Podcast contributions. Need your help!


  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    Hey, We are doing a podcast tomorrow on how line items in contracts actually play out in real life. Looking for things that came up in the contract that helped you or hurt you down the road. Love to hear some of your stories! I have some good ones that I'll be sharing too!

    Let me know if you want me to leave off your name or just send me a private message if you don't want it in public.

    Thanks!
    -Lee



  • @Lee-White, amazing! I have no idea how this happened, but I was just discussing with my wife in how to prepare a contract for a project proposal I've just received!! I'm starting in the illustration business and one of my concerns is how to protect myself and my work with good line items in a contract and when exactly a contract is needed. It would be great if people could share basic templates that cover both customer and artists needs/expectations and if a lawyer assistance is mandatory in this process. Thanks!



  • I had a commission recently for a big company for an instruction manual that I knew could become a huge pain and go on forever so I added in a line that only offered 3 sets of amendments. It really helped because the last amendments came from the sales people who wanted to make loads of changes and they wanted more changes afterwards but since I'd reminded them throughout how many sets of amendments were left, they just asked how much for a new set of changes. I know it would have gone on forever otherwise. I still haven't been paid for this job though so who knows if it turned out well 😅



  • A couple of common examples that came up that I had to fix after some experience with clients:

    Scope - not defining in the "budget" section of the project that the SCOPE of the budgeted project applied SPECIFICALLY to what was being described, and if any additional work is requested a second proposal addendum would need to be drafted prior to that second set of work starting. I had a lot of scope creep problems when I first started doing graphic design work.

    That also really helped set the conversation because when additional work came up that we're now talking about a second set of billable hours.

    Licensing - in my terms I didn't originally have any licensing language at all. Who owned what, what licensing got transferred to whom or which party retained license.

    There were some more obscure things, but these I think are something that I feel like everyone is going to encounter pretty often.

    These two things are mostly coming into play for Work for Hire type contracts, but I did do a few projects that I retained the licensing for so it was really important I had that in the signed contract.


  • Pro

    Great podcast idea! I'm never again going to sign another contract that doesn't include deadlines based on how much time I need AFTER they get me the feedback. I've heard you guys say on the podcast say that's a good practice, but I'd never had problems before and you kind of don't think it can happen to you until it does. After all these are professional publishers, and I'm getting them through my agent too, part of me thought I didn't need to be that careful with these professional people. But the book I'm working on right now, it's been nothing but waiting for the feedback forever. Every single phase of the book so far I've had to remind them that I can't possibly hit the deadline if they don't get me that feedback ASAP. They don't even seem to realize it! I can't believe I have to say "Are you aware that I can't progress any further until you get back to me with this feedback?" Even the initial brief they only gave to me like a week before the sketches were due, I was like "you can't expect me to be able to make this deadline". I've had long periods of twiddling my thumbs followed by busting my ass to try to make up for the time they wasted. Color tests have finally been approved now and I'm just doing the finals so I hope that's the end of it. The color tests feedback took so long I had to get my agent involved to strong-arm them. At some point they said "it doesn't matter, we'll just add some time to the deadline then". But I have another project lined up after this one because I made my schedule back when I thought those deadlines would be respected. It's really been eye-opening and I'll be more careful in the future.


  • SVS OG

    @Lee-White Hi, Lee! This is unrelated with tomorrow's episode but I'd like to suggest another podcast topic for some other time.

    Okay, so I've been with Advocate Art illustration agency for almost a year. And though they're giving me sound guidance and getting me jobs, the projects I'm getting are on the lower end, mostly low-paying educational books. The good jobs are going to the agency's top artists while the new illustrators (including me) get their scraps. Now, I'm not complaining. These educational projects are jobs that I would've never landed on my own and though low, the payments are still better than the self-published projects I worked on when I first started and I am very thankful for it.

    Having said that, I would like to ask for tips or initiatives I can make in order to rise above the ranks. I know some of the most obvious answers might just be to continue to work on your own projects/portfolio, network, be patient, put in the effort, etc... but I was wondering if there are some other tactics that you guys could suggest in order to improve my standing or even just get better jobs.

