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Postby fi_le » Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:46 pm

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Subject title: The end-all-be-all commision discussion thread!

Hi!
I'm very interested in the topic of commisions and so I made this thread. If you have experiences, stories, questions or tips, please post 'em here!


I myself have a concrete question, too; I bet some of you great people know how the game's played ;) Of course more questions can be asked just as well.

Question: How good do you have to be to take commisions and where can people get to know you as a commision artist?

As I'll take my A-levels in two years, I thought that it would probably be a good idea to be able to make above minimum wage (~10€ an hour) doing art. Is that even possible for me? How'd I start doing that? Might there be a better way than commisions?

Alright, I hope this thread will be cool! Have a nice day :)
...you see, it's supposed to be fi_le like the file from the computer... the one where you put the data things in.

my sketchbook on here and my Instagram

 

Postby Josephcow » Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:28 am

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I'm a noob, and I don't make much from commissions. I've gotten some commissions from people seeing my work online. But generally from word of mouth. Someone that knows you recommends you to someone else or their friend sees something you did. This is for physical paintings mind you, I dunno if it applies to digital so much.

Seems like the biggest mistake I have made, and I've seen friends make, is to take commissions that are too difficult for your skill level, or that you don't have a lot of experience in. The commission should not be your first attempt doing a certain kind of work.

I remember something Jeff Watts say in one of his videos on youtube. Along the lines of: people are always talking about how hard it is to find work as an artist, but most people's portfolios don't really show good work! If you're not doing good work, of course it's gonna be hard. If you do great work, not as much. I'd like to find that video again.

So I guess I think about a lot focusing on my skills and my portfolio, and not as much on marketing. Cause it's like, why worry about how you're gonna sell something, when you don't have anything to sell? Obviously you don't have to be a master to make money off your work, but I think there's a danger of getting ahead of yourself when you're a student. If you're constantly trying to sell something for more than it's actually worth, yeah that's gonna be hard.
Then again, if you market it right you can sell anything. So I might have to change my mind on that, we'll see. :)

 

Postby svarn » Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:21 pm

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There isn't really any skill level that you need to achieve be able to start doing commissions. It all really depends on your ability to come up with an idea of what you can sell to other people. I know really good artists that struggle with getting clients, and some that are not as good but make more money cuz they know how to sell themselves.
If you're hoping to make a stable income off of drawing other people's OCs, then frankly I don't think that's going to happen, unless you're reaaaally good. Also your 10euro/hour goal is pretty darn high to be honest. Especially if you have zero experience with commissions. You are competing with people from poorer countries that are probably way better then you are and would love to do the same job for 5$/hour or less.

Of course as you get better you open more and more possibilities for yourself, you can start picking up work from companies, or make your own patreon and go way beyond said 10euro/hour.
But when it comes to commissions at this early stage, it's more about how creative are you with creating the jobs for yourself. As well as how willing are you to deviate from the art that you want to make, in order to make stuff that your client wants or needs.
As an example, there is a ton of artists that like to paint portraits (and especially female ones), but frankly there isn't that big of a market for female portraits. But if you're willing to paint Rembrant styled portraits of pets, then you have probably much better chances, since there's barely any competition in that. (I'm not saying that's the idea that will make you a fortune, but just as an example).

I don't think that you'll find much usefull information on this topic, since a lot of people are struggling, and last thing they want is to create more competition in their niche by giving their ideas to strangers on public forums.
Best of luck though :d

 

Postby fi_le » Thu May 03, 2018 7:44 pm

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Oh boy, I thought it wouldn't be easy to get commissions, but what you guys are telling me is not good news at all :)

Regarding working for a company, I feel like that's nit going to work for me. I mean, you're not independent and can't decide what to do at all, so it's just like a normal job, right?
Commisions seem zo be much mire like my thing. The problem is just, like you said Svarn, that I don't have an idea on how to attract any customers... Does someone know what other people do exactly for commissions and which platforms are used for it?

Well, Patreon would just be a dream, but I don't think I need to think about that, do I?

And wooooow Joseph, you call yourself a beginner? In that case flip me dude :O
...you see, it's supposed to be fi_le like the file from the computer... the one where you put the data things in.

my sketchbook on here and my Instagram

 

Postby Josephcow » Fri May 04, 2018 12:41 am

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fi_le wrote:
And wooooow Joseph, you call yourself a beginner? In that case flip me dude :O


I mean I'm just beginning to take commissions, and they're kind of chump change. I think there is something to be said for taking some small time commissions early to get some experience, especially with digital. I did the same thing writing music compositions for people's personal projects, and learned a lot from doing it. For oil paintings, which is what I am doing now, I feel like there needs to be a much longer 'incubation time'.

But yeah, people are doing it, but it's not so easy. Good luck!

 

Postby svarn » Fri May 04, 2018 1:29 pm

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There is no such thing as "independence".
Even people that run patreon, they slowly become slaves to their own fanbase, and they have to produce X amount of what becomes generic content, because that's what the reward description says.
If the reward says that you'll make 4 pinups and a tutorial every month, then you gotta do just that, even if you're dead inside and you have no clue what else you can teach.

