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Ryunohito
11-19-2012, 05:36 PM
So i'm wondering what commissioners look for when finding an artist to commission, and what artists who do commissions typically find useful and/or helpful or what tends to be more attractive to people looking to buy artwork from you.
Also things that anybody has found to be particularly off putting towards commissioners.

so a few things to start this off, opinions on;
sale prices against sale rates/static prices as opposed to hourly rates
Does a Terms Of Service help?
Pricing according to skill level or actual free time to work on said commissions



P.S. sorry if this is in the wrong forum, feel free to move if necessary :3

Aaawhyme
11-19-2012, 08:20 PM
my biggest turn off is when I see art priced way too high - of course this all depends on personal, but I think some people price their art too high for what /I personally/, think it's worth. - for me, thats a big turn off. I think, the cheaper the art, the better, since even if the art is amazing and is way underpriced, this will draw in more interest, since people will try to take advantage of the fact that decent art is decently priced - thus giving the artist more commissions! :) That's my logic anyway.

I think sale prices are better than hourly rates, because that way you know from point A, how much you are going to be spending on the art, and there is no trouble later on, once the art is finished, about the price of the art. I believe that if the artist is to work for a company or a group project, then yes, an hourly rate is fine, milk it for all its worth, but when it comes to online commissions, from someone who is simply interested in getting a picture of their oc or favorite character, a set price is a great thing to go by.

Yes, rules/terms are always nice to see, because most times than not, I will look to make sure what I am planning on asking the artist to draw, is what they actually like to draw. People do better when they like what they are doing, so it not only improves the quality of art that a commissioner receives, but also the artist is comfortable and happy with what they are drawing.

Pricing according to skill level is the way to go, I think. People want to pay for quality art, no matter if the person being commissioned is a newbie or a professional, if it's done to the best of the artist, that's good enough for me. The price reflects this. I don't think the price should be raised if the commissionee does not have time to do the commission or put time and effort into it, because it's not fair for the person paying for the art, as well as the person who is drawing it and stressed out because of time management. If one does not have free time to work, then don't take on more than you can chew.

Hope my opinions were useful to you! :3 thanks for reading!

Ratte
11-20-2012, 02:53 AM
my biggest turn off is when I see art priced way too high - of course this all depends on personal, but I think some people price their art too high for what /I personally/, think it's worth. - for me, thats a big turn off. I think, the cheaper the art, the better, since even if the art is amazing and is way underpriced, this will draw in more interest, since people will try to take advantage of the fact that decent art is decently priced - thus giving the artist more commissions! :) That's my logic anyway.

The logic isn't very sound since now you're going through slopes of supply and demand. Good art takes some time to make, and having a long list of commissions pending isn't really good for either party, as the artist will eventually get tired and commissioners will get bitchy. I don't get commissions very often, but I'm also a busy person and I wouldn't even think of lowering my prices since (a) my art takes a little longer to make, (b) because I don't halfass it, my quality is pretty good, and (c) because honestly too many artists underprice themselves in hopes of getting more commissions and it actually doesn't work very well.

If "decent art is decently priced" then people will probably not take advantage of it. People are frugal and often not willing to pay how much decent art is actually worth. Quality of service is another key ingredient here as well. I know I would personally by more for good service and a realistic ETA than shitty service and, well, negative returns.

Granted, people are free to price their stuff however they please, but they shouldn't be pricing themselves too low or they're not really getting anything out of it. Yeah, they get ~some money~ but unless it's worth the cost of materials (if traditional) + a rate that still gives you some returns. Granted, if you take way too long to finish things in time, maybe commissions aren't for you until you have more free time to dedicate to getting art done, but otherwise? Only snooping out artists who underprice their stuff isn't really good for anyone.

Ryunohito
11-20-2012, 04:15 PM
because honestly too many artists underprice themselves in hopes of getting more commissions and it actually doesn't work very well.

like myself, where i tried $2 digital sketches, but i didn't get a single bit of interest :(

And one more thing to add, but may or may not make much of a difference, industry prices versus private prices. When comparing those most artists you're buying from is dirt cheap.

