Cover Commissions FAQ

For many people this will be their first time commissioning artwork. To help I have outlined what you can expect from me throughout the commission, what I expect of a commissioner, usage rights and what I need from you to start.

How Commissioning Works

I have a background in science (theoretical physics undergrad masters, astronomy PhD and neuroscience postdoc), public engagement (blogging, school and public talks, workshops, informed fiction writing) and digital art (character art commissions and scientific art). This places me well to not only produce an artwork to your specification, but to be able to ask the right questions to understand the research itself and communicate to your intended audience.
After agreeing the quote, I will read through your paper (or provided summary) and your current ideas and/or intended direction and begin sketching out concepts and elements to include in the design including colours, tone and style, with explanations of their inspiration. These are very rough and not indicative of the quality of the final artwork.
We can then discuss these elements over email or Skype. Don’t worry if you came to the table not knowing what you’d like to see – often my ideas spark your own and we can work together to create artwork you’re excited about! If relevant I can give you an updated concept sketch for your approval.
I will then work on a draft image in full proportion and resolution, with some indication of the final colours/rendering/style of lineart. This is the time to request heavy changes and any change-of-hearts you’ve had on the design. I’ll also confirm with you the different versions you may need (e.g. transparent backgrounds, a crop that works horizontally, a black and white or sepia version or ‘light and dark’ versions, etc). After agreeing this my workflow will be set and so adding different versions (even seemingly simple ones) may prove difficult and may incur an additional (agreed upon) cost.
I’ll send interim progress shots for your comments, so any changes you feel should be made can be communicated to me as soon as possible.
When I have finished the artwork I will incorporate two official rounds of final edits to make sure you’re happy. Usually we only need one set of tiny tweaks to tone or colour, and the second round is the approval. Any major edit that has not been mentioned in previous correspondence will take time to do and therefore be charged (with your agreement).
After approval you’ll then have access to low res, low res watermarked and high res versions of all your images across google drive, and you can download and attach the files to send to the journal editor. I will not provide the art files themselves unless requested by the journal art editor if the artwork has been selected. At the same time you’ll be sent the invoice.

NB: I cannot guarantee the artwork will make the cover. Some journals charge extra for your artwork to be put on the cover – I will not cover that cost.

What you can expect from me:

  • To be honest about whether I can meet deadlines you’re requesting – I won’t take on work I can’t fulfill
  • To maintain all paper embargoes – I may print your paper to highlight it up but the work goes no further, no matter how excited I am!
  • To communicate any change in my own circumstance that will affect my ability to meet a deadline
  • To not add on any additional costs without your approval (i.e. if a major revision is needed, but early communication will lower the probability of this happening).

What I expect from a commissioner:

  • To communicate your ideas and needed changes – this is your own work you’re commissioning! The quicker your vision is found the longer I can spend refining it.
  • To feel confident in communicating changes you want to see. I’m not psychic and am most comfortable when hearing from you as I know you’re getting what you want.
  • Prompt replies to emails if you’re on a tight deadline – I have other commissions and so won’t be able to rush a midnight deadline.

Usage rights and copyright

As with many stand-alone works, the copyright remains with the artist even after payment has been received.

With this artwork you have my permission to:

  • Submit to the journal we have discussed
  • If unsuccessful, use the artwork again with other papers (if minor tweaks are needed for a similar paper, I can do that for you at an agreed price)
  • Use the lower-res artwork on social media with credit on the image and a tag/link back to my social media where possible
  • Use the artwork in press releases for the paper with full credit given
  • Use the lower-res artwork on your personal/academic pages with full credit given
  • Use the artwork in presentations and on conference posters with (shortened if necessary) credit given
  • Crop, rotate and colour correct the images to fit your needs
  • Print the artwork at any resolution and size you wish

You cannot, without further discussion between us to extend the copyright:

  • Use the work for commercial purposes (i.e. books, University advertisements)
  • Use the work for lab branding (more than happy to discuss and extend the work to give you more options for the image, and create images in the same style)
  • Sell the artwork
  • Heavily modify the artwork, or give the images to someone else to heavily modify
  • Upload the high resolution images to social media

If in doubt of a use (e.g. public engagement) feel free to contact me to double-check. These usage guidelines protect both me as an artist and you as the commissioner. This is a unique piece of art for you – finding your commission being used or sold without context or credit to either of us can be very upsetting, especially when the bill has been footed through a hard-won grant or even your own wallet.
I reserve the right to use a heavily watermarked and low-resolution image as part of my public online portfolio, and high-res unwatermarked version for private. Both will be complete with full citations and links to your work, and social media if you wish.
Unless permission is given by you, I will not sell your work to another party. Other commissioners may want work in a similar style but yours will be unique.