Illustrator Commissioner AgreementUPDATED

This Template is provided for use by freelance illustrators who are commissioned to create artwork for a client. The Illustrator Commissioner Agreement is a simple contract. Once all the details to be completed have been confirmed with the commissioner, it is best practice to send the Illustrator Commissioner Agreement to the client to confirm the commission before you start work on the commission, so both parties are aware of the terms from the beginning.

The Template is drafted in two parts. The first page contains details about the job and the licence granted to the client and the client’s customer (if the client has commissioned the illustrator for a job they are working on for one of their own clients). The second page contains standard terms and conditions.

[hidden title = "How to use the Template"]

  • As standard commissioning agreement to be completed by yourself and used for your business but you must ensure that you understand the terms of the agreement.
  • As starting point for further advice and support from professional legal practitioners.
  • As an educational tool to learn about best practice for your business.


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Pay attention to text in blue and complete the Template accordingly.

  • Complete the Illustrator Commissioner Agreement on the front page. Fill in the Client’s company name and contact details of the person who commissioned you within the company. We have assumed that the client is a partnership or company with a registered number and office address. If the client is an individual, simply state the name and residential address of the individual who commissions you.
  • Define the Work you are providing including any technical specifications and size of artwork to be supplied.
  • While illustrators will often supply digital artwork, you may sometimes supply original artwork for scanning by the client. Clauses 22-24 relate to this.  We suggest that you leave this clause in regardless of whether you are supplying originals or not.
  • Define the Usage for which the artwork is used, e.g. 48sheet national campaign, digital social media marketing campaign, Instagram advert, book cover, editorial in newspaper;
  • It is important to include a Schedule with clear delivery stages and deadlines as this will determine the amount of cancellation/rejection fees due to you (clauses 13 and 17). You should ensure that you are happy with the description of the Stages and that the percentage of cancellation fee or rejection fee is appropriate for each Stage.
  • You can define more than 3 Stages but you have to change the percentage of the rejection or cancellation fees accordingly.
  • State the Fee without the VAT. If you are VAT registered, you have to issue a VAT invoice to charge VAT in addition to the Fee (Clause 11)
  • Include the amount of Expenses you have agreed. If none were agreed you cannot charge any (see Clause 9).
  • Licence: Think carefully about the licence you grant to the client. You can grant a
    • exclusive licence (usage rights as defined to be used only by the client and yourself); or
    • non-exclusive licence (you can licence the rights as defined to third parties – it is unlikely that a client will accept this if the work is bespoke and for their sole use).

Define the Territory, e.g. UK, Europe, USA. Try to limit this where possible but the client may require a worldwide licence if, for example, the work will be available online and there is no territorial restriction on the online platform.

Define the Term (the period of time for which you grant the licence).  Again this should be limited.

  • Rights: Rights define what the client is able to do with the artwork. For certain commissions – e.g. publishing, Audio Visual, you may want to define additional rights. You can define rights that you grant for the particular usage of the Work, e.g. reproduction, publication, broadcasting, distribution of devices carrying copies etc. In most cases this is limited to reproduction and publication rights (e.g. for an advertising poster). Sometimes, you need to define additional rights (e.g. if your illustrations are used in a digital publication available for download or for sale on a CD). Take particular care when doing this as it is important to define Rights accurately. If you are unsure, you should seek professional legal advice, especially if the usage suggested by the client is complex.
  • There are tick boxes for ‘additional promotional use’ because promotional use is not automatically included in the scope of the licence if you provide a licence for, say, creation of a mug. You should therefore specify (if applicable) that your illustrations can be used to promote the product in advertisements and other promotional material. (Note: the AOI recommends that use of Artwork for advertising is paid for in addition to using Artwork for a product alone, e.g. a children’s book).
  • Check through the Template for square brackets and blue text indicating where you need to insert/delete text.  


[hidden title = "Download the Template"]

You can download the AOI Illustrator Commissioner Agreement here. Please note that this folder includes these introduction notes, as well as an editable word doc and PDF of the template.


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When you download the Illustrator Commissioner Agreement, you do not automatically own copyright in the Template (which remains with us). We grant you a non-exclusive, non-transferable licence to download, store, copy and use the Template solely for the purposes set out above. You must not use the Template for any other purposes, and, in particular, you must not “re-sell”, sub-license, publish, copy or distribute the Template (in whole or in part) for use by any third party.

Our Template has not been drafted for your specific set of circumstances (about which we have no information) and is not intended to constitute legal advice to you.

We do generally provide instructions and guidance notes on how the Template should be used, but you use it entirely at your own risk if you do not seek independent legal advice before you use it for your business. We shall not be liable to you to the extent permitted by law, whether in contract, tort (including negligence), breach of statutory duty, or otherwise, for any loss of profit, or any indirect or consequential loss arising under or in connection with your using the Template.

Please also note that the law, and how it is interpreted, changes from time to time. We are not able to update the Template to reflect every change in the law since it was originally drafted, and we cannot and therefore do not guarantee that this Template reflects, at the time of download, the most up-to-date legal position.

The Template is drafted to comply with and to be enforceable under UK law. If this is not practicable (e.g. because your business is based somewhere else) you should seek professional legal advice before using the Template as we do not and cannot guarantee that it is enforceable in any other territory.

If you would like permission to use the Template, or any other of the materials on our website, in a way not permitted by our terms and conditions, please contact us at [email protected]


We offer many other great resources where we explain illustration contracts in detail, show you how licences are written, guide you on how to get commissions and behave professionally, and much more. 

We also offer bespoke 1-1 advice on any contractual, commission or business enquiries illustrators may have. 

Get full access to these and many more AOI benefits when joining us. Find out more about membership today.



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