Rsyk
11-20-2012, 05:15 PM
like myself, where i tried $2 digital sketches, but i didn't get a single bit of interest :(

And one more thing to add, but may or may not make much of a difference, industry prices versus private prices. When comparing those most artists you're buying from is dirt cheap.

That's one thing that really annoys me when people criticize artists or "overcharging." If you're in the furry fandom, and buying from a good artist, it's entirely likely that they're under priced. There are exceptions to everything, some very well known in the fandom, but in most cases you're getting a quality of art that in most other places would would charge much more for.

As for what I avoid in commissions, pre-posing is a big pet peeve of mine. When I see multiple commissions with the same posturing, I lose all interest. If they announce it as a pre-pose thing, at least they're being honest. But I'm still not interested.

Recel
11-20-2012, 06:12 PM
I never got into commissions. The whole thing is a turn off for me. From both commissioning and commissioner standpoint.

From commissioner standpoint, I simply can't find art in my price range. I'm rather poor, and even five bucks can be better spent most of the time than on art for me. Also, I often see art prized high even if low quality, and vice versa. If it's good and cheep, I just get this bad feeling of using the artist. If it's bad an pricey, well duuuuh...

From a commissioning standpoint, I can't see any point in starting. For once, because of my skills in art and talking. I wouldn't be good at it probably. Second, there are too many people giving commissions already. The "market" is rather full, and most likely me, or any other artist for that matter, wouldn't have anything new to add worth buying. Giving out commissions, getting lets say, one commission per month (which would be a lot), just sounds rather pointless to me. Besides, people flock to the "great" artists anyway. It's rather hard to get noticed AND get people interested with such a big variety of good art already there. Not implying that I'm in any way a good artist, which would make things just that much harder to start.

Ratte
11-29-2012, 11:44 PM
like myself, where i tried $2 digital sketches, but i didn't get a single bit of interest :(

And one more thing to add, but may or may not make much of a difference, industry prices versus private prices. When comparing those most artists you're buying from is dirt cheap.

Because the artist isn't selling the rights to the art when you buy privately, generally speaking. If someone buys the rights to the image and everything in it, it costs a hell of a lot more than the former, which is literally "I'll pay you for making x for me but you still keep the rights and you give -me- permission to post wherever".

Rsyk
11-30-2012, 01:12 AM
Because the artist isn't selling the rights to the art when you buy privately, generally speaking. If someone buys the rights to the image and everything in it, it costs a hell of a lot more than the former, which is literally "I'll pay you for making x for me but you still keep the rights and you give -me- permission to post wherever".

This is also why if anyone ever approaches an artist and wants a discount because they intend to use the art for a book, the appropriate response should be heavy, derisive laughter. And a public flogging.

Ratte
11-30-2012, 03:35 AM
This is also why if anyone ever approaches an artist and wants a discount because they intend to use the art for a book, the appropriate response should be heavy, derisive laughter. And a public flogging.

Pretty much. Or really anything commercial, like that thing I'm going to do for a con. They said they want to sell prints of what I'm making and using the two character pictures for badges, so I sure won't be charging my normal prices if they're going to be making money off of my art.

Kasune
12-05-2012, 01:13 PM
My biggest turnoff when looking for commissions (as in, to purchase for myself) is an artist displaying an unfavorable attitude. If you are rude to your customers (or folks in general) in any way, good luck finding clients.

I have seen artists on every site that I frequent make passive-aggressive or outright nasty journals toward customers sometimes. Sometimes it can even be specific clients that they had trouble with. One thing that really grinds my gears is when an artist expects commissioners and potential clients to do something a certain way but don't have it explicitly written down somewhere, then reprimand clients for not doing it.

I also can't stand chatspeak. As judgmental as it sounds, if you can't type professionally, then I don't think I want to do business with you. English isn't my first language and I don't need to have trouble understanding someone.

quicktalon
02-19-2013, 11:05 PM
I have way to many turn-on's, guess it depends on personal choice.

