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A Commissioner's Perspective on How To Get Commissioned

This is very helpful but I've always wondered if I'm charging too little for my work. My aunt told me by charging too little makes people think I do cheep work, which is far from the truth! I put a lot of work into my commissions and I feel like my prices are reasonable but I still have trouble getting commissions.
 
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KurtCobain

Guest
Let me add my opinion/rationalizing as a customer who actually looks for commissions:


"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..."


Not always true. Art is usually bought less if it's too expensive. Plus, with all the competition, people will look for the best deals and will consider an art style less good if it doesn't seem worth the price considered the weight of art style - price compared to other artists. Since art is consumed, the value of how it's consumed is more important than the value of the effort put in. If art looks 20 dollarsish, but is produced with a 30 dollarsish effort, it would be best sold at 25 dollarsish. Many can spare just 5 dollars, but each time somebody pays extra 5 dollars, it adds 5 dollars to your pay, which adds up, so it's wise to charge a bit more than the apparent value but a bit less than the actual value. If you charge for the actual value, people will think it's too much of an increase or won't believe it's a fair price (customers aren't generally intelligent about art, which is why they're either a bit too gullible at times or a bit too cautious; this means some people will pay 1000 dollars for a meh-done YCH, but others won't pay 50 dollars for anything less than absolutely professional (less professional artists can make more professional pieces though), causing them to pass over you and commission somebody else. Perhaps a good way to go is to undercharge some things, but overcharge/fairly charge others. For example: take a 10 dollar value headshot and charge 7 dollarsish for it, maybe even 5. But take a 35 dollar value fullbody and charge 38 dollars for it, with an extra 3 dollars for traits that (usually) are (not) much more difficult to draw, like NSFW art. Determine the actual value by adding 5 dollars to the price of artists with similar skill levels to you, then averaging it all out through a mean or something. Very mathematical, wow. Also, be very careful when charging per hour. Don't charge 10 bucks per hour if it takes you 7 hours to complete the piece and your art isn't worth 70 dollars; effort is more important than time. For example: I take about 2 hours for my art. If I charged minimum wage in commissions, I'd get about 20 dollars, and my art skills are equivalent to that of a middle schooler. Remember: some semi-professionals will give you a great sketch for 15 dollars. Customers will exploit actual values for deals, learn the market. "Your art is as valuable as you sell it to be." This also means that you should write your posts persuasively and confidently to seem more professional. It isn't just price-based. Overcharging can actually make you look unprofessional more than undercharging can.


"- The less commission slots you offer during open times, the more valuable your commission slots can become."


Yes, but this can be EXTREMELY greedy to do, definitely if used wrong.
Slots make buying art a competition of the sorts, and make customers more stressed out. For example: they may need some time to put together their commission application properly, such as explaining in full detail. Plus, people could claim slots they don't really want, making another customer that really wanted art within a reasonable time period for their birthday or something to show their grandma before they die have to miss out just so that another customer could see yet another lewd picture of Lucario that will just rot in their huge collection. Then again: customers could pay a bit extra for priority if they really needed it, and artists could temporarily open more slots for an additional fee if there's a need. But generally: I am not a fan of the slots system. It's made me lose so many opportunities to commission so many different artists, then by the time they open slots again (3 months or something), I forget about the artist, the slots are taken AGAIN, I'm broke, I have no ideas what to commission now, or what I wanted to commission no longer has relevance to me. And it's not planned out when slots open again most of the time, so it's a lot of waiting that the customer doesn't get any compensation for.


"- '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. "


This is true, but artists should do these as often as they can. Customers see it as this: a person is in need of money, so a customer can use that to their advantage, and everybody's happy. It's better to make faster cash and get the message out there this way. Don't severely undercharge with emergency commissions and sales, though. Perhaps have sale slots.


"Stick to your guns and work within your interests."


Try, actually, to not do this to the best of your ability, especially if profit can be involved.
Mature art isn't wrong by any means, and artists should try desensitizing their own feelings more for the happiness of their customers while not being taken advantage of. However, no artist should be undersold unless they need the money quickly or do it more for the community.


"- 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."


I agree, but there's supposed to be a balance. If a person overcharges or fairly charges themselves right from the start, many less people will buy. The crowd attracted can't be overgeneralized; some will pay proper price later or advertise you even if your commissions become more expensive. Start cheap, then go fair. Just attract a different audience when you go fair. And when you go fair, explain why. For example: promotional deals, improvement in art, greater demand, other things.
 
