6 Things to Include in your Commissioned Work Agreement

Many artists, at one point or another in their career, have been asked to create commissioned work for their clients. While some might not want to see it that way, art is a business, and just like any other business, you should be protecting yourself. First step: a contract between you and your client.

Of course, please take this as legal information and not legal advice. If you have any questions regarding commissioned work agreements, send us an email at


Why should I have a contract with my client?

A contract is an essential too that will help you set expectations between you and your client and prevent unwanted situations. It is better to set boundaries now than to figure out what to do later when one of the parties is unhappy and maybe unwilling to cooperate.


What should I be putting in my agreement with my client?

There are quite a few things you should make sure to include in your commissioned work contract, but here are the essentials:


  1. Description of the project

You should be including a brief description of the project you will be working on in your agreement. Be as precise as possible. You can include details such as size, materials, visual references you will be basing yourself on, similar works you have produced in the past, etc.


  1. Explanation of the process

This section is one of the most important ones for managing expectations between you and your client. Will you be creating multiple drafts to show your client before starting the final piece? If so, how many? How many times will you be updating the client during the creation of the artwork? Can the client ask for modifications? The goal here is to make sure you create a piece of work you will both be satisfied with.


  1. Deadlines

When should your client be expecting a first draft? When will they be getting the final product? If shipping is involved, how many days after the end of the creation process will they be receiving their commissioned work?


  1. Payment terms

 Will you be asking for a deposit? If so, how much? Will it be refundable? Will you be charging interest on late payments?


  1. Additional fees

 If the client wants additional services such as framing or shipping, those need to be included in your agreement.


  1. Intellectual property

To make sure there is no misunderstandings, you should be telling your client you will be keeping your intellectual property rights, such as reproduction (which is particularly useful if you’d like to put the work up on your website, on Instagram or in your portfolio).


If you need some advice regarding commissioned work agreements or would like a lawyer either draft you one or review the one you are currently using, do not hesitate to send us an email at or click the link below to schedule a consultation.

About the author