NAME OF PROJECT Agreement
NAME OF CLIENT BUSINESS and NAME OF DESIGNER/ARTIST
Disclaimer: Contracts vary a lot depending on the project and who the project is with. Ultimately contracts are a very good thing that allow you to communicate clearly with clients about expectations, payment, and terms. This sample contract was created by a freelance illustrator, NOT A LAWYER, and is probably far from perfect. Please use as a reference, cross-check with other resources, and adapt to your needs. Creator is not liable for any disagreements you might find yourself in as a result of using this contract to write your own.
Digital Version: Access a digitial version of this document at http://bit.ly/SampleContractForFreelanceIllustration. Document is read-only, so copy/paste into a new document to edit your own contract.
This is an agreement between NAME OF DESIGNER/ARTIST and NAME OF CLIENT BUSINESS, as represented by NAME OF CLIENT (PERSON[s])
NAME OF CLIENT is commissioning NAME OF ARTIST/DESIGNER to (BRIEFLY DESCRIBE PROJECT HERE.) This agreement details the promises made about the work, compensation, intellectual property ownership, and use.
Project: In accordance with a mutually agreed upon timelines, NAME OF DESIGNER/ARTIST will produce (BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF WORK) for NAME OF CLIENT.
1. Title of Design (if contract is for multiple designs, do a list like this for each.)
1. Details about design
2. Details to consider: What format will the design be delivered in?
3. Details to consider: Is the design in color? Black and white? Tones?
1. What size will the design be?
Timeline: Describe your timeline here. Work in time for edits from client. Sample below:
* Thumbnails/sketches Deadline: DATE
* Feedback from Client Deadline, large revisions: DATE
* Pencils Deadline: DATE
* Feedback from Client Deadline, edits: DATE
* Inks Deadline: DATE
* Feedback from Client Deadline, small edits only: DATE
* Colors Deadline: DATE
* Feedback from Client Deadline, edits only applicable to colors: DATE
* Final Deadline: DATE
Edits and Revisions: Client is entitled to _____ revision(s) to each design. A revision is to be understood as a large change to the design which result in a re-draw, such as: please change this drawing to a different character, or redraw this face. Revisions will be accepted between the sketching stage and the penciling stage. Revisions will not be accepted after pencils and/or inks are created. (Feel free to customize definition of revision to fit your project.)
Client is entitled to _____ edit(s) to each design. An edit is to be understood as a small change to the design, like please outline this, or please change the colors. (Feel free to customize definition of edit to fit your project.) Any revision requested beyond this number will result in a $_____ fee, and edit requested beyond this number will result in a $_____ fee.
Authorship: All parties promise that the image will be created solely by themselves and that work does not impermissibly contain the intellectual property of any third party. All parties promise not to provide work that violates the rights of third parties.
Ownership and Licenses:
NAME OF CLIENT: NAME OF CLIENT is granted (DESCRIBE LICENSING RIGHTS HERE. INCLUDE IF THEY DO/DON’T HOLD THE COPYRIGHT, IF THE RIGHTS ARE EXCLUSIVE/NON-EXCLUSIVE, AND HOW LONG THESE RIGHTS ARE HELD/ANY OTHER LIMITATIONS OF RIGHTS) created under the terms of this agreement. NAME OF CLIENT may use the designs for (DESCRIBE WAYS CLIENT MAY USE THE DESIGN HERE.)
NAME OF CLIENT is granted rights to use the design in the following formats:
* List ways client may use the design here.
* For example: promotional use online and in social media
* For example: Posters/Prints
* For example: T-shirts, stickers, and mugs.
NAME OF CLIENT does not have the right to DESCRIBE WHAT CLIENT IS NOT ALLOWED TO DO WITH THE DESIGN HERE for commercial or non-commercial use, without the explicit written permission of NAME OF DESIGNER/ARTIST.of the design.
