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:new: Hi there! :wave: If you enjoy this article, please take a moment to check out my career-change goal for 2016 and possibly help me out! www.woohooligan.com/2016/da Thanks!


If you’re serious about earning an income with your art, then you have to be serious about marketing yourself. If you’re like me, you hate selling… you don’t like rejection, it makes you nervous and you think you’re no good at it. That’s why we’re artists and not salesmen. Fortunately marketing yourself is kind of an art form. :nod: Although I don’t have all the answers, I’d like to share a little of what I’ve learned about the art of marketing ourselves.

:bulletblue: Be Seen: First, make it easy for people to find you. Create a deviation with a list of the different kinds of commissions you offer, with a sample and a price for each. Put this deviation near the top of your profile so that everyone knows you’re open for commissions. Here’s mine as an example:

Commission Info by woohooligan

Join commission groups where people looking for commissions can find you. Many commission groups will expect you to have a commission sheet that’s been uploaded as a separate deviation like the one above, so make sure you do that first.

:iconclient-to-artist: :iconhungryartistsclub: :iconcommission-time: :iconhiddencommissioners: :iconcommissions-and-more: :icondacommissions: :iconcommission-central: :iconcommissionmission: :iconcommissionize:

:bulletblue: Keep It Simple: Don’t put huge numbers of options on your commission info sheet… I can’t stress this enough. Even when you want to buy something, weeding through a giant list of options isn’t helpful… actually it puts people off.

Imagine for a moment that you go into a grocery store and there’s someone with a table giving out samples of jam. Let’s assume for a moment that you’re a relatively social person and you like jam, so what do you do? If she’s offering 3 flavors of jam, you say hi, try a jam or two and likely buy one… or maybe you just buy one of each (since there are only 3) and take them home to try. What if there are more kinds of jam? What if there are 10 kinds of jam? What if there are 30? Traditional marketing theory says that the more options there are, the more likely a customer will find something they like and buy it, so more options means more sales. It turns out this is wrong. Scientists studying this subject found that more options mean fewer sales. (There are some exceptions, but an art commission isn’t one of them.)

What happens when the girl is selling 30 different flavors is that your decision becomes much more complicated and usually you’ll choose not to buy any because it’s too much work to decide. You say hi to the girl, she says “which flavor would you like to try?” You say “what have you got?” She says “oh lots, we’ve got 30 flavors!” At which point you think to yourself “uhh… right… I don’t have time for this,” and you leave… politely. (This is called decision fatigue. articles.latimes.com/2009/mar/… )

The same thing happens if you give people too many options in your commission sheet. People will mostly look at it, decide it’s too much work to figure out what kind of commission they want, and leave.

So the ideal commission information sheet will have just a handful of items the person can buy (I think 3 - 6 is considered ideal).

So if you do lots of different kinds of art, my recommendation is to divide your commission information up into several different sheets for different kinds of art. For example if you do illustration, 3D modeling and small ceramic works, don’t put several options for each kind of art on a single sheet – you don’t want to make people wade through all that if they’re only interested in one kind of art. Break it up and create a separate commission sheet for each kind of art: one for illustration, one for 3D modeling and another for ceramics.

Also if you just do one kind of art, like illustration, don’t give people a big a-la-carte system. And especially don’t make your clients do a bunch of math to determine the cost. They should at most have to add shipping cost and maybe one other extra for something like a background.

EXAMPLE (Needs Work):

Sketch
  • Bust - $3 per character -- (I don't recommend offering shoulder-up sketches, it's too small a job)
  • Half-Body - $5 per character
  • Full-Body - $8 per character
  • Simple Background +$1
  • Full Background +$3
Inked Line-Art
  • Bust +$3 per character
  • Half-Body +$5 per character
  • Full-Body +$8 per character
  • Simple Background +$5
  • Detailed Background +$8
Flat Colors -- (I don't recommend offering this -- it's not a large enough step up from line-art)
  • Bust +$1 per character
  • Half-Body +$2 per character
  • Full-Body +$3 per character
  • Simple Background +$1
  • Detailed Background +$2
Detailed Color
  • Bust +$3 per character
  • Half-Body +$5 per character
  • Full-Body +$10 per character
  • Simple Background +$8
  • Detailed Background +$12

p.s. Not only have I seen this configuration recently, I've seen it with US Dollars, British Pounds and Euros all on the same sheet! If you want to offer prices in multiple currencies, I recommend you make separate copies of your commission sheet for each currency.

EXAMPLE (Better!):

Sketch $5
Inked $10
Color (Copic Markers) $20

Background +$5

All prices per-character

$5 shipping

Did you notice how much simpler the second example is? If you were purchasing, which information sheet would you want to see? Which one makes it easier for you? The first example is daunting for most people and makes a lot of potential clients feel nickelled-and-dimed. The latter example is more inviting; it makes things easier and helps them feel confident about purchasing. Of course, none of this is absolutely set in stone and you can get plenty of commissions with an information sheet that's somewhere between these two examples. The point I'm making here is you need to look at your sheet as though you were purchasing. As a potential client, how does it make you feel? Your mileage may vary.

:bulletblue: Reduce Uncertainty (setting prices): What’s the one thing we do when we’re either buying a commission or selling one? We worry. If we’re buying one, we worry that it might not be what we’re hoping for in the end. If we’re selling one we worry that the client won’t be satisfied; that we’ll spend too long working on it and we won’t make enough money, or sometimes that the client will try and get more than they paid for by continually asking for changes. (This last one was a popular trick with some clients when I was earning my living programming computers.) Since everybody has something to worry about, we should do what we can to reduce those fears and give us confidence on both sides of a commission. :D

We can’t totally resolve everyone’s concerns, but we can put each other at ease a little if we know how. The best way I know to do this is in setting prices. So how do you set your prices? I know this was a source of anxiety for me – and I suspect it’s a source of anxiety for a lot of us. There are two main schools of thought.

