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So you want to do commissions?

Journal Entry: Thu May 19, 2011, 1:02 PM


A basic guide to setting up commissions



When it comes to commissioning, there is so much that needs to be decided, arranged and thought of that it can all appear a bit daunting at first.
However: when following a couple of basic guidelines, setting up commissions really is not as hard as you think!

If you find the article informative, please :+fav: it.

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First things first


So you have decided you want to start doing commissions. That's great!
The first thing to do is to determine what you want to offer.

Do you want to offer drawings, or designs?
Will you be coding journal-skins for people, or will you be pixeling?

Take a look through your gallery and try to determine what you do best and what you like to do the most.
Because that will most likely be what you'll be offering.

  • TIP:
    Stick to what you're good at.
    Don't promise what you can't deliver when someone is paying you for it.


Now that you've most likely decided what you want to do, it's time for the next step.

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Payment & payment methods



Time to start writing up a price-list! But how much can or will you charge for a piece of your work?

A good way of going about this is to ask yourself the following:
* How good are your drawings?
* How many hours do you spend on a single drawing?


Chances are that if you just started drawing, you can’t ask the same price as someone who’s been doing it for years and does a better job at it.  

Don’t over-price, but also don’t under-price yourself!

Ask a couple of people you know for an estimate and for some advice. That way, you’ll have a broader view and you’ll be able to write up a price-list with more information.

Now is also the time to decide whether you want to be paid in advance, paid after the work, or paid in segments.
This is pretty much up to personal opinion, though most artists prefer payment in advance.
That way, when a client suddenly cancels the commission, you still get some payment for the work you've already put into a drawing.

Something to also keep in mind is that if you can't do the work, or if the client is not satisfied with the commission, is that in some cases you may have to refund.
Try avoiding this by doing your very best with every single picture and don't spend what you were paid before completing the commission.

Also: no rushing and definitely no sloppy sketch-deliveries when you were asked for a painting!


Moving on to payment methods, you have the choice between the two most used methods on deviantART: points or Paypal.

* Points are deviantART’s on-site currency and may be purchased here. Once purchased, they can be donated or, in this case, used to pay for a commission.

* Paypal is an online service that allows you to safely pay and transfer money over the internet.
Information on how to set  up a Paypal-account: www.squidoo.com/paypalsetup


Right about now you should be having a lot of information. Time to move on to the commission journal!

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Setting up your commission-journal



To let everyone know you’re taking commissions, it’s a good idea to have a commission-journal.
There, you can notify people of what you can be commissioned for and for how much. It's also a good idea to keep a list in your commission-journal of who you are currently working for and how the commissions are progressing.

I’ll try to dissect the commission journal point by point and link to a couple of examples afterwards.

But first of all:

* Commissions: open/closed?
Are you taking commissions or not?
This is important since it lets people know whether or not they should contact you for information.

* Amount of commission slots available: ?
How many commissions will you be taking at a time?
How many slots have already been filled?

Don’t bite off more than you can chew and keep it reasonable.
When starting out, I suggest keeping 3 commission slots.
You can always add more later on when you're accustomed to being commissioned.


The next thing to do is specify what you can be commissioned for. Include samples for each type of art you are offering and make sure to show your best works. After all, you want to get people interested, no? It’s also usually in your best interest to include a list of what you can / will do and a list of what you can’t / won’t.

TIP:
Keep your lay-out simple and orderly.
No one wants to dig through a wall of text in order to find what they’re looking for. The easier your journal is to navigate, the better!


You can always add a list of completed commissions at the end of the commission journal to show what you've already done.
A plus is that it also shows people you finish your commissions and that you are trustworthy.

A couple of examples of commission journals:
example ~ example ~ example ~ example


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Getting your name out there.



On this part I will be brief, though it's also something important that most people forget. Let people know you're taking commissions!

* Put a link to your commission-journal in your signature.

* Put a link to your commission-journal in your most recent journal and keep it there for as long as you're taking commissions. Nothing is worse than to have to dig through loads of journals in order to find the commission journal.

* Advertise it in the projects-forum for commissions you do in your free time.

* Advertise it in the job services-forum if you are wanting to take your commissions seriously and treat them as you would a real job.


And if all goes well...

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I am being commissioned; what now?



Ask for details about what the client wants of course!
Also set up a clear set of rules in Terms of Service (ToS).

* If the client is not satisfied, will you re-do the piece?
If yes: how many times?
If no: do you refund?

