Advice on Selling Art Commissions (Everything you'd Need to Know to get Started)

Advice on Selling Art Commissions (Everything you'd Need to Know to get Started)



hi guys lemma here and welcome back to another video today's topic has been requested by quite a few subscribers we're going to be talking about selling art commissions so what is an art Commission you say quite simply a commission is money for artwork you can sell commissions or artwork to customers you can also buy commissions from someone else for money it's the sale of original artwork that is made custom for the buyer commissions are different from requests and I know that it seems silly to point this out but I've gotten so many people over the years contacting me and asking me for free art under the impression that commissions do not cost money if you want free art the term they're searching for is art requests today we're going to be talking about how to sell art Commission's online when I was younger I began to sell my art on the internet and ended up doing it for many years selling over a hundred commissions everything I know about commissions I have taught myself and I've never once had an issue with a customer ever I've taught these tips and tricks to friends when they first wanted to begin selling commissions as well and they found it pretty helpful so hopefully you guys will as well first of all you're going to need a base of operations a place you can post your information about commissions and attract customers nowadays this is usually a social media platform and less often a personal website social media like deviantART Instagram Facebook YouTube Twitter all that stuff are all great places to find potential customers and create a fan base for your art if you don't have a social media following chances that you get Commission work is pretty slim sembly because nobody knows who you are and they haven't seen what you can do so get out there and begin to develop your social media so that you have clientele that you can sell to in my personal experience people will begin messaging asking if you sell art commissions and at that point in your art journey that is the time to start planning how to go about selling your work I find that worrying about selling art Commission's before being asked about it can be rather pointless it's time consuming and energy consuming if nobody is seeking to purchase from you you can upload as many postings about Commission's as you want but you simply won't get anybody to buy in the meantime work on improving your artwork until you reach this step now that you have an interested customer it's time to figure out what you're going to do and how you're going to present yourself I'm going to be like straight up telling you right now I absolutely hate it when people say they do Commission's and to contact the artist to discuss pricing whenever I see an artist do that I know a hundred percent for sure that I am never ever going to buy anything from them even if I was initially interested in purchasing if someone's not up front about what is for sale and must have long complicated discussions with you prior to you even knowing if you can afford them I don't bother with it art isn't some super complex thing that you need to have long drawn-out conversations about before you even figure out the artists selling price range the way I do it may seem much more complicated at first but in the long run it's much more simple it cuts out a lot of the guesswork confusion and unnecessary discussion between the artist and the client and I'm not saying don't be friendly to people but what I'm saying is don't act like your product is so special that you can't list a price for someone to figure out if they can afford you or not unless you're like some crazy successful famous artist you probably shouldn't be doing something like that so instead the way I sell is by selling commissions based on rules guidelines and pricing everything is upfront and written for your clients to see plainly it takes a bit of time to put together all of your information but it will save you time in the long run by being very clear as to what people will get for a specific price that being said there are quite a few things to take into consideration when selling a picture to someone first of which there are different ways to devise Commission pricing because we're talking about this from my perspective when I sold Commission's they all involved like animated cartoon related characters and it was obvious that whoever commissioned me specifically wanted to hire me to create a picture in that style many artists back then would devise their prices based on how much of the body that was drawn so some would be portraits which is like just the face busts which would be the face plus some upper body to the knees which is to the knees or a full body which is pretty obviously the full body the more of the body that you were commissioned to draw the higher the price of what you're purchasing it's important to make this step work for you perhaps you want to do full bodies in chibis with only two different options or prices for people to buy from or maybe you just want to do busts and busts only whatever you want to sell just be clear about what it is that is for sale in your guidelines and what the price is for that specific item make sure you are comfortable about what you want to offer to your customers if you don't want to draw chibis don't offer TVs if you want to only draw chibis then only offer chibis if you want to draw everything and anything under the sun specify that you will take custom commissions but the pricing varies for art that is not listed in your guidelines if you are absolutely adamant about not drawing something specifically you can also mention this in your listing the way I personally organized what I offer was mostly based on a type of artwork it was so back in the day I would sell to the knees or full body for one price done in four days to media I would also do full-bodied