Cat Coloring Book:
@davidhohn So I guess this is where it becomes a little messy, and I fell into the trap of being so excited about the project, I jumped ahead before any contracts were drawn up or any expectations were even discussed. Months prior, she had asked for a quote for the colouring book - which I provided a heavily discounted rate - to which she responded she couldn't afford.
This time around, it was me that brought it up.. in response to many requests from followers (asking for a whole book, after seeing the single colouring page I had donated). So I suppose I just assumed there was no need for a contract as there was nothing being exchanged as far as I was concerned. It was just my own little project, although it spawned from an initial request from her - the donation of a colouring page.
So, to answer your question - yes and no. haha
Based on what you've written here, you are right, there's no need for a contract. You wanted to make something and you did. You never intended the work to be used for anything other than your own personal use and/or portfolio.
As soon that the cat owner wanted to use the images, then you'd want a contract to clarify what rights were being licensed and for how long. (Whether money was exchanged or not)
Children's Book Project:
Regarding the licence agreement for the children's book, although I am aware that giving exclusive rights with no bounds, is essentially giving up all my power, I wasn't too concerned in this instance as the other party is a good friend of 25 years so our mutual respect and trust is ultimately what sealed the deal. The only reason why I let the licence cast such a wide net was to ease her concerns that someone else couldn't come along and offer me a ridiculous sum of money for usage rights.
The only limitations specified in the contract are the way in which she can use the artwork i.e. in the book (first edition), or for promo purposes leading up to the launch. However, I wouldn't be so lax in any other instance.
Based on what you wrote here the license is not the grant of rights I was thinking of. You've further defined "Exclusive rights, worldwide for as long as the first edition was in print" to mean reproduction of the artwork to the first edition of the book only and for promotion of that first edition. That seems reasonable to me and it highlights that the wording of a contract really matters.
So use for marketing materials, say, would you normally draw up a separate contract rather than including it in the same one?
Nope. The rights to use the artwork in promotion would simply be listed in the Grant of Rights.
How do illustrators (assuming they don't have an agent) normally manage which licenses have expired, etc. I'm imagining it to be quite time consuming and unsustainable after a handful..?
Nope. It's very easy, and fun! You are making money from work you did years ago. Passive revenue is the BEST revenue!
Just imagine being a car rental company. Do they get overwhelmed when they have more than 10 cars available to rent? Or even 20? Sure, when you have 1000 or more you might want to hire some help, but by that time the profits would justify the expense.
As for the two other illustrators happily giving up their copyright - in this case, as my client is actually a friend, there's no possibility of bending truths or manipulation - she actually sent me their contracts and/or screenshots of emails/chats. It really took me by surprise, and was quite disappointing. I often feel like we artists, are at least 50% to blame for the misconceptions society continue to have of the creative industry, and the crappy treatment of being undervalued and underpaid - because we keep doing stuff like giving away our copyrights or not charging full rates (guilty! )
The fact that you are working to learn how to do this says great things about your character and business acumen. And the converse is arguably true of the other illustrators in question.