Tuesday, May 17, 2011


After clocking 2 decades in the Illustration business I can bitch about how 'things are going to the dogs' and stuff like that, right?  

Most contracts I've dealt with are simply written agreements, y'know, like the dictionary describes it.  While most contracts are still just that,  in recent years, I'm finding these crazy, asking for your first-born Faustian monsters.  Dealing with them is like dealing with a spoiled-brat, bad seed of a child, shrieking "Mine, mine, mine, mine!.."  With little or no equality or accountability.  The people writing these things really should know a thing or two about the business the contracts are intended for.  Perhaps thumb through Graphic Artists Guild handbook? 

Anyway here's just a few of the 'mine-mines' creeping into contracts these days:

 'no credit for the artist, you can't even self promote with the art. 

    processes, procedures and/or techniques used…shall be the sole, exclusive property of…  That's right, how you do what you do. Do you really want to sign that over?

Legal Representation
If you have a problem with them, you must use their lawyers to represent you.  Never mind that it's not legal 

Of course it's all camouflaged in the legalese, but look for them.  Most clients will be fine with you simply crossing out the offensive parts, which is deal-able, but the fact that they would ask shows a profound lack of respect, I think.

To those of you who are considering using my services someday, but you intend to send me one of these word-diarrheas, Please, 

1: send it before I do the work. 

2: If I take exception to something, don't just let legal handle it, talk to me yourself.  Likely you'll find that I am more concerned with your best interests than the lawyer is.  Can you think of a situation that got better when lawyers got involved? 

Alright, hope that helps someday.

Meanwhile, here's a piece I did recently, all done digitally. in a process that I'm not signing over to anyone.



  1. If you have a problem with them, you must use their lawyers to represent you.

    Whaaaaat?! Not just illegal, it's a clear conflict of interest on the part of the lawyer and could be ethical grounds for the lawyer being struck off (ie, lose their licence) in Australia.

    That's just ridiculous.

  2. On the topic of people owning their own work (etc) and since I can't seem to find your e-mail address, I used some of your work here: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=378303.70 (that's it right down the bottom) I replied on the board giving credit to you for the image (on the next page). I hope you don't mind me using it, I didnt make any profit, I got an amigurumi Wampa in return for making that lady an embroidery case... I made myself one too.. thanks for sharing the image :-)

  3. Jason:

    Thanks for calling attention to this. We as artists get so wrapped up in making the coolest art we can that we can forget the 'art' of the deal, so to speak.


  4. Jason --
    Not sure if you've seen this before:
    (PG-13; strong language)

    He gives good reasons for keeping a lawyer on retainer; and I can see a real need for creatives taking a great deal of care in their contracts. It's only fair to both parties involved.