Want to get started selling art commissions online? Today's video contains way too much information regarding selling art commissions. These are the practices I used when I used to sell, years ago. There are many ways to go about selling your artwork, this is just one of them. :)
Next week's video will be about finding your price range for commissions!
This is also a "Draw this Again" art challenge! I made the first version 7 years ago digitally. Because I loved the original so much I decided to redo it traditionally and see if I could improve upon it.
Kuretake Gansai Tambi
Arches Hot Press Watercolor Block
Molotow Masking Fluid Marker
Larger Finished Image: -
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you do know that putting the watermark won't really help, because if someone still stole it, it would just be saying don't steal the copier's art. Say if someone did steal it and re upload it with the water mark on, people who saw the one that was re uploaded would think its saying 'don't steal the art i stole' because they don't know it was stolen. Like those not for resale packs, you can still sell it (well kinda... not good tho... don't do that) and the person that bought it separately would think not to sell the separate one. But i wont steal it though :3 <3 i was thinking to start doing commissions because i feel like my art is kinda getting better but i'm under 13, so i asked my mum if i can have a parent controlled account where she would get the money from the art as i only draw for fun and because i love drawing and art. I do it as choice so, why not sell it? If we do even get any, my mum said she would think about it, so does this still kinda count as child labour, if i choose to do it and i don't get the money? It would just be more help and i guess if we saved we could make a lot (again, if we do get any customers anyway) i was thinking to sell any portion of the body, but either all in digital with my Wacom or all traditional but only in pencil, Copic or regular pen. I do have watercolour and acrylic though... And i'm not this little princess that gets everything, okay, i am actually quiet poor. My mum saves up a lot of money for Christmas but she is a single working mum with 3 kids and no job. I guess the reason she kinda gets a little more is because my brother is disabled. But yea she saves a lot of money for Christmas so we have the best experience, hence why i'm 11 and have a Wacom.
FYI Insurance on a shipped item is to protect the shipper. The buyer gets (or should get) a refund or replacement at no additional charge if the package is destroyed or goes missing on its way to them. This is why shippers insure shipments and it is good business.
The recipient cannot put insurance on a shipment, only the shipper can insure a shipment. The recipient Does pay the shipper for such insurance, though.
It is a time saver and a big plus to your customers to go ahead and include insurance in your shipping charges.
You could also include shipping charges to the farthest domestic zip code in your purchase price (for all commissions) and offer "free shipping" i.e., no additional charge for shipping to any domestic zip code . also, if the item gets shipped to a closer zip code, there is no refund of overage, since the shipping is paid from the proceeds of the commission (i.e. shipping and insurance charges are included in the price of the commission).
Of course, all international shipments must pay shipping (and included insurance) separately.
If the shipper buys insurance on a shipment, the shipper is the one who deals with the insurer, and is the one who specifies where the payment goes.
I strongly suggest Insurepost for insuring individual shipments/packages and Shipsurance for bulk shipments (multiple packages sent at one time). They are sister companies. At this writing their charges were $1/ $100 insured. They insure through the postal service and some other shippers.
Disclaimer: Shipsurance and Insurepost work well for US shippers. I do not know what other countries they insure originating shipments from. They also have a list of countries they will not insure a shipment to.
I wish I could do commissions, but I don’t have a paypal and I’m pretty sure my parents won’t make one for me. They don’t even know I have social media and I’m not allowed to have it. I wish they weren’t so strict they think I’m gonna post so inappropriate things and show my face but, all I wanna show is my art. I’m pretty sure if I told my older sisters about it they would tell our parents. I guess I’ll have to wait till I’m 18 to do commissions. So sadly I have to wait 4 more years.😞
personally, for commissions, i base prices kind of like a y=mx+b equation: price= $ per hour x # of hours + cost of supplies. However, I do irl art, like canvases and such, so the cost of supplies may not apply. But, prices will be different for everyone, so talking about them shouldn't be frowned upon :/
Sketchy businesses are the fucking worst (This is a big paragraph brace yourself)
I once worked telecommute with a guy/business(???) making graphic designs. We met in person before working for him and he went really into detail on how he wanted every piece since it was for commercial purposes. The first red flag I should have paid attention to was when he said he "accidentally left the contract but we can seal it with a handshake, yes?". At the moment I thought "As long as I don't have to drive the two hours that took me to get here again, sure". So I started working for him, and DAMN it was hard, but I did it and sent it to him. He said he'd pay me once he received the money from a client of his (or whatever). Sure, alright. Onto the second job. Harder than the first tbh. Once it was done and sent, I tried to contact him via text and he wouldn't answer so I emailed him. After a while he answered and said his phone was giving him trouble, but he sent me the third job and promised my money would come in soon. Uh-huh. Half way through working on the third one I kind of snapped because he wouldn't return my texts or emails or calls. Also by this point, my mom went full beast mode. We waited for a while and then she called using her phone instead of mine, and whattaya know, the guy answered immediately. My mom wasted no time and told him that if I hadn't received my money by the next three days she'd get her lawyer, apart from contacting a tv show that specializes in these types of cases and publish the situation AND the names of his clients on tv. Sure enough the guy paid me what he owed and never contacted me again
Really helpful video! I do have one gripe, though.