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KurtCobain

Guest
To be fair, most of this article was written extremely well though and addressed many great points.
 

ub3rschnitzel

New Member
As a newcomer arriving into the commissioning field, tentatively dipping my toes in, this was a helpful read. I hope that I can garner some interest over the weeks to come and these tips will certainly help!
 

Kai-Alive

New Member
Thank you for this post :) I love to make awesome art, I unfortunately have only been making art for the MLP fandom, but I want to move into the furry fandom because I don't only like equines, I LOVE canines and dragons so I want to move into that area.
 

Diretooth

Dire Wolf and Dragon Therianthrope
This is rather valuable advice, and I'll be re-thinking how I'm going to do commissions. I would like to know, however, what you think is a good way to get started? What is the best way, in your opinion, to attract commissioners, and is doing a minimal amount of free commissions advisable, or detrimental?
 

FOX-POP

New Member
I totally agree with what you say! There's a lot of truth in it!

I think the main thing of a commission is to get something that somehow makes you happy!
An art piece of your favourite character, done exactly as you expect is an example!

Therefore, it's very important -in my opinion- to make a customer feel welcome and pleased! To participate to his desires
and ideas! Talking, building up a relationship so to be sure to be closer as ever to what's expected! It's not only about selling art! ;D

Personally, I quantify the prices over domain and (first at all) the time I spend on the piece, but it's like the 40% of the whole thing,
I focus more on talking and get in contact with the customer, making him/her feel at ease and understood in what he/she expects! ;D

Money are important, talking, building up relationships and agreement, enstablish a link with people is MORE important! ;)
 

Folhester

Smutty Scribbler
My 2 cents on how to get commissioned:
Your first contact has to make your client feel understood and considered.
Pay attention to the needs described, and adapt your answer to what your prospect wants.

That means sending hand-picked samples and references that match their interests. Asking for a husky fursona? Say you're good with canines, and prove your point with canine examples!

And if you don't have any samples or even experience in what the client asks, know when to back off and save your energy for prospects you can actually convince.
You've only drawn wolves and they ask for a bear? Worth a shot. But if this guy is asking for a semi-realistic medieval dragon-humanoid avatar, of course he isn't gonna take a look at your cartoon cat illustrations. That doesn't question your skills, it's just won't match that's all.

Also, always add a few personalized kind words repeating the keywords of the ad, explaining why you'd be the perfect artist. That shows you read carefully the ad, and you look way more convincing.
'Here are my commission examples and prices. They're really cheap!! Example 1-2-3-4-5-6.......' > eh
'hi folhester! I'd like to help you on this valentines day project :) your couple looks sweet! i have experience with romantic commissions and i work pretty fast, i could get that done in time. Here are some examples: couple example, canine example, cute example...' > authentic and adapted to the client's needs!

You know what else that means?
Stop :) Mass :) Replying :) To :) All :) The :) Threads :) Of :) The :) Sales :) Forum :)
You end up digging up necro ads from january 2017, everybody can see you're slamming the same text and examples over and over again in a row without paying any attention to what the client asks, and you're just looking needy and uncaring.

What's the point of carelessly posting 30 times and getting 1 commission in the end, when you could send 7 tailor-made replies and get 3 of them back?

So instead, better take 5 to re-read the whole ad and thread carefully and reply politely and professionnally ❤
 
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Fiorabeast

Always ill as hell
You know what else that means?
Stop :) Mass :) Replying :) To :) All :) The :) Threads :) Of :) The :) Sales :) Forum :)
You end up digging up necro ads from january 2017, everybody can see you're slamming the same text and examples over and over again in a row without paying any attention to what the client asks, and you're just looking needy and uncaring.

What's the point of carelessly posting 30 times and getting 1 commission in the end, when you could send 7 tailor-made replies and get 3 of them back?

So instead, better take 5 to re-read the whole ad and thread carefully and reply politely and professionnally ❤

Also want to add on, that I think it should be the commissioner's responsibility to at LEAST inform everyone that they have picked their artist and that their 'request thread' be written as 'CLOSED' or something along those lines. I'm seeing a LOT of necroed threads because the OP who created it didn't seem to inform everyone that they have already found an artist to commission them. Which is why a lot of artists reach back as far as three months or more and dig these up without checking the date AND not knowing that this request is LONG past the date they were originally posted. I saw a couple of requests threads do that (change the post title and write on the very first post/make a new comments post informing people of what happened), and I think it's a good idea to do that!