chibis for a cheaper price and I had Crayola commission bust Commission's and I also had digital artwork my prices varied on how much I enjoyed doing a certain task but also how long it would take me to create the picture so chibis and the crayon bust pictures were the cheapest and the mean like slashed full-body traditional pictures were more expensive than that and then the digital would be the most expensive because it took me the longest I had various commission options for people to pick from but also different prices to accompany them that way people who had more or less money to spend because specifically pick and choose what best suited their budget another thing to consider is add-ons for example if someone wanted a simple background it would be an additional fee if someone wanted an extremely detailed character that also would be an additional fee which varied based on the complexity of their characters design finally if someone lined a full landscape background that would be considered a complex background and I would charge more for that if you have an add-on option for your Commission's mentioning this in the listing so that people know that these additional features cost additional money this also helps the buyer balance their budget and it also helps the sellers so that they're not taking advantage of by having someone ask for something super duper duper complicated and you're charging them the normal price so this kind of helps alleviate that and it gives you some more money for your time another thing to take into consideration is what the buyer is exactly buying with their money are they buying the originals of the created art piece do you ship internationally do they want a digital copy and a digital copy only do they want a higher resolution image as the seller are you willing to even ship the original to the buyer does the buyer even want the originals I mean I have this one customer that I completed over like 20-plus commissions for and never once did he want one of the original sent to him and around the 20th Commission I told him that if he paid for shipping once I simply just lump all of his pictures together and send them to him in bulk he never did take me up on the offer and it just completely blew my mind an easy way to deal with this is making an add-on option to pay for shipping to the buyer specifically the price for your own country versus like international shipping if you even want to do international shipping this would cause my clients tell me if they expected to receive the original copy or not which would avoid a whole bunch of confusion in the long run now the last part about guidelines but what might be the most important is to show samples of your work and I cannot stress enough the importance of showing examples of your work don't just show one picture show multiple pictures that have reliable outcomes if you're selling chibi's show a few artworks of chibis make sure that the quality of the work reflects the quality of the work that the customer will receive I cannot stress enough do not show your best artwork instead show what is realistic for them to receive you're not going to show the most amazing picture that you've accidentally created what you want to do is show something where you can replicate the quality of the piece reliably this helps your customer know exactly what they're going to get for the price and what they should be expecting from you while you need to have artwork of a certain standard you can always do a better job on a piece if anything you want to surprise your customer with how nice the picture is that they received if you choose to go above and beyond with what you give that's your choice but make sure that the product someone receives from you is at least the quality of your samples in your listing nobody wants to get a commission that they paid for that has disappointing artwork Plus that guy won't recommend you to anyone else and if they do talk about you they won't say anything good so create artwork of the same quality of the samples or better you never want to under deliver to your customer at this point in the video we covered how to gain a fan base when you know that you're ready to sell and how to figure out what you're presenting to sell to your customers the more specific you are about what you're selling the less confusion there will be between the seller and the buyer you want your buyer to know exactly what they're going to get for the price I then give them exactly what you promised next up is the disclaimer section this is for things that you want every customer to know regarding their Commission's you should have some bullet points about how your artwork is for personal use only and not at all intended for commercial use or resale you should mention that originals will not be shipped unless the buyer specifies that they would be I also mentioned that it's not my responsibility to hold on to a commission and preserve it for extended periods of time because the Commission might spontaneously combust or my dog might eat it or I might sit on it and many years later I might be unable to send it to them so it's not my responsibility to archive your piece you can also write a section about time-sensitive Commission's if not specified at the time of purchase you are not beholden to finish it within the buyers timeframe for example if Pete wants to buy a commission and gives you the payment and the next day he says I need it tomorrow you don't have to be beholden to that as it clearly states that you must be forewarned about things like that anything you can think of that might create a problem in the future you should list in the disclaiming section for example if you ship Commission's with tracking promise that you will give the tracking information when the product is shipped however you may not want to be responsible if the post-office ruins or loses package explain that it's the buyers responsibility to pay additional for insurance if they so want it and if the package