CHARGE PER HOUR:
:thumbsup: On the one hand you’ll know that you’re making enough money for your time.

:thumbsdown: On the other hand this makes things more complicated for your client and increases their anxiety level, because now they get to worry that the work may take too long and they may not be able to afford it.

FIXED RATE:
:thumbsup: This alleviates the client’s concerns because they know how much they’re paying up-front.

:thumbsdown: But now you have to worry again about not making enough money for your time. If you don’t make enough money for your time, then you might not be able to pay your bills.

There’s a third option that lies somewhere between these two options.

Work up several samples of the kind of commission work you’re selling. Use a clock or a kitchen timer to measure how long each piece takes. Then average out your times for that kind of work. So for example, you might do 5 sketches that take between 20 and 40 minutes each to complete. When you add them up and average it out, they take you an average of 30 minutes to complete.

Now that you know the average time for this kind of work, you can place a price for your time on that kind of piece. So if a sketch takes an average of 30 minutes, you can do 2 of them in an hour. So to make at least minimum wage here in the US, each sketch would have to cost at least $4. If you wanted to make more than minimum wage (which I definitely recommend), then you should charge more.

This does mean that some of your works will take longer and you’ll earn less per hour for those commissions… it also means that some of your works can finish faster and you’ll earn more per hour for those. The good news is that the clients get a fixed rate, which helps them feel better and more confident about hiring you for the commission, and at the same time you know that your rate will average out in the long run and you’ll be earning enough money to pay your bills. So this helps put both you and the client a bit more at ease. :D

There’s one other thing that everybody worries about when marketing commissions: setting your prices. I can’t say that I have any magic formula to tell you how high or low your prices should be… I definitely think they should be above minimum wage, but how much is up to you. It’s normal to worry about this. If you set your prices either too low or too high, you might not earn as much as you could.

Here’s my last bit of advice on this subject – it’s better for people to think your prices are a little high rather than a little low. When people see prices that are low, it gives them the signal that “it must not be very good”, and vice versa that “people must like her work” when they’re higher. So it’s better to give people the signal that your work is valued and appreciated (not to mention that you value your own time), rather than sell yourself short. Your own estimate of your work is probably low rather than high, and selling yourself short also results in people taking advantage of you much more often. So compare your work to some other artists you like, think how much you think your work is actually worth compared to their prices, and don’t be afraid to add on a few bucks. You're worth it. :nod:

:bulletblue: Blow Your Horn: This has two parts. First, just like when you’re dating, you don’t want to appear desperate. Is it attractive when you meet someone who's begging for a date? "Please, please, please go out with me! No one will go out with me! You're my only hope!" No, begging isn’t attractive. It sends the signal that “I’m unwanted”. So if you beg for dates, at best you’ll get a few pity dates. Begging for commissions will have much the same effect. So never say anything like “nobody will commission me” or “why aren’t I getting more commissions” or “damn I wish someone would commission me”. Those kinds of statements will drive away potential clients. To make yourself attractive you want to emphasize to other people that your art is appreciated and that others want your art. Getting your first commission may be tough if you haven’t had one yet; hang in there! :D

The second part of this is pointing out to your watchers and others the work you’ve done and letting people know that you’re available for commission. This is distinctly different from “begging”. When you finish a piece and post it online, add a little note in your comment saying for example “Did you like this? I’m open for commissions.” If you’ve done requests in the past, you can use those requests as examples of work you’ve done to encourage people to hire you for your first commission. Whatever you do, give people the impression that you’ve got plenty of art projects to keep you busy, so even if they’re not commissioning you, you’ll be working on something cool.

Lastly, if you really do have an emergency situation like your house was hit by a tornado or a flood – or a combination earthquake-tsunami-nuclear-disaster, it’s perfectly okay to tell people that you have an emergency need. This isn't "begging", it's just being honest about a problem. Many people look specifically for artists who are most in need when purchasing their commissions. If it’s genuine, go ahead and let people know you’re in a bind. You don’t want to do this all the time. If you do this every month, people will stop believing that it’s genuine (like the story of the boy who cried wolf), so make sure you’re only asking for emergency commissions when you’ve got a real emergency. If that’s the case, check out the group ForArtistsAid, a group designed to help artists out of these kinds of binds.

:iconforartistsaid:

:bulletblue: Be Friendly: Talk to as many people as you can. I don’t mean hawk your wares at them, just talk to them. Find out what interests them and talk about that. Share your own thoughts on their interests, especially if you have common interests. The more social you can be, the more people you can talk to, the better. When you write in your journal, remember to be optimistic. You should talk about your goals, things you’re looking forward to or want to achieve. It’s okay to mention problems or things that upset you, but don’t dwell on them and express hope that they’ll be solved. If you sound like Debbie Downer, nobody will want to commission you. On the other hand, if you’re optimistic that will help draw people to you – they’ll enjoy your company, want to talk to you and they’ll be more likely to commission you.

:bulletblue: Be Nice: This is the cherry on top of the sundae. On the surface it seems obvious, but there’s more to being “nice” than saying please and thank you. Obviously you should thank people when they hire you for a commission. If you’re sending an original in the mail you can go a step further and jot a quick note to them on a Post-It to put in the envelope. You may also want to stick a couple pieces of candy in there as well. I like to use Starburst for this because they’re small and they’re individually wrapped, so it’s easy to get a couple of them in the envelope. It’s a nice little surprise for your client and they’ll have fond memories of receiving their commission from you. :D

Good luck and have fun!

