3 Contract Terminology Freelance Illustrators Should Know About

by ryan

3 Contract Terminology Freelance Illustrators Should Know About


This article was originally sent out only to the Drawing for Dollars newsletter subscribers. However, based on the positive feedback received and the lack of information on freelance contracts online, I made the decision to elaborate on the article and post the information publicly on the Drawing for Dollars Blog.

So here it is:

What Freelance Illustrators Should Know About

Work For Hire or WFH means that the publisher company or client owns copyright and authorship of your artwork and you as the freelance illustrator/artist are not credited for your work. Under most circumstances, it would be best to avoid any projects from clients who want you to work for hire.

Speculative Work or Spec Work means work for NO pay.

Sometimes clients want you to do spec work; which can mean that they want you to do some samples of a finished product before agreeing to pay you a fee for the final images. I don’t believe in spec work because as an illustrator, you already have a portfolio so there’s no need to provide further samples to a client. If a client wants you to do spec work, here’s something that has worked for me in the past. Request for a fee for the spec work and let the client know that if they move forth with you for the project, they can use the payment towards the finished illustration.

Sublicensing Rights. When you give your clients sublicensing rights, you’re granting them rights to sell any of the rights to them to third parties.
I hope you found this article helpful. It’s always important to request for a contract before accepting any project from a client. Also, when you receive a bad contract don’t get offended. Simply request to make some changes. From my personal experiences, clients are very flexible and they are usually willing to make exceptions.

It may be hard initially to understand contracts. This is completely normal but it is necessary that you educate yourself and put effort to learn all the legal terminology. Don’t be afraid of emailing your colleagues or another artist for help. If you have any questions or comments, post them as a comment below and I’ll try my best to answer them. I’ll also be providing more contract information this month on my blog and my newsletter so be sure to sign up for the Drawing for Dollars Newsletter if you haven’t already.

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