How to commission art and be the best client ever
How to be loved by your artists and get their best art and respect
☕ This is an article from the Flygohr’s Ramblings. Here I help digital artists and creative people with productivity, growth, and inspiration. Tips, guides, links, and articles come every few days.
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If you are an artist, you might want to link this article in your commissions forms 🙈
If you are thinking of commissioning art, or if you are already doing so, you might want to read on. Professional clients get professional artists.
Treating an artist right will get them motivated, happy and will have them produce their best work.
1. Don’t rush comms 🗣️
There’s a difference between being ghosted and being told I’ll come back with updates in a couple of weeks. Respect the timeframes your artist set, and that hopefully you both agreed upon.
Artists hate when you push them for work in progress or updates. Trust me, we want to be done with the work as soon as possible too - to get the money out of it. But good work takes time.
Additionally, most of the time it just doesn’t make sense to show what we are working on. It might be too rough, sparking unnecessary doubt and confusion. Trust your artist, they’ll show you something as soon as they feel they require your input.
2. Write good 🤷🏻♂️
It’s not just artists that need to master their copy. We hate it when we have clients that can barely make a full sentence without typos. The better your writing and explanations, the better the work you will receive. It’s that simple.
Additionally, there are a few things that you can do while writing email that will make your artist’s life easier:
Use the same emails chain to reply, don’t create a