:icondererplz:

p.s. Hey! :wave: You finished the article! Did you enjoy it? Great! I'm glad I could help. :nod: Now if you have a moment, I'd appreciate a little help from you. Just check out my career-change goal for 2016 here: www.woohooligan.com/2016/da

Thanks!
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:iconnuke1007:
nuke1007 Featured By Owner Edited Sep 22, 2018
"Be Seen: First, make it easy for people to find you. Create a deviation with a list of the different kinds of commissions you offer, with a sample and a price for each. Put this deviation near the top of your profile so that everyone knows you’re open for commissions."

ARTISTS!!! PAY ATTENTION TO THIS!!! I am not an artist. I don't do art. I work, and make money. But now I want art done for me. But I don't have time to look around for artists online. I have a job. So make yourself visible, because every artist I've seen so far that I want art from is usually not wanting to comission to anyone, or is so full that I wouldn't have a chance in hell that they'd make art for me.

"Keep it simple" The first one gives me a good idea of what they have in mind. The second is quite simple... although the thing is about that part is that I feel I would end up throwing so much idea at them that it'd become a problem. To the point where they'd need to raise their price for it to be worth it. But at that point if they did I'd get confused because their pricing would say otherwise. Honestly maybe this is a good guide for me as well since now I can see what they're dealing with. I suppose at the end of the day it really doesn't hurt for me to ask.

"Reduce uncertainty." ahahah yeah see if I was an artist this would put me in a pinch. Do I reduce uncertainty, or do I keep it simple?

"There’s one other thing that everybody worries about when marketing commissions: setting your prices. I can’t say that I have any magic formula to tell you how high or low your prices should be…" I'm so sorry. I really do feel like this side of marketing commissions can be a real pain in the ass.

"To make yourself attractive you want to emphasize to other people that your art is appreciated and that others want your art." - just don't send a message saying "heya, at the moment im still a bit lined up with commissions, im not sure when i might be open again, but i can let you know next time i have an open slot." You know I'm not sure I want to give this person money then though. Because then I worry I'll miss an artist who actually would like to do a commission. They don't need to do it then, just if they're ok with doing an art for me at some point in time then yeah I'll throw my money at them.


"The second part of this is pointing out to your watchers and others the work you’ve done and letting people know that you’re available for commission." - YES YES YES! Don't try and tell me how good your art is, just show me your past stuff. Actions speak louder than words, show stuff you're proud of. Because as an artist you are your own worst critique because as the person who made it, you see every little mistake you made. If you show your work to others they'll only see as many mistakes as they see. I admit, the few times I got artwork done for me, I would go over it reaaal closely. But here's the thing. Even I wouldn't see what they saw. Because even when I saw mistakes. I didn't care, because so long as it captures the essence of what I'm looking for. I'm a happy camper.


"If you sound like Debbie Downer, nobody will want to commission you." Ok fair enough. But also I've seen artists who are so fake. My suggestion is be yourself, but don't be your depressed self who hates life.

"Bullet; Blue Be Nice: This is the cherry on top of the sundae. On the surface it seems obvious, but there’s more to being “nice” than saying please and thank you. Obviously you should thank people when they hire you for a commission. If you’re sending an original in the mail you can go a step further and jot a quick note to them on a Post-It to put in the envelope. You may also want to stick a couple pieces of candy in there as well. I like to use Starburst for this because they’re small and they’re individually wrapped, so it’s easy to get a couple of them in the envelope. It’s a nice little surprise for your client and they’ll have fond memories of receiving their commission from you. :D (Big Grin)" - ... you win. Just, you win.
Reply
:iconrafadg:
RafaDG Featured By Owner 6 days ago  Student Digital Artist
If you're looking for artist, check my gallery and see if you like my works.
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:iconwoohooligan:
woohooligan Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, Thom, I really appreciate that! :D

"My suggestion is be yourself, but don't be your depressed self who hates life." -- Bingo. That's a good, succinct way of describing it.

Feel free to note me if I can help with any of your projects! Or catch me on my Twitter. twitter.com/datafaucet
Reply
:iconzwolf787425:
zwolf787425 Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Any other tips? I'm a college student who needs money and I can make some art.
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:iconwoohooligan:
woohooligan Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Reply
:iconmelindamacgillart:
melindamacgillart Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2018  Professional Traditional Artist
Thank you for the tutorial! Not just helpful but also a great example of what value you are talking about!

It seems that people are asking for advice here in the comments and I do feel a bit lost. I just had a crisis in my personal life, I am building myself back up from zero. That is a blow on confidence, but I have been through a lot, so I know I can take it and that it will be all good.
I don't know how to get started, I have my skills, I used to work on commissions full time previously, but I still feel a bit insecure. I made the choice to stop doing digital art, I enjoy traditional art so muck better, I wish I could earn a living drawing and painting exclusively that way. Is that possible? 
Do you have any advice where to start? What goals to work at, what opportunities to take, what doors to knock on?

Thank you for your time!
Reply
:iconwoohooligan:
woohooligan Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Hey, Melinda! Thanks for the complement! :aww:

Sorry about the crisis, but I'm glad to hear you're optimistic. :hug: I've been through several similar crises myself, like when I separated from my first wife in 2001 or when I was diagnosed with autism in 2007 (although to be fair, the diagnosis was good news, but I got the diagnosis because of the crisis).

Is it possible to earn a living making traditional art commissions? I'm pretty sure I've seen people doing it, so I'd say yes. Personally I've opted to focus on making books and similar products that I can sell to multiple fans -- that way what might have been a fairly expensive commission can be enjoyed by a bunch of fans and it becomes very inexpensive for them each individually. Just something to consider as you think about how you want to earn your living.

I set a goal for myself to replace my disability income during 2016 and fell flat on my face. ;P By the end of the year I had achieved 4% of that goal. Which was really hard on me, but I didn't give up, and I've found some really great resources since then. (This commission journal was long before that.)

