1. JetBlackGT
    Offline

    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    465
    Likes Received:
    158
    Location:
    Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

    How do you ask for the privelidge to use someone's artwork?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by JetBlackGT, Jun 22, 2013.

    Do you have a technique? A nice, polite way of saying "Hey your photo really works well with my prose, would you mind terribly letting me use it for a shockingly low price?" :)

    What should I expect to pay for the use of a thumbnail sized image of someone's watercolor painting of a honey bee? Is there any standard price?
     
  2. erebh
    Offline

    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,620
    Likes Received:
    467
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Just ask!

    Tell the artist what you want to do with his work, where it will be displayed, who's going to see it - I wouldn't offer any money. Tell him you split the winnings if you're submitting it for a comp but that's it. He's a fellow artist albeit different mediums but he'll understand you are not profiting from him but marrying up your collective works.

    If he says no there a squillion pix of honey bees out there royalty free!
     
  3. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    nothing standard, beyond total honesty...

    that sounds good to me!... humor is a good way to break the ice, along with the stroking of the artist's/writer's ego...

    whatever they ask for...

    nope!... it'll depend on the fame of the person being asked, plus how nice/helpful/generous s/he is...

    i have to disagree with erebh on offering to split winnings/profits, since there's so little chance of there being any...
     
  4. erebh
    Offline

    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,620
    Likes Received:
    467
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    that's the reason for offering :)

    also because the artist knows the author isn't profiting from his art
     
  5. Yoshiko
    Offline

    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    Messages:
    758
    Likes Received:
    27
    I try to stick to formal language and make sure to state exactly what purpose I want to use the person's material for - e.g. whether it's being used for competitive/commercial means; how they'll be credited; who will see it; etc. I don't even mention payment. It's up to the artist whether or not they're going to charge a fee. Some people are kind enough to let you use the work free/cheap depending on how you intend to use their materials.
     
  6. JetBlackGT
    Offline

    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    465
    Likes Received:
    158
    Location:
    Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States
    It's for a children's book (over-written for my niece) so hopefully profit will be a factor in my life. I'd hate to think I made it that funny, for free. :)

    There are probably a dozen paintings scattered throughout the book.

    Thanks for all your help everybody. And erebh, you don't look erebhic. ;-) Bah-dum... tish!
     
  7. SilverWolf0101
    Offline

    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2009
    Messages:
    333
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    New York State
    As an artist, and as a writer that likes to follow several other artist, I can say from personal experience approaching the artist with your intentions is the best course of action. Even if you send them a message just saying "Hey, I really like this piece and was wondering if I could use it for this book" we'll respond to it. Most times, we don't go out of our way to make life horribly hard for using whatever we create. Our main thing is that we get credit for it. No one likes stolen work, and not getting the recognition we deserve definitely upsets us in more ways then one.
    Seriously though, just be honest with them, and you don't have to make a money offer. Sure, it might be something that's to be considered, but don't make it the first thing on your mind. I know with another artist I follow, they got really upset because someone wanted to use their work for a price, but they made the artist feel like they didn't care about the time or effort that was put into the piece. That and they were trying to buy ALL rights and CREDITS to the piece (aka claiming it as their own) for not even 1/16th of the cost. Don't sell artist short! That'd be your biggest mistake.
     
  8. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    good points/advice, sw!
     
  9. TerraIncognita
    Offline

    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,339
    Likes Received:
    40
    Location:
    Texas
    I'm also an artist and I agree with all of the above.
     
  10. AVCortez
    Offline

    AVCortez Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2013
    Messages:
    391
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Just use it, My artwork often turns up in unusual places... The most frustrating being on some douche-bag's t-shirt at a bar.

    That was a joke, be polite and if you think it will make money, offer royalties - most artists will probably just say fine, a more commercial artist might send you a contract. Which is still good; building rapport with artists you like is a great way to build community and cut costs on commissions down the track ;).
     
  11. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,535
    "a shockingly low price" would be a mistake. Just as you love your writing, artists love their work too. Imagine your outrage if someone wanted to use your work for a "shockingly low price"? If you're desperate, you might go for it with gritted teeth (doesn't do you any good for relationship-building/future), and if you have any kind of reputation and fan base to fall back upon, you'd tell that person to get lost. The same is true for an artist. To you, it's just a really nice painting. To the artist, it's their work of art, their treasure, their baby. I'd say, respect it the way you'd like your writing to be respected, and approach the artist the way you'd like to be approached by someone who wants to use your work.

    Just be honest and courteous, really :)
     
  12. JetBlackGT
    Offline

    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    465
    Likes Received:
    158
    Location:
    Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States
    All this advice, to be honest. :) It seems contradictory for a fiction writer. I'll suppress my urge to fib, cover-to-cover, like I generally do and just ask nicely. I'll write a brief note to each artist, rather than make a form letter so I can comment on a specific piece.

    I'm oddly nervous...
     
  13. the1
    Offline

    the1 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2011
    Messages:
    217
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    No need to be nervous.

    If you are contacting a number of artists it is likely some will say yes and some will say no. If they say no I am sure you will be able to find a replacement image.
     
  14. jazzabel
    Offline

    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    4,273
    Likes Received:
    1,666
    As an artist (photographer) let me educate you in artwork use ethics :D

    One thing artists absolutely hate is people who aren't prepared to pay. People are very reluctant to pay artists, as if we don't spend hours and sometimes days, working on something. It's a terrible attitude and most artists will refuse if they smell it a mile away.

    Don't assume you can get anything for a 'shockingly low' price. The price may be shockingly low in the end, but it'll be the price an artist will be happy with. Besides, a lot of people will just let you use it for free, so, don't assume. I charge (for example) £50 for a digital file to be used for non-profit card printing, up to 200 cards. But I do artistic photography, not stock.

    When you see something you like, note the artist. Say who you are (full name) and what your project is (1-2 sentences, no need to go on about it) and ask to use their artwork. Specify the ways you want to use it (for profit or non, on the blog, in a free e-book, on a selling CD cover, in a novel etc) and ask them if that would be possible and what would be their conditions.
    If they agree, they'll usually have a contract for you.

    Alternatively, if you go on any of the stock photo sites (shutterstock, istockphoto etc) you can purchase art for a very low price, to use for most things you want to do.
     

Share This Page