Want more commissions?

12 min read

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Yuuza's avatar
This journal is for artists who want to get more commissions, or want to open commissions and never had so they don't know how best to present their art, or even for those artists who took commissions before but would appreciate some more tips :D

There are a few pretty important things to consider before publicly announcing you're  opening commissions:

1. payment method. The deviantart commission widget takes 20% of your profit, but then again more deviants have points so you're likely to get 20% more customers like that. But don't forget there are people who have paypal and don't feel like dealing with points so if you decide to open commissions through deviantart, don't let that be the ONLY payment method.

Paypal is the most common payment method used online and i strongly recommend it. Make a paypal account, connect it to a card and you're ready. But don't forget paypal has a limit of $3000 per year withdrawal. So if you're serious about drawing art for a living and you can only be payed online through paypal, you have to lift your limits. Where it says 'verified' see there's a link called 'limits' click that and follow the instructions in order to lift that limit :D

2. What you're offering! Don't make too many options, it was proven that more people buy when there are 3-5 options than if there are 10, apparently it confuses people? I won't get into arguments why that is or weather it's true or not. TO be on the safe side, make only a few very clear options. Try not to confuse your buyers :D

3. Your prices! I can't stress this enough but don't sell too low! Making a drawing for 100 points is too little even for a beginner. Think, is my drawing worth as much as a soda? If your answer is yes, up your prices D: Does my drawing cost as much as a coffee or a hamburger? If your answer is yes then go back and up your prices again! 

A good way of calculating your prices is think of the salary you'd like to have, something you would be happy to make in a month, then divide that salary into 21 days, then divide it by 8 hours and you'll get your ideal price per hour. Then see how many hours it takes you to finish that drawing and voila, you have a base price :D But if you're serious about art, you have to add more on top of that price to make up for the time you spend chatting with the client ans answering to their messages and emails. And now you have a more realistic figure of how much your art is worth, or at least how much you wish your art would be worth. 

Now take that price and compare it with other artists who are relatively on the same skill level as you, if there's a huge discrepancy then adjust your price slightly, but don't copy another artist's prices, you don't personally know these artists and their circumstances, maybe they are very young and don't really need the money, or maybe they live in a country where prices are lower than in your country, or maybe they're super fast at drawing and they can finish that in half the time than you can. So never copy another artist's prices, make your own :D

Now that you decided all these things,

The next step is to tell everyone about it. Here are is a useful checklist for getting more commissions:

1. Advertise the fact that you opened commissions. Do this by posting a journal. While it's useful to have a widget on your page telling your visitors you're open for commissions, your watchers are the ones most likely to buy since they know your art and like it for a while. Visitors, not so much. So post a journal or a forum post. These 2 things will ensure your watchers will see you opened commissions. Actually many deviants turn off journals if post too many or they're too personal etc, but few deviants turn off forum posts so theoretically you should get more exposure by posting a forum post with your commission info. Better yet, post both a journal AND a forum post to be on the safe side. make sure your forum post is in the correct category, posting in 'job services' will actually get you a more targeted audience of deviants looking to commission.
You can also make a deviation with your prices and info and examples, again, some watchers of yours might have turned off your journals and polls etc but if they still watch you, chances are it's only for the art. And this way it will ensure they see you opened commissions. 

2. Make sure your commission journal post is visible on your page, and not only that but make sure it stays on the very top! People usually spend 5 seconds on a page before moving on, don't bet your chances on them scrolling down, make your journal the first thing someone sees when visiting your page.

3. Say up front how many slots you open. What are slots, and why should i use them? Slots are used for deviants to know how many people can buy your commissions before you close and start drawing them. Never take too many slots at a time, you will risk having the last person that paid to wait very long. Also, having slots creates a sort of urgency and people are more likely to buy knowing it's a limited offer. 

4. Have examples of the kind of drawings you are offering. Never post an empty commission journal with just text, it just doesn't look good, people are lazy, they don't want to click links. Post a big thumb of the kind of drawings you're offering and if you don't have premium then you can still use the 'add media' and post big thumbs of drawings too.
Post the price very near the kind of image you're offering. Use bold letters for price you don't want your clients looking around and getting confused. Don't forget to add currency, use USD nor $ because there are canadian dollars and australian dollars and it happened to me that i received australian dollars (which are smaller) instead of USD and i was too embarrassed to correct the client. But you can learn from my mistake.