* When you finish the piece, how will you deliver it?
See below for various methods of delivering said piece to the client.

* Do you give progress-reports?
If yes: how often?

* Will the client be able to change his/her mind?
If yes: will there be extra cost?


There are a plethora of things that can be discussed to avoid complications later and I hardly listed them all. But I think you get the general idea, no?

When the commissioned piece is finished, you need to show the client, of course.
How you will do this all depends on what you have agreed upon with the client, but a couple of options are:

* Uploading it to deviantART and linking it to the client.

* Sending it by e-mail.
I recommend making a separate e-mail account for commissioning only.
Make sure people know about it and that they can contact you there


* Sending a copy / original in the mail
Keep the cost of sending things in mind and be sure to notify beforehand if the shipping will be included in the price or not.


This list is not exhaustive, of course.


IMPORTANT:
Do not send out the full-res, unwatermarked copy of the commission if you haven't been paid yet.
In cases of payment-after-commission, send a low-res and watermarked proof of the commission being finished.
You can send over a higher-res version after confirming you have been paid.


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Last but not least



Have fun with it!


And then all that rests me to say is: good luck!


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* A couple of related tutorials *

Commission Guide by DarlingMionette Commission tutorial by shingworks


Skin by SimplySilent
Add a Comment:
 
:iconsaoriazumaya:
SaoriAzumaya Featured By Owner Edited Feb 15, 2018  Student Digital Artist
Thank you very much for this journal, it's very helpful!

I have been thinking for a while about opening commissions since drawing is my greatest passion and my dream would be to be able to work as an illustrator. I would like you to take a look at my gallery and tell me if you think I have enough level (improving over time) to receive commissions.

Thanks in advance!
Reply
:iconsuthay:
Suthay Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So if you don't take commisions by first come first served, how do you choose which people to do the commission for? I mean if you have more potential clients than slots available. Can anyone give me some insight on this?
Reply
:iconhardrockangel:
Hardrockangel Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2018
Ahhh, that's up to the individual artist. Personally I work by "first come, first served" since that makes the most sense for me. :giggle:
Reply
:iconsuthay:
Suthay Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So another way would be for example to take the ones you like most? Do you know other ways people do it?
Reply
:iconhotchocolatehugs:
HotChocolateHugs Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
whoa, tysm, this is super helpful!
Reply
:iconishadowlink:
iShadowLink Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I've been thinking about doing art for commissions for a while. This tutorial could help me so much! 
Reply
:iconfox-speedpaints:
Fox-Speedpaints Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
I had commissions open for a while, but nobody notices me, even though I an at DA for 2 years. I am really upset about it, what can I do?
Reply
:icontundra747:
Tundra747 Featured By Owner Edited Jan 27, 2018  New Deviant
Practice. 
Reply
:iconmissvaemys:
MissVaemys Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2018  New Deviant Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for this little journal, it helped me to think about a comission.
Reply
:icont0xxy:
t0xxy Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2018  New Deviant Hobbyist Digital Artist
maybe this will be a stupid question, im new in the platform, the comissions are real posters and that? or they can be virtual wallpapers and that lol
Reply
:iconhardrockangel:
Hardrockangel Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2018
Commissions are any type of custom made art that someone asks an artist to create in exchange for payment.