I somewhat get where you're coming from, but in many cases it is completely okay to discuss pricing in PMs and I really didn't like how you put other artists down for doing that. Of course it always depends on what the artist is selling, but art can very well end up being too complex to give only a few base prices on a tiny commission sheet. For example, years back I did commissions but offered a vast amount of art styles from chibi to realism and everything in between, so it was necessary for my customers and I to discuss what they wanted my art to look like and how it would come to in the end. Some artists also set up their prices so they are paid by the hour, so it isn't possible to set a base price until they know exactly how long it might take them.
It's as simple as going to a hair salon and wanting a specific haircut or color, you're always going to have to discuss with the stylist first to see how things will cost in the end since you can't make a base price for every single haircut and color combination in existence. It's a pretty common process.
As of right now I'm probably considered too young to be a real artist. I was going to ask you for advice and then I realized what ur answer would be. I'll wait a few years before I start trying to sell, and in the meantime I can talk to my friends about commissions for cheap prices, since that's something I can do now.
I have a system where it asks them what kind, bust, full body, ect, depending onwhat they say add however much money to the price, then do yu want color add this, and so on with the different ways, the picture could be done.
I remember when I saw an artist I followed said they had commissions open. I didn’t know what it meant so I asked someone wat it meant, they said:
“Oh! It’s when you can ask the artist to draw for you”
And that’s wat I thought it was....
THEY DIDNT mention paying AT ALL
So I dm the artist saying:
“Hi! Ar commissions still open?”
Wat do you want?”
“Hmmmmmm.... idk maybe draw my oc or something? Idc”
(They prbly thought;
Wat? They are gonna PAY for smthng that they don’t know wat even is?!
“Ummmm you gotta be certain about it”
“Well then wat can you do?”
“I can do portraits, etc.”
“Maybe do a full colour portrait”
“That will be $15”
“Umm u have to pay $15”
(Thinks: o boy it’s one of THOSE ppl, the ppl that just think they won’t have to pay)
“I didn’t know”
Well, u have to”
O sorry! I can’t! Sorry
(Thinks: not AGAIN!)
This has happened some time ago and know I understand wat ar commissions and after watching many yt videos of storytime commissions, Ik this happens a lot to artist and they find it very annoying, I am sorry 😐
Lol. Comment story time!
Reply to this comment if you had done something similar!
Devian art? i use it, but my friends tell me the site is dead. i started using medi-bang, but i still want to keep my other art profile. how should i go about doing this? i want constructive criticism so, i want my art to be seen.
I was a little taken aback by the tip on not discussing pricing.
The prices for my last two commissions were $150 and $20 respectively. It’s important to recognize that no two paintings/drawings take the same amount of time and effort to create.
Yeah, you could list that a full body drawing will cost $40, but if someone is only asking for casual, simple clothes like a t-shirt and shorts with just a 2D background, I question if the drawing would honestly be worth $40 for how simple it is. And on the flip side, someone could ask for a girl in an elaborate ball gown sort of dress holding a bouquet of flowers with her hair flowing into a galaxy. Doesn’t that sound complicated? Like it would take hours for all of those details? At some point, you have to realize that you might be making $4 an hour because you have predetermined prices.
Not to mention different mediums and sizes are a whole other story.
In the art world, negotiations are also very key. You’re not an official business, it won’t do any harm to talk with your client to see what they are willing to pay, what you’re expecting, and go from there.
I guess what I’m trying to say is art is a very unusual product that can’t be priced until it’s made. Or maybe in this case, imagined.
Edit: I do confess, however, that it’s very fair to at least give people an idea of what your price ranges are so no one shows up expecting to pay $35 for a full scale painting when you’re looking to charge anywhere between $70 and $130.
It's actually more professional to have commission work discussed privately because it protects the value of your work and gives you more leverage in negotiating a sale. If you are turned off by something as basic as the idea of actually talking to the artist, then you probably aren't that interested in their work to begin with. I prefer my clients to email me so that I can give them full details of what they're getting for the price. Go to any fine artists website and look if they have commission prices listed. The only people displaying prices are kids on deviantart doing paintings for sweatshop wages.
Uh...you know there's the whole 'Full sketch- 200 points' and such thing, right? You can privately discuss the character/s or thing/s being drawn, and the pricing, but I'd prefer to know if an artist's work is within my price range before contacting them about comissions, and, potentially, disappointing them by not commissioning them because I don't have enough. See?
You can do traditional commissions, just depends of if the person paying you wants to have it scanned or shipped to them. Also, you should charge more for traditional art since you have to buy paper, pens, pencils, etc.
