Since the Bootcamps were so popular at Spectrum that we ran out of prints, we promised to make pdfs of the one-sheets available after the con—now revised after a bunch of input from artists and more art directors.
Now we’re releasing the one-sheet from the third Bootcamp: Getting You Paid: Contracts, Licensing, Invoicing, and Copyrights. This is the most difficult and least understood topic and yet also one of the most critical. How do you protect yourself, and how do you get paid?
We’ve tried to boil down contracts and licensing to the most basic terminology, and included as many best practices as we could cram on one page about invoicing and paperwork. Getting proper paperwork out of my artists is one of my hardest jobs as an Art Director, and a lot of payments are delayed or go MIA because of paperwork filled out improperly. Read up, and get payments quicker and easier.
You can also read some of my first posts on Muddy Colors, all about contracts and rights and money: Getting You Paid, Part 1 and Getting You Paid, Part 2.
Copyrighting your work is a step that should be as automatic as backing up your work, and it’s cheaper and easier than you think. And it pays off immediately if you ever find someone stealing your work. Definitely read that section in the onesheet above, and go to www.copyright.gov to protect your work. A whole year’s worth of images can be protected on one application, for only $55! Another great resource about copyrights is The Copyright Zone, so check them out. It’s aimed more at photographers, but applies across any visual media.
Meanwhile, we’ve gotten hands down, the most questions about contracts. We went half an hour over time in that bootcamp and we could have kept going for another hour easily. Contracts and rights and licensing is so confusing, and made a thousand times worse by dense legalese. There’s a reason for all that legalese (besides insuring you need to pay a lawyer to unravel it) – the “hereto”s and “wherein”s are all necessary language to close any loopholes a good contract lawyer can sneak around. However, we’ve found a lot of artists don’t use contracts at all because they don’t understand them. So, we’ve made a template contract for you. We’ve boiled it down to the most simple language we possibly could, and tried to put in the most generic and useful language in about sticking points like kill fees and revisions:
We believe it’s better to use a simple contract rather than not use a contract at all. Please feel free to download the template contract above and adapt it to your purposes. It will suffice for many of the smaller jobs you do. (Bigger jobs from bigger companies will usually come with their own contracts.) Due to the adaptable bits, we can’t guarantee 100% watertight legality on this contract, so no suing us. Use at your own risk. If you don’t want to use this, USE SOMETHING. PACT has some great templates on their site as well, with some stricter language. Or you can ask a more established artist if you can peek at their contract and see if they’ll let you copy it.
All of this material, in greater depth and with links to deeper resources will be available in the Make Art Work book. We’ve been working hard at it, and just shot a bunch of interviews for the kickstarter campaign at Illustration Master Class earlier this month. (Thank you for everyone who volunteered to be in the video, as well as all the brave souls who play tested our next little project.) We can’t wait to finish the book and get the kickstarter launched a bit later this summer! So sign up for the Drawn + Drafted newsletter to keep on top of the book, and all the other projects we have in store.
And since we’re still revising the book, add any questions you have below, and we’ll try to answer them here, and we’ll also definitely make sure we cover them in the book!