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Artist Contract for free use.

I wrote this up this morning and would like some peer review.  If you like it, feel free to use it, change what you need.  If you have suggestions for changes, I would love to see what you think.  I'm not too hip to legal-speak but I did get a few things from my friend's mom who worked at a law office. 

Tips or comments can also be sent to kyrawyvern@gmail.com

Art Commissions:

A refers to Artist, C to Client. In any and all situations if Client is unclear, A is not at fault!  If potential
clients wish to discuss any aspect of the contract, contact the artist.  It is implied that by commissioning A,
C agrees to this contract.

~Half payment is required to begin any commission:

Once partial or full payment has been sent, a sketch may be sent.  As a courtesy to a Client, A will send a sketch
of their piece.  Alterations may be made to this sketch completely free unless A feels the changes are so much
that they would require extra payment.  I have not yet had to charge more for this sort of thing, but A will not
take responsibilty if C did not properly describe the commission accurately to me in the first place.  Any more
alterations to the sketch AFTER the first round of changes may require additional payment, unless C can show that
A overlooked details in the description or sketch changes. 
This is why A suggests sending links to art that demonstrates the effect you, the Client are looking for. 

~Combat pay:

40% extra or up to $50 additional payment may be required if C is difficult/harassing or demands more than 2 sketch
revisions.  If you are worried about this clause please discuss this with Artist BEFORE starting payment or
discussion about a commission. 
The amount of work is what payment is for, as well as a finished piece.  If C requires A to answer multiple IMs,
PMs or Emails about  a given commission, this is extra work.  C is free to contact A if a information was
forgotten.  At most a weekly email can be helpful if C & A have a set deadline for the commission's completion.


C will recieve a sketch and one round of revisions for every commission.  If A is willing to provide a 2nd round of
revisions for free, it may be an option.  This is always at A's discretion.  If C is being difficult even without
requiring extra changes, A may require extra cost to finish a piece (see Combat Pay). 


Deadlines MUST be agreed upon before starting a commission.  Otherwise standard deadline is six months up to a year
for most pieces.  Depending on complexity, more time may be required by A.  A is not obligated to inform client of
estimated completion.  C must ask for timeline, it will not be given.  A may delay a commission due to illness,
home & work issues, or an event that may not be anticipated.  A will inform client if possible about delays, but is
not required to. C is not required to inform A about delays in payment or contact, but if A does not recieve
contact from C within six months, A is not required to refund or finish any commissions for C that have already
been initiated.

~End All:

Artist may end any and all commissions w/refund minus material cost at ANY time for ANY reason.  Artist will and
must inform C through last form of communication.  A will not hunt C down to inform them of commission's end!
C must inform A of email problems or address changes.  A is not responsible for lost messages of any kind.  If C
has a spam filter be sure A's emails are on it, and please ask A to send my business emails if that helps you. 
If A ships an item, it will be sent to the address in paypal/email or to the address on C's envelope unless C
explains otherwise! A is not responsible for a shipping mistake if C gives the wrong information.


All art made by Artist belongs solely to the artist, C or any other person or organization may not use or
distribute withour prior arrangement.  All copyrights belong to A unless copyright is purchased.  A will display
art freely.  Requests to limit distribution of art will be honored unless A feels they are unreasonable.  C may
ask A to make names or aliases unavailble to general public.
Artist may require extra cost for private artwork.  Understand that A recieves advertising in the form of display
of previous works.  Clients may limit the amount of advertising, but if they wish to eliminate it completely, C
MUST inform artist before discussing a commission.
  If C does not wish to compensate adequately and/or does not make their wishes known clearly, A is not at fault
for misunderstanding or display of art that Client feels should be private.  A maximum period of six months is
allowed for requested private art, after this period, unless A has recieved payment to keep the work private, A
may display art in 2 personal gallieries, online or in real life.  Private art payment will vary per piece. 

~Online/Unpaid art:

Originals created on paper that C does not purchase can and will be sold at A's discretion.  Requests or Trades are
also subject.  If C wishes to own an original, shipping is usually available for most art.  Client is responsible
for cost of shipping.  Unpaid for art is free for A to use as A wishes.  No rights are retained by C if C does not
contact A about unpaid art.  Incomplete or non-payment nullifies any and all requests C has made.