is lost it's their responsibility to work with the post office to recover damages and all that essentially the more specific you are about what the person will get for the money the better so when someone orders a commission you need to translate what they want into your guidelines break it down for them financially in a receipt like fashion then confirm in your own language what it is that they want if the buyer agrees that this is what they're ordering and the price it should be based on the guidelines then you can go ahead and get to the payment section so all i need to do is get paid right and i find that the best way to transfer money for commissions is through paypal paypal protects both the buyer and the seller if you're buying you can get the buyer protection time period and if you're selling it's an easy way to collect the funds but also you'll be able to defend yourself if you have an issue with your customer you know or vice versa if your customer receives something that isn't what they paid for they can take it up with paypal as well paypal will act as a mediator and you can provide documentation of everything you have provided to the customer and how you've kept your word this is where all those annoying details of earlier came in handy you can now show the receipt where you calculated exactly what you were going to give them for what price you can show the image that was given to the seller and even the tracking shipping information along with the disclaimer information you could really make a rock-solid case for yourself if you did what you said you would for the buyer if you didn't you might have another problem because the buyer can also make a rock-solid case for why they deserve a refund if you did not adhere to your own rules and guidelines pretty straightforward right to be completely honest with you I never had this happen with a customer of mine but I was always ready for it and I always look 20 steps ahead before I left so if anything were to happen I would have already covered all my bases and finally we're going to talk about the order of operations regarding payment you should never ever start a commission before you have received partial or full payment for the Commission nothing is worse than we seen your time working on something that you'll never get paid for and even worse than that is giving the finished piece or an update to someone who hasn't given you any money you can very easily be scammed if you do not get paid at the beginning before starting your artwork when I did Commission's I would only take full payment before starting the Commission's I mean I was too busy to do partial payments or half payments like start now then pay when you're done I would only take full payments and then the buyer would then be added to my list of commissions that I had to do if someone was low on money I would simply tell them that I'm not going anywhere and if slashed when they can afford the picture to let me know but taking partial payments is more complicated than I ever wanted to get into and I don't recommend it but other artists seem to do it frequently so this is where it gets complicated if you decide to take partial payments my advice is that when you take the percentage of the payment then you have to give the buyer a percentage of the piece for example if they paid for one third of a picture might give them a sketch I wouldn't continue the picture until I receive the next payment never complete more of the picture than you're paid to complete this is really up to you how you accept your payments but for me it was always easiest to simply take full payment I mean I could be working on ten commissions at any point in time so it was easiest for me just to receive the payment at the beginning I also would keep my followers apprised of how their Commission's were coming along and at what step they were in production I actually never sent progress pictures to my clients as my guidelines were extremely clear I would only do so if I felt that I needed clarification or if I wanted to make an extremely stylistic choice but never as a regular exercise a lot of people seem to give regular works and progress shots to their customers but I would complete my Commission's rather quickly and this seemed to waste my time I also never had anyone complain about a picture I made or were unhappy with the results so I never really had to reflect or change my guidelines for this just be sure to receive the money before completing your work remember the saying time is money so don't put in the time if you haven't been paved keep in mind everything I listed here is about selling commissions privately doing freelance work for companies is completely different usually a company will pay much more for work being done and will pay after the work is complete if you are doing work for a company please make sure that they are reputable a lot of companies on the internet aren't what they seem especially ones that sell on platforms like eBay or Amazon or things like that if it's not a major company then you shouldn't trust them as it's probably in reality a small group of people or even just one person asking for work if that's the case get paid beforehand don't let yourself get taken advantage of by others what you're doing is work and you should be paid for it oh my gosh I talk like way too much and I can't even and hey if you're wondering but what do I sell my pieces for you know like how do I find my price I'll have a video about that next week as that is another topic that requires a bit of discussion if you guys have any questions for me please leave them in the comment section below I'm sure there will be things I didn't cover and I will make a comment responding to frequently asked questions and pin it to the top of the comments for you guys so please be sure to check their for answers to questions that you may have as always I hope you guys have a wonderful weekend and I'll talk to you again real soon you guys take care of each other you

