Freelance Illustrator Jobs: Freelance Contract Dos and Don'ts

Freelance illustrator jobs can be complex, and very demanding. This work can range from impressionistic single frame jobs to entire books of illustrations. There’s a very large number of freelance illustrator jobs advertised and the demand for illustrator services is increasing.

The Freelance Illustrator Job Market

It’s necessary to understand this market to understand the problems. The freelance illustrator jobs you see online are expedient business options for the people advertising. These contracts are all on budgets which tend to be much cheaper than hiring expensive commercial artists. In most contracts, the contractors own the work done under contract, not the artist. 

For artists, freelance illustrator jobs are very good material for career progression. They provide excellent portfolios, and help artists to go for higher paying jobs elsewhere.

The problems are much less obvious. The illustration market is also a very fussy market, and some contracts can be trouble. If you’re the very creative artistic type, these situations can really get on your nerves, waste your time, and be very frustrating in terms of personal feelings.

Freelance Illustrator Jobs Contracts Basics

The preliminary issues for freelance illustrator job contracts are that the freelance illustrator job contract is a purely business situation. You must understand the issues involved in any contract. There are a few specific contract pitfalls to avoid:

  • A contract must be worth your time and effort: Check out the value of the work, relative to the hours spent.
  • Payment must be reliable. If you don’t receive payment as agreed, you’ve got a real problem.
  • The content of some contracts isn’t suitable for some freelance illustrator portfolios because the work may be low pay and prevent you from getting more suitable jobs. 
  • Terms of contracts may be obscure or weighted in favor of the contractor.
  • Terms of contracts may be exploited as an excuse for non-payment.
  • Escrow terms may work against you, in a dispute over contract terms.

The Important Do’s in Freelance Illustrator Job Contracts

  • Research the contractor: Check professional sites for any references to the contractor.
  • Ensure the contract payment terms and methods are spelled out.
  • Contracts should contain all terms of a standard contract, including termination.
  • Contract values: Value the work relative to the time factors and level of technical difficulty.
  • Check out any escrow terms related to a contract in detail: Only proceed with the contract if you’re happy with these terms.