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Tarot art commission as work made for hire?

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ematuskey  ematuskey is offline
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Baba: yeah, I already know this isn't going to be cheap, unless I get very lucky with my artist selection. I suppose if it turns out to be impossible to find an artist to work with what I can pay, it wasn't meant to be.

Chanel: you echo many of my thoughts on the matter! I want to give the artist(s) credit, but they'll be my ideas that get drawn up, and I want to own them. I don't want to give someone an idea for an art piece, pay them to draw it up, and then be restricted on what I can do with it. Hopefully I can find an artist willing to work with what I can pay, and then accept profit-sharing in case the deck is successful enough to make money, heh. And thanks for the ideas of where to find artists--I actually put out a Craigslist ad last year, and also have an Art Institute in my city--I'm hopeful I can find someone talented but under-exposed, so we can help each other.
Top   #21
Chanel  Chanel is offline
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ema.. here's another place you could look.. http://www.contractedwork.com/

We had done a book through here. I did have a few nice offers through there when looking for artists.

I do really wish you the best !! Let us know how it works out
Top   #22
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I've followed this thread, trying to come up with some useful advice. To be honest I don't really have any answers, only a few more twists on the questions.
You seem to be very serious and realistic regarding the issues and potential costs involved, and in wanting to reach a balance of fair compensation for both yourself and the artist. But as has been covered by previous posts, for many reasons this isn't easy.

One reasonable way to achieve a balance would be to share the risks and rewards. i.e. pay an initial amount to the artists as an advance against royalties. If the project doesn't do as well as hoped, he or she will receive some compensation. If on the other hand the project becomes the next Thoth, then they can share in that success also.

Either way at some point, irrespective of how its eventually compensated, a value for the work has to be defined. Someone suggested in an earlier post (which I can't find now) that you consider looking for a comic book, or digital artist, because they work quicker. This seems to equate that therefore it will be cheaper. To a degree this is true, the time verses value is one obvious connection. However to start with I have to say the reference to digital art being quicker is misleading and once again demonstrates the misconceptions of this media. Its NOT the media, its the style that determines the time and this is one aspect that you haven't referred to in your posts. You clearly have a defined idea of the concept and content of your future deck, possibly even the layout color scheme etc. But do you have an idea in your head of the style? because that will probably be the most important factor in determining how much work (time, effort and cost) any suitable artist would charge.

I don't wish to suggest one is better than another, but for the sake of comparison, a simple line drawing and flat color like approach of say a Hello Kitty would presumably represent far less time than highly detailed images, irrespective of weather it was done digitally or oil on canvas.

Having a clearer idea of what you envisage will narrow the search for potential artists.

If indeed the style can be achieved by a digital means, that will also influence the legal issue of who owns the original, since by default the original is not a tangible entity in the traditional sense, from which "copies" are made.

Other considerations that might be worth considering, is that of having different rights for different uses. For example you value your original ideas and wish to maintain the rights (control) over your concept in tarot terms. But possibly the artist might keep control of the use of individual images. This sound complicated but essentially its this. The publisher has the rights to my images as a collective entity i.e. the 78 images which as a set constitute a tarot product. Were I to produce a set of those images reproduced on cloth, or whatever, the publisher might argue that they conflict (in its similarity) with the deck itself. Nevertheless, I still maintain the rights to each individual image. So I can sell prints of those individual images, license one or more to third parties for reproduction on merchandise, rearrange elements to create a themed montage etc etc.
This kind of thing might sweeten the appeal to an artist without it necessarily infringing on your core concept, which may be more of structual issue related to the full deck.... if that makes sense.

Nevertheless I think you'll find that the more accomplished the artist the less likely they are to blindly follow your direction. Personally I would find that so frustrating, all that work simply to follow instructions???? It would drive me nuts. But if there is any input from the artist in terms of feedback, suggestions, changes and adaptations, while that could be a good thing, it also may muddy the waters. It would not then be a clean division between your ideas, and a paid effort of a contracted artist.

Last but not least, and this is where I run the risk of putting my foot in it. No matter how good you consider your idea to be, conceptually, symbolically etc etc. Ultimately any future publisher and customers is going to be primarily influenced by the imagery. Both in deciding wether to accept the proposal in the first place and then the actual sales. The structure and underlying concepts are secondary (not in tarot importance), but certainly in determining the initial and early business viability. So the imagery is far more than simply the manifestation of your "baby".

Lots to ponder here.... Good luck in your search, and I hope all goes well.
Top   #23
PsychicLord  PsychicLord is offline
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This discussion just goes to demonstrate how complex these matters can get. I thought I would share the route I am currently travelling along.

I have good design skills, but when it comes to transferring the image from my brain to paper, the issue of lack of personal drawing skills effectively rules out taking on all the roles. So, I am the author, designer, publisher, distributor, retailer; but I need to 'outsource' the artist, and printer roles.

I spent over 6 months contacting artists to see if anyone would like to work for me, but the fact I was looking for collaboration and payment via royalities, seemed to put folks off..... in fact the majority of artists failed to return my emails or calls. Those that did contact me, all appeared to have plenty of work.