NEVER do a commission without getting half of the money upfront. If the person makes excuses or promises to pay later forget it, because that means they were never going to pay you anyways. Use paypal so you can track scammers and get your money back if necessary
I really want to start doing commissions....
I feel like I’m too young though? Do people care about age?
Also uh... I sound really dumb >~<
But how do I ask for commissions from other artists (If that came out wrong paying the artist that will draw it. Not asking for them to buy one from me...)
For anyone thinking “I’ll just start because I’m sure they’ll pay me!” Don’t. As someone who did a commission for a “friend” a while ago at school. It’s been 2 months since I FINISHED the commission and every day she has had an excuse. I also ended up doing 4 fullbodies for 10$ and I still haven’t gotten those small 10$ Get some money before you do a commission and don’t learn the hard way! It may have been small but it’s still time spent that I don’t think I’ll get back anytime soon but I won’t stop asking her lol
For digital art, I would overlay a bunch of gaudy watermarks with writing on it saying "UNOFFICIAL COPY" and also send them a much smaller version of the pic. That way, they can see how the picture has come along (and is what they wanted), yet will pay me for the finished version, now with confidence.
What you seem to be saying here, however, is most people are already confident in the picture you'll send them, and will accept it so long as it lives up to a displayed version which prompted them to set the commission originally. This is probably the better option.
haha the watermark! Sad it happens to you though! But the drawing is lovely! I really liked it and using the maskingfluid that way is very creative! Commissions are always a hard subject, thanks for sharing your opinion! ^^
On instagram tagging is key, as are regular uploads. Tagging makes the difference between 4 likes, or 40, and for every properly tagged post I gain a few followers. I don't post that often so it doesn't make much of a difference for me, but if you gain 3 followers per post, and you post every day, you're at around 1000 in a year. If you post every other day it's half that, if you post twice a day it's double. But be aware of what you upload; sketches won't get as much attention as finished works, works in progress may or may not get much attention depending on how interesting they look.
Like I said: this only works this way if you know what tags to use, so go figure that out first. There's a whole different set of tags for people who draw comic style characters than for people who do life drawing, or abstract painting etc. Find art pages that kind of fit what you do, and see what tags they use. Tags are how people find your work on instagram. If you don't tag at all you won't gain any followers, period. If you tag wrong you may gain some followers, but since you won't reach your target audience as effectively you won't gain as many followers as you could have.
Other than that: be committed to uploading regularly, and be patient. Also keep improving your art and develop your own style, because the better, more interesting, and more unique your work, the more people will take an interest.
Breanna. I know this comment is 5 months old BUT...
Growing a fanbase is difficult and it's easier to wait if you remember that's not the most important thing. I am on Instagram almost 2 years and I have 196 followers. After 200-300 it seems to be going slightly faster. The more followers you have the faster you grow.
Just focus on improving your art, the people will eventually come.
is it weird that i find your voice so relaxing and your video topics so interesting and lively, i use your , like, 'talking videos' as 'background music' when im working on projects or just drawing in general?
Sorry to tell ya but the umm so called “watermark” you did isn’t very useful for this reason: I saw a youtuber talking about why she hated watermarks and while talking she was removing a bunch of watermarks from peoples art. But otherwise well yeah
Can you give me more info on Paypal, cuz I've heard some clients rip off Artists by claiming to PP that they didn't receive their product (when they did get it) and demand refunds, which cost the Artists lots of money.
I don't sell my art yet, but I think it would depend on how long it took me to make the picture, and how detailed it is. If it took me 2 hours, but i knew it wasn't that detailed, I would make it about 15-20 bucks. If it took me an hour but was super detailed, then it would be more than 20 bucks.
I like your approach to payments, but it was never my personally approach, I always waited until the piece was finished to request payment, I provided all of the preliminary sketches to show progress but nothing about the final piece until payment was processed, at that point I provided them a picture of the piece being packaged and tracking info. It worked for me but maybe not everyone.
I really like the drawing that you made, but I also really appreciate the discussion. Normally, I am not open for commissions because they just aren't my jam, but I keep getting approached by friends and family asking for work. I'm very up-front with them about my pricing, as well as the fact that I am not open for commissions but that if their idea is something I feel comfortable doing and they trust me with their vision for my price and other guidelines, then we may be able to come to an agreement. Similarly, I've discussed in initial contacts that the work I'd be making would be for personal use and if they want rights to reproduce then we need to adjust our agreement and they will be paying more for my relinquishment of copyright. Which is to say, I'm glad that you were super crazy about guidelines because it's making me feel like being super crazy is the right choice to keep things on course.
Also, yeah.... The molotow pens aren't super great... I'm surprised yours didn't just absolutely destroy the paper because mine WRECKED anything I used them with.
I want to do commissions because my family doesn't think art supplies are worth the money but my dad said no to selling my art online so I want to sell my art at school to get art stuff but I'm REALLLY shy so I don't know how to get people to buy my art..
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