Policies + Contracts for Artists || Part 2 Art Commission Guide [CC]

Policies + Contracts for Artists || Part 2 Art Commission Guide [CC]


Hey DreamChasers, it’s Jacey this is part
2 of my 4 part video series about how to start taking commissions. In case you missed it, you can watch part
1 here. And… I was so shocked I did that on the first take
and didn’t guess. Anyway, I just messed it up and made it worse. The first video covered stuff like pricing,
putting together a portfolio, getting clients, and knowing whether or not you’re ready. This week we’re gonna go over some of the
technical businessy stuff like setting policies and writing contracts and why you need those
things. I’m also going to include a link to a sample
contract in the description. It might not work for you needs exactly so
feel free to edit it. It’s just meant to be a boilerplate, starting
point, guide. Alright, so let’s just dive in! Alright so you might not actually feel like
you need to write official policies. Because you know, you’re really casual and
you’re just an artist and a free spirit. And that’s very stuff for businessy stuff
for stuffy grown up business people in stuffy business clothes carrying attache cases who
getting away with day drinking because it’s out of a fancy decanter. But I think it’s important to realize that
it’s not about being uptight and rigid. It’s about being honest and open and clear. You want to make sure everyone’s expectations
are understood. And that’s why having written policies is
very helpful and very important. It makes you a better communicator. It makes sure everybody’s on the same page. It’s open and honest and it’s gonna save
you a lot of headache in the long wrong. And here’s the thing, it is a very professional
thing to do. But guess what? YOU are a professional. Just by the nature of getting paid for your
artwork, that makes you a professional artist. So having clear policies is going to make
you seem more professional. It’s also going to reduce miscommunication
sand make everyone happier. So I strongly recommend that you have a written
list of policies that you can give to your client. That way if anything comes up or there’s
any confusion later, you can both refer back to it very easily and know exactly what to
expect. I want to point out, and I mentioned this
in the first video, that a lot of this stuff is really pertaining to PRIVATE commissions. Your policies might not apply to a work-for-hire
situation or something where you’re under NDA. That’s a whole other ball of wax. This stuff is specifically about a 1-on-1
private commission with an individual person that they’re most likely going to use for
personal use. Alright, so let’s talk about all of the
things that your list of policies should cover. 1. Your Payment Policy. Meaning how do you accept payment and when
is it due? Do you take venmo? Paypal? Cash? Is full payment due up front, or just a 50%
deposit? And a quick note, please make sure you take
SOME kind of payment up front, even if it’s just a percentage as a deposit. Because it’s really easy to do a bunch of
work for a commission and then have someone change their mind part way through and cancel. And you’ll never get anything, even though
you did some work already. So having your customer pay something up front
will prevent you from doing work for free and it’ll also make sure they’re serious
about the commission and they’re ready to commit to it. Because sometimes people reach out and they’re
not quite ready and you might not realize that and you start work and that’s just
kind of a mess. So, some kind of payment up front please. Okay next. Your Refund and Cancellation Policy. Do you offer refunds if a client wants to
cancel? And what if you’ve started work already? My policy is that if someone wants to cancel
during the early sketch phase, they can, but I will give them a 50% refund. However if they want to cancel after that,
I don’t offer a refund because I’ve already done a lot of work. 3. Your policy on Edits + Revisions. It’s really helpful to have a clear policy
on how many edits and revisions you offer as part of your pricing. Because sometimes clients request a lot of
changes and add a ton of work. Sometimes even outside of the scope of the
original agreement. And sometimes clients will ask for tiny changes,
but instead of one email with 5 or 10 changes, they just keep sending them to you. So it takes up a lot of time. You’re opening up the file, making a little
change, sending it back, making another little change. So I usually refer to it as a round of revisions. So you usually get 3 rounds of revisions in
the early planning phases with my commissions. So I want you to give me as many of those
details at once so when I sit down to work on it I can do all of the things you asked
for, instead of 10 things over the course of a week. Because otherwise you can end up with hours
and hours of work added to the commission and it’s gonna be not worth your time any
more. You’re gonna be making way less than minimum
wage. And at a certain point, you just have to charge
