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Edit: This tutorial covers aspects related only to your Deviantart gallery and Deviantart Journal. It has nothing to do with the Deviantart's newly implemented points commission system. You can take commissions without using that points system on Deviantart as long as you have paypal.

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WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO START
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When you have enough watchers and people interested in your art.
When you have a closely-bounded community around your work/gallery


How many is enough I can't say for sure, because it depends on the community around you and your work. Some artists can live on one patron, others need to live on millions of them.

For DA, I would say typically around 20,000-40,000 pageviews, at least 40-50 watchers on your DA is best before you start considering taking commissions, (because out of that 40-50, you may have 1 person willing to pay, a safer bet is 100 people.) however, if your gallery has explosive growth, or you are good at making new friends, you probably can start earlier.



If you need more exposure, do really good fanart. After all, people would type and search famous series, not your name. If they do type your name, you are famous.

If you don't want to do fanart, the other option is draw the cliche-category.
Pirates are selling, draw pirates.
Angels and demons, vampires, wolves always sell...

However, the key is naming your title of the piece with "cliche words" so that the search engine will show your work up when someone searched it. Like my "Angel Shines" will come up when someone search "angel"

A list of cliche words in popular search: Angel, demons, vampire, devil, rain, wolves, wolf, dragons, tutorials, anime, pirates, jack, sonic, mario......

You get my drift?


Now that DA has clubs/groups, you can also submit more original stuff to those clubs and be seen, but competition is fierce still, make sure you only submit your best if you want business.

HOW TO START: - POST A BLOG ON DA and title it "Commission Me!". It's that easy!
For people who doesn't know how to post a blog: help.deviantart.com/100/

+ EXAMPLE JOURNAL: My real commission journal post

Content of the blog:

1. Draw samples of your art, make sure you can make the quality art you can continue to work at steadily.

2. When you are Setting prices:
if you don't know how to set prices yet, there's a few things that can help you to determine what prices you need to go with:

-Evaluate the competition:
take a look at other artists who are doing commissions and their prices. While evaluating, be critical about your work in a skill-based manner, (forget self-esteem for a while when you want to do business.)

Is my drawing skill high enough?
Is my painting skill high enough?
What's my strength?
What's my weakness?
What can I offer that is my specialty that this other person doesn't offer?


-Hours and effort spent on your part:
1. Time your hours per piece on the quality you are offering.
2. set an hourly wage for yourself
3. hourly wage X hours per piece= your set price

Ex: I want to make at least 10 dollar an hour.
A character design take 2 work day to make, 16 hours total
10X16=160 per character sheet



Generally, when your pageviews is over 1 million, (1,000,000) you can charge upto 300-500 dollars per finished piece, 20-25 a sketch, and you might still have a lot of buyers.

Most of the audience on DA are teenager to young adults, their spending range is really around 20-150 USD dollars. Anything over 100 (currently at 2010) is still pushing it.

*However, in a few years, if all of the users still stay around DA, and started working on jobs, the spending range might gradually increase.


Anything above 100 USD will be hard to come by for start ups, lower is not a problem. You also don't want to set it too low, don't charge less than 5 dollar per piece, if you do that you might as well do it for free. No one is interested in paying for a piece that's 1-3 dollars, it doesn't feel like buying art, it feels like donating to a beggar.

For Pro level users, they tend to charge $20-45 an hour rate and won't work lower than certain amount. You can work your way up to that. As Pro freelance artists your cost should cover your own insurance, retirement, and family expenses. 


2. Keep things flowing

-Free trials:
Use free offers on commissions to friends or your close-nit watchers to get started. (use what you have)
Submit your commission pieces to DA for advertisement. Commission pieces title should include "Commission" to let your viewers know you do commissions. Include your commissioner's name on the describtion.

- Include an easy access to your commission related information.

- Provide finished samples and price range next to each other.

EX: Finished illustration: [link] - 45 USD.

- Provide payment method: EX: My paypal email: xxxxx@xmail.com


KEY POINTS TO SET UP COMMISSION JOURNALS

1. Be clear, and make it easy to read

-Use spaces.... lots of spaces between words help for easy reading, the faster they can read your journal, the more business you may get.
If your journal is chaotic, you will get more notes of confused commissioners.
- use icons, graphic information to decorate your journal post


2. Keep a list
- Slots- the easiest way to let people know whether you are available, and that you are active in business.
- Keep the contact information somewhere you can review easily.




