Commissions are paid requests to draw something or someone, usually non-commercial in nature (meaning, they are intended for personal use by the client). I’ve frequently been asked for tips on how to price them by people who want to start offering commissions. Personally, I started out offering very cheap commissions and then gradually raised the price as the demand for my artwork grew. But looking at commissions through the lens of a professional artist, I find that many commission prices are absurdly cheap, and far below industry standard – including the ones I used to offer before I became aware of how art is priced in the professional world. However, due to the wide availability of cheap commissions, many people have come to expect and even demand these very low prices. If you decide to offer commissions, do not let anyone convince you that your price is too high – this happens a lot and you’re better off ignoring them and moving on. The best way to approach your pricing is to estimate how many hours would go into each piece, and to figure out how much money you feel an hour of your time is worth, and then do the math. For the rest, I would advise you to:
- Agree on the deadline in advance, and stick to it.
- Ask for your payment in advance, and if you can, use Paypal as the payment method.
- Agree on what your payment will be if the commission is cancelled halfway through the process.
- Show your client the rough sketch and a rough color version before proceeding to the next step, to ensure that the client is happy with where the image is going.
- Establish with your client how many modifications can be made to the artwork based on the client’s feedback, in order to avoid a situation in which you might have to completely re-do your image.
- Be dependable and communicate well with your client. Your reputation as an artist is incredibly important!
- Stick to the agreements made before starting, and do not let yourself be manipulated into taking on a much larger workload, or smaller compensation, than initially agreed upon.