Blog Home Contributor Contributor Support Source Material: Creating Property Releases for Non-Digital Illustrations

If you’re a Shutterstock illustrator, you may have received the following rejection for one of your submissions:

“Property release required. Include a thumbnail of the scanned/photographed artwork on the release.”

Here’s what this means, and information on how to avoid it with your future submissions.

Why did I receive this rejection?

Illustrators receive this rejection because they didn’t include a completed property release with their submission of a non-digital illustration. Non-digital illustrations include any artwork that has been scanned or photographed, such as pen and ink drawings, paintings, watercolors, and engravings.

Why do I need a property release for non-digital artwork?

We ask for a property release because we need verification that the contributor is truly the original creator of the artwork, and that the contributor is allowing the art to be licensed for commercial use by our customers.

Anyone can take a photo of a painting or drawing, but that doesn’t mean that they have permission to license that art. The property release assures us that you have either created the work yourself, or that you own or control the copyright for the original artwork.

What should I submit?

The standard property release is what we require for each submission of non-digital artwork. Here is a link to the standard property release form.

When you’re filling out the form, ensure that the following items are included:

– Photographer name (must be the printed/typed name of the contributor)
– Property owner / authorized representative name (printed/typed)
– Property owner / authorized representative signature and date
– Property owner / authorized representative address
– Witness name (printed/typed)
– Witness signature
– Thumbnail of the artwork (preferably photographed from a different angle)

Attach the release in the property release field when making your submission. The following is an example property-release form:


If you have properly completed a property release with your submission of a non-digital illustration, you’ll be one step closer to building your Shutterstock portfolio!

Top Image: Amazing Venice: Artwork in Painting Style by leoks

For more tips on avoiding rejections, check out these articles:

The Silent Treatment: How to Avoid a Visual ‘Noise’ Rejection

Light Advice: Avoid Rejection for ‘Poor Lighting’ or ‘Lighting Problems’

Keep It Clean: How to Avoid an ‘Editing’ Rejection

Angles and Lines: How to Avoid a ‘Composition’ Rejection

Providing Your Sources: Avoid a ‘Reference Image Needed’ Rejection

There Can Be Only One: Avoid Vector Rejection for Multiple Artboards or Windows

Size Matters: How to Avoid a ‘Too Large’ or ‘Too Small’ Vector Rejection