26 thoughts on “Advice on Selling Art Commissions (Everything you'd Need to Know to get Started)

  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    wait i can do commissions with digital art too right??

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  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    Hehehe I like the expression on the star-shaped balloon

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  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    I love it when artist arn't mean about you not being able to pay right then and their when you don't have the money. I thought once when i didn't have the money to give an artist just yet, i was going to get yelled at or reported or something but they were actually understanding and really nice and I told them i apologizes and will be better prepared when and if i asked again. But the one thing that people should do is pay as SOON as possible. Don't have an artist wait for a month to get money or worse a year or not at all. Thats just mean at that point especially if you never told them when you maybe getting paid (if you have a job or allowance) to pay them back

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  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    What type of white pen are you using?
    I really need one right now

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  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    I know this was like a year ago and im sorry for bothering you but i am really new at commisions and im trying to learn about it right now cuz i might do it in the future and i just have 1 question what do u mean by original copy of the drawing? Like about the customer who didnt want the original copy then what do u do about it? (Again sorry for bothering and i hope u reply ) '^'

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  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    I have only done a few pieces in ink, and someone already asked to PAY for a piece. I'm not even confident enough in myself to do it, but they are insisting that if I do anything like what I've done that they'll be happy. I'm worried, should I go ahead or politely deny and wait until I am more confident?

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  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    Want if you have people asking you for a request, should you start doing commissions?

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  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    "Stop stealing my art. lol"
    Me: (Puts pencil down) Crap, how did you knowwwwwwwwww qwq

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  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    Sorry but…how would I give the artwork to them after me drawing it?

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  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    Why did I read advice on stealing art

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  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    I would love to pay for a commission from a artist that I like but I'm good since my sister talked about this topic yesterday. So I just do art for kicks.

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  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    I have a question. Once the artwork is done, how do you let the buyer have it? How do you send it to them?

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  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    i'm planning on doing commissions sometime in the near future, and agree that full payment might be easier just because it's what i have the most time and patience for. what i'm wondering is this: say someone backs out of a commission, but they already paid you in full. would it be a good idea to put in the disclaimer section that you could give them a partial refund or none at all, just so they're aware? or is it better to give them a full refund? this is assuming you've already started on the commission of course, and if so, should there be points where you give less money back to them depending on the time they're cancelling (so like how far you've gotten into the piece)?
    thanks so much for your input! awesome video, it was really helpful. i also love the colors you used on your piece!

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  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    I want to sell art physically but I can't sell on my school campus but I don't go out of my house very often…since I don't know if my mom would allow me to ask my neighbors
    I am an anarcho capitalist so I don't want to be taxed(stolen from) at all so is there a website like ebay that is ancap?

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  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    I just realised how bad I am at art

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  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    Wow! This was so good. This is applicable to all services, not just art. Can't appreciate more. Thank u so much.

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  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    Ah! I love your video! This really REALLY helped me A Ton! You're such a great person to share your experience and knowledge about art commissioning! You covered a lot of very important information too! Really useful!

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  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    woah. beautiful art

    and it's like, irl. with watercolor.

    I do digital so if I make a mistake; eh!

    YOU

    watercolor

    that's tough

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  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    that attitude tho o.o

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  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    "stop stealing my art" …. you got it! haha

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  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    I once accepted partial payment. Never again. It took the buyer 3 months after commission to finish paying me.

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  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    That was cool. I've been struggling with money for a few months, so I caved in and tried selling art professionally, but I haven't had any luck. I like your advice, though, learned a few things i didn't know. If you're interested maybe we could swap art sometime. 👨‍🎨

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  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    I did requests and i gave my friend her OC in my iconic art style and she disliked all the hard work i did and the rest of the people like my drawings

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  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    PayPal will take your money if you aren't over 18

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  • May 22, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    That’s give me a lot of insight 🙏🙏. Thanks Lemi.

    Reply

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