covid-19: see advice in the Freelance

Clients may have a mental image of illustrators working at the kitchen table with a pen or brush - forgetting that they demand high-resolution digital files and in some cases vector graphics. Supplying those requires software and equipment that does not come cheap and that requires regular updating. These costs should be factored into illustrators' fees.

Extra money for free

All freelance illustrators should register with the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) to receive payments from secondary uses such as photocopying, and provide the Society with updated lists of their published works. See Rights and why they are important.

Book illustrators are also entitled to a share of Public Lending Right payments and need to register with Public Lending Right UK to be sure of receiving this: see Rights and why they are important. From July 2018 PLR payments apply also to lending of ebooks.

More advice and links...
* On negotiating for illustrations and cartoons
* Uploaded 14/08/2222: if you have a printout, check the current version at
* Rates for the Job good, bad and ugly
* Join the NUJ to get individual advice & representation

Text © Mike Holderness & previous contributors; Moral rights asserted. The collection (database right) © National Union of Journalists. Comments to please. You may find the glossary helpful.

The National Union of Journalists must not, can not and would not wish to dictate rates or terms of engagement to members or to editors. The information presented here is for guidance and as an aid to equitable negotiation only.

Suggestions apply to contracts governed by UK law only. In any event, nothing here should be construed as legal advice.