Many artist make their money through taking commissions. I personally don’t do this because of the way my life works. I have a little baby and certain medical issues that make it difficult for me to commit to a time frame. However some of you may have an interest doing this so I thought I give you some things you need to thing about before you start.
Have at least 10 samples of whatever you are going to take commissions of. This gives people a good idea of what to expect from you. Doing these also gives a reference for how much time it will take you to complete a painting and how much supplies will be used.
Require good reference photos, especially when you’re first starting out. You may be able to work from a bad reference photo later, but in the beginning, you’ll need good ones. You won’t be able to see the detail you need from bad reference photos, and sometimes while a photo might look cute, it just doesn’t work as a painting. Don’t be afraid to tell the person that and possibly lose the commission. It’s much worse to have someone who’s unhappy with something you did for them.
Using a photo editor of some sort will help reduce the number of changes. You can show them different backgrounds, different lighting, change it to black and white… It doesn’t have to be an amazing edit. It just has to give them a general idea of the painting.
Have a written contract explaining the cost, time frame, and the amount of changes allowed. Whether that’s two or none, or maybe have all editing done during the photo editing and then nothing else. Whatever works best for you and your style of painting.
Also take a deposit. This weeds out people who aren’t serious, and then if they don’t take the painting, you’re not out the money.
Often times people get burnt out from the headache of commissions, but if you follow these things, it’ll reduce the amount of problem that come with commissions. So good luck!
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