Imagine you’re a well known artist doing commissions for the first time. When you post “commissions are open” you get hundreds of dollars in a matter of hours. WOW!! FAR OUT!! Open a beer and celebrate, you’re a superstar. Now you just gotta draw what you have been paid for! But then it hits you…you’ve already been paid. You’ve been paid a LOT of money. There’s no carrot dangling in front of your face urging you towards a finish line, you got that carrot by doing nothing. Sure, there will be anger if you don’t finish in a timely manner and maybe a few people will demand a refund, but you just gotta turn up the charm dial and promise they will be done soon. But when is soon?
Now, I’m not saying being paid upfront is wrong. I know many artists who use that method and do their commissions within the week they are paid. It is the mentality of the person who is paid upfront. Usually they are young, inexperienced, and don’t know the commitment they must endure to finish commissions. Then there are the older artists who have art as a secondary hobby beside their career, who find it hard to fit commissions into their schedule.
You will not see an artist who truly knows the value of money and reputation delaying their commissions.
It is terrifying how small the art world is. Creating innovative artwork will gradually pick up steam but doing something horrible will spread like wildfire. If the person is lazy, doesn’t meet deadlines, and makes empty promises, do not expect people to be quiet. Reputation is next to quality of the art when doing commissions, if the person has a bad rap people are going to be more hesitant to pay for artwork.
I have seen fans turn on their favourite artists because the commission they dreamt of never came to be…and oh man is that ever a sad sight to see.
I beg of you, do your research before paying someone for art.
so here are some questions you should ask yourself before pouncing on one of those empty slots:
- Look for past clients, were they satisfied?
- How long did it take to receive their artwork?
- Were the fees reasonable for the quality and time put into the piece?
- Does the artist give frequent updates as to the state or completion of the commission? Do they send sketches asking the commissioner if it is what they want/if any revisions are to be made?
- Does the artist go on hiatuses with no word about the state of commissions?
- Does the artist have a busy personal life?
- How long am I willing to wait if the person decides to take on a huge list?
- How do they receive their payment? Do they take their payment upfront, partially completed, or after the artwork is received?
- Has the artist admitted to being a procrastinator?
- Have they admitted to having terrible time management skills?
- Do they do refunds?
If the artist does not have past clients be wary! The more experience the person has with commissions the better. It is okay to take a chance with people who have never done commissions before, although try not to wager large amounts of money with detailed or complex pieces.
$10 - $20 sketch commissions are a favourite among artists for fast money with quick results. Allow more time to be given for more expensive pieces, but if the artist is taking on a huge list of detailed paintings (which takes weeks to complete a single piece) then be cautious. If you pay upfront know your money might not be there later when you ask for a refund.
Please guys, be careful with your money! Usually artists mean well when they open commissions but a hectic personal life can bog things down. Sometimes opportunities spring up for the artists and they have to realign their priorities. Be patient when that happens. Artists are people too and they have problems just like the rest of us. But when they stop updating on the progress of commissions or stop answering the messages they receive about them, that is when problems arise.
and artists, stop taking on more than you can handle. If you even pause and think, “will I have enough time to do more?” then don’t do more! Do what you KNOW you can accomplish in a certain time frame, and then open up more slots after you complete the ones you have done. Life is constantly giving new opportunities, and forever changing your priorities.
If you have anything to add please reblog and comment! I would love to hear what others have to say.