My best advice is start a newsletter for your art. It's going to be awkward and uncomfortable at first -- you won't know what to say, you'll be afraid of rejection, etc. But if you push yourself through that awkward learning curve and learn to talk to your newsletter subscribers like you talk to your friends, it will help you grow your audience. Set a schedule for it -- I do mine every week -- you might choose 2-weeks or monthly -- however you prefer, just so you know when your next one will go out, and be consistent sending it out.

Most of your newsletters should be providing something to your subscribers, like in my case mostly jokes -- links to funny, important or inspiring news... I share a fair amount of science news. After having developed a rapport with them and proved that you're giving them good stuff, then they'll appreciate when you occasionally say "hey, I'm offering commissions" or whatever it is you need to sell, because they know you and they know you didn't just get them on your list to constantly advertise to them.

Speaking of getting people on your list... also look up how to create a landing page for your newsletter signup. You should also have your signup form on your personal website or your blog, but make a separate signup page you can send people to in your email (in your signature is great), or written on a cocktail napkin, etc. A place that just tells them what they're going to get after they enter their name and email address. Offer them something they'll enjoy -- a tutorial, a book you made, etc. and let them know you'll send them art or tips or whatever (in my case jokes) in each newsletter and that they can unsubscribe any time.

My landing page is here in case you're curious (it's not perfect): woohooligancomics.tumblr.com/f…

Try out different landing pages periodically to see if you can improve on it -- try and find a way to measure the effectiveness of the page, like, how many people sign up? 1% of visitors? 5%? That's a huge gap by the way, and I wouldn't expect more than 5% -- I've heard of 10%, but that's exceptionally rare.

I'm also enrolled in several marketing courses from Tyler James (Vogel) who runs the podcast ComixLaunch, which is about publishing comics through Kickstarter. He also has a ListLaunch course that's specifically about building your mailing list / newsletter. The podcast and the courses are both very good. :nod:

Also check out Russell Nohelty. I recommend his book Sell Your Soul: How to Build Your Creative Career. I read a ton of marketing books and most of them are utter garbage, but this one had a ton of useful info in it. He also used to publish a blog / podcast called the Business of Art, which you can still check out the archives for good stuff there... and here's a Facebook group he runs for writers and artists. www.facebook.com/groups/743617…

Russell also offers at least one premium course (like the courses I'm in with Tyler James), but I haven't enrolled in his course yet, so I can't really vouch for it -- but I assume it's very good, like the value I've gotten from his book and other resources.

Okay, I've given you a ton to think about. Feel free to note me if there's anything else I might be able to help you with!

:hug:
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:iconchocopiechan:
Chocopiechan Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2018  Student Digital Artist
Hi there, I want to check to see if my commissions are worth paying for. Would you mind checking it out when you have time?? Thanks!
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:iconwoohooligan:
woohooligan Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Hi, Chocopie! Sorry for the slow response. I haven't been on DA much lately while working on a Kickstarter for my 2nd book.

Your art looks nice. :D I don't think there's really such a thing as "not good enough for commissions". How much people will pay for commissions from you however depends a lot on how popular you are and how much people want your work specifically. So my big advice to you is upload more art here to DA, so people have more to see, and make as many friends as you can. That friend / fan group is what will get you where you want to go, so treat them well!

Good luck! :hug:

p.s. Note me if I can help with any of your projects!
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:iconchocopiechan:
Chocopiechan Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2018  Student Digital Artist
 Okay ty!
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:iconwoohooligan:
woohooligan Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Glad to help!
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:iconnoname-ftw:
Noname-FTW Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2018
As someone that has bought several commissions in the past I think you need more viable examples in your gallery. I am not talking about the quality of your art. When I look at your gallery I don't see enough examples that tell me what you actually can do even if I were to look for something like the stuff you do. I think your art could totally be used for some cool custom birthday cards for example. All the pieces in your gallery are very colourful. Maybe you want to go in that direction.
When I am searching for an artist I am looking for what the maximum, the best thing is that they can do. Now for me you wouldn't be considered because you are nowhere close for what I am looking for in MY commissions. But even if I would look for something colourful, for a kid for example, I would hardly choose you because I don't see maybe more than 1-2 pieces that seem finished (to me) and the rest are sketches. There are children's book illustrators on deviantart and I like my fictional kid very much. If I go to one of them I know I get my moneys worth. And since I am not looking for something to complex they probably won't charge me an arm and a leg.
My advise: Make like ~5 more DIFFERENT pieces that show what kind of art you want to work on. You don't need to change your art style. But maybe vary out the type of stuff someone can see in your gallery (but keep within the stuff you're comfortable with) to broaden the potential customer base.
To answer your question: Any art is worth paying for if there is someone who wants to pay for it. Increasing that group is the key.
In terms of quality: I've seen worse, especially on deviantart. The stuff on your gallery is consistent in style and not bunch of deformed sketches that would scream "KILL MEEE" if they were alive.

Hope this helps.
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:iconchocopiechan:
Chocopiechan Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2018  Student Digital Artist
Tysm! This was very helpful. I'll be able to try in the future, and my lack of posting will be better improved.
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:iconnoname-ftw:
Noname-FTW Featured By Owner Edited Jul 8, 2018
No problem. Another quick tip regarding commissions (Don't know if it was already mentioned by OP): If you go into the commissions forum on here don't spam your portfolio! Know your target audiences. In my commissions I was looking for a digital image of my OC character(s) for a scifi project for which was ready to pay more than 200€. I had artists with your kind of portfolio (and even professionals with a completely unfitting portfolio) post comments on my thread even though, if they would have bothered to read the details, they would've known to send me an email and don't post any comments (unless they had a question). It was a frustrating experience to sort those emails out because they were clearly not paying attention to any details my offer and were wasting my time and attention. Getting about 50 emails and only having like ~8 that were somewhat close.
You have to put yourself out there. But always be realistic if you have a chance. If the commission offer is ten times the money of what you normally get it is unlikely that you will be able to deliver ten times the quality right ?
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:iconchocopiechan:
Chocopiechan Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2018  Student Digital Artist
Right.
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:iconalkeaschoco:
AlkeasChoco Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
hi there, I still new in deviant art and I am not sure about my commission price is too low or too high, and this is first time open commission, the part that you write "do you like this, I am open for commission ." that was really a good suggestion!  since I am really bad and too shy to expose my art, this suggest was really nice and fit me, compare with the "begging" part, I feel embarrassing and shy to do it.thank a lot! 
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:iconwoohooligan:
woohooligan Featured By Owner Edited Jul 12, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Hi, Kerziah! I'm glad you enjoyed the journal. :D

