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I've never had this particular situation come up for me before, so I'm not entirely sure how to proceed with it.

I received an email today about a tribal-inspired rabbit image that I have posted to my DeviantArt account. The email reads:

Hi Syn,
I hope you are well.
This is just email to let you know that I'm really interested in getting your tribal bunny as a tattoo but it won't be on display unless I'm topless. :p
Just wondering if you would be okay with this? (I'm not familiar with how people deal with artists and their artwork they wish to have tattoo'ed, sorry!) but I just wanted to ask how you felt about this and let you know that I will not be taking any credit for your artwork.
But on another note I would not be surprised if I wasn't the first person to want it as a tattoo :) really do love the design..
It will however be in the memory of my pet rabbit that I had for over 12 years. And I would love to have this as a tattoo.
Hope to hear from you soon

Now, this is where I'm baffled on how to proceed. I've done tattoo work with people before, but it's always been for custom work - the designs I've made have specifically been for the commissioner. This is the first time that I've been approached about using a pre-made design.

I do plan on insisting on full artistic credit for the design (though I'm not sure how to go about ensuring I get it), and I don't feel comfortable letting the design go without compensation. However, I don't know what would be appropriate as a royalty - should I give just a flat amount or a percentage based on the quote for the cost of the tattoo? Also, how would I go about ensuring full credit - would that be something I discuss with the person's tattoo artist directly?

Any feedback is appreciated.

ETA: So, firstly - thank you to everyone that left advice and feedback, I greatly appreciate it!

I've sent a response to the person that contacted me, which reads as follows:

Hi Millie. It's lovely to hear that you're interested in my art!

I've been considering your email over the course of the day and I would like to offer a proposal to you. You mentioned that you would be getting this tattoo in memory of your pet rabbit and I wonder, instead of using a pre-made design, if you would be interested in having a custom design made instead. I have done custom tattoo design work in the past and, if you are interested, would be delighted to work with you to create a design that's more personalized to you and the bond you shared with your companion.

I look forward to discussing this idea with you further.


Hopefully the person is receptive to the idea of a custom piece. :)

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( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 4th, 2013 07:02 pm (UTC)
The price or size of the tattoo isn't relevant to the work you've done. Charge a flat fee.

Also, if I'm not mistaken this is the same design that you mentioned being approached about for use as a logo... personally I wouldn't want a design that I bought as a tattoo being resold to a business for them to use - it's something that is permanently on my body after all and I'd be horrified to find out that my skin is now an unintentional walking advertisement - so consider this situation and any potential future offers carefully.
Jun. 4th, 2013 07:09 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's the same image.

That's the other thing that I've been considering. All the offers I've gotten for it as a logo have essentially fallen flat once the interested party finds out that I *gasp!* actually want payment for them to use it (and fair payment at that). However, Murphy's Law abounds in my life and knowing my luck, I would end up getting someone that is interested and willing to pay for it as a logo after okaying it for use as a tattoo.

Seems I have much to think on. Thanks, Shuki. :)
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 4th, 2013 07:42 pm (UTC)
I like this idea a lot more. Less confusing. *laughs*

Jun. 4th, 2013 07:25 pm (UTC)
I love the bun!

I'd tell her that you've had an approach to use that particular art as a logo for a company, and given that, you'd be happy to do a custom work (perhaps incorporating something special in memory of bunbun) for her instead. That way she is on the heads-up that she could well end up sporting a corporate logo if she opted to do it without your okay... and you give her the chance to make something even more special in memorial.
Jun. 4th, 2013 07:44 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks! :D

I like the idea of offering to do a custom commission far more. It's a lot less confusing and still leaves the original image open for licensing as a logo. Plus, as you said, a custom commission would allow for a level of personalization that the pre-made design doesn't have. Thanks for the feedback!
Jun. 4th, 2013 07:42 pm (UTC)
I usually just say "Go for it, as long as it's non-commercial and you mention the original artist if it shows up on your website/the tattoo parlor's website."

Mind you, that's easy for me to say, because I don't have anything like the time to go around making original pieces for people as tattoos, and I've fallen in love with existing designs before myself, so I'm pretty laid back on the matter. Sometimes I ask 'em for the price of a print, but as far as I'm concerned, I don't have to do any more work, the original is usually long sold, and they're obviously fans. Goodwill has its own value.

Your mileage may vary, of course, and lots of people ask a license fee on that kind of thing--absolutely nothing wrong with that, either.
Jun. 4th, 2013 07:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the feedback. :)

(Also, entirely off topic, but I wanted to say that I have been a fan of your work for YEARS and I always love seeing your new creations.)
Jun. 4th, 2013 09:47 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you! And your tribal bunny is very elegant, BTW.
Jun. 4th, 2013 11:46 pm (UTC)
*stammers and blushes*

Jun. 5th, 2013 01:25 am (UTC)
This is exactly what I do, too. :)
Jun. 6th, 2013 05:15 am (UTC)
Yes, I kinda consider this falling under "fair/personal use", myself.
Jun. 4th, 2013 08:51 pm (UTC)
I'm in the same camp as Ursula!
If you have a donation link anywhere, you could always send that to them with a suggested donation amount!
Jun. 4th, 2013 09:01 pm (UTC)
I actually don't have any donation links set up (and haven't the first clue how to go about seting one up, either).

Thanks, though! It's certainly something to think about. :)
Jun. 4th, 2013 09:25 pm (UTC)
you can through Paypal, WePay, Dwolla, and I think even Gumroad?
Jun. 4th, 2013 09:33 pm (UTC)
I have a Paypal account. I'll have to nose around and see what I can do.

Thanks, Sigil! :)
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 4th, 2013 09:33 pm (UTC)
I think offering a custom commission is going to be the route that I take. I was going to suggest a flat fee at first, but with the image having garnered interest for logo use in the past, I kind of want to leave it open for use in that context.

Thanks for the feedback!
Jun. 4th, 2013 10:09 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, once your art is out there, anyone can just take it and get a tattoo of it, and there's not really anything you can do to stop them.

However, I do like the suggestions people are making about offering to draw her a similar, but custom design to honor her rabbit. Especially if you are looking to sell this design to a corporation as their logo.
Jun. 4th, 2013 11:52 pm (UTC)
I like the idea of offering to do a custom.
Jun. 5th, 2013 01:57 am (UTC)
I'm very glad they asked you! I hate it when people use other people's art as a tattoo without even asking.
Jun. 5th, 2013 05:35 am (UTC)
I was impressed, truthfully. You don't find many folks that are that honest nowadays (or at least, it doesn't seem that way).
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )


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