My major turn-off(s) are:
1) The artist is known to spend forever on a commission. If the artist has 3 commissions there is no reason 4 months later they haven't even done the sketch. Even if they have a huge work-load, knowing they take a bunch of orders is a turn off since I know it may take a long time to get the art, specially when paid up-front.
2) The attitude of the artist. First impressions are everything - If I see a bunch of rant journals of the likes, I tend to steer away from them. I don't want to have an attitude if I ask politely to change something during a WIP process.

Kanagrooboy
02-20-2013, 01:06 AM
This is more from a graphic design/photography perspective. I've only done requests in the furry art realm, and whenever there was space for me to take artistic license, it always turned out well for both the requester and myself so I can't complain there.
"You're an artist! You know what I mean!"
"Since it's all on a computer/digital, I don't have to pay much, right?"
"It'll look good for your portfolio!" (when asking for free work)
"My nephew knows photoshop! Here's the file he started, just use that!" (the document is ALWAYS set up wrong when I'm told this, and usually 100% useless)

Algorithmus
02-20-2013, 03:23 AM
I don't do commissions at all because I'm only in the interest of doing art for myself, and not for other people. Usually anyways. It mostly has to do with what I'm inspired by. If I'm not inspired by someone's suggestion, I simply won't do it, and I don't want to promise a picture I don't have any desire to begin or finish. I'm not inspired by the money anyways. I'm also not inspired by most people's OC designs, as I tend to find most people don't know how to properly design one, or their backstory and/or personality is poorly written or uninteresting to me.
I don't mind collabs or art trades, and I've done a few of those, and they can be fun, especially with artists whose works you admire. They usually work out because other artists understand what it's like to get a commission, and usually won't request something you can't do or have no interest in. And the people who usually ask you for one are about as good as you are.

TigerBeacon
02-20-2013, 08:48 AM
I think my major turn off is opening commissions for frivolous reasons. Like 'I need a haircut!' 'I need a new tablet!' 'I need money to see my boyfriend!'. I suppose this is entirely moot if the artist in question is actually pretty good and does have a large-enough demand for their work, but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, partly because I know there are a ton of people who need the money for more serious reasons that I would gladly commission to support. Especially if this is for purely personal interests rather than any actual technical purpose (like needing a banner or avatar for a character).

Rien
02-20-2013, 09:38 AM
I don't commission artists very often but when I do there are a few things I really want to see. Style is important, but varies depending on what I want.

-Professional, keeping to time tables, well priced art, does not have a history of taking months for a single commission or dropping commissions because of real life issues. I prefer artist who treat taking commissions like an actual job. This is probably my biggest thing.
-Clear Pricing is my second big thing. i don't care how high or how low because I'll pay what the art is worth and what I can. I prefer flat rate prices plus clearly stated fees or how much to add extra characters, complex designs, back grounds, etc so I can at least estimate my own price. I don't mind if the additional character cost is a percentage of the base cost for the piece, that just means a bit more math. I'm wary of hourly pricing unless an artist can tell me exactly what I'm going to get for that time slot (I've only seen one artist who could work like this, churning out reined one character sketches in fifteen minutes, and you could purchase the second fifteen minutes for and additional character or color).

That's pretty much what I look for. Turn offs include a history of flakiness, people who clearly don't take their commissioners seriously (you're taking our money, that makes it a business!), and bad record keeping. I know it can be really confusing to keep track of a lot of commissions, but it wouldn't be that hard to keep an excel sheet or even a notepad of commissions you've taken so you don't 'forget' about someone. Generally it all boils down to professionalism.

WhiteFox1618
02-21-2013, 05:38 AM
Extremely low prices... anything under 5$... don't really do anything to increase sales. At that point, the inconvenience of going through the commission process will drive people away more than the money will. You have to set up a pay pal account... write a description of what you want... find and contact an artist... it's all such a hassle. If a customer is willing to go through that set-up process, they probably want a commission badly enough that they'll pay at least 10$-15$ for one.

Artists who charge high prices can usually get away with it not because of the amount of work involved, or how skilled they actually are, but simply because they're ridiculously famous. When you have a gigantic herd of obsessed rabid fans, there's bound to be a couple in there who are willing to pay exorbitant fees for... whatever. The signature costs more than the artwork.

