Sample Cover Artist Contract

In the interest of transparency, we’re sharing this template of the contract we use when we hire artists to do cover art for our anthologies and books. Please be aware that the version we’re sharing publicly is not final, not legally binding, and may be edited or modified before it is sent to artists for their signatures.

Memorandum of Agreement for Artwork Commissioned for (Title of Project)

This contract is made between Duck Prints Press LLC, whose address is (ADDRESS), hereinafter referred to as the Publisher, and (ARTIST’S NAME), whose address is (ARTIST’S ADDRESS), hereinafter referred to as the Artist.

In consideration of mutual promises and forbearances, the parties agree as follows:

Artist’s Grant.
   1(a). The Publisher is retaining the services of the Artist to create one unique piece of digital artwork, hereinafter referred to as the Artwork, for inclusion in an (Anthology/Book) titled (Title of Project), hereinafter referred to as the (Anthology/Book), to be published in print and eBook (PDF and ePub) formats. 

   1(b). The Artist grants the Publisher the right to use the Artist’s chosen publication name(s) for advertising, promoting, or otherwise publicizing the (Anthology/Book). The Publisher shall only use personal information expressly provided and approved by the Artist.

Rights Purchased.
2(a). The Artist retains copyright and ownership of the original Artwork.

  2(b). The Artist agrees to the exclusive licensing of the following rights to the publisher: the right to display, advertise, and transmit the Artworks; the right to modify the Artworks in basic ways such as trimming them into banners, using parts of them for merchandise, or adding text to them; the right to produce art prints and other reproductions of the Artworks; and the right to create derivative works such as merchandise and accessories featuring the Artworks. This exclusive license applies solely to the use of the Artworks during production, development and sale of the (Anthology/Book), and expires either one year after the (Anthology/Book) is published or on (DATE), whichever comes first.

  2(c). The Publisher reserves the right to continue to sell print and electronic copies of the (Anthology/Book), with the Artworks included, after the period of exclusivity has ended, for as long as the Publisher remains in operation. The Publisher also reserves the right to sell any excess merchandise made featuring the Artworks after the period of exclusivity, but not to produce new merchandise without the express written permission of the Artist. The Publisher is not permitted to use the Artworks in any other publication or electronic media.

  2(d). The Publisher must properly identify the Artist as the creator of the Artwork and provide the Artist’s chosen publication name on the copyright page of the (Anthology/Book).

  2(e). The Artist retains all rights to the Artwork not specified here, including but not limited to: authorship credit, the right to use the Artwork in their portfolio, and the right to promote and sell the original Artwork.

  3(a). The Artist will be paid $XX US. 50% of this amount will be paid upon approval of a sketch; the remainder will be paid when the Artist and the Publisher agreeing on a final version of the Artwork and after print-suitable image files are transferred to the Publisher. 

  3(b). The Artist shall receive a complimentary copy of the eBook editions of the (Anthology/Book).

  3(c). The Publisher agrees that the Artist will complete the Artwork in the Artist’s creative style at the Artist’s discretion. However, the Publisher reserves the right to request revisions or modifications of the work. One major edit/revision is included in the quoted price; if additional revisions are required, the Publisher agrees to pay the Artist at a rate of $XX US per hour.

  3(d). As the Artist progresses, they will provide the Publisher with updates and visuals of the Artwork. The Artist understands and agrees that the Publisher may use these updates (including but not limited to preliminary sketches, concept sketches, and lineart) in promotional materials related to the (Anthology/Book) and in social media posts (always with proper credit to the Artist and whatever link(s) they’d like to their own media accounts).

  3(e). If the Publisher declines to use the Artwork after revision, the Artist retains all the right to the Artwork and the Artist will still be paid the agreed upon amount, unless the Artist is in breach of this contract.

  3(e). The Artist agrees to complete the Artwork by (DATE). If the Artwork is not completed by this time, provided the Artist has made a good faith effort to complete the Artwork, they retain all rights to the Artwork and the half-payment provided up front but will not be paid the remaining commission amount due upon completion, since the work has not been completed. If the Artist has done no work or otherwise been negligent, they must refund the entire payment to the Publisher.

 Authors’ Warranties and Indemnities.
 4(a). The Artist represents and warrants that he/she/they is the sole creator of the Artwork, and that no one has previously reserved the rights granted in this agreement. The Artist also represents that, to the best of his/her/their knowledge, the Artwork does is not in violation of any rights of privacy or any other rights of third persons, does not violate any existing common law or statutory copyrights, was not generated in part or in full by an art-generation model (so-called “AI”), and has not been published before in any form, whether paid or unpaid, in print, electronic, or other formats not specifically enumerated here.

  4(b). The Artist agrees to hold the Publisher harmless against any judgement finally sustained against the Artwork, unless the Publisher has used the Artwork in any way that has not been authorized by this contract, in which case the Publisher shall be liable.

This agreement shall be interpreted under the laws of the State of New York in the United States of America.

By signing this contract, the Publisher and the Artist acknowledge that each party has read and understood this contract prior to execution.

In witness whereof the parties have executed this contract on this (DATE),


Artist                                                                 Date


Publisher                                                            Date