It can be digital files, or physical traditional art, depending on what was discussed. :)
Reply
:icont0xxy:
t0xxy Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2018  New Deviant Hobbyist Digital Artist
oh thanks! :)
Reply
:iconblazingfire909:
BlazingFire909 Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
I've been considering doing this but I have a question about the payment system. For point commissions, am I able to turn them into real currency or do they stay as points? And do they have to go to PayPal or is there another method?
Reply
:iconhardrockangel:
Hardrockangel Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2018
You can withdraw points as cash via Paypal, as long as you received the points via the commission-widget. :)
Reply
:iconthelex16:
thelex16 Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
I'd also like to start commissions, but could you tell me what the commission widget is??
Reply
:iconhardrockangel:
Hardrockangel Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2018
It's a widget that you can add to your profile page if you have a core membership. :)
Reply
:iconthelex16:
thelex16 Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Ohhh, I see! Thank you!
Reply
:iconhardrockangel:
Hardrockangel Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2018
No problem!
Reply
:iconblazingfire909:
BlazingFire909 Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Okay thank you! This journal was very helpful. :D (Big Grin) 
Reply
:iconhardrockangel:
Hardrockangel Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2018
No problem! :hug:
Reply
:iconcharmednight:
Charmednight Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2018
This may be a stupid question but do you need a paypal to do point commissions?
Reply
:iconhardrockangel:
Hardrockangel Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2018
Only if you intend to withdraw the points for their cash-value to your paypal account. :)
Reply
:iconcharmednight:
Charmednight Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2018
Ah I see, thank you :)
Reply
:iconhardrockangel:
Hardrockangel Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2018
No problem!
Reply
:iconcharmednight:
Charmednight Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2018
:D
Reply
:iconkerlasia:
Kerlasia Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It depends. If you want to withdraw your earnings as real currency, you have two options: check or deposit into your paypal. I think there's a minimum for checks plus wait time so it would be more efficient/convenient to have a paypal.
Reply
:iconcharmednight:
Charmednight Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2018
But if you don’t want it to be turned into real currency it’s not needed? I was thinking of doing point commissions so I could use points to get core instead of cash
Reply
:iconkerlasia:
Kerlasia Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah, then you wouldn't need one. That is a good idea.
Reply
:iconcharmednight:
Charmednight Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2018
Okay I just wanted to make sure. Don’t have a lot of other options right now, I even have a donation thing set up but so far no takers
Reply
:iconkerlasia:
Kerlasia Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah not many people tend to donate unless you're a semi-popular to popular artist.
With commissions, you really want advertise often because it is essential to getting orders.
When I first started out, I submitted my commission journal to a ton of groups, made posts in the forums, etc. almost weekly.
In my experience, point commissions are a little harder to get than regular cash commissions, but if you put the effort into advertising you should be fine! Good luck.
Reply
:iconcharmednight:
Charmednight Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2018
Yeah I’ve noticed that after putting it up...

Thanks for the tips, and the help ^^ 
Reply
:iconkerlasia:
Kerlasia Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
No problem!
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconaribones:
AriBones Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2018  New Deviant Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much! This helps a lot. I wanted to ask my mom to let me do commisions here because I need money to pay for an overseas trip I want to go to, and this was great! Thank you again!!
Reply
:iconsaltybluecat:
SaltyBluecat Featured By Owner Edited Jan 5, 2018  New Deviant Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much! Clap :D (Big Grin) 
Reply
:iconhardrockangel:
Hardrockangel Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2018
No problem!
Reply
:iconmiminaa-chan:
miminaa-chan Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Style practise by miminaa-chan  tell me , how much do you think such drawings should cost ?
Reply
:icongreenzor13:
greenzor13 Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This may be a dumb question, but how do you link people? (like, when you link them to the posted version on deviantart)
Reply
:iconradiancedashzelda:
RadianceDashZelda Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2017  Student Digital Artist
How do I charge real money instead of points?
Reply
:iconuniverseshinobi:
UniverseShinobi Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2017  Student Digital Artist
Get a paypal.
Reply
:iconradiancedashzelda:
RadianceDashZelda Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2017  Student Digital Artist
I have PayPal but how to I sync it to my da account?
Reply
:iconuniverseshinobi:
UniverseShinobi Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2017  Student Digital Artist
You don't. You just let them know what your paypal is and then they transfer the money over from theirs directly. 
Reply
:iconradiancedashzelda:
RadianceDashZelda Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2017  Student Digital Artist
Ahh I see thank you! :D
Reply
:iconoliviatherabbit:
OliviaTheRabbit Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2017  Hobbyist Artist
this might be helpful for my Future Commissions
Reply
:iconblueswansong:
blueswansong Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2017  Student General Artist
One question, which may sound very stupid.

When opening a PayPal account, do I choose personal or business.
Reply
:iconkarinawithheadphones:
KarinaWithHeadphones Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2018  New Deviant Hobbyist Digital Artist
The question didn't sound stupid to me. =)
Reply
:iconrexxilion-ex:
rexxilion-ex Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Personal
Reply
:iconblueswansong:
blueswansong Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2017  Student General Artist
Thanks mate 👍
Reply
:iconkrystalizedstorm:
krystalizedstorm Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Anyone here know what you're supposed to do when someone commissions you via paypal?
Do I just give them my email? Is that all I need to do?
I wanna be very clear on this before I open up my comms again, just to be sure
Reply
:iconlodchen:
Lodchen Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2017  Student Digital Artist
I think it depends, you can either just tell them your email address and they will send out the money on your own, or you send them an invoice via PayPal - it's been a while since I used PayPal, but there was a button somewhere for that. Then you just type in the amount of money and the customers' email address and PayPal will send out an email. 
Reply
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