Professionalism has been mentioned more than once so far, and I agree entirely. A price sheet with example pieces and a formally written set of terms and policies do a lot to make an artist look competent.

When doing a free request or gift, it's fun to surprise the recipient with the finished piece... well, this is business. Showing the client an early draft of the work is a good idea: something to show the pose and placement of the character/s in general. This isn't as important for a simple bust shot or portrait, but it's highly recommended for work with a backgrounds, multiple characters, action poses, etc. Showing a second draft with all the details, just before doing the inks and/or colouring, is also prudent (especially for characters with lots of detail). That way, the client can ask for revisions without the artist having to do too much extra work.

Anyway... hope this helps some.

Theblackvixen
02-21-2013, 05:53 AM
My biggest turnoff when looking for commissions (as in, to purchase for myself) is an artist displaying an unfavorable attitude. If you are rude to your customers (or folks in general) in any way, good luck finding clients.

I have seen artists on every site that I frequent make passive-aggressive or outright nasty journals toward customers sometimes. Sometimes it can even be specific clients that they had trouble with. One thing that really grinds my gears is when an artist expects commissioners and potential clients to do something a certain way but don't have it explicitly written down somewhere, then reprimand clients for not doing it.

I also can't stand chatspeak. As judgmental as it sounds, if you can't type professionally, then I don't think I want to do business with you. English isn't my first language and I don't need to have trouble understanding someone. I can't stand chatspeak either! good lord, it drives me nuts! it's like talking to a four year old playing with a speak n' spell. Just down right obnoxious >.> I do like the use of emoticons though! ^^

- - - Updated - - -

My turn offs would have to be chatspeak, lack of professionalism, and of course, over priced work. If I see a simple sketch going for $70.00, I'm looking somewhere else!

I like diverse styles to choose from, however! it makes my choice exciting!

Crypticink
02-21-2013, 10:12 AM
As an artist that's done commissions, I can say one thing I really like is when I get asked to do colorful or otherwise visually interesting characters. Professionalism is important to me, so I don't usually turn anything down just because it dosn't appeal to me design-wise, but getting a fun subject or character to draw is like candy - its awesome and makes the job that much more fun. :D

I also like when commissioners respect my prices because..honestly I feel like I charge for what my art is worth. It seems like the subject of artist pricing is a big deal these days - as it should be. It makes me feel good when people aren't telling me I have to work for less than minimum wage on a piece of artwork for them because they feel like I should..

So I guess my biggest pet peeve would be when some people (and this only sometimes happens!) completely ignore my prices and try to lowball me or convince me to do a full illustration or something for like.. $15 - I'm sorry, but that's just. not. going to happen, and frankly it's a little insulting. My family tries to do that more than strangers do and its sad.. D:

Also, bad attitudes, as has been mentioned. You guys are right, no one should have to deal with a bad attitude during any kind of business transaction~

Algorithmus
02-21-2013, 03:16 PM
This discussion reminds me--I was at a convention last year and made a few new art friends. In the process, we were discussing this asshat who people did not want to take commissions from because he was being too specific, and was commissioning something completely vulgar. So I suggested half heartedly that we should charge people extra for being super picky and asking for inappropriate commissions. While I hadn't intended the suggestion to be taken seriously, my art friend said he felt it was a good idea, and would try it for next time. And for what it's worth, if you thought that suggestion was a good idea, feel free to try.

WhiteFox1618
02-21-2013, 05:48 PM
So I suggested half heartedly that we should charge people extra for being super picky and asking for inappropriate commissions. While I hadn't intended the suggestion to be taken seriously, my art friend said he felt it was a good idea, and would try it for next time. And for what it's worth, if you thought that suggestion was a good idea, feel free to try.
This is a really good practice, actually. I know a few people who do graphic design work, print and web, and it's a standard practice to charge a premium if the customer asks for more than a certain number of major revisions, or changes the requirements partway through.