5. Only offer things your comfortable drawing and have drawn very often. At least at first. You risk getting stuck at something if you don't test yourself first. For example if you suck at backgrounds, don't offer illustrations with a background. Your watchers watch for your art, they already know you don't do backgrounds and they don't expect you to draw that. Don't make things harder on yourself. On commissions is not the time to experiment, on commissions you do what you do best.

6. Don't make 30 options. Stick to only a few. This doesn't mean make very few, it only means that too many options are confusing.

7. Ask for payment up front. There are many people who by the time you finish your drawing don't have the money anymore or have changed their mind. This is the internet, anyone can even prank you and ask for a commissions with 5 characters doing a back flip and then disappear. Of course there's the case of artists disappearing after taking many slots and that's sad. So for buyers, beware of artists who take on too many slots! For artists, don't take on too many slots :D 
Of course, for sketches and simple drawings, payment up front is fine. But if there are very complicated drawings with multiple characters, you can show a rough sketch first before asking for payment. Chances are a drawing like that is pretty expensive so the client will feel a bit edgy giving the money just like that over the internet, and a sketch will make them feel at ease. It will also avoid them hating your drawing at the end since they see a small preview.

8. State all the info loud and clear. Here are a few things you could mention:
-roughly in how much time can they expect their drawing?
-if you're a traditional artists, are you willing to send them a hard copy of their drawing? Will they have to pay extra for shipment or is it included in the commission price?
-do you need image references or can you also take only text with description? DO you also do character design?
-What info about their character do you need written?
-should they send the info in a note or email? Tell them how to contact you if they decide to commission you.
-what are the things you're not comfortable drawing? What are the things you draw best? You might draw girls better than guys for example, state that in the journal. 
-tell them if you like to take liberties with their designs.
-do you need to know the character's personality or maybe you don't need to know anything about them except for how they look like. Write that in the info as well.

9. Advertise your commissions in commission groups:
:iconcommission-share: :iconcommission-board:  :iconcommission-network: :iconcommissionpromoter: :iconcommission-i: :iconanimecommissionclub: :iconicommission:

10. Be online, answer promptly to notes. Again, this is the internet, you don't want your client to have a heart attack, answer to notes as fast as you can. You know you opened commissions so check your dA more often. If you delay answering for a few days, they will wonder what else will you delay? Buyers don't want unresponsive artists to commission, it just looks bad and they might run away. 

11. Do your commissions on time. Withing a month is a good time, anything over that is not so good. I myself have been very late with commissions and that is the reason i haven't opened in a very long time. 

12. Post your commission drawings online once you finish them so that people can see them. They see not only how fast you make them (and also that you DO make them) but  also the quality of the drawing and it makes them want to buy too so it's great advertising. AND you have more better examples to show in your commission journal. 

There's more to be said on the subject of course. But try these tips for starters :)
And for the people wondering, my commissions are closed for an indefinite period of time orz i just don't have the time to make them sorry if this journal might have misled you to think they are open

© 2014 - 2022 Yuuza
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LordofFantasy666's avatar
Yuuza's avatar

It's a journal, that's the whole point. Why not move on if you don't feel like reading rather than commenting here?

Livia25's avatar
Well I opened commissions for digital drawing and 3D rendering for only one fandom because that's all I can do. But I've got only one commission on Twitter. I saw on twitter other artists who does commissions on the same fandom like me haves such luck at customers. Why I don't have luck like them? I know I had two years ago a rough period when I didn't like to make digital art (for myself) just because of my fail at the faculty for animation to become student, long story.
- I don't make consistent art style because I have my own drawing style
- I work in only one fandom (because on that I have the biggest interest and that's all I can do)
Why I don't have luck at commissions? I will never understand why.