Sorry for the slow reply, I've not been on DA much lately while I've been working on a Kickstarter project for my 2nd book of comics.

It's okay to be shy. I was a shy kid. And I still have a lot of social anxiety. ^^;

Note me any time if I can help with any of your projects. :hug:

p.s. I like your commission sheet, it's nicely done.
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:iconalkeaschoco:
AlkeasChoco Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you~Bunny Emoji-87 (Thanks) [V5] Wish you good  luck on your projectNeko Emoji-03 (Good Morning) I appreciate your reply~~Your word really inspired me~Kao Emoji-83 (Good Morning) [V5] 
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:iconwoohooligan:
woohooligan Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Glad to help! :la:

Oh, the Kickstarter is finished -- I'm just waiting on the printers now. :D But thanks for the good luck wishes.
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:iconvhinoekun:
vhinoekun Featured By Owner May 21, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have to submit my journal of comission to a group right? Actually it is hard for me to share my journals. Less people see them. Maybe i should wait 2 weeks . And keep repeating the sharing. My art is average and good and my costing is i think low. Because im new in this community. Anyone would suggest a group or any sites that will help me share my work and commission? 
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:iconwoohooligan:
woohooligan Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Hey, Vhinhoe! Sorry for the slow reply -- I've been busy with my Kickstarter and haven't been on DA much lately.

Yeah, you should submit your commission sheet to groups. Some groups may accept a journal. In my experience most of them want it to be a 2d art deviation instead of a journal. Or at least they did, maybe that's changed. I haven't been pursuing commissions much lately.

If you're looking for groups to submit to, head over to groups.deviantart.com and search groups at the top of the page for "commission".

Good luck! :D
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:iconazurelly:
Azurelly Featured By Owner May 18, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
They used my kindness with the purpose to get free stuff from me or getting commissions with way too low prices.
Plus, having a kind of an "odd" drawing style people seem not to realize that stepping out of the line - art style-wise - can be something I'm forced to offer prices wich they're just mere pittance.
Also, they're still telling me that my commissions are NOT worth to give one.

And seriously, for a complex picture I'm sitting more than 15 hours to finish one

I've kept these advices you wrote down on this journal long enough. But sorry if I need to say this but all of these tips didn't help me in any way :hmm:

And it's not your fault. I blame these people getting their throat not enough with underpriced stuff and are not willing to pay it properly. And I blame all of the people who offer PayPal commissions.
They take the attention away to the people who offer point commissions
Reply
:iconwoohooligan:
woohooligan Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Hey, Elly! Sorry for the slow response, I know you wrote this in May... I've been busy with my Kickstarter and I wanted to have the time to think about my response.

None of this is a magic bullet, it's all meant to be a part of the puzzle, but marketing is hard and it takes a long time and a lot of work. I'm still working on it myself. I personally haven't focused on commissions in a long time and instead focused on my own comics, Patreon and Kickstarter, and that's all very hard too. I've been cartooning since 2006 and my readership is still relatively small, because I've struggled to learn marketing and grow my audience.

And, while it's frustrating, I think the best solution to getting more commissions I didn't really mention in this article, because it's learning marketing and growing your audience, and I can't really fit that into a short journal like this.

I also recommend checking out work from Tyler James (ComixLaunch podcast -- yes, it's about Kickstarter, but there's also some other good general marketing advice), and Russell Nohelty. In particular, check out Nohelty's book Sell Your Soul. I got more valuable advice out of that book than out of all the other marketing books I've read combined. www.russellnohelty.com

I hope you start having more success! :hug:
Reply
:iconazurelly:
Azurelly Featured By Owner Edited Jul 13, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Is it that long ago? Man I cannot even remember this :O
Oh, you're doing a Kickstarter? Good luck finishing this what you're planning!

Marketing? I know it is complicated. I'm afraid ... I mean I was never good in marketing because you need to lie on people to buy stuff. And I'm too kind and honest for this cruel world to lie on people  ^^;

I know it is really frustrating and I'm still trying to offer and expose some commission. But I have problems where on dA I can offer it (you need to know I don't use any other site than dA and being way too busy due to work I don't have time to have multiple accounts) ^^;
Plus, as fan artist and drawing something else than usual it's even more difficult to get commissions. I don't have any idea from where I can get some help.
To my own fault, since I'm drawing something different I'm still not confident enough if I can offer commissions to the prices I have in my mind ^^;

The link you've given to me is more likely for people who really wants to have an artistic carreer but not for me.
I'd like to keep being a hobbyist because this is the last remaining thing I'm doing with passion during my free time. Drawing as hobby not as job.
Reply
:iconwoohooligan:
woohooligan Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Ahhh... well yeah, if you're trying to keep it a hobby instead of a job, that's going to make getting commissions harder also...

Marketing really doesn't require lying -- the culture has taught us that, but it's not true... there's a lot of bad, deceitful marketing out there in the world -- Apple computers even were good examples of some of that in their advertisements.

