=======What is a contract? Why use one?=======
A contract is a legal document stating the conditions of a job/partnership/other agreement. It is a written version of what has been agreed upon so there is no confusion.
Contracts protect both/all parties involved. They ensure that creators get their artistic needs met, and artists/writers/editors/etc. get credited and payed.
Contracts are not about a lack of trust. A contract is a written promise. You will do your end, they will do theirs. No one side is targeted. The creator does not need this to be sure the artist works, the artist does not need this to be sure the creator holds up their end. It's so both know what is expected, and what will happen. There is no reason not to have a contract, even between friends.
=======How to use this one=======
Contracts can be tricky to write. Especially if you're not familiar with the legal jargon involved. Let's face it, if we all were keen to reading legal jargon we'd read user agreements, and who really does? This is designed to help make sure that a lack of ability to write up a contract does not stop one from being made! Honestly, even between best friends, a contract should be made.
This is a generic template designed to be edited by you to fit your needs with minimal use of legal terminology, so that it can be short, sweet, and crystal clear for all sides involved.
This contract can be used regardless if you are hired to do the writing, artwork, inking, coloring, editing, or anything else. Erase, add, chop, cut as needed! This is a building block. You must fill it in, it is not 100% ready to go.
The bold sections are what absolutley must be edited, and the italic sections in brackets offer details and advice. I also recommend getting this notarized. If you cannot afford official notary, get a friend or family member to do it as that will work well enough. This can be as easy as having them sign and date their name after witnessing you sign yours, and it's a back-up to prove it is your signature.
Please note, if you're sent a contract, any contract, and you see something wrong,cross out the incorrect section, re-write that part, and sign your initials. This is so it is clear you are signing only with these changes made. This is especially important if you have a deadline for when the contract needs to be signed and are having trouble reaching the other party involved. Cross out the section, re-write it above the crossed out section, sign it, date it, and make several copies.
Title of Project
LETTER OF AGREEMENT
I hereby grant Creator the exclusive right to artwork done by me for Comic Project Title. (This can be altered to say Work, and Creator should be changed to the persons name who is hiring.)
I understand the requirements given to be by Creator including:
The number of pages per Week/Month/Year is Number(#) page/s. (If they say 1 page a week, then you say “Week” is “One (1) page”)
The total number of pages due this contract year is Number of pages (For example, if you are doing 1 a week for a year the answer is about 51 pages. This may not be the total pages of the project, but it is the amount due for this specific contract. “Year” is in bold as it is editable. Your contract may be for 2 years. It may be for 2 months. It’s up to you and the creator to decide the contract terms. Keep in mind that it can be devastating to have to switch artists/writers/editors during a project. It is best to see it through to the end, or a lot of money can be lost for breach of contract. Still, if a project lasts a long while, re-negotiation can be beneficial, so I recommend a new contract every year. If the comic is making a lot more money, and/or you found yourself doing a lot of extra work, you may request more money or other terms.)
My pages are due on Date of every Week/Month/Year. (What day of the week/month/year are projects due? This can also be edited to say “I understand ___ number of pages are to be done within ____ amount of time for printing” meaning you promise to get the requested amount done within the time frame given so that the comic can go to print)
Creator is to be sure I have the script by Date of every Week/Month/Year. Otherwise, I will be granted additional time to work on the pages equal to the amount of days the script was late. (Simple. You cannot do your end, if they haven’t done theirs. This protects you. Let's say the contract states that the script is due by the 1st of every month and your art is due by the 14th. If they do not get you the script until the 10th, they must provide those 9-10 additional days for you to complete your end, or they are breaking contract, not you. You can also state that there is a penalty for late pages. If you are the creator of the project, the one funding things, and you complete your end but the pages are late, you can insist that the price per page will drop for the late page(s). Alternatively, you can charge more for rush orders, such as if one side is late and desperatly needs to fit the time schedule, then there is a price increase for rush orders. While it is always recommended you finish pages as fast as possible, this is still important for a contract as it protects you.)
Creator has permission to use artwork for promotional materials for Comic Project Title. Including Business cards, Banners, Posters, and additional promotional material, excluding:
Selling artwork for others to use.
Claiming artwork was done by them.
Removing my name.(This section you really can add/remove items)
On the condition that I am given full credit for the artwork. Including, but not limited to, How credit is give. (Signature on every page? Cannot be cropped without your permission? Name in the front of the book? Be specific, and list all places… but do be reasonable. Do not insist your name go above the creator’s name, or even the title of the comic. Take consideration for what Creator is offering, and use it to balance out your request. Ideally, this is figured out before you send them this contract)
OPTIONAL GRANT OF RIGHTS:
[ I hereby grant Creator permission to sell my artwork related to Comic Project Title. I maintain rights to have my name listed on all products made using my artwork. Merchandise is permitted as long as Conditions. ] (This section is entirely optional. Essentially, it allows for merchandise and prints to be sold using the artwork, as long as your conditions are met. Conditions should be that if prints are made, the creator does not sign it as if it is their art. They can only sign as the creator of the comic, not the artist. Your name should remain on the print, and you may even request your contact information, such as your deviantart page, be affixed to the back of the print, via tape, ink, or label. It also is not absurd to insist that the Creator be responsible for all fees associated with this. If they want to sell prints, they need to pay to have the prints made up. If they want to sell t-shirts, they pay for the shirts and printing. You have done your end by doing the artwork. The only time this would be reversed is if you yourself plan on selling them… keep in mind that the project, characters, and setting all belong to the Creator, so just as they need your permission to sell your work, you need permission to sell theirs. Consider all artwork done on a comic project to either be a commission for them, or to belong to the both of you. If you are attending a convention and want prints of this, they are not required to supply them… however, if you both have a good enough relationship and made the effort, it may be beneficial to go in on a large order together and split it 50/50. Also, please note, payment is listed below, not in the conditions listed so far. Conditions listed so far are primarily for credit issues, as well as expenses. The next section is payment.)