I'll just leave here my journal with my commissions opened just in case if somebody wants from me
TEKKEN RENDERS COMMISSIONS OPENED TOO! + reminderNow Tekken renders commissions are OPENED!

+ Tekken digital artworks commissions (DON'T FORGET ABOUT THAT! THE WINTER HOLIDAYS ARE COMING!!! :D)
Yuuza's avatar

I think you just replied to your own question:

You don't get enough commissions because you only draw from one fandom. A proffessional artist will not limit themselves like this. Most people that commission on deviantart are people who want their own character brought to life, you're literally excluding so many possible clients by only drawing from a certain fandom.

Livia25's avatar
Great :/
And why I saw others haves luck at the same fandom which I do but they have clients?
For the moment I limit myself for one fandom because till I get accepted at university at animation I'll make just that fandom, then if I get accepted at university I will post other stuffs outside of the fandom. But right now I have the biggest interest for one fandom because with that I am exposed here on internet. And I don't want them to expect from me to copy styles because copying drawing styles is the thing which I dislike it the most.
Yeah but why is so much hype for that with their own characters? I have my own oc too but I'm really scared to expose it public because anybody could copy or use it to make money after my hard work.
I could accept ocs but I'm sure nobody will want it my style. I know I lose the possibility to have many clients but I can't change my content so suddenly.

I opened commissions because I really need money to buy a new graphic tablet : XP-PEN artist 22R pro
Unfortunately since I have a job for almost one month my whole salary almost goes to the courses preparing again for the animation exams from university. Why? the salary is small. I can't improve with an old and blank graphic tablet with my drawing stytle. 
What can I do? nobody cares about my art that much.
Yuuza's avatar

i don't know enough about the fandom to give you answers, but there's always a reason, you just need to find it and emulate what the other person is doing to get more commissions.

Livia25's avatar
I know. But unfortunately I'm not searched for my skills.
Temah-87's avatar
yeah i've done all of that but i only got one from discord ;-; atleast i got one, this means that there is hope i guess.. thanks for the guide!
Yuuza's avatar

This guide is old, and there are new ways to find commissions nowadays, discord being one of them, also reddit, i'm glad it was still useful for you <3

AlkeasChoco's avatar
how to make the journal always stay on top? I currently open commission too...
MyleneClAy's avatar
I've had my commissions open for a year and still haven't been commissioned even once. I started feeling so untalented lol
Moongirls20's avatar
I feel ya. Been trying to get commissions for 3 years and last week for the first time, I got one person; after that however, dead silents again. Its hard when you're a nobody small artist on here,Tumblr, or even on those art commissions sites. I don't do a lot of fanart commissions as I always felt like thats cheating to make money of someone else's character(s) and I rather do original character(s) type commissions.
Silver-lyn's avatar
Thanks so much for all of the information! Just joined a bunch of groups in hopes that I can sell a few. I'm starting out by doing some Halloween commissions this year to see if I can build up awareness for future commissions I may do.

Hopefully with this info I can raise my chances! :D
Nyanachii's avatar
I opened commissions before a month and did almost every thing you said in here, and yet, no one is commissioning me:(
IsaCrisis's avatar
Have you posted about your commissions in the forums? Have you submitted your commission journal or deviation to as many groups as you could? DA has a LOT of artists making commissions, so you have to work on marketing like crazy to get your stuff seen. I took a quick look at your profile and I didn't see anything about commissions (unless you already closed them). Also, another thing to think about is if your prices are too high. Your prices should go up as demand also rises, so start with lower prices (being careful not to undeprice, though), and as you get more and more requests, slowly raise the prices. 
Sorry for this random reply, maybe you don't even care anymore, but I could't let this pass me by. I took a look at your art and it's very cute, don't give up!
Nyanachii's avatar
I took them off, lack of people. But thanks!
Kibrii's avatar
Thank you so much for this!
MariaEnzianiaKober's avatar
Thank you for writing this.
And I like the header and footer picture ^^
Caterinssia's avatar
Thank you! This really helped me a lot <3
I've been wanting to do commissions, but I can't seem to get people to commission me :(
NightmareZanez's avatar
My prices are on my main profile...

Check 'em out if you want to.
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