PAYMENT AND RELATIONSHIP WITH CLIENTS

1. Deadlines or no deadlines: most people actually don't give you a deadline, (then don't ask for one...) but if there are those who do, keep a clear account for that. Set your priority on the commissions in reaction to the urgency of your commissioners.

Updates: even though the clients didn't give deadline, it's best to offer them a healthy weekly update of your progress, they will feel like they are getting their money's worth, if you got busy for some reason, make sure you let them know too. Don't make them wait half a year to a year without a sound unless they say they are ok with it. I update the client at least 1 update a month if the project slows down or I got busy with other stuff. 



2. When should the client pay:

Usually the artists in illustration industry can ask for an advance after doing some sketches. Then the rest should be paid off after the work is done.

I do 50/50 portion payment with my clients, 50% advance after I showed them the sketches, update them on the progress, 50% final after I am done. But if trust is built between me and the client, often they just pay me in full after I have shown them the sketches.

If it's a large project costing several thousand dollars, (like animation or long term commitment) I do it by sections, (like 25-50% each deposit) negotiate a payable amount per stages, use up the fund upto that point completing the work then ask for more. 


In my experience, clients who already paid an advance stay and will follow up on payment, it's the clients who never paid that might take the work and run away. Once they paid part of the budget, I would say 95% would stay on project until it's complete unless they need to cancel. Follow this advice you will less likely to get run-away client. 



3. Payment method:
Paypal, money order, check, if you have your own shop set up you can take credit card as well.
Just go to paypal.com to sign up, it's pretty easy.
For people who doesn't know how paypal works: www.paypal-search.com/socialse…

For people who does not know paypal... this internet transaction bank (like a mid-way bank) can do fund transfer with just the email you use to sign up with. All you need to do is:

1. Sign up for an account.
2. Get your account approved with a bank account linked to it (or credit card account)
3. Give your paypal e-mail to your client, and they use their paypal account to pay you.

I personally recommend getting the business account, even though it's more percentage taken from your earned share, you get more access to all the merchant tools you will find useful later.


3a. Points Commission: DA allows people to take points and convert them to currency later through paypal or DA cash. You can do points commission with basic account but more shares go to DA if I presume correctly. I have never used the points commission myself, but if you do, follow the advance payment method I listed in Point 2, except with points instead of cash.




CHOOSE YOUR JOBS


If you don't want to do the job since the beginning of the request, you are better off not doing it.
(ex: If you hate hentai, don't take hentai work.)


-Choose the jobs that you feel is more suitable, compatible with your personality and quality. (unless you are super desperate.)
If you choose your jobs wisely to fit both your needs, and the clients' needs, you will get good work done, your client will be happy.


While choosing for yourself and your portfolio, you will also build a brand name with your commissions... that will create a steady flow of customers for you as well.
I think I have given enough advices to different people of the same thing I might as well write a journal about it. (So I can be lazy and just pass the link to them later.)

A more detailed article at:
www.deviantart.com/deviation/4…

Edit: included DA related general pageviews, pricing guidelines.

Edit 2017: included sample journal of my own
Add a Comment:
 
:iconryuchan-littledragon:
Ryuchan-LittleDragon Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2019  New Deviant Hobbyist Artist
I have a small question? If I don't have a credit card yet, can I use debit card instead for paypal?
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2019  Professional Filmographer
yes. debit card can function like a credit card its just linked to your account directly. 
Reply
:iconryuchan-littledragon:
Ryuchan-LittleDragon Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2019  New Deviant Hobbyist Artist
Thank you
Reply
:iconeddech:
EdDech Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2019  New Deviant Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much !!! 
Reply
:iconpawpaul:
pawpaul Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow thank you for your guide!  I will start doing more fan arts from now ^^
Reply
:iconraycode9001:
Raycode9001 Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thank you for ur time 
i have a problem about payment method as paypal is not available in my country so what else i can do  ?  
(im living in turkey .. so thats that )
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2019  Professional Filmographer
you will have to see what online payment you have options of that allow people to use debit, credits, or so on to pay you, that will work just the same. 
Check is stripe or other payment option maybe available in your own language and see what you can find. I know Western Union is definitely far more international and they have online payment now, you can consider using that letting your clients pay by cards.
Reply
:iconsameerprehistorica:
SameerPrehistorica Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2018   Digital Artist
Well explained, that will help many starters.