I used to discard possibility of working for companies as well. But why would a random person spend a significant portion of their income to commission me for a random picture. Unless they really got nothing better to do with their money. A company doesn't give a damn, because if they pay you 500$, they do that in order to earn much much more then that.
Keep in mind that not all work for companies is a full time in-house job, that's definitely prefered but they also commission work. Ie wizards of the cost commission all kinds of artists to paint illustrations for magic, or riot comissions off a lot of artwork for their promotional campigns (they used to commission splash art, but I don't think they do that anymore).

When you take commissions, you'll end up painting characters that you don't like, or that may have stright up horrid design that you can't change due to client's constrains.
If you want to make a living doing art, then it is going to be "just like normal job", you sit down at 9am, and you draw what your client wants for 8 hours (or more). You have deadlines and on top of that you need to be your own marketting, research and legal departments, your own accountant, manager, tech support and social media expert.
Frankly it's not "just like normal job" cuz it's much more work then that. But I like it, and there are amazing possibilities for growth both artisticly and financially.

All that said, you can definitely make a good living this way, but it's going to take a lot of effort from you to find your niche, and that's most definitely not easier then a normal job.
As for what "other people do to get commissions", most of them post their commission rates on deviantart or something. You may catch a thing or two if you're lucky and you have some following, but imo there's no way you'll make a paycheck like this. Which is why I told you initially that you need to get creative.

 

Postby Plumbum » Fri May 04, 2018 3:01 pm

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I agree with svarn: you are self-employed which means your livelihood is always going to be unstable.

You do not have a monthly salary you are guaranteed to get, every month is going to be different. And that is both good and bad. If you want to work for 8 hours without pause, you can do that (assuming you have enough work), if you want to work for 8 hours with a pause in-between every hour, you can do that too. That's what you get for being self-employed. But the price is that your livelihood will be much more inconsistent than if you were employed by someone else. And, of course, you have to do the marketing yourself. Which means that you are actually working more hours not taken up by drawing. Compare that to an employed artist who only spends time drawing and that's it.

If a company notice you, then that's really good. That means you are guaranteed a certain amout of work. That's personally what we are looking to do when we get to a professional level of art.
We have DID (the thing Sycra has).

Quick summary of forum writers:
Artist: she is mainly the one who draws.
Writer: he is usually the one who writes on the forum.
Lawyer: he studies everything, honestly.
Real names are private.

Sketchbook: http://www.sycra.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=14540

 

Postby lgraniteArt » Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:52 pm

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I've done commissions and patreon under a different account. I've never tried to make a living off of it, but commissions are pretty fun I think. As long as you're doing stuff you like. Commissions sort of come in waves for me. Sometimes there were a few weeks without anyone asking. All I did to get commissions was post art on sites like tumblr, twitter and pixiv, and people would just ask if I did them. Patreon is a hassle in my opinion. Like svarn said, you feel really obligated to produce stuff and it becomes like a second job. Which is fine if you want to make art a career I suppose. You should definitely try it out at least, you may like it.

 

Postby Plumbum » Sat Jun 30, 2018 8:55 pm

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I feel like Patreon is really good for webcomics, youtubers and other people who do regular things. I don't think it is very good for people who want to do one-offs like commissions.
We have DID (the thing Sycra has).

Quick summary of forum writers:
Artist: she is mainly the one who draws.
Writer: he is usually the one who writes on the forum.
Lawyer: he studies everything, honestly.
Real names are private.

Sketchbook: http://www.sycra.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=14540

 

Postby fi_le » Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:26 am

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Hi guys!

I think I can add something to the discussion now, too, because I'm illustrating a book these days. So, how did I get the "job"? Well, I did hardly anything at all, because a family member is the one who wrote it. The only thing I did is had people know what I do in my freetime. Of this might not help you as much as it did with me, but I suppose it does make a difference if your family and friends are informed :)
...you see, it's supposed to be fi_le like the file from the computer... the one where you put the data things in.

my sketchbook on here and my Instagram

 

Postby Snakebreath » Fri Jul 27, 2018 12:02 pm

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Regarding working for a company, I feel like that's nit going to work for me. I mean, you're not independent and can't decide what to do at all, so it's just like a normal job, right?


Not at all. Doing commissions is the same as working for a company. You don't get to paint/draw whatever you like in either case. In my experience studios let you be quite liberal with your artistic freedoms. They actually encourage you to go above and beyond and push what is expected of you (so not just 100% copy keys). It's very common I get to add my own liberties to background paintings I do, whether its designing new background elements or painting stuff further in my own style.

At the end of the day the only job you can get that will let you draw whatever you want is art streaming, and as far as I know there isn't a huge following at the moment for art streams, so that could be a challenge to make a living doing.

 

Postby Plumbum » Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:17 pm

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Fi_le: you still did something. What you are doing is called networking. Just because it's a family member doesn't mean it isn't networking. In fact, a good way to start your art carrer is to ask your family if they know someone who would want your illustrations. They might be interested or they might know someone who is, their friend might even ask their friends. And the more you work for people, the some peopke might start recommending you.

Keep it up.
We have DID (the thing Sycra has).

Quick summary of forum writers:
Artist: she is mainly the one who draws.
Writer: he is usually the one who writes on the forum.
Lawyer: he studies everything, honestly.
Real names are private.

Sketchbook: http://www.sycra.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=14540


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