When doing any kind of illustration work, it’s important to have a contract. Sure, it may seem a bit daunting for a beginner to delve into legalese, but contracts don’t need to be scary. They can be as simple as a plain-language document that outlines the general business between you and the client. In the world of illustration, they’re important for the following reasons:
- Contracts provide a written document that outlines the full understanding of the business relationship and scope of the work so that no one can claim any misunderstandings later down the road.
- They specify exactly what rights are being purchased and what rights you’re retaining.
- They’re binding and legally enforceable.
- They protect both you and the client.
- They stipulate how and when you get paid, what needs to trigger that payment, and what recourses you have if the client stiffs you.
- They minimize risk.
Never feel awkward about insisting a client works with a contract. It’s a mark of professionalism and should actually inspire confidence, knowing that you take your business seriously. Any client who refuses to work with one should be treated suspiciously as that’s a serious red flag. And any illustrator who works without at least having something in writing, whether it be a formal document or just confirming emails, is destined for some serious heartache later down the road.