I have herd that some commissioners will take a look at a concept drawing, and repeatedly ask for something different because it's not what they had in mind, or doesn't display some character feature, or whatever. In reality, they're actually just mining the artist for more and more sketches.

serbus
02-22-2013, 03:56 PM
I purchase a lot of artwork for both personal and professional use. When looking for artists I generally look for consitency in quality from one piece to the next; I like to know that the artwork I see is the artwork I'm going to get, regardless of the artist's actual skills. For specific personal pieces I do also look at skill, but mostly I hire a wide range of artists because I like variety and sometimes it helps me concept out ideas from multiple perspectives.

Price is and isn't important at the same time. For example, I'm more than willing to pay $500+ if that artist's skill and professionalism is worth it (sometimes the artist's reputation also fits into how I value art). However, I'm not willing to pay $70 to a beginning artist who obviously only takes 20 minutes on the drawing. I look for properly priced artwork and if someone is obviously charging more than their work is worth then its an instant turn off. I never hire artists who charge an hourly rate, but I expect artists to quote/charge me a value equal to an hourly rate (if that makes any sense). I don't like buying variable cost art because I never know if I'll have the money by the time its done (plus because I don't keep my artist on a time clock I don't know if the artists are telling the truth on their time).

I wrote an article a while back which pretty much sums up my opinions on pricing (http://serbus.deviantart.com/journal/How-to-price-your-artwork-for-freelance-work-214250822).

Terms of Service are generally a put off. If you do make a TOS make it short as a bullet list. I hate reading a legal document pertaining to all the things I can and cannot do with something I just spent a good portion of my paycheck on. I'm always on the lookout for artists who include the copyrights for their work in the cost of the piece. They tend to be a little bit more expensive, but I do a lot of small time business things that don't earn much money anyway and these are perfect for me. I'm definitely a repeat customer to these artists. (eg: emmil (http://emmil.deviantart.com/) on DA is my favorite concept artist, she's also done a few pixel pieces for some of my games).

Sometimes the act of purchasing art yourself teaches you more about what you should do as a seller. I would definitely advise any artist selling commissions to make an effort to buy commissions as well, simply to learn what other people are doing right or wrong.

Python Blue
03-05-2013, 08:20 PM
You do raise a good point about buying commissions to get experience with selling them, serbus. Course, that being said, I think it depends more on your networking ability; most of the people I bought commissions from are friends, or at least acquaintences who later became friends. Likewise, for selling, I don't know many people who would be willing to pay me for my efforts as a musician, even despite I dabble with game music every so often (only one of many project heads ever paid me, let alone upfront), which may be part of why I've only had one person who paid me for a personal commission.

Mayhem
03-05-2013, 09:16 PM
I purchase a lot of artwork for both personal and professional use. When looking for artists I generally look for consitency in quality from one piece to the next; I like to know that the artwork I see is the artwork I'm going to get, regardless of the artist's actual skills. For specific personal pieces I do also look at skill, but mostly I hire a wide range of artists because I like variety and sometimes it helps me concept out ideas from multiple perspectives.

Price is and isn't important at the same time. For example, I'm more than willing to pay $500+ if that artist's skill and professionalism is worth it (sometimes the artist's reputation also fits into how I value art). However, I'm not willing to pay $70 to a beginning artist who obviously only takes 20 minutes on the drawing. I look for properly priced artwork and if someone is obviously charging more than their work is worth then its an instant turn off. I never hire artists who charge an hourly rate, but I expect artists to quote/charge me a value equal to an hourly rate (if that makes any sense). I don't like buying variable cost art because I never know if I'll have the money by the time its done (plus because I don't keep my artist on a time clock I don't know if the artists are telling the truth on their time).

I wrote an article a while back which pretty much sums up my opinions on pricing (http://serbus.deviantart.com/journal/How-to-price-your-artwork-for-freelance-work-214250822).

Terms of Service are generally a put off. If you do make a TOS make it short as a bullet list. I hate reading a legal document pertaining to all the things I can and cannot do with something I just spent a good portion of my paycheck on. I'm always on the lookout for artists who include the copyrights for their work in the cost of the piece. They tend to be a little bit more expensive, but I do a lot of small time business things that don't earn much money anyway and these are perfect for me. I'm definitely a repeat customer to these artists. (eg: emmil (http://emmil.deviantart.com/) on DA is my favorite concept artist, she's also done a few pixel pieces for some of my games).