But there's also a lot of good, honest marketing. Like this conversation I'm having with you right now, this is me doing my honest marketing. I'm sharing what I know with you, to try and build a relationship. Maybe you'll buy something from me later on -- probably not -- and that's okay. But for the moment, I'm just trying to improve your day.

If I improve enough people's days over a long enough period of time, that eventually will become enough income for me to replace my disability payments. :D

Thanks, re: the Kickstarter. It ended about a month ago and since then I've been formatting the book until I got it ready just last week and have sent it off to the printers. So now I'm just waiting for them to come back for me to send out. :la:
Reply
:iconazurelly:
Azurelly Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well then, hope your kickstarter will be something good for the public :)

Indeed, as hobbyist it is hard to get some little income. But more likely I'm always out of luck ...

Can be. That's what I was noticing. Especially the big industries are trying a lot how to lure more customers. No matter how.
More likely the little ones or single sellers are the ones doing honest marketing so my thoughts.

I know what you mean. As little seller I gathered some knowledge how I can offer my products (even though this job is ill-fitting to me as I'm actually extremely shy of contact) ^^; But I do my job as good as I can.
And I guess that's the problem. Not that I'm a spiteful person. I'm just way too shy to develop relationship quickly ^^;

Anyways, these are my personal problems.
Do you have any further tips which could be helpful for me? I had the thoughts to offer my commissions via dA-Forum.
Reply
:iconwoohooligan:
woohooligan Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Well you don't seem shy to me here. :hug: You seem to be doing a pretty good job. So whatever it is you're doing is working. :D

(Sorry for another slow response -- I've been a bit busy and not on DA much recently.)

Posting open commissions in the dA-Forum certainly couldn't help... The real "holy grail" for commissions is to find what some marketing people call a "blue ocean" -- DA is kind of a "red ocean"... maybe this isn't a great analogy, but a "red ocean" is where the water has been chummed and it's full of sharks trying to eat. That makes it a horrible place to go fishing. So if you want to catch fish (commissions), you're looking for a blue ocean where the supply of what you have to offer is low, and the interest is at least reasonable, not necessarily high. Unfortunately I don't have any advice for finding your blue ocean -- I'm still working on that myself. ;)

But while you're looking for it, there's no harm in putting something on the dA-Forum saying you're open for commissions. The worst case scenario is it doesn't produce any leads on commission work, but that's kind of how selling stuff usually works -- you have to go through a lot of "no's" (I don't like calling them rejections) before you make a sale. Direct mail is said to be the best way to get people to purchase something, and the return on that is usually something like 1-2%, so for every person who bought, they sent out 50-100 pieces of mail. That's why I don't like calling it rejection -- they're usually not actually rejecting you or your work. Most of the time they just aren't looking to buy what you've got or they can't afford it.

:hug:

Feel free to note me if I can help with anything, Elly! :D
Reply
:iconkro-987:
Kro-987 Featured By Owner May 3, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Hi :D,
I've opened commissions for the first time and would like to ask what you think about them, I think I've mentioned all I need to but I worry if I'm charging to much, could you give me some feedback, i'd really appreciate it please :D 
Reply
:iconwoohooligan:
woohooligan Featured By Owner May 6, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Hi, Kro! Your prices look okay. Sorry for the delayed response, I noticed you posted that you were dropping your prices at least temporarily. I generally wouldn't recommend that, and I think your current prices are a touch low. Your colors are great -- the area I would focus on for improvement is anatomy and proportions, but I don't see any reason not to ask $8-10 for a small traditional-media commission. (not including shipping)

Unfortunately DeviantArt isn't a fantastic place to look for commissions -- you can get them here, but it may be a little harder. You might have better luck asking for payment on PayPal and posting availability on other social media platforms like Twitter / Facebook / Tumblr / Instagram.

Feel free to note me if I can help with any of your projects! :D

Good luck! :highfive:
Reply
:iconhedgecatdragonix:
HedgeCatDragonix Featured By Owner May 15, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hey there, just came across this journal response, apologies for randomly responding to this message ^^;

Could you possibly give me some feedback on my commissions, please? I've only ever had ONE person commission me before and I'm not quite sure why... I want to ask others why but I feel weird asking people I'm aiming the commissions at, makes me seem sort of desperate and pathetic in a way.

One thing I do know about my commissions is the sort of limitations because I'm mainly confident with Sonic-related artwork but I am willing to draw other types as well: 2018 Commissions~!

I can't help but feel that it's maybe due to my artwork maybe not being too good or the complicated journal layout/high prices? I'm just not sure and I would really appreciate some advice.
Reply
:iconwoohooligan:
woohooligan Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Hey, Samantha! Sorry it's taken me so long to respond to this. I've been mostly off of DA and other social media for a few months working on a Kickstarter for my 2nd book. I'm waiting on the printer now, so I'm catching up on messages.

I found your commission info here:
2016 Commissions!
Note: The images used below are from last year. I have improved since then but I simply can't provide images of each commission type ^^;
NOTE: Please take into account, I only accept converted money (e.g. USA to UK Pounds) Since I live in the UK, UK Pounds is the only currency I accept through PayPal!
(Yes I am taking commissions again but please take into account that I am also working on my uni assignments which are pretty tough! So I may take a while to work on any commission you give me).
Basic Rules:
I can draw Ratchet and Clank or Sonic characters but nothing too complex like huge robots or detailed Lombaxes/Sonic FCs! Bare in mind the prices are the same for R and C characters (minus the SA Styled one of course!)
I only draw 2 characters as a maximum, unless there's a little sidekick character which in that case I may accept 3
.
You are allowed to ask/remind of commissions you give me but please do not keep pestering me!
I can draw

Your art looks fine. Thankfully there are a lot of things you can do to improve your chances of getting commissions, though remember that none of these are a magic bullet or a guarantee that you'll get more business. So here are my suggestions:

1) Put your commission sheet at the top of your DA profile -- it was hard for me to find.

