Fall 2001 SCBWI NY Metro
Work for Hire, Subrights/Licensing/Reprographic rights, Pricing, Schedules demands, etc. These are some of the concerns and the terms of a "CONTRACT": a word that makes most artists cringe. Most of us would simply rather not deal with the implications of a contract. OH, we want one. We feel this somehow protects us and makes things clear (?) but we don't even want to actually read it!
As an artist rep. who deals with contracts and business all the time, and who has just returned from the recent 2nd Illustrators Conference in Santa Fe, NM, I strongly urge you to READ those important small words. Remember that the contract will always benefit the one who is handing it out! So read it, make sure that the terms are ones you can live with. Say "NO" about something if you feel you must. Saying "NO" just OPENS THE CONVERSATION. There isn't a dialogue until you do. Remember, the art buyer isn't your enemy. Some wise person at the conference pointed out that the buyer has spent a good deal of time finding you and matching you to the job. They don't WANT you to walk. They are your partner. So have a conversation with them about how you can make the job work better for you both. You may not be able to make any changes, and may still accept the job, but you have made a big statement and point. You ARE a professional and are to be taken seriously and with respect. Each conversation like this strengthens your position, and the position of every illustrator in every market.
One of the big issues for all illustrators with contracts is the ALL RIGHTS (Work For Hire = WFH) tendency from buyers in advertising, editorial and other fields, like our own Children Publishing area. The "cry" is that we should have more respect for our own work! Don't give away all the subrights (reuses) without compensation. As Claudia Karabaic Sargent stated, "we don't sell pictures for a living...we DO license (sell) the RIGHTS to USE our pictures for a living." It's a great thing to remember.