Inktober Pencil Work onto T-Shirts?



  • So last #inktober2018 a friend of mine liked two of my works. So for her birthday this year I redrew in pencil both of them and have already given them to her. Now she is asking if it be okay to put them onto t-shirts and I said I have to think about it.

    Not sure how to put this. If I agree to putting them onto t-shirts would I expect to be paid or no because the original pencil works were a gift? I know it would make her happy, I am not entirely against the idea of putting them onto t-shirts. I just hadn't intended on it when I made the #inktobers. And how would I go about doing it if I did and would there be copy write issues because I own the rights (do I?) to the drawings (am I saying that right???)?

    I appreciate any sound advice. Thanks again! 🙂



  • So, just to be clear...she wants to create the shirts to sell? Yes, I believe you still own the rights to the art. Just as an artist who sells a painting doesn’t give up his/her rights to that design. (Buying a Mickey Mouse Painting doesn’t give me the rights to print Mickey Mouse shirts.)

    What if you guys split the profits somehow? Or asked her to print your Instagram info on the shirt with the image?



  • @alicia I will have to clarify if she wants to sell them. My impression is just for herself but I will ask about that. Thanks.



  • Hello Heather!

    I did a quick google search and came up with this article which I found helpful to your questions: https://www.spreadshirt.com/blog/2017/11/06/copyright-basics-t-shirt-design-dos-donts/

    I think you are the proprietor of the art and so the intellectual property is yours, even though she owns the art. If you are interested in selling the art as t-shirts, I think it would be totally up to you - and totally up to you to include her in selling said t-shirts. If you think it would be a fun joint venture then I think I'd just make it clear that you'd like to pursue it as a joint venture and make it very clear how you'd like to split costs/profits.

    I think your friendship will be that much stronger if you treat it as business and are very clear of your concerns, wants, needs...

    Just my 2 cents, hope it is helpful.



  • @Heather-Boyd
    If it’s just for herself, I personally would let her do so. It could possibly end up in publicity for you. “Yea, my friend, Heather Boyd, drew this! You should check out her art!”
    Or am I missing a reason not to do so?



  • @djly On the chance that she may want to make a t-shirt and gift it to a friend or family -I'm thinking of all possible options here lols, that's not selling but it would be my work so would my approval be needed and payment be an issue once again?

    I just would like enough information before I ask so I can be confident with my answers. You and @alicia have responded so very quickly and with sound advice thanks.



  • I see. I think it’s something you can get cleared up with some communication with your friend. Good luck! Glad we could help!



  • @alicia absolutely lols



  • @Heather-Boyd - I think it again just depends on your comfort level and what you want. Either way, I think she definitely needs your approval before making it into t-shirts. If you would like to be compensated for your work then I think it is totally within your right to ask for compensation.


  • SVS Team SVS OG

    If they are a "friend" and not someone that reached out to buy your art and they are only going to make it a shirt for themselves then I would just let them invest in making it. But if they were someone who reached out and purchased your art and now want to make shirts I would let them know it would cost them for you to prepare the files for print.

    Its more of a form of flattery that they want to wear your work. I see this a lot with tattoos, people taking an artist work and getting it tattooed. The artist does not get paid for someone to get it tattooed but they get to use it as a device of promotion.



  • @Chip-Valecek What if I used a service like RedBubble or Society66 that way she would be able to purchase the shirt (it's going to cost money either way) and then others would be able to purchase it as well? It was from Inktober but I did redraw and updated my skills to create hers.

    You have all been super helpful.


  • SVS Team SVS OG

    @Heather-Boyd If you go that route then you would make money on it. I would mention to her that you are setting up a shop to sell shirts and then have her go that route. I just started a shop on threadless, super easy to use and you can have all sorts of products ready to go really quick.


  • SVS OG

    I have shops on Zazzle, and it's possible to sell a shirt to someone with no royalty to you, if that's what you'd like to do. She will still pay the basic cost for the shirt and for shipping. Also, if you set it up, you could choose to sell additional shirts (with a royalty mark-up) to other people. And you'd control the artwork and the royalty amount.


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