Hi guys; First things first, yes this thread is an act of procrastination. All the same, I hope it helps. So I'm going to try here to: a) Dispel myths about commissioners (Things to be aware of to help you generate opportunities) b) Explain what we look for (How to get the opportunities you generate for yourself) A We don't exist. I think many people have a misconception about artists - that they are a different subsect of people who are capable of creating, and just do so. But anybody who's worked on a creative endeavour knows just how much effort has to go into creating, and that art doesn't spontaneously appear in an artist's pocket. Similarly, commissioners, as many people believe them to exist, just simply don't - at no point in time is there a roving band of furries that you're trying to grab the attention of. Commissioners are individual people who have an interest in art of/or their character, and have money spare, and know that these two interests are capable of aligning. What this means is that you're unlikely to catch a commissioner by putting out a net - this is really an important truth. The more watchers I have, the more likely I am to gain commissioners I know this <looks> to be true. I mean, it seems intuitive - the more people who know you, the more exposure you get, and the more likely you are to get commissioned as a result, right? This isn't so true. If you focus on gathering as many people as possible under your banner, what you may be sacrificing is your watcher's relationship with you. Free raffles for art, for example, can generate huge numbers of watchers - but many of these watchers will not be interested in you, or your art; just "art" and "free". I'd like to seperate these people from actual commissioners - it's extremely unlikely that 'treasure hunters' like these will ever be interested in purchasing your skills, because... If I lower my prices, maybe I'll get more sales. Maybe there's some data floating around out there that might corroborate this claim, but this is my commissioner's perspective. Sorry guys - reducing your prices to be more competitive or to match the going rate is, at best, unproductive; at worst, it can be counterproductive. I know that seems unintuitive, but within a general band, your art is as valuable as you sell it to be. This is why, if you often produce free art, you're unlikely to get commissioners as often as you otherwise could - the going perception will be, and the vast majority of your watchers will see, that your art can go for free. But something to keep in mind... B Commissioners don't want to decide what they'll pay. Guys, many commissioners have a budget and, remedially, are capable of valuing the quality of your work against the prices that other, similar artists will sell for. This is what I meant when I mentioned the "general band", earlier - if a commissioner is interested but your prices are different to that band, you're likely to surprise them. For some artists, this can be an intimidating idea - which has lead to a slow rise in artists offering "Pay what you want" commissions and Auctions. "Pay what you want" commissions are massively intimidating to commissioners and, from my perspective, are something you should definitely avoid. This is because it shifts the onus onto the commissioner to dictate your work's worth - a sensible person will know that too little will seem like a snub to the artist. As a result, this can lead to exploitation by commissioners who aren't so empathetic, or intimidated and confused commissioners who aren't sure if either side were happy with how much they paid. Auctions can be a good idea, but they work best for established artists. These are the type of things where a large number of watchers will be useful, as you only need a few interested parties out of your pool. However, if you're not an established artist, it's best to remember that if a commissioner is interested in you, there's a wide band of prices they're likely to be willing to pay, and it's really okay to take the initiative to charge prices you're comfortable with - which might be $5 or $10 more than you see similar artists charge. Your art is as valuable as you sell it to be; yet, some commissioners will have limited budgets, and some will be more flexible. As a result... Be willing to haggle. Just a little. If you have an interested customer, make them feel very welcome. Stay in contact and don't pressure them, but be available and approachable. Shifting a couple of numbers off what you wanted to charge can make a commissioner very happy if they were a little unsure of your price. It's worth doing this the first time you deal with someone just to gather some good-will. You're likely to see them come back, but even if they don't - Be Iago, not Cassio. "Reputation, reputation, reputation. Oh!" There are two parts to this. Firstly, good-will is important. If you're going to take a few days to do something, stay in contact with people while you work with them - commissioners love to know how things are going on. Producing art extremely quickly isn't neccessary - but work at a comfortable pace. If you have multiple people interested in you, take breaks from commissions from time to time, to let yourself recover and get back to your own interests for a while - you don't want to be sick of other people's requests if you're trying to take them. Secondly, be confident. Put up a good impression - imagine that working with commissioners is like going to a job interview. Don't be short, but be competent and willing to take the initiative to offer up information, and work with their personality to get along with them. Most importantly, don't be evasive if they ask questions. Be unapologetic and confident, but honest. That means talking candidly about how comfortable you are with some suggestions. Top Secret Tips. - Consistently highly-polished work gets much more interest than lots of less-polished work, even if there's a significant delay between your uploads. - The less often you try and actively get commissions, the more likely you are to get them when you open. - The less commission slots you offer during open times, the more valuable your commission slots can become. - The more established you are before you start doing your first commissions, the more commissioners you're likely to see. - 'Sales', Emergency Commissions, and Journals to advertise your commissions quickly become ineffective, and then quickly become counterproductive. This is what can appear to be "flaky" - keep your cool. - You're unlikely to be able to get an accurate gauge on your own reputation until you see your art posted on a third-party site which allows comments by someone who is not you. Don't get disheartened - it's difficult to tell if you're "commissionable". - It's true that commissioners will pay more for the reputation of the artist. This does mean that "popufurs can charge more", but you too can take advantage of that - have an identifiable signature, polish your work, and take care of your reputation. - If you aren't comfortable with mature and adult work, maybe you should try venturing into that avenue sometime privately to experiment. However, avoid taking mature commissions just because 'it's a commission'. Stick to your guns and work within your interests. - Specialise in your interests. Quality does stand out among the crowd, but it's more important to be known for something; specific characters, specific species. When people think of concepts such as "dragons", "huskies" or "cute", specific names come up. That's the power of specialisation. - People with popular characters can be great sources for networking. Briefly research people who are interested in you - if they're networked well, they can provide you with more than just a commission fee. Likewise, if you are a fan of someone's popular character within the fandom, it's no shame to contact them and, if you're willing, offer them a free work. It's similar to an amateur seamstress sending Elle Magazine a dress. - I've said it multiple times, but your art is as valuable as you decide it to be. Don't undersell thinking that you can "start charging more later"; it won't work, and you're really likely to attract the wrong crowd of followers. Lastly, if you can't find a commissioner, just keep working and progressing. There's a lot of money flowing around, sure, but remember - you can't put out a net to catch it. Put honey out and watch and wait.