extra for that many changes. Of course you can’t just spring that on
a client though. You have to make it clear. They have to expect if there’s gonna be
an extra fee. Because you know, from their perspective they
paid a lot of money for this commission, they want it to be perfect. From your perspective you need to make a fair
hourly wage for your time and it’s not reasonable to have this endless commission until they’re
happy. That’s why I include some kind of policy
about revisions and I also mention it when I’m negotiating. That like “Okay, this is my price and this
is what it includes, this many revisions.” Try to make that clear. Another important thing to cover in your policies
is copyright and ownership. A lot of people assume that when they pay
for a commission, they own the copyright to the artwork. But without having it in writing, you probably
don’t. The artist still created that work and legally
they own the rights to it unless they transfer those rights to you. This is kind of a controversial topic, but
I think it’s fair that the artist owns the right to their work unless otherwise stated. Obviously as an artist, so I’m a little
biased, but here’s my logic. In my first video I outlines how to set your
pricing for artwork, and in a lot of cases when you factor everything in, artists aren’t
making per piece that they draw. A lot of times they’re making minimum wage
if they’re lucky. So if the client owns that work that they
made, and gets to sell it and make more money and profit off of that… and the artist barely
made anything for it hourly… I feel like that’s kind of not fair to not
give the artist another time if you’re going to be making all this money off it. So considering how little artists make generally
from personal commissions, I think it is kind of fair. I think if you’re if you’re expecting
to pay an artist and own the work, then you have to pay a premium for that, the way a
company–I’m gonna say WOULD here–but let’s be honest the world is SHOULD. A company SHOULD do that. They don’t always. I think artists get exploited a lot. That’s a whole other conversation. But the point being if you want to own something
you have to pay a little extra to own it. So yeah, I feel like that kind of trade off,
it deserves a little extra compensation. Like if I’m gonna give you the rights to
my work and you can potentially make a limitless amount of money, I should get paid a little
bit more and then transfer you the rights for that fee. So if that’s the case, if someone wants to
own the rights to something. My recommendation is to charge a little bit
more, even just an extra percentage, 20 percent, 30 percent, on top of whatever your original
commission price was. But that’s up to you, whatever you think that’s
worth. But either way at that point you should probably
have it all in writing. Which we’ll get to a little later when we
talk about contracts. Another important thing to make it clear in
your policies, is that if you reserve the right to post examples of your work on social
media. If you plan to stream it, let them know that
as well. Sometimes people want to keep their commissions
private, they’re a surprise or it’s just very personal, so you’ll have to negotiate
that with them. I usually charge a little bit more for that
because I’m losing that benefit of it being content for my stream, it’s not something
I can use to promote myself. So to me the trade off there is I want to
be compensated more for something I have to hide like that. Similar to how if you were working with a
company and you’d be signing and NDA or something you can’t share, you expect those jobs to
pay a decent amount, right? To be kind of more professional pricing. Or I guess industry pricing? I’m not sure. And finally, you can also include your personal
boundaries in your policies, meaning things you wont draw, or behavior you won’t accept. So for example you might have things like
no porn, no mechs, nothing illegal, if you’re a dick I reserve the right to cancel. Stuff like that. Okay so let’s talk contracts. If you’re working for a company, they probably
already have a contract drawn up for you to sign, so you won’t have to worry about it. Well, you do have to worry about it. Make sure you read it and understand what
it says. But what I just mean to say, you won’t have
to write one yourself. So the question is do you need a contract
for a private commission? Well? Some people will tell you Yes! You always do. And honestly those people are hecking smart. You should listen to them. But if you like to play fast and loose with
commissions, you might be able to get away with not having a contract for a lot of smaller
gigs. I usually don’t for something that’s $50
and something I can do in less than a week. But there are some circumstances where I prefer
to have a contract. So, here are the circumstances that I absolutely
recommend having a contract for. Any gigs that cost over $200. Once you have this much money on the line,
it’s a good idea to have things in writing. I get why for a $25 gig you can bang out in