This made me smile --- (No one is interested in paying for a piece that's 1-3 dollars, it doesn't feel like buying art, it feels like donating to a beggar.)
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2019  Professional Filmographer
in person, 1-3 dollar works, or long term support system like patreon, 1-3 dollars also do wonders, but when it comes to commission, considering all the communication time and fees, its best to start at least at $5 per piece unless the exchange rate in your own country really favors you after currency conversion... that's another topic on internet biz.
Reply
:iconjesusthegrumpyguy:
jesusthegrumpyguy Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thanks for making this journal! i wanted start doing comissions and this was very helpful Heart 
Reply
:iconannameroink:
AnnamEroInk Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2018  Student General Artist
Thank you for your useful information! 
Reply
:iconmynameiskatty:
MyNameIsKatty Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for this information. ^^
Reply
:iconwildcats11085:
wildcats11085 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm a bit confused on the selling part, how do we actually sell it? Do we just submit it like a normal drawing or another way?
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2019  Professional Filmographer
For clients its best you deliver your digital final drawing/painting by email, give them the large printable DPI solutions for paying you.

Uploading here and on your site for promotion should go through their permission so you don't run into trouble. 
Reply
:iconwildcats11085:
wildcats11085 Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
kk, thanks!
Reply
:iconjesusthegrumpyguy:
jesusthegrumpyguy Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
your client pays for your work through an online service like paypal, you personally send them a high-quality version of the art, and then either of you can post it on your blogs (though in my opinion posting other people's art is very tasteless, even if its commissioned. but that's up to you)
Reply
:iconwildcats11085:
wildcats11085 Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ok, but what if ya don't have a client?
Reply
:iconjesusthegrumpyguy:
jesusthegrumpyguy Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh, sorry for misunderstanding. You can't make commissions without clients who are willing to pay for them. if you want to get clients, post in a journal or a deviation a guide to the kind of art you're willing to make and how much money you want to be paid, as well as the email you used to sign up to paypal or whatever steps need to be followed to pay you the money. make sure to state your boundaries and what you are unwilling to draw, as you shouldn't work on something that makes you uncomfortable
Reply
:iconwildcats11085:
wildcats11085 Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ok, how do I get a client?
Reply
:iconjesusthegrumpyguy:
jesusthegrumpyguy Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
you make a post with your commissions' prices and eventually someone will ask to pay you money for one. you have to wait a little
Reply
:iconwildcats11085:
wildcats11085 Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
oh, so you make commissions and someone who would like to help sell them will become a client?
Reply
:iconraycode9001:
Raycode9001 Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
u my misunderstand the meaning of (client) 
its same as costumer if im not wrong 
but its pretty much some one who willing to pay for ur art or asking for a commission called client }
so its pretty much as a art costumer  
Reply
(1 Reply)
:iconbuttercup234:
buttercup234 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
question, how do you connect your PayPal to your DA account? im ready to start doing commissions and I have zero clue on how to connect the accounts to each other.
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2019  Professional Filmographer
No connection is necessary, just post your paypal email to your client in your commission note/email exchange. 
Reply
:iconbuttercup234:
buttercup234 Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2019  Hobbyist General Artist
thanks!
Reply
:iconakitosart:
Akitosart Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2018
Do I need a license to do commissions?
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2019  Professional Filmographer
Usually, no, but it depends on your country, whether or not they made doing personal business easy, or difficult. if under a certain amount usually it will not be an issue, check your local laws.  
Reply
:iconsinnamongod:
Sinnamongod Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2018
no
Reply
:iconaidanproductionsyt:
AidanProductionsYT Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
can you commission literature? that's my question.
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2019  Professional Filmographer
yes, in fact I ran across people who live on it.