    I look forward to your response. Thank you very much.



  • I once received a contract that said that I had to have over $100K of liability, errors, and oversight insurance and that my client needed to be named as a joint holder of the policy. I was only doing a few vector illustrations for a website. The job was small (under $1000) and when I looked into a policy of that nature, it was going to cost me more than I had quoted my client for the entire job to get insured for even half that amount.

    When I brought it up with my client, they said that the insurance requirements were in the contract for much larger subcontractor relationships and that we could just strike it and say that they were liable for any errors or oversights. Nothing went south with that job but if it had and i hand't been good about reading the contract and asking questions, I could have been on the hook for a whole lot of money!


  • SVS Instructor Pro

    @Danilo-Silva Graphic Artist Guild Pricing and Ethical Guidelines has a number of basic contracts for each niche of the creative market (editorial, picture book, surface design etc). I also like Tad Crawfords Business and Legal Forms for Illustrators as he does a great job of breaking down the legal language into something that is immediately understandable.



  • For me the biggest helpers were stipulating how long they had to give me feedback (tho to be fair if they hadn't given me feedback within the time-frame I probably wouldn't have known what to do about it if anything) and then how long I had to work was always based on when they gave me feedback (so like 1 week for revisions once I received their feedback). Also I find that giving myself more time than i need for revisions usually helps light a fire under their butts and cut out unnecessary revision requests bc if they take a while to respond it's going to take that much longer for them to receive the revised sketch OR alternatively they have to decide whether asking me to change a tiny detail is worth potentially an extra week on their timeline. So far it's worked great for me and a lot of times they actually are more inclined to approve the sketch even when they had one or two more rounds of revisions available (this might just be a fluke tho).

    The other thing is that since I work traditionally and it's a huge pain to make changes once the paint is laid down, I stipulate that only minor corrections can be made to final illustrations and those corrections must be able to be performed in Photoshop (so like color changes/corrections or like tiny little manipulations)

    As far as things that hurt me I don't think there was ever anything actually IN the contract that I can think of that hurt me down the road just some things that were NOT in the contract at all that were annoying. I probably could have argued with the clients about it but I'm too nice lol like for example one of my clients read the contract wrong and didn't realize the images inside the book would be black and white so I offered to give them a little color in Photoshop. It all worked out because I ended up doing the front cover the same as the inside images (pencil sketch with photoshop colors) and originally I was going to do the cover in traditional media so I think time-wise it evened out. But that one definitely stressed me out a little lol.



  • One item I didn’t see mentioned (as I quickly scanned replies) was limiting revisions. I always spell out how many after final sketches and charges for any after final art. Also that I’m the only one allowed to make changes to final art.



  • @davidhohn , thanks a lot for the tip! I'll take a look on them and see what best fits for my case!



  • As others have said - limiting revisions.
    Also needing feedback in a timely manner before deadlines. I took a local job for a poster with a quick turn around of a week. It was only after I submitted sketches that I realised that my contact only worked part time and wasn't working again till the day the illustration was due so I wouldn't be able to receive feedback till then... I don't think they thought that through. I hated that it looked like I wasnt meeting the deadline and I looked unreliable.



  • For a small book commission I did last year I made sure write in the contract that any significant changes they wanted to make after the roughs had been approved would cost them £30 per hour it took me to carry out these changes. This turned out to be a good move because in the final stages of the project they suddenly decided one of the main characters needed to be wearing different clothes (a hat, etc) in every illustration. Because of the contract I felt confident asking them of extra money, which they did pay me - phew!


  • SVS OG

    How do I send a private message?

    Not sure I'll get an answer to this question, so if I don't, I'd be interested in wording around intellectual property. This came up in a recent project and the legalese in the client's contract was confusing, even to them.


  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    thanks everyone. That was a good one! This episode is our longest podcast to date. Hope you guys enjoy it


  • SVS Team SVS Instructor Pro SVS OG

    @Johanna-Kim IP is a tricky one. We could do a whole episode on that


Log in to reply