So you’ve found an amazing artist whose work you absolutely have to own. And you’re in luck – they do commissions! Before you rub your hands excitedly and pounce on their instant messenger, Tumblr, Twitter or email account though there are a few things you’ll want to think about and research first. It’ll save both you and your artist a lot of pain, and maybe even get you your artwork more quickly.
Research Their TermsSome artists will draw absolutely anything, which is fantastic. Some even thrive on it. You can pitch them the weirdest, most out of this world thing to draw and they’ll be on it like white on rice. But not every artist functions this way. Some have specific rules about what they will and won’t draw either because they lack the inspiration for it or are just plain made uncomfortable by it. If you want something slashy drawn (something featuring a homosexual couple) and they aren’t comfortable drawing slash, that’s a good thing to know before you send them an email. If they’re only doing simple portraits now because they lack the time/energy for a full background piece, that’s useful information before you type up a detailed description of a gorgeous landscape that they absolutely won’t be drawing.
Take a Look at Their Past Work
Browse through their gallery to get a feel for what the artist has done before so you know that what you want is something they can realistically do. While you’re probably not going to find something exactly like you want commissioned, if you want a fight scene drawn and nothing in their portfolio indicates that they draw action shots, you may need to prepare yourself for a potential commission rejection.
Don’t Try To Take AdvantageIf you’re new to the world of commissioned art, you may balk at some of the prices you see on their commission chart. It’s incredibly common for non-artists to take for granted how much time goes into each piece the artist presents. Look at the prices again and break it down into an hourly rate. If an artist is charging $40 for a full body shot in color, no background, they’re essentially charging you $10 an hour or less for their work. Asking them to lower their prices because you really like their work but can’t afford it is asking them to potentially work for less than minimum wage just because you want a luxury item. If you can’t afford the piece you want, save up for it or buy one of their less expensively priced items. Don’t insult the artist by telling them you think their art is worth less money while asking you to do them the favor of drawing for them in the same breath.
Give Them Everything They Need In Your First Message
Don’t just send a message that says “Hey! I was wondering if you’re doing commissions right now?” That’s a fine line to open with, but then give them all the detail as well. Let them know exactly what it is you want to have done, the time frame you’d like it done within, and if you have any special requests like wanting a print copy sent to you in addition to a digital. It could well be that they aren’t taking commissions in general but they like your idea so much that they’re inspired to take it on anyway.
Artists aren’t machines. Being excited about seeing your vision finalized by a favorite artist is completely understandable, but restrain yourself from sending constant messages asking for status updates. This is especially true in cases where you’ve been told when to expect the piece to be completed. If you know it’s not due for another two weeks, don’t send a message asking how close to done they are. They may not have even started on it yet, and the more you pester an artist the greater your chances at moving to the bottom of their list.