NAME OF DESIGNER/ARTIST: NAME OF DESIGNER/ARTIST retains rights to (DESCRIBE WHAT ARTIST CAN DO WITH DESIGN HERE. INCLUDE IF THEY HOLD THE COPYRIGHT, IF THEY CAN SELL TO THIRD PARTIES, IF THEY CAN USE DESIGNS IN PORTFOLIO/WEBSITE, OTHER THINGS THEY CAN DO WITH DESIGN)
(If applicable:) Due to the license to print the design granted to NAME OF CLIENT in this contract, NAME OF DESIGNER/ARTIST may not (DESCRIBE THINGS ARTIST CANNOT DO WITH DESIGN HERE, SUCH AS SELL TO THIRD PARTIES OR SELL MERCHANDISE OF DESIGN, IF APPLICABLE.) without the explicit, written permission of NAME OF CLIENT.
The finished products will be attributed to NAME OF DESIGNER/ARTIST anywhere the design appears online or in print. NAME OF DESIGNER/ARTIST will be attributed for the design in any online listings for products, online articles, in social media posts, and when the design is announced on the podcast. (CUSTOMIZE TO FIT YOUR NEEDS, IF NECESSARY.)
Design Fee (if applicable): NAME OF DESIGNER/ARTIST will receive (DESIGN FEE IN DOLLARS) compensation within _____ days of invoice upon delivery of finished digital file. (30 days is referred to as net 30 and industry standards, but some clients have different terms for how long it takes them to pay you.)
OPTIONAL: I suggest collecting ½ of your design fee up-front, meaning before you start working on the project. This way if the project falls apart and the client refuses to pay you’ve already been paid for half. Wording suggestion for this option: Design Fee (if applicable): NAME OF DESIGNER/ARTIST will receive (DESIGN FEE IN DOLLARS) compensation. 50% of design fee ($ amount) at time of signing contract and 50% ($ amount) within ______ days of invoice upon delivery of finished digital file.
Royalties (if applicable): NAME OF DESIGNER/ARTIST will receive a royalty payment of $__ for every ___ units sold (IF APPLICABLE: after cost of production and/or design fee has been earned back.) Units includes all materials produced under this agreement.
Complimentary Copies (if applicable): NAME OF DESIGNER/ARTIST will receive a minimum of ______ complimentary copies of every type of merchandise printed with this design.
Either party may terminate this agreement for any reason with (AMOUNT OF TIME) notice. At time of termination NAME OF DESIGNER/ARTIST will be paid for all work completed prior to notice of termination, and any royalties accrued.
Relationship of Parties:
The parties are acting as independent entities and nothing in this agreement is intended to create a business partnership, joint venture, franchise, or employment between parties.
This agreement and any associated attachments or amendments are the entire agreement between parties. This agreement supersedes and replaces and prior agreement about freelance work between parties.
This Agreement will be interpreted under the laws of the APPLICABLE STATE. In the event of a dispute regarding this Agreement, the Parties agree to engage in good faith mediation prior to filing civil action. Client shall bear all costs, expenses, and reasonable attorney's fees in any action brought to recover payment under this contract or in which the Artist may become a party by reason of this contract. Any civil action taken regarding this Agreement must be brought in state or federal court in APPLICABLE COUNTY
Signed and effective this date, the _______ day of ________________, YEAR.
Designer/Artist (print name):
NAME OF CLIENT Representative (print name):
----------------------------------------------For Reference Only-------------------------------------------
Information on Copyright!
This page is for your reference, and no longer part of the sample contract!
A copyright is the exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same.
Do I need to copyright my work?
Not necessarily. According to United States Copyright Law, your art is considered copyright protected from "the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device." So, if you make it in the US, it’s yours from the moment you make it.
Do I have to register your copyright formally?
You don’t have to. Registration is voluntary, because your copyright is automatic. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work.
If your work is particularly enticing to infringers, you may want to register preemptively. Doing this will make it easier to protect your work if someone were to reproduce the image without your permission. You can formally register copyrights at www.copyright.gov. The fee for basic electronic registration is $35-$55.
WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND that you at least put “© Your Name, Year of Publication” on any work you have made and “All images © Your Name, Year of Publication” on your website.
Licensing is when the copyright holder grants rights to use the work in specific ways to other people/businesses. For hired work, what licensing rights are granted, must be agreed upon and outlined in your contract.
Common Types of Licensing Agreements
Here are a few licensing agreement formats that we have run across frequently in comics and illustration. Feel free to use these as a resource in customizing your contracts.
You Grant Them Non-Exclusive Rights: You hold the copyright and license rights to client. You have the rights to license the rights to third parties. You can negotiate or set extra limitations under this, like location or limiting the rights