2 hours, but once you start investing double digit hours on something, it’s worth the
extra time and effort to put it all in writing. If someone wants to own the copyright of the
work, put that in writing. It’s the best way to legally cover everyone’s
bases and make sure you’re all in agreement about who owns the work If someone offers to pay you in future royalties
or sales. Put that in writing. Have them spell out exactly what percentage
of the profits you will get. Also, take a down payment because very, very
rarely are you actually working with the next JK Rowling. That’d be great. I hope you are and I hope you get that Harry
Potter money. But it’s not very likely so, take a down
payment if you agree to work for royalties. Get something. If you’re agreeing to accept payment *after*
the work has been completed, rather than up front. Normally I advise against that, but if you’re
doing something for a Kickstarter project that’s relying on crowdfunding, you might
want to make an exception. Just make sure the people you’re doing work
for are reputable. Alright, ow that you know you definitely 100%
need a contract, what kind of stuff should the contract include? Well, this could depend a lot based on the
project, but here are some basic things to include: 1 The date the contract goes into effect. 2 The name of the parties involved. IE: The Client and The Artist. 3 Statement of work. This includes a description of the work being
done, the deliverables (meaning drawings, files, etc), the timeline for when they will
be delivered, who is approving the work, and details about what is and isn’t included. 4 Final due date. 5 Credits. Depending on what the project is, the artist
may wish to be credited. 6 Grant of Rights. You can state whether you’re granting full
copyright, or a limited license to use the work. 7 Reservation of rights. If you want to keep the rights to your sketches
or anything not used in the final artwork, make that clear! 8 Royalties. If applicable. This is where you would outline your percentage
of royalties and all those details. 9 Promotion. It’s a good idea to add a clause that allows
you to use your work for self promotional purposes, even if you’re giving the client
the copyright. 10 Payment. List the amount, when it’s due, all the
details around payment. 11 Revisions. Include the amount of revisions the client
can request as well as an hourly rate if they exceed that amount. 12 Cancellation. Your policy on how you handle refunds and
ownership of the work in the event that the client wants to cancel. 13 Warranty. This is just like, the part where you say
“yeah I made this and didn’t steal anything and I’m not gonna be an asshole” Your contract might include other things,
depending on the specifics of the project, but this is generally what I use. I’m not a lawyer and this isn’t legal
advice. This is honestly cobbled together from hours
of research and other templates I’ve found and repurposed for my needs and now I’m
sharing it with you. If you want something sound, talk to an actual
lawyer. Hire someone to draft something solid for
you. They’ll probably add in clauses about if
there’s a court case which state would it happen in, and all legal jargon that’s confusing
as hell because that’s how lawyers do. But if you want to protect yourself, that’s
a good idea. I personally don’t have that kind of money
so I’m just sort of winging it. I haven’t had any issues. Yet. And opefully you’ll never be in the position
where you have to actual take someone to court, but having the contract is in everyone’s
best interest. Generally speaking, someone who isn’t willing
to sign a contract or is offended that you’d ask them to sign a contract, isn’t someone
you want to work with. That’s a red flag and you should run far,
far away and never look back. Anyway that’s it for this video! It’s a little bit shorter than the last
one thankfully. Stay turnt. Stay turnt? Stay tuned for the next part of this series
on art commissions where I talk about some of the nitty gritty once you’re actually
doing commissions, like how to manage your workload, keep track of messages. That sort of thing. If you have any advice on how to policies
and contracts, please state your law credentials before your comment so we know what we’re
working with. For example my comment would look like this:
I’m not a lawyer but my mom WAS a legal secretary in the 90s and I played a LOT of
solitaire on her work computer after school. That’s all true by the way. Again why I reiterate that this video is NOT
sound legal advice.It’s just some artists trying to do the thing being like “here
this is what I do. I don’t know, I hope
it helps! Anyway, thanks for watching! Bye! Chase your dreams! And that bread! Love you! Peace!

3 thoughts on “Policies + Contracts for Artists || Part 2 Art Commission Guide [CC]”

  1. Thanks for watching! Check out Part 1 which covers pricing, portfolio and where to find clients: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewlSPXgBPn4

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