(Another thing to artists: Yes, I know we are all desperate for people to commission us but PLEASE for the love of the forum, DON'T necro the threads that are WAY past the year or months they were made! At least just make a commissions shop and regularly post your examples of work rather than doing the above!)
 

Fiorabeast

Always ill as hell
I kind of want to add on to this, but lately since I've been seeing some Hiring threads and a LOT of artists post there to advertise.... Only for the commissioner to NOT respond to their thread for a very long time (like, a month or two) without updating us on if they are STILL interested or something. I'm a bit annoyed about that because I'm going out of my way to interest potential clients in my work, ad I see the thread not responded by the OP in over a month or so. I can understand maybe something coming up and not being able to get internet or something, but just leaving us in the dark makes me think that you were testing waters and are not interested in actually paying for art?

Commissioners, if you can, could you PLEASE at LEAST put a little note about WHEN you will be checking and finalizing what artist you will choose for your commission and if you are actually, indeed, serious? Because so far, I and many others have posted in threads advertising only to see that there is NO response to whether or not you are still interested in commissioning or not. I feel like this is kind of a waste of time and energy for us since we are trying to produce art to not only get better, but as well as get paid because bills and other stuff here which is why a LOT of us respond to your thread!
Also, maybe write in what art style you are strictly looking for and are interested in as a way to cut down on having to choose too many flavors of art styles coming to your post if you are feeling overwhelmed (unless you welcome any style, then still write that down too!).

(Also, artists PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD read the client's REQUEST and RESPECT THAT too as I have seen the commissioner say they want a realistic-style artwork, only for another artist to go and post their 'cartoony style' commission in the thread instead as I feel that you are NOT listening to what they want at all! That is just NOT how you do business with a potential client really...)
 

zenmaldita

always hungry
In the light of recent events, I strongly advise that all artists selling here ought to have an updated Terms of Service concerning your whole commission process, communication requirements, payment details, cancellation policies, refund policies etc. Make sure that you have your client understand and agree to those terms before any transactions occur. Having a clear ruleset will also give your clients comfort to know how to work with you - and if something goes awry, they'd somehow know what to do about it.
 

Fiorabeast

Always ill as hell
Okay... so I just had this happen to me two times, and honestly it's kind of irritating to me as an artist TRYING to run and establish an art business here with my mental issues and stuff preventing me from finding a job at the moment:

To Commissioners,

PLEASE TELL US UP FRONT if you are just 'shopping around' and curious about how we work out our art business and TELL US if you are TRUELY HONESTLY WANTING to COMMISSION US as well as if YOU DO have another artist that you are WAITING to hear from!
Because just now, I have had TWO potential clients express interest in commissioning me BUT then they tell me the 'Actually, I have someone else already that is willing to do this for me' comment that REALLY disappointed and crushed me as someone who is trying to make money at the side due to having NO JOB currently. Like, I would have APPRECIATED you TOLD ME FIRST that you HAD another artist waiting for you since I feel like my time was WASTED in telling you how my process went and then felt betrayed when you had someone else behind your back. Not to mention, it just felt plain rude! PLEASE do NOT DO THIS!
 

pandasayori

Dreaming Hobbyist
To Commissioners,

PLEASE TELL US UP FRONT if you are just 'shopping around' and curious about how we work out our art business and TELL US if you are TRUELY HONESTLY WANTING to COMMISSION US as well as if YOU DO have another artist that you are WAITING to hear from!

I wholeheartedly agree with this point.

As an artist I'm happy to learn if someone is interested in commissioning me to draw something for them. Though it does get discouraging when you've gathered references sent, taken note of what a client is interested in, double checked if they are okay with having an invoice sent- only to have the invoice left as unpaid for over a week and no word from the client who was interested...

Giving a heads up is greatly appreciated and means a lot. I'm more than happy to add clients to my reserve queue until they are ready to pay, but please let me know if you are just window shopping before I send the PayPal invoice.
 

Araby

Professional Dergon
Everyone is different, but my No.1 preference is communication. I Dont care if something takes 3 weeks longer than anticipated as long as you communicate!
 
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