Literature commission is a different biz model from visual arts I am not sure of the details,
but people generally charge by words, the rest of the process is similar. 
Reply
:iconaidanproductionsyt:
AidanProductionsYT Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2019  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks
Reply
:iconamaoth:
AMAOTH Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
yuuupp ;DD
Reply
:iconaidanproductionsyt:
AidanProductionsYT Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
great
Reply
:iconlucy-ro:
lucy-ro Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
Thanks for the informative article. I guess the main reason I'm barely getting response for commissions is I don't have an art community yet. :(
Reply
:iconjesusthegrumpyguy:
jesusthegrumpyguy Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
were you able to establish your business this past year?
Reply
:icontaliwings:
TaliWings Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2017  Student Digital Artist
Hey there.. I have at least 40+ watchers, but I've only had 2 clients. (They were not my watchers)
And I reposted and reupdated the old journal to a new one, and nobody took interest. I tried advertising my journal but nothing happened..

I'm really desperate of points just to get core but nobody really wants to take my stuff..
I've been told that I should try to ask people but I'm too awkward into asking someone to commission me.

What do I do?? How can my commissions get noticed?
Reply
:iconloopyemu:
LoopyEmu Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
How do you send the commission? Just by sending the person a note with the thumbnail in it? I'm very confused.
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2017  Professional Filmographer
i usually get their email and send the large files to them.
Reply
:iconraycode9001:
Raycode9001 Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i do the same 
taking ther email to send the real file 
Reply
:iconshadowwolfanime13:
ShadowWolfAnime13 Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
If someone has a commission posted on their page, click the button that says request commission. That will send a commission along with a message from you, if you like. Hope this helps!
Reply
:iconsteerferni:
Steerferni Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm not sure if this has been asked yet, but do you need a core membership to do commission? I mean is it against the terms and conditions of DeviantArt to offer commissions if you're not a member?

I tried looking at their terms but I didn't see anything that answered my question. Maybe it says in the warranty but I didn't fully understand it.

For example, if I were to post a journal with commission info such as prices, but the actual communication and payment was done through email/paypal, would that be allowed? 
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2017  Professional Filmographer
no, you don't need a paid account, its just more perks to have a paid account. You can do commission biz just using ur blog as long as u got interest. :) best wishes!
Reply
:iconshadowwolfanime13:
ShadowWolfAnime13 Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
No, you don't need to be a core member to offer commissions. And as for your other question, I'm not sure. 
Reply
:iconthe-gothy-swordsman:
the-gothy-swordsman Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Hi there, i want to start doing commissions, but have literally no idea how to start.
I'm not very maths or tech-savvy, and paypal confuses me, which is why i've never opened one.
Also, i wanted to do my commissions 'deli counter' style, where people can choose from a variety of differently priced options (different traits are differently priced, due to time it may take to research or study them, such as a n OC wearing a real character's outfit, or a character as the opposite gender, or as a zombie/vampire/werewolf, etc.) and i don't know how i'd go about doing that.
I thought about an idea where i email the client a 'menu' of all the options, but i don't know.
Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome :)
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2017  Professional Filmographer
Just do as you are planning, doing a menu with price option is absolutely a great idea. :) I would just suggest doing it with less than 10 options because once you get too many dishes customers get lost and won't order as much. :)
Reply
:iconthe-gothy-swordsman:
the-gothy-swordsman Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Ah, okay! Thank you very much! :)
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2017  Professional Filmographer
np. best wishes. ^^
Reply
:iconfyrechinchilla:
FyreChinchilla Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I don't use this site as often, but I find that DA point commissions are easier than paypal, especially since I'm pretty young. If I'm more popular on another site, do you think that people would do DA commissions? I would much rather do paypal 'cause DA has tax and I have no chance on here *sigh* it's just a hassle to post on so many social media. Either way, since I'm not that good and just starting out, how is 15 points for a full-colored, full-shaded half-body?
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2017  Professional Filmographer
i think people would do points, do offer both payment options because as a client i don't do DA points myself. 
And paypal is easier to travel with it, so I would stick to paypal, or use other commonly used payment option like square cash, google wallet, etc. 
Reply
:iconfyrechinchilla:
FyreChinchilla Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'll try to set up an account and thanks!
Reply
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