Art Business Essentials: How to Create a Consignment Sheet for Artists

Katie Carey | January 21, 2020 (Updated September 20, 2022)

What is a Consignment Report for Artists?

A consignment report, or consignment sheet, is a formalized agreement between artists and galleries. Consignment reports stipulate terms and conditions of sales, address how art should be cared for, and work to start defining relationships between artists and the galleries.

When Should I Use a Consignment Report?

Typically in situations where you would use a consignment report, an artist provides a gallery art at no charge. The gallery then agrees to sell that art for a commission (usually 40% or 50%). 

Even with a seemingly high commission for the gallery, consigning artwork still benefits artists. Consigning art gives artists exposure to new audiences and the benefit of a third party handling the heavy lifting of arranging a sale. 

Some artists may at first be hesitant to draw up a formal consignment contract—more paperwork and the fear of awkward negotiations. But, consignment agreements are a professional practice that you should always use when creating relationships with galleries and having your art on consignment.

Consignment reports help both you and the gallery keep track of what you have delivered, what has sold and what needs to be returned. It is helpful for both you and the gallery to keep a copy of the consignment report on hand to ensure that all of your work is accounted for (either sold or returned to you).

Especially when you begin working with multiple galleries or retailers, it can be difficult to keep track of where all your artwork is located. You might be surprised at the number of times that we talk with artists that have lost or forgotten about artworks that were consigned without the proper documentation. 

It’s one small step that can end up saving you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Documentation helps protect you against lost, forgotten or misplaced work. 

What Should be in My Art Consignment Report?

A Consignment Report can be as simple as a formal report of the artwork that you are consigning with a gallery, its condition, details, and notes for care.

When starting off with Consignment Reports, get the basics down first. A Consignment Report should include a consignment ID number to help both you and the gallery keep track of a specific delivery, your contact information, the contact information of the retailer or gallery, and the date of the delivery.

Your report should also include the following information about the artworks you are consigning to the gallery.

  • Images/thumbnails of the works you are consigning

  • Retail price

  • Wholesale price

  • Dimensions of the work

  • Creation date

  • Weight if applicable 

  • A description of the work

  • Any notes for installation or care of the work 

Think of your consignment report as a condition report for the gallery you are partnering with. Make sure you are thorough about explaining the current condition of the piece and how it should be handled and cared for. 

Being clear, deliberate and intentional is the best way to start professional relationships with galleries. After you and the gallerist or retailer have reviewed your works and consignment sheet details, record your signature along with the name and signature of the person who receives the artwork.  By making the job easier on the gallerist or shop owner, you stand out as someone who is easy to work with and takes their job as an artist seriously. You will be the first person they will think of for that next show and will be eager to call you to replenish inventory. 

An example of a consignment report created in Artwork Archive.

How to Create a Consignment Report

You don’t have to learn a new design program to create a consignment report from the ground up. No more wasting time messing around with design programs or struggling to format something professional in Word. 

Artwork Archive's reporting features help artists free up hundreds of hours with easy-to-generate consignment reports that can be made with just a few clicks.

Click here to see an example of a Consignment Report that you can create in just seconds with your artwork. 

Already and Artwork Archive user?

You can create a consignment report for work at any of your locations by clicking on Locations in the left-side menu. On the gallery or retailer for which you wish to create a report, click on the gray Reports button and select Consignment Report from the drop-down menu.

Fill out the information you’d like to include and click Generate Report. You will be redirected to Reports. Click on Consignment Report or the Download arrow to open a PDF. Then, you can provide your galleries with a comprehensive, polished report, so you both know the information associated with the consignment. 

Read about how to use Artwork Archive to generate consignment reports here


What else to include in a consignment report

While consignment agreements are typically more comprehensive than a consignment report and include the overarching business agreements, there are still instances when you may want to be clear about representation limitations or expectations within a consignment report for a specific body of work. 

Here are a few details to make sure your consignment report covers in case it isn't covered explicitly through an initial consignment agreement, or if there are changes for this consignment term. 

Exclusivity: In some cases, you may want to include any information about representation limitations or expectations. For example, some galleries will want to establish exclusivity in representing an artist or will have stipulations for artists with multiple gallery representations. It is always up to you as the artist to decide what is beneficial to your career. You can also work with the gallery to establish the time frame in which the exclusivity will take place. However, exclusivity for galleries in the digital age is changing now that artists have more ways than ever to sell their work. You can find templates for a consignment agreement here

Accounting Details: Essentially, when do you get paid? Is it directly after a work has sold? Once a month? Your art consignment agreement should be extremely clear on these terms, as it's not unheard of to have galleries fall of the radar in hard times. 

Length of Consignment: How long will the gallery or retailer hold the artwork while it is unsold?


The bottom line

When you enter into business with a gallery make sure to have a conversation about expectations and get it down in your consignment agreement. If you are consigning with a gallery for the first time clarifying expectations shows that you are a professional. Galleries will be more likely to reach out to you in the future.

See how easy it is to create a consignment sheet with Artwork Archive’s free 14-day trial.

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