2) Update your samples -- make sure you're using images that are recent (the journal is 4 years old), images that reflect your best work, and if you haven't been asked for a commission of a particular type, create one.

3) It isn't necessary to separate the 2-character price from the single character price -- just say "line art $x - $y for two characters"

4) Tell people how to contact you -- DA note / email, etc -- at the bottom of the sheet below the price list

5) Sonic and/or R&C are pretty small niches and there are lots of people offering Sonic style commissions, so that puts a pretty tight limit on the size of your potential customer-base -- of course you can choose to offer whatever you want, I'm just pointing out that you'd have a larger potential pool of customers if you're willing to make other kinds of commissions

6) There are several bits of text on your commission journal that I would omit

- currency conversion -- if you can accept PayPal, then you can convert us $ yourself after the payment is made -- there may be a small fee, but it shouldn't break your bank -- so I would let people pay you in us $ as well and just convert it later -- I've done this myself with Canadian $

- "Yes I am taking commissions again but please take into account that I am also working on my uni assignments which are pretty tough! So I may take a while to work on any commission you give me" - Just give people a ballpark of how long you think it will take you to finish a piece, given your current workload and waiting list (e.g. 1 month) -- it sounds more professional and less like you're worried about your workload, so you'll also sound more confident -- make the estimate liberal so you have some wiggle room, and that way most of the time you'll be getting work to people ahead of your estimate and they'll be happy :nod:

- "You are allowed to ask/remind of commissions you give me but please do not keep pestering me!" -- most people are pretty judicious about asking about commissions, so even if you're getting a bunch of commissions, I wouldn't expect those reminders to be an issue -- post your current waiting list on your profile so people can see whether you've started it yet and how many people are ahead of them

- "I only draw 2 characters as a maximum, unless there's a little sidekick character which in that case I may accept 3." - you can just tell them this when they ask for the commission if they ask for a 3rd or 4th character -- it's like people pestering you about completion, it won't come up very often

Good luck! :D

And feel free to Note me if I can help with anything!
Reply
:iconhedgecatdragonix:
HedgeCatDragonix Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much! Your feedback will be very useful to my future commissions! :D (Big Grin)
Reply
:iconwoohooligan:
woohooligan Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Glad to help! :D
Reply
:iconkro-987:
Kro-987 Featured By Owner May 7, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you so much for the feedback, I really appreciate it,

I was actually gonna keep the prices I had right now as I felt like I was scaring people off with my prices before, I'll change them back to the original prices,
Thanks for the critique, I completely agree that my anatomy and proportions aren't great, I'll keep working on that and take some more study's too :D

I'll look into other ways for payment, I've got papal it's just got my real name attached to the email and I want to keep anonymous for the now, other social media I have is Instagram and I post fairly regularly there, could try :D

Once again thank you so much :D
I'll keep in touch.
Reply
:iconwoohooligan:
woohooligan Featured By Owner May 8, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Glad to help! :D

I have a business account on PayPal, and that lets me have multiple email addresses associated with the account. I would guess that any PayPal account would let you do that, so you should be able to add an alternate email address if you're concerned about your name *in* the email address.

Of course, there's also ko-fi.com if the PayPal account isn't working for you.
Reply
:iconnikyshouse:
NikySHouse Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Hello! Thank you so much for your detailed and exhaustive article!
I've written my commission journal but I am no sure about it. So if you don't mind, I could ask you to take a look to my reference sheet and tell me if I'm doing something wrong? Thank you so much for the trouble!Bunny Emoji-66 (Thank you arigatou) [V3] 
Reply
:iconwoohooligan:
woohooligan Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Hi, Nicoletta! I'm glad you enjoyed the article! :hug:

Your commission sheet looks pretty good! :D I don't see any big things I would change. I would just fill in the little white gaps in the line-art sample so the background color is consistent. I don't know if that would make any one not commission you, but it could give them an impression of cutting corners, which isn't something you want them thinking.

Good luck! :heart:

p.s. Sorry for the slow response, I've been busy with a Kickstarter recently.
Reply
:iconnikyshouse:
NikySHouse Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Don't worry! Thank you very much!!Huggle! 
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:iconwoohooligan:
woohooligan Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Glad to help! :huggle:
Reply
:iconnyawe:
nyawe Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2018
good article but -
people buy more from artists that are famous even if their art isn't worth the money cause they dont hesitate putting very high prices for very little usually
i've been for 7 years on deviantart and i've done like less than 5 very cheap commissions (not counting the recent ones) despite advertising a lot my commissions and bleh but it has become tiring to do
Reply
:iconnoname-ftw:
Noname-FTW Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2018
"despite advertising a lot my commissions and bleh but it has become tiring to do"


In a more recent comment up there towards Chocopiechan I mentioned an issue you seem to have too. I've had a look at your gallery and it is full of examples of your art. Finished pieces. A very good collection of what you can and want to do. Now, you have the experience on what kind of commissions you applied to and I have no factual data to support my claims. But I think that the amount of people on here that want to pay for furry art is quite limited. I am not saying non-existend but a small subsection. With the narrow gallery you have, the potential customer base is to small. You could make the most awesome furry images on all of deviantart and I wouldn't choose someone with your portfolio to draw my cat. Not because your art is bad, but because I don't choose an artists for something they have never done before.
Never bend yourself to the point that you don't like creating what you are creating any more, but seriously ask yourself if there is more that you can and want to do. It doesn't mean you have sacrifice your roots.
Reply
:iconwoohooligan:
woohooligan Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Hi, Cecilouuu, I'm glad you enjoyed the article. :hug:

It's true that people who have grown a large audience and are "famous" get more commissions, however, that's not why I wrote this article. These are tips to help you get more commissions for you, and they work whether you have any fame or not. Tips on how to grow a larger audience would be a different article.
Reply
:iconlizbombdraws:
LizbombDraws Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2018  Hobbyist Artist
Hey! Loved the article! One prob! I can't seem to sell commissions! I have had tons of people say they would love to buy one but are low on points. Should I lower my price? I am already paying myself basically two dollars per hour.
Reply
:iconwoohooligan:
woohooligan Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Hey, Lizzie! I'm glad you enjoyed it! :hug:

Getting started is always the hardest part -- it takes a while to get those first commissions. I wouldn't reduce your rate at all. I would make sure you get more samples onto your commission journal and if you create a commission sheet as a deviation instead of a journal (described in the article), then you can submit that to commission groups. And try and be active on the site, meeting people, talking in journals and groups and potentially the forum, not just announcing your commissions, but chatting with people. You've only been on the site for a month, so people really don't know you here and that makes it harder to get people's trust for those commissions. So you need to get to know people.

Good luck! :hug:
Reply
:iconlizbombdraws:
LizbombDraws Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2018  Hobbyist Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:iconwoohooligan:
woohooligan Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Welcome! :hug:
Reply
:iconseeeks:
Seeeks Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hello. I've generally held as a baseline that I should get 10 euros an hour, because that's approximately what I earned as a professional dishwasher, and I think that it would be pretty silly if I got paid less per hour for doing art than for dish washing. The problem is, even though I can do a rough sketch in 12 minutes, after that it slows down considerably. It seems like no matter what I do, it ends up taking at least 4 hours, sometimes closer to 5, putting the price between 40 and 50 euros, and very few people seem willing to invest that much money. Do you think I should try to develop methods that produce more results in a shorter time so I can charge less?


So far I've only sold one commission. I used to do a lot of free requests when I was younger, and lots of people were interested back then, but the moment when I said I'm no longer going to do this for free, after that I had one contact, which lead into nothing. She would've wanted me to draw 12-15 characters in a simplified style, and back then I was still drawing with a mouse, so inking in a way that doesn't look wonky and coloring inside the lines was a slow process. Nowadays I have a drawing tablet, but I've mostly moved away from strict outlines and moved more towards a style that gives an illusion of 3D shapes through shading and highlights.

Also I'm concerned that people will look at my older works and see something I half-assed and get the impression that's all I can do. Do you think it would be beneficial to delete everything that I'm no longer proud of (or never was?) even if it has been favorited by someone?
Reply
:iconwoohooligan:
woohooligan Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Hi Ilona! I'm glad you enjoyed the article. :hug:

Yes, I think you definitely should charge at least as much for commissioned art as for whatever minimum you would get from any other job. (Your own projects are a different matter obviously.)

I don't think having older work in your gallery should impede you in any notable way. You should create a commission price sheet with examples of the different kinds of commissions you offer (I didn't see one in your gallery), and I might move anything that's not a sample of something you might have made for a commission out of your featured section and into folders.

Whether you find a faster technique or not really depends a lot on your goals. There's not much a traditional oil painter can do to speed up their work, which is part of the reason why oil paintings are so expensive. But I don't think anyone would really say "oh you shouldn't make oil paintings if they take so long or have to be so expensive." Having said that, there is something to be said for the ability to offer a product that more people can afford -- it's usually easier to find buyers. And you may also find that developing a slightly different, less time-consuming style, teaches you some other skills that are useful elsewhere as well. I tend to think it's always good to have a variety of skills. :nod:

Good luck! :hug:
Reply
:iconseeeks:
Seeeks Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for replying. Sometimes I see people offering commissions for very small prices and it makes me think "do those people really spend less than an hour on a piece, or are they charging per hour less than a dishwasher would?"

I think I should try to find faster means to paint and find things/styles that make me happy to draw. For example, in the past I would pretty much always draw characters facing the viewer directly, with a stiff, symmetrical pose. Also limbs would not have much shape. So one day I looked at pictures of people in various poses on Google image search and drew sketches based on them. What I noticed is human bodies are rarely straight, they're full of curves, and those curves are beautiful. Also, it's important to realize that people are 3D objects and when they are projected onto a 2D canvas, some things will be shortened, some things will be behind others, and I know in the past, I did a lot of drawing where I just drew things where I expected them to be, the way I saw them in a mirror, and since I can't generally see myself from the side, I for example didn't know what a human eye looks like in profile. The other day I looked at my reflection through two mirrors so I could see myself from the side, and I honestly couldn't recognize myself, because my profile is so completely different from what I look from the front. I don't look at other people much, so much of what I draw is based on my mirror image, always staring straight back at me, and this lead into my drawings doing the same, always the same intense glare. You can't see motion in the mirror, because motion would lead into the moving object leaving the mirror and becoming unseen. My life is very static, involving a lot of sitting. I don't watch sports, so I rarely see movement. I also haven't drawn still life in a long time.

Concerning having a price sheet, I at one point had a journal entry that had some samples and prices, but looking back at them, they looked horrible and I wouldn't pay for stuff like that if somebody else was selling it, so why would anyone else want to buy it either? I should make new samples that reflect what I can do now. I think I would be able to produce line art fast enough not to make it too expensive to afford. It's when it goes into details and realistic colors that it starts taking 4-5 hours. I feel like if I'm going to include a significant background, it needs to be part of the painting from the beginning, but it might be that it's enough if I just start with a colored single color background instead of a white canvas, and then if I end up adding a background after the character is done, the introduction of color won't be as drastic as adding onto a white background. I also haven't really done many headshots/busts, because at least in the past, most characters have been defined by their clothing and equipment (and sometimes also poses), while the details of the face are just my imagination instead of being dictated by the owner of the character. I've often felt like I have to be able to fit the whole character onto the canvas, but actually it felt super liberating to draw a character who's so close that part of his foot is out of frame.
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