I felt inwardly sure, especially due to receiving input into this deck via my guides, that something will happen when the time was right (sometimes the universe has to put things in place).

Out of the blue one of our shop employees said that they knew someone, and they would speak to them. I stressed about the royality bit..... not wanting to have further diappointment.

After a few days the artist's phone number was passed to me...... and later that day I rang her. Due to an industrial accident she was actually housebound and pretty bored filling in her time writing a childrens book. Coincidently she reads cards, and has always wanted to design her own deck.

To cut a long story short, we have agreed that I will pay her royalities to the tune of 5p a card indefinity. I will obviously pay for any materials used etc., but she shares the risk of the eventual success with me. She will retain the ownership of her artwork, and I will have usage for the deck, guide book, and promotion of both. If I require to use one of the images for another use [tee-shirts etc.) then I will make a new royality agreement for that purpose.

To date she has become as passionate and engrossed in the project as I have, and we are bouncing ideas off each other like crazy. Due to the new concepts and lack of tradition introduced with this deck she believes strongly in its success. It is amazing how we have become so close so quickly bound by the desire to get the deck and its concepts to the wider world.

I strongly believe that if the 'universe' wants a fresh deck out there..... it will make it happen, perhaps in a slower timeframe, but happen it will.

I expect the initial print run [500] will happen late spring 2010, with a UK release shortly after (US release summer 2011). Here my artist just has to sit back and watch the pennies drop in.

I have already arranged for a tarot tutor to run classes using this deck as a form of promotion, and I am also are prewarning our retail customers of our intent to issue a deck....... so 10% [and rising] of the initial run should be snapped up within the first month.

The path to success is not guaranteed and not aways easy one, but positive thinking and trust can move mountains.

I hope something of what I have shared is helpful to someone somewhere.


Love & Light.
Top   #24
Educatio  Educatio is offline
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why not looking for artists...


hi,

I was thinking: why not give a chance to some artists from f.e. Eastern Europe? There is a difference in perception of the world that may be quite interesting in combination with your western hemisphere ideas. Plus you may find a wonderful artist who would like to work for less money.
I've just finished Maroon Tarot where the idea was mine but I was lucky enough to find a young talented artist willing to work with me. We signed a contract with him giving up all the copyrights. I also left 5% of future income to him.
It was a bit difficult 'cos he had to earn some more money for a living so it took almost 3 years for the whole deck to be finished. But I believe it was worth the effort.

If you have any questions, please send me an e-mail.

all the best,

maja
Top   #25
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Merman  Merman is offline
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I'm currently working on a tarot deck commission for a close friend, for extremely cheap. The deck is 78 cards, full color, and It's my first commission. I draw/color pretty fast, so I can finish the deck in under a month (or even two weeks) if I get more time off from my job. I'm in no way a professional; my art is more sketch-y than realistic, and I'm still learning. My style is unique, but unrefined. But since I work fast I can whip up something half-decent swiftly. I wouldn't say my style is 'publish worthy' but it's good enough if you just wanted to be able to hold your deck idea in actual card form in your hands. I don't paint- I just color sketches and then scan them into my computer. I have no idea what I would even charge for a full deck, but this is something I want to experiment with doing.

I'm toying with making a handful of deck ideas, for personal use mainly, which I can produce relatively quickly.
Top   #26
SarahJoy  SarahJoy is offline
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Bottom line?

Talk to an attorney who specializes in intellectual property law.

They'll be able to work through what rights you need for the project, and which rights the artist would retain. (It sounds like you want/need all rights except attribution, but I'm not an attorney.) From there, the attorney can draw up a suitable Work For Hire contract for you to use.

Copyright law can get very complex in cases like these, and most of us here aren't really qualified to advise you.

For reference, I'm a working artist who reads about and attends seminars on things like contract law and IP law.
Top   #27
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Aunty Anthea  Aunty Anthea is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SarahJoy View Post
Bottom line?

Talk to an attorney who specializes in intellectual property law.

They'll be able to work through what rights you need for the project, and which rights the artist would retain. (It sounds like you want/need all rights except attribution, but I'm not an attorney.) From there, the attorney can draw up a suitable Work For Hire contract for you to use.

Copyright law can get very complex in cases like these, and most of us here aren't really qualified to advise you.

For reference, I'm a working artist who reads about and attends seminars on things like contract law and IP law.
If America is anything similar to England Intellectual Property Law is not only extremely complex but also extremely expensive

If this is a friend perhaps Merman and his friend could form a legal partnership

Tarot decks are sold because of the artwork Merman deserves 50% of the profit
Top   #28
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Merman  Merman is offline
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I would maybe rather just let them do what they want with the deck, so I can move on with other commissions. As long as they state that I was the artist I don't care what they do.. I know I could ask for royalties but It isn't a big deal to me. I just want to make decks, which I enjoy doing very much.
Top   #29
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Aunty Anthea  Aunty Anthea is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merman View Post
I just want to make decks, which I enjoy doing very much.
I need a deck

It will take a certain amount of time to work out exactly what to include, but I definitely need a deck designed for me
Top   #30



 


 


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