I've never before done an art book review here for the simple, shameful reason I don't read very much. Just as most artists would rather create art than merely LOOK at it, I'd rather WRITE words than read them. But I got a new book today. It's especially written for artists and artisans (as crafts people now like to be called). It's a good book and one every artist or artisan should own or have access to. It won't keep you awake at night wondering about the outcome. In fact, it would be a great bedtime read, especially if you're at all prone to insomnia. Okay, actually its downright boring.

The book is entitled, "Business and Legal Forms for Crafts" by Tad Crawford ($19.95, Allworth Press). Crawford is the former general counsel for the Graphic Artists Guild. In other words, it's written by a lawyer just for artists/artisans with more than a little "legalese." But, it's legalese every professional artists should know and understand. And, as legalese goes, Crawford's brand is probably as painless as any. It includes everything from the simplest invoice to a three page contract covering the commissioning of a portrait. I've DONE portraits in less time than it took to digest this document. Nonetheless, that portion of the book, to me at least, was ALMOST interesting. Best of all, the contracts in the book are written with every possible legal right and advantage accruing to the artist.

More than just a collection of blank forms, Crawford begins, not with contracts and agreements, but with the negotiations between artists and others which lead to them; with emphasis on how to land the best possible deal. There are also government forms for applying for copyrights and even trademark applications. The book comes with its own CD allowing the artist/artisan to load, view, edit, and print the forms as needed. Add to this, agreements covering lecturing, loans of work, rentals, licensing, limited edition prints, model releases, consignments, and independent contracts (to name just a few), and you have what is essentially a lawyer in paperback form--and one that doesn't charge a hundred bucks an hour.