terms. Party A prepares contract and sends it to party B. Party B sends email back to A, agreeing to the contract. The contract becomes binding as soon as the acceptance email arrives in party A's inbox - they don't even need to read the acceptance. As mail delivery failure messages will show that it hasn't arrived, without such a failure message, the law will assume that the email has arrived.
The problem with a contract is proof of acceptance, and I can understand your concerns with an online client. The best way to arrange something like this is to post the contract in a common form such as PDF, have your prospective artist download and print the contract off, then sign it and snailmail it to you. You could use a fax machine or have a scanned signature attached to an emailed copy, but since both are readily forgable with a handy copy of the artist's signature, they are not ideal solutions. All professional companies that I have ever dealt with have required an original signed contract.
I would also like to note that quite a few professional and quite legitimate companies won't pay until they see a finished article. This isn't necessarily scamming, it's good business practice. Artists are capable of scamming employers as much as vice versa you know, so seeing proof of completion and suitablility to the given brief is necessary to avoid being diddled. On the other hand, there's no reason why an artist shouldn't watermark the proof copy and scan it at a low resolution so that it is utterly unsuitable for print but gives a good general idea of what the finished work would look like.
Just a couple more things to have in mind....Protect your copy rights and your moral rights. This information is not the same in every country so some caution and research is needed but the basic idea is the same.
I'll c/p here the relevant information from the association of illustrators in the UK.
If you own copyright, you are the only person who has the right to make copies of your illustrations. If someone else makes a copy without your permission, they are infringing your copyright.
You can give permission to individuals or companies to reproduce your illustration which is known commonly in the illustration trade as granting a licence. Your license should be in writing and should set out the use that can be made of your illustration and any restriction you wish to place on the use. You can grant licences for different uses.
You can effectively sell your copyright, which means that you have no further right of reproduction in your work. This is known as an assignment but will only be effective if you put it in writing.
If your illustration is reproduced without your permission, you are entitled to damages; perhaps an injunction to stop the infringement and on occasion the infringing copies delivered to you.
Your copyright in your illustration is an economic right. It is different from ownership of the illustration itself. You may still grant a licence or give an assignment of copyright in your illustration whilst owning the original piece. Likewise, you may sell the original illustration without giving permission for it to be reproduced.
These are rights in addition to your economic right of copyright and your right of owning your illustration.
You have a right to be identified as author of your illustration. This right must be asserted in writing and should be included on any copyright, assignment or licence to reproduce or other written contract.
You have a right to object to derogatory treatment of your illustration. This means you have a right to object if your illustration has been adapted, altered, added to or deleted from. You may be able to rely on this right if you are unhappy about the colour reproduction of your illustration or, if perhaps, it has been cropped in a way which distorts it.
You have a right not to be falsely attributed to another person's art.
It is not possible to pass on your moral rights by way of assignment or licence but they can be waived, ie. given up. Check any written contract carefully to ensure that your client is not asking you to waive your moral rights.
Along with, amongst others, the Association of Photographers, the NUJ, the Musicians Union, and as part of the Creators Rights Alliance, the AOI is campaigning and lobbying parliament on behalf of illustrators to change the attitude of many clients and members of the public towards creator’s rights. In many other EU countries, for example, moral rights cannot be waived. They are considered to be a right, not a commodity, thereby ensuring their protection for the creator.
The issues related to rights grabs by clients and unfair contracts have increasingly become a feature of the ongoing campaigns that the AOI continues to be involved with, on behalf of and thanks to the continued support of the membership.
So basically if someone tells u, that u did this for us so now is our and we can do anything we want with it, is not really the truth....A contract explains what your rights are and what u give away. That's why it's important to have a contract. For more information on the CRA, please visit their website at: [link] Just be carefull! these information is correct about the UK but things might differ from country to country even though the general idea is the same. Don't fall in the trap "u did it, now it's mine". You can also check [link] for more articles concerning your rights in general or in more specific situations (internet for example).