Sometimes the act of purchasing art yourself teaches you more about what you should do as a seller. I would definitely advise any artist selling commissions to make an effort to buy commissions as well, simply to learn what other people are doing right or wrong.

You just saved me a TON of time!!! I was in the process of writing this and well there it is. I read it over twice about your opinions on pricing and it states almost everything that I wanted to. I HATED what was up on FA before and I think it sent a lot of people down the wrong path of pricing their art.

I hope that you will make a post over here and ask the mods to have it pinned. I think a lot of people could really benefit from what you have written.



As far as turn on and offs about commissions. I would agree fully with Serbus about the terms of service and throw in the fact if they have so much written that it seems I am applying to a job or for a loan from the bank.
Yes, you may be selling something but you shouldnt treat your clients like you dont want their service. It should just be kept simple.

The only thing that really turns me off is lack of communication. As an artist you should be able to be reached and asked about the status of whatever you are working on for them. I dont mean the client should nag the artist but if its been a week or two and I see other things being posted by that artist and my art isnt being worked on I start to wonder. I understand about needing the mojo to get the art juices flowing but after taking someones money you have to make yourself have the time to do it even without that motivation. (That or return the money in a timely manner and apologize for not being able to do it)

Python Blue
03-05-2013, 09:57 PM
I wrote an article a while back which pretty much sums up my opinions on pricing (http://serbus.deviantart.com/journal/How-to-price-your-artwork-for-freelance-work-214250822).

Finally had the chance to look at this. You probably have influenced me when it comes to my own pricing. I'm still hesitant to drop the price too much, though: if we were talking music, costs for equipmeny would definitely be a higher priority than for art because they can be really expensive, especially for electronic music because the chances are slim you only need one software synth to make a professional sound.

kynliod
03-13-2013, 11:34 AM
This is an interesting thread, and a topic I have always wondered about.

One question I have--is it a turnoff to *only* accept sketch commissions? I don't have time for anything else.

Another weird question--does anyone think people here, or on other art sites, would be interested in crochet animal hats? (Example: http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/385260_251753571544495_532758488_n.jpg) I know people sell costumes...

- - - Updated - - -

I just realized my post may have come across the wrong way. Allow me to clarify--I am not trying to hint for commissions, I am simply curious as to a person's interest in that genre of art, since you don't really see it around.

I also am wondering--when you guys speak of a TOS, are you including things like information about how a commission is handled (such as whether or not sample images are sent, whether or not changes to the sketch are permitted, that sort of thing...)

Brett
03-16-2013, 09:52 AM
I'm not sure about your other questions, kynliod, but in response to your question about the ToS, it usually includes stuff like that but some artists write a large amount of paragraphs explaining what can and can't be done with the art, when to expect it and such. A lot of the time it includes needless explanation (and it's one of my biggest turn-offs too unless I really want their art) that could be summed up in bullet points.

Personally, I think my biggest turn-offs is when the artist's commissions are of a lower quality than the rest of their work. I've only had this happen to me once I think (I tend to only buy art I am pretty much guaranteed will be good now) and it was for only $4 but the examples were dead good, but the art I received... Uh, I don't even think I saved it because it was just so terrible in comparison to what they were offering. You can tell if it's good quality art or not when you look at the corners they cut in shading and little markings they forgot to put in when they were colouring and such. I personally lose out on quite a bit of time when I do commissions because I tend to do the opposite - take longer than I should but churn out better quality art than expected. D:

Also what annoys me is when people upload a lot of crap. I used to do this, but now I try and keep my accounts (here and dA) clean and updated with only my best art. And also if I change my style I make sure that the newer examples are better than the old ones. I feel like now I have a rather strong gallery with work of the same quality I would send a customer, instead of a cluttered gallery with as many examples as I can throw up.

Another big turn-off is when a customer wants "something cute" or "something playful". No. Just no. I'm not going to accept your commission unless you include a reasonable amount of detail on what would (at the very least) be considered "cute" or "playful" for the buyer and their character.