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Making your own contract to outline expectations for both parties, as well as protect yourself and your assets. DISCLAIMER: I'm not a lawyer and this isn't an exhaustive how-to. However, it's based off of information I've learned from someone who has made freelance illustrating their livelihood for decades. As such, this information is probably geared more towards artists, but you should be able to tweak it to fit your needs as a programmer, game owner, etc! Anyone who is serious about freelancing or running a game and working with artists/programmers. Contracts can be part of a NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement), or separate documents. The goal is to try to cover all of your bases and eliminate possible gray areas. Be very specific with what art and rights you are granting so there aren't any questions down the line, and your work doesn't get used in an additional way that you didn't intend for it to be used (and didn't get paid for!) --------- ▸The first thing to distinguish as artists/game owners is if this is a work for hire job. If it is, you give up all rights for the illustration(s) you do (except your right to show it for portfolio or personal promotion, unless stated otherwise.) The best example is if you did something for Disney - they'd want EVERYTHING. It could also complicate things if you later decide to copyright the work. ▸Decide what rights you want to give. Commercial, global, web, print, promotional, etc etc etc. Specifcy and make sure, if possible, you keep rights to original work for portfolio and self promotion! Specify if you need credit and how that should be displayed. ▸Most professional illustrators charged based upon the artwork, and then additional fees for the usage. So if you draw an icon that becomes a logo and is printed on merchandise, you'll want to consider charging more than the flat rate for the item. ▸Want to protect yourself from the possibility of a client requesting a lot of edits? You can offer a few free changes to bring your art up to the project standards, but it helps for clients to be clear and precise in the original project description. You lose money and time by constantly editing. Consider charging an hourly rate for edits past #x of changes. ▸If you're working on a larger project, consider including a kill fee. If working on a map/script, and halfway through the client decides to cancel or completely change the direction of the image/script, you should be compensated up to the stage that you're at (from sketch to final! It's even possible to have a smaller percentage kill fee once the project is first initiated, as that still took up your time to discuss the project and finalize the contract) ▸ This may also be a good place to confirm payments, deadlines, assignment descriptions, and other related details for easy record keeping. (It's easier than sifting through emails or private messages if you need to check something a few months later!) --------- The Graphic Artist's Guild is a fantastic resource for more information! I have modified their "All Purpose Illustrators Letter of Agreement" for myself. https://graphicartistsguild.org/dpegs-contract-downloads You can find a lot more resources as well as advice on their website. They also publish an ethics and pricing handbook yearly that every artist should own. (Unless there are huge changes, the last year's edition should be really affordable on Amazon) Whenever you are buying or selling services, from friends to a new or continuing client. Artists/Programmers can have their own contracts even if a game sends their own. All contracts are negotiable. Be sure you communicate with your client/artist/programmer before locking into an agreement to negotiate fair terms if you have questions or something doesn't work for you! A professional contract is typically sent as a PDF. If you can get fancy with Word, go ahead and then export as PDF! Photoshop, InDesign, and Acrobat are also good tools to create and modify documents. You can also make a signature and save it separately, so you always have a file to easily apply to contracts. Contracts can be as clear cut as you need them to be, but having a little bit of visual hierarchy will help all parties involved in reviewing the important areas (assignment description, cost, rights, etc). Typically you don't want a contract to be too long, 1-2 pages is a good length for an artist's. But a game owner's contract may look differently since it may need to cover more details. Google around and see what looks fit you best! A possible outline could be: Your Info Clients Info Assignment Description Rights Granted Terms of Service Signatures This is an area you may also want to cover in your contract, depending on the project. Did you only grant web usage, and found out that your art was printed in a zine? Did you program something and found that credit was removed, against your terms? Specify in the contract what should happen (usually compensation). Depending on the situation and willingness of the violating party, you may have to seek legal action. Artists: As far as I'm aware, if you're a US based artist, there are usually state based art guilds that have a small yearly fee of ~$30-50, but provide a couple hundred dollars of free legal advice. It's worth looking into if you're in a pinch, or even want help making/refining a contract! Keep tidy records of everything. Paypal invoices, contracts, PSD files, emails .... try to keep everything saved somewhere reliable if you ever need to look back on something for proof or reference later on down the line! Keep financial records. This is especially important for when tax time rolls around for income taxes and deductions. Also keep up to date on laws, since internet sales taxes can change, and if you make under a certain amount for a certain time, the government may view your work as a hobby. Pre-Contract Checklist -------- And that's it for your quick(ish) lesson! Feel free to drop any questions, but I hope this served as a good intro and helped you get some ideas rolling to create or even update your own contract.