~Use of Art:

Unless A is informed, do not use art copyrighted to A.  C may use finished art and sketches as C wishes without
violating Copyright laws if A feels art has been properly paid/traded for.  A may grant permission to C to
reproduce art, but is not required to.  A appreciates those who wish to use A's work in banners or personal
reference situations, but always inform the creator.  Some Clients do not wish for their characters' image to be
used by others.  This must be respected, A or C may report individuals or organizations violating this agreement.
If an individual creates work that may violate copyright laws, do not display without contacting A regarding the
work.  A will generally grant permission to display (but not sell) artwork that heavily references A's work.  Art
theft will be reported.


Tips are never required but are highly appreciated.  Payment over the artist's cost (not including shipment,
combat pay, multiple sketch payments) will not result in changes in the artwork. 
Artist's beware has moved!
Do NOT repost your old bewares. They are being archived.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 20th, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
Could you put the body of this behind a cut? It makes friends pages hugely long.
Nov. 21st, 2008 03:12 am (UTC)
Nov. 20th, 2008 10:37 pm (UTC)
Here's some fun things to think about.

If someone is serious about signing a contract like this for a $20 commission, I'd like o add that since most people are across state lines and in some instances other countries, some contracts are void over these lines.

I frankly wouldn't trust a contract that isn't signed and notarized. But that's just me.
Nov. 20th, 2008 11:03 pm (UTC)
Yeah, as mentioned above legally this sort of thing isn't really going to be enforceable in any real sense. Though a sort of contract can help understandings, the problem people are going to be problem people, contract or no.

As for the actual content, it seems to have a ton of 'protection' for the artist but none for the buyer. Judging from personal experience and the posts on here, while there's certainly a number of deadbeat buyers, there's a very large number of artists who don't take transactions seriously and let themselves get way, way behind in work while taking on new comissions constantly to keep money flowing in.

40% increased cost if the comissioner wants more than 2 sketch revisions or even just answer 'extra' messages? So the comissioner is under threat of a huge price hike for trying to contact the artist? Many times I've seen artists not even read the descriptions they're given and produce something in the early sketch stages that bears no resemblance at all to what they were asked to make (far beyond individual artist interpretation, which is good, I mean things like wrong species, anthro/nonanthro mixups, etc). Should the client have to pay a huge amount more to get what they initially asked for because the artist wasn't paying attention?

There's a deadline, but the artist is free to ignore it at will? What use is it then? Especially if the comissioner isn't really allowed to ask about it for risk of 'pestering' and incurring extra charges, and the artist isn't even obligated to finish the work if they don't hear from the comissioner in a while? The artist is not required to reply to the comissioner but the comissioner is required to keep up with the artist, but not pester, or risk losing the entire comission? How do they even know the artist is getting the messages they send if the artist doesn't have to reply? Seems to be far too easy a way for the artist to take the comissioners half-payment money and run.

Pestering is unfortunate, but often becomes a fact of comissions when an artist gets literally years behind in work. I'm no professional artist myself, but I know more than a few - it does not take a year to make most things you might comission. If you look at the cost as paying for the artist's time and skill, then if it DID take an entire year of steady work to complete a project you'd probably better be paying them quite a lot of money. If it's a cheap(er) sketch that takes the artist a few hours, why does it take them a year? If they're that busy, then it usually means it's not a good time for them to be taking people's money in return for art they don't intend to start on anytime soon. It's not only not rare, but actually common for artists to just 'vanish' and stop replying to messages, then turn up months later looking for more comissions without having finished any of a huge backload they've built up.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying buyers are perfect - there's plenty of nitpicky ones who have outrageous demands for changes they didn't specify initially, ones who constantly want to talk every day about it, ones who skip payment. But you cover that part pretty well. However, there's also a very large number of artists who rip their buyers off on a regular basis and this particular wording of the 'contract' would be a dream come true for them as it absolves them of any responsibility to actually do what they were paid to do.
Nov. 20th, 2008 11:04 pm (UTC)
(boy I write too much)

At the end of the day comissioning is a financial, business transaction. Both sides need to treat it professionally. The artist has the right to expect timely payment and fair compensation for the work they do without undue micromanagement, but the comissioner also has the right to expect a piece of consistant quality that matches their request completed within a reasonable time frame. I understand things in life happen, but you should be prepared to offer refunds and such if events occur that mean you won't be able to complete artwork - in no other business is it even considered the least bit acceptable to take someone's money and then fail to supply a product, regardless of circumstances. Sickness, injury, etc all really suck, but if you were working for any corporation and consistantly failed to produce work because of those you'd be eventually be fired, end of story. They might not be rude about it and they might be understanding but they need someone who can do the work they're paid to do.