The agreed upon payment for the use of this artwork will be Payment.
[ Merchandise payment will me Payment. ] (Payment can be a set price per page, or per month. Merchandise payment can be an upfront fee “$1.00 extra per design,” or a percentage “20% of all profit.” Generally, I recommend an upfront fee… for one, it means you are not waiting for payment, and if a design fails… you’ve still made money off it. Also, it allows the creator additional freedom and ability and is often the industry standard. If the design is small, such as for a pinback button, I recommend… $3 - $5 per design… pinback buttons can sell a lot, so if the design takes much effort, or you can honestly see it selling a lot, charge $10. They will make the money back. If they don’t think they can, I question how they are selling things because I’ve been selling pinback buttons for years and haven’t had any trouble. Some designs do fail, in that you only sell a few a year, but keep it long enough and you’ll get that money back. If they aren’t seeing it, I’m more than happy to help them out with ideas and advice. Now, I generally suggest charging by size/design, not by use. If they need 1 size and you provide it to them, charge for that size. If they have the skill to resize (making sure your name/signature is still always visible), then props to them, and to you because you only had to draw it once. If they need you to re-size or edit, charge around $5 per edit, depending on the complexity. If it’s just a “I need to shrink this” then $5 will do it. Enlargements, however, those are tricky because they start getting pixelled. I strongly suggest keeping a vector of all images done, or at least a LARGE size at 350 DPI. That way you can make it smaller for them, but if they need it larger, you won’t have to re-draw. Selling the design for their use is industry standard, but I strongly suggest you talk to them about it. For instance, it is stupid to pay $30 for a design, if they want it for a 1-inch button… Especially since buttons are round, and artwork tends to be square. It is far wiser to pay $30 for a design you want to use on most things, and another $5 for a version specifically for the button. Or just the $5 for the button. I suggest going over what they want to use it for, and help them out where you can. When designing art for the website, why not also talk about business cards and flyers that might also be made, to be sure the art will work for both, with some shrinking? It’ll help them out and make you look good.)
I will be credited on the Back/Front/Inside cover as the cover artist on all books printed.
I will have my name listed on Website of Comic Project. (This can be a DeviantArt page as well)
I agree to deliver my artwork to Creator as a 300-350 DPI graphics files (Format requested.) via Delivery method, or other mutually agreed upon delivery method. (File format can be .tiff, .jpg, .png, .psd, whatever is agreed upon. Delivery method can be email, FTP, dropbox account, etc.)
I hereby affirm that all artworks covered under this agreement are original and created by me, that I own the rights granted under this agreement, and that the rights granted hereunder are not encumbered by any other agreement, which would conflict with this agreement. I indemnify and hold harmless Creator from any fees or damages resulting from a finally sustained lawsuit brought against the use of my artwork due to plagiarism or other theft. (This looks scary, but what it says is you are promising the art you deliver is yours. That you didn’t get someone else to do it, or steal it. Or re-color artwork done by someone else, unless that someone was Creator. It means no one outside the team has any claim to the artwork. And if it turns out someone does, because you took it, it’s not Creator’s responsibility. Now, none of you would do this, of course. If you are using a program (such as ComiPo), or something to create the comic give that program credit for it, and make sure Creator is okay with that. Also, make sure you have permission to use items created in that program for whatever you all plan on doing. This section is primarily as a show that you are being fully honest, because you’re taking legal responsibility.)
Sign here: ______________________________
Artist Name: ______________________________
Notarize : ______________________________
Sign here: ______________________________
Creator Name: ______________________________
Notarize : ______________________________
Instructions (not part of this agreement): If these terms are acceptable to you, please print out and sign two (2) copies of this agreement. Don't forget your shipping address. Retain one copy of this agreement for your files and mail one copy to: Creator’s Address.
It is advisable you both have each others addresses (keep this private! It is against the law to give our someone's address without their consent. Same with their full legal name, privacy matters), but is not 100% mandatory... just strongly recommended. These do not have to be mailed, they can be scanned and sent digitally. Always be sure you have a copy! If the other person insists something is or is not in the contract, you need to have a copy with both your signatures so that you can look back and prove if it was, or was not.
Creators, remember that if the comic is doing well, and/or is continuing past the first contract, give the artists more. You want to reward their loyalty! If a contract is for $10 a page for 1 year, make it $15.00 per page the next year. You want your comic to continue, and you'll know by then if you like working with them, and if so, reward them.
Many of you are now worried because you don't charge cash/cannot afford cash. Relax, the contract is for any amount. If you use points, then enter the amount of points. Use whatever needs to be used.