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What do you need to run a successful freelance business as an illustrator? Depending on whom you ask, you are likely to receive a myriad of answers to this question. Nevertheless, some answers will be similar. For example, there is no doubt that you need the right design skills to work in such an industry. Other than that, you also need the appropriate software and hardware. A few documents could also come in handy in your career. The illustration contract template is one such document.

Why should a client hire you as to handle all their illustration projects? After all, isn’t the market full of other equally experienced well-trained and highly talented freelance illustrators? The illustration contract can set you apart from every other freelancer. It can mark you out as the special one.

Moreover, it can make clients consider you the best illustrator to hire. Your goal should be to make sure that the contract protects all the parties involved in the project. Use it to let clients know that there is something for them too in the project.

How does the illustration contract make you the freelancer worth hiring? What does the illustration contract template offer you to be a successful freelancer?

Image source: megadox.com

1. Tackles the issue of cost

Clients who consider hiring freelancers do so for many reasons. One such reason is cost. Such clients are ready to save money. How do they save money? For starters, they do not have to deal with companies with massive overheads, which then transfer these costs over to the buyer. A freelancer often operates alone, unless the project in question requires the input of more than one professional. One of your duties, as a freelance illustrator, is to assure clients that what you charge helps them to save money.

Show clients how you intend to help them save money. The return on investment has to be worth the actual money that your client is paying or ready to pay. Failure to guarantee or package your services as cost-effective could convince freelance clients to go to large companies. In such instances, you would lose clients, money, and work. More importantly, your reputation might suffer too. Before charging the rates, your focus should be on the following factors that affect what you charge:

  • Duration of the project
  • Complexity of the project
  • Your location
  • Technology used to create the illustrations

2. Reduced overheads

Talk to your freelance clients to find out why they are after freelancing services. Explain the situation to them clearly. You are likely to discover that most of your clients turned to you because they are not ready to part with the huge sums that large corporations charge. Because of this, you have to remember to indicate on the illustration contract template the number of people who will be working on the project. That is quite important since some clients are not ready to assign their work to a team of 20 or so illustrators. Many of them want you to handle the project yourself.

The absence of a large pool of workers benefits clients in many ways. For example, they no longer have to worry about filling and filing W-2 forms. Other than that, clients do not have to concern themselves with hiring and firing policies. What is more, the fact that freelance illustrators have no reason for hiring office space also reduces the overheads for clients, thus ensuring that they save more money. Let clients know that you are also saving them from office politics and other dynamics that are part of large corporations.

3. Specialized skills

Illustration has different niches. Many freelance illustrators prefer to offer generic services. However, you should strive to specialize in one or two niches. This way, you quickly become an expert and authority in your specialty. Eventually, clients seek you out for your expertise in the niche for which they need help. Therefore, your illustration contract must highlight this issue. It has to mention it for all to know that you specialize in a specific branch of illustration. The more your reputation grows in this regard, the more clients your consultancy will attract.

Give customers a reason for abandoning all the other illustrators they know for you. The key to achieving this lies in the illustration contract. For this reason, you should pay more attention to it. Ensure that the contract is well-written and contains no grammatical or spelling error. More importantly, it should represent everything that your business offers accurately. In addition to all that, the contract must also highlight the expertise that you are willing to extend to clients who need your services.

Image source: illustrationisland.wordpress.com

4. Focus

Without focus, you cannot accomplish much in this industry. The contract template can help you to stay focused on the relevant issues. More importantly, success and happiness would continue evading you without this critical trait. All successful freelancers are highly focused. They know how to shut everything out and keep their gaze on what is important. Actually, highly successful and focused freelancers know what they should and should not do with their time, money, skills and other resources.