Certainly this definitely does not apply to everyone! But I imagine if people are considering a contract in the first place, then they already have some doubts about the reputation of the artist or comissioner.
Nov. 20th, 2008 11:38 pm (UTC)
I think this is a rather nice guideline for both Artists and Clients to be aware of :3
Alot of potential clients imply there is a deadline when none hs been discussed and can cause extra-retard problems when it comes to completing a commission 9.9
Thanks :3
Nov. 21st, 2008 01:01 am (UTC)
I think you should stick with saying Client and Artist. In the case of Artist, A is too easy to confuse with the word a and I did get confused at some point. You can just say at the start that the person who is paying is the Client and the one producing the artwork is the Artist.

Also, it is pretty artist-sided, I have to admit. There should be something in there somewhere that if the Client feels they have waited too long within a reasonable amount of time for the art (as in NOT two days for a three character, fully colored background), that they are free to request a refund and a payment will be worked out, in case the Artist needed the money for emergency bills and so it's already spent.
Nov. 21st, 2008 02:00 am (UTC)
For Anyone Reading This!
I suggest also looking at the Graphic Artist's Guild Website for some simple legal information. They have a very simple and fair Letter of Agreement (contract) that you can customize for yourself and your client at any time. =)
Nov. 21st, 2008 05:47 am (UTC)
Honestly, you can't group all dealings, artist to commissioner or vise versa, to one contract. As long as you keep track of your e-mails, notes and IMs as many freelance artists tend to do you have a contract, no matter how improper is may seem. You begin a contract simply agreeing to work for someone, if a rather informal one.

This is very one sided and really doesn't offer the buyer any security, like as previously said. It's really the artist's job to keep track of information about what they're being paid for and the commissioner's job to make sure the artist is aware of ALL the details. Communication is key, as it is with many many other things.
Frankly, i think it's an individual basis here. The artist will charge and judge accordingly what's comfortable for them. Such as how many revisions are free before they charge. I personally will do unlimited minor revisions for free but if it's to the point where i'm redoing the entire image i only allow 5. Mainly because i don't have time with a 2 year old to spend countless hours revising something for free all day. It's based on what my time is worth. As many other artists will also say.

And as many people have linked good guides for this topic, i'd just stick with those. They're balanced and more tailored for both artist and buyer happiness.
Nov. 21st, 2008 12:38 pm (UTC)
Interesting post, but I think it would be rather intimidating and confusing for a casual customer.
Nov. 22nd, 2008 04:49 am (UTC)
thanks! i wasn't sure if artists needed a contract, i'm probably going to stick with what i have- basic email communcations as informal contract
Nov. 24th, 2008 05:33 pm (UTC)
Artist may end any and all commissions w/refund minus material cost at ANY time for ANY reason.

Sorry, but no. You decide for some reason that you don't want to finish a commission, you offer a FULL refund, its not my fault that you wasted materials on it, else you will find a post about yourself on this community.
Nov. 27th, 2008 07:03 am (UTC)
You find me a business that refunds your money if they terminate your service and I'll eat my hat.
Deviantart, Neopets, Time Warner Cable, State Farm Insurance, any apartment rental management, Disneyland year pass, etc.

And actually if you asked for something it is in fact your "fault" that they "wasted" materials on it. How do you expect art to be made without materials?
Dec. 14th, 2008 07:28 am (UTC)
Sure... I'll bite...
Actually, if they can't supply a reason for termination, then a court of law will force them to repay.

Also, these are subscription services. Artistic commissions are trade services.

If you buy a CD from me, and I decide 'Actually I'm not sending it to you', I can either refund you or break the law.

If you use materials then decide for whatever reason you can't finish the job you started, that's not my problem.
Dec. 5th, 2008 11:40 am (UTC)
I have the same disclaimer, and if a customer agrees to it then yes, I DO have the right to terminate a commission for any reason and offer a partial refund.
Mind, the clause isn't there to screw people over, artists have to think of their reputation or they won't get any more work at all. It's there to protect artists from obnoxious customers; people that mail you every other hour demanding to see an updated sketch, people who try to change the subject matter to something you won't do like "cub porn", people who try to weasel in another character, someone who wants 8270212688 free changes, if you find out their character actually belongs to someone else etc.
Dec. 14th, 2008 07:22 am (UTC)
I would never sign this...
Just to let you know, as someone who spends > $2000/year on furry art, I'd never sign your contract.

I much prefer mine:


Yours gives far too little to the client and basically says 'You can't post this, use this, and I can cancel at any time without a full refund.'

Sorry, I'm paying for something, I expect to own it, and I expect it to be completed when you say it will be.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )


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