Illustration: it's more than just a drawing.

Updated: Apr 8

Copyright, contracts and more


As an artist it can be pretty hard to make an income, so when I thought about illustration as a possible revenue stream - particularly with my background in drawing - I thought "Bam! Simple!". Turns out, though, there's a bit more to illustration than just creating a picture.


My partner had been telling me this for a while, but my stubbornness said "No, it's fine if I charge the same hourly rate for illustration as I do for design!". He persisted though and encouraged me to have a meeting with a proper Illustrator. And so, I scheduled a meeting with Julia Laskowski.


Turns out my partner was right...


Julia explained to me some of the differences between Illustration to that of Design. She explained the importance of copyright, about how creating an illustration for a poster is very different to an illustration for a logo. How these things have timelines attached to them, how you own the illustrations, and that if someone is going to use the illustration you made for their poster as their logo then you need to negotiate the new copyright terms which, in turn, may require further payment.


Because I was ignorant to all of this and because of how handy this new knowledge has been to me, I thought it might be handy for someone else to know too, so I'm sharing some of the helpful resources I found through those that Julia generously shared with me.


Resources for Illustrators, Designers, Visual Artists +


A multitude of resources on Use It Or Lose It

– shared by Julia


Copyright for Illustrators << I found this one particularly handy!

by The Illustrators Guide

Illustration by Owen Davey

What should go into an Illustration contract

by Business of Illustration









Visual Art licences and permissions: Price Guide

by Copyright Agency


Book: Brutally Honest by Emily Cohen

explaining the merits of project-based costing in the arts industry (and more)

– shared by Julia



Big thanks to Julia!

...and my partner.

Hope the resources are helpful!