5. Adaptability

Apart from focus, the illustration contract template offers you a chance to be as adaptable as you prefer. This trait is critical bearing in mind that clients will approach you with different projects and instructions. In such instances, you would be wrong in applying one-size-fits-all solutions. Each project will need a specific skill set, tool or solution. Customized solutions come with different benefits to you and your clients. For example, you are likely to notice the following:

  • Your clients are happier
  • The illustration does not lose any of its integrity

6. Getting help from peers

It is fine to accept that you know a little. Nobody knows everything in illustration. Some veterans who have worked in the industry for eons take time off to go through fresh training to ensure they are up to speed with latest developments. If your illustration contract template allows it, you should not hesitate to seek for assistance from your peers. For this reason, it is advisable for freelance illustrators to network with their friends as well as fellow professionals and creative minds. Such networks are critical for freelancers who:

  • Mostly work in solitude
  • Do not meet with clients in person except through phones, emails, and social media

7. Develop persistence

Persistence in your freelancing career can take you far. Therefore, it is good for you to start developing this trait. After all, disappointments are normal occurrences in freelancing. Without persistence or a thick skin, you could soon find yourself falling on your face. It is worth reiterating the need for persistence because freelancing has its fair share of feast and famine seasons. In the absence of such traits, you may be unable to withstand the pressures that stand waiting round the corner. Your freelance clients need you to persevere.

Image source: illustrationisland.wordpress.com

8. Identifying a good workstation

There are days when you would be fine working from the comfort of your home, even if it is full of all manner of distractions. However, some illustration projects require a bit of silence and working in solitude. Do not rush into looking for such spaces if the illustration contract template does not provide the funds you need for this. Nevertheless, feel free to find such places even if it means taking a loss, as long as you deliver quality work that convinces clients to hand more projects to you.

When reviewing your illustration contract, keep in mind the following:

9. Introduction 

An illustration contract must have introduction has the date the agreement was made, both parties (that is the client and the freelancer) that agreeing to the terms and conditions, and their addresses. These contents are essential features found in standardized templates which are available for downloads.

10. Description 

In this section, the description of the service to be done will be made. This is a crucial part of a contract that covers all the scope of work. You will know the number of illustrations to do and the fee budgeted for it. 

Also, this will protect you whenever the client wants to put additional work for the same fee. You should have a clear understanding of the project description to avoid future misunderstandings between you and such a client. Make sure that the project stays between your agreed terms. 

11. Grant of rights

As a freelancer offering service in illustration, you are reproducing art but not selling it. You have the right to limit your client's right to your fine art and sketches; you should maintain a great portion of your work as much as possible. Note a clause the points to rights of purchase. 

For instance, how to use the illustration, and where to use it, the period to use it, and lots more. You should include in the contract the client will be granted the right to the illustration only when full payment is being made. If such a client couldn't pay for the illustration, then you are the legal owner of such a work. 

12. Fee 

You have to include the agreed-upon fee of the project in such an illustration contract. Also, you should include whether sales tax applies to the service or not. Sales tax is rarely charged in your illustration work because an illustrator is selling reproduced work and not selling the real art. Hence, sales tax will only be charged when you are selling both your reproduction rights and the illustration work. 

13. Payment

The clause of payment covers when and how your payment will be made. The standard payment is made within 30 days of final art delivery. You should ensure that all payment is made upon delivery and not before publication as stated in the illustration contract.

What happens if there is a late publication of the illustration. For instance, if you make a cover page for a book, then the publication was postponed by half a year due to the author's sickness? Would you wait that long to receive your payment? what if the author dies? You won't get paid.

14. Advances 

It is essential to include an advance fee in any illustration you have been paid advance for. It is helpful to get an advance fee for any long term work that requires cash to keep the work afloat. If you are worried about the client's payment ability, then it is essential to get a great portion of the total fee in case things go wrong.

15. Expenses 

There may be many expenses to be made for an illustration work besides the required materials. for example, if you are a photorealistic painter, you have to pay the model. If you are working on reportage, you have to include a travel fee. or if you want to embed typography inside your work, you have to purchase the font. Therefore, you should include all these costs, and the client must agree to pay for them.

Lastly, it is worth repeating that you can enjoy all the success you need as a freelance illustrator. You can be the best and most highly sought after illustrator. For this to happen, though, you would have to be as professional as possible. Professionalism involves writing and signing contracts. Therefore, start studying illustrator contract template to familiarize yourself with the process of drafting one. As you do that, you will have drawn one or several steps closer to your goals.

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