How to Handle Art Commissions

Outstanding! You’ve decided to take the grand step into doing art commissions for specific clients. This is a great opportunity to build up great relationships with clients and push your art to different levels that you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise! While gaining art commissions are great for your art career, they come with many things to consider. In order to protect your integrity, vision and your bottom line, balthasart is here with some great tips for navigating the complex world of the art commissions! 

a hand dips a paintbrush into the paint to make art

Announce that You are Open for Commissions

The first step may seem obvious, but it will become clear quickly that one of the most important pillars of art commissions is having great communication in every aspect. This starts with ensuring that your audience and future clientele know that you are ready and open to have your art commissioned! Make sure you make an announcement through all your main communication channels and let the world know that you are looking for commissions. It would also help to outline some of the main rules of what you are willing to do, which will ensure clients are not contacting you over projects that are out of your range. Be sure to regularly update your message and be sure to communicate often that you’re open. Those sales aren’t going to find themselves!

Set Your Terms and Prices for Your Art Commission

Don’t be afraid to take control of the negotiation process! After all, it is your services being contracted, so make your life easier by being as prepared as possible. Solve the issue of licensing and reproduction rights beforehand in order to protect your rights as an artist. It also helps to be as upfront as possible about your timelines and prices for projects. Set standardized rates for the services you provide and calculate the rate of your projects as you see fit! You can set price variables based on so many things like the time spent, size, or types of media. Be assertive and do not start any work without at least an advance in payment! Artists get ripped off in situations such as these too often, so be sure to protect yourself by being prepared. 

a person paints their art commission in nature

Communicate Well 

As we alluded to earlier, your communication skills are going to be key to ensuring a smooth process from start to finish for your commissions! It is crucial that after setting your own terms, you are quite attentive to the detailed wants of your clients. Ensure customer satisfaction by regularly checking in with updates on how the piece or series is going. Never take too long to respond to a question or concern, either. This will give them peace of mind about the project and will let them keep track of the progress. Keep in mind that there is a balance to be kept with the communication! While it is important to be responsive and to give updates, don’t be too accessible. You still want to uphold professional standards and not be overwhelmed. Also, you especially don’t want to relinquish creative control of every detail to the whims of the client! A balanced and cordial communication plan should suffice for your commissions.

an artist's studio with paintbrushes throughout

Plan for Potential Complications

As much as you hope that everything will go smoothly with your commissions, this is unfortunately not always the case. This is why it is absolutely essential that you plan ahead! Leave a buffer in the timings you promise, just in case of an unexpected delay, mishaps or changes. These things are all a part of the game when it comes to commissions, so be prepared! The last thing you want is an angry client because something unforeseen messes up your timeline. 

Stay True to Yourself

Last, but certainly not the least, our final tip is to stay true to yourself! The client believed in your vision, style and aesthetic, otherwise they would not have contacted you for a project! Keep that in mind while working on your art commissions. The art you make will be more of a more specific nature, and you may end up depicting things that you never would have thought of on your own. Despite this, keep your authenticity, express yourself and stay as true to your style as possible. Also, as the artist, you are well within your rights to put your foot down if something arises that you think you cannot do or that you will not do. While commissions are custom art projects that you are making for someone’s specifications, never forget that YOU are the artist! 

Want to join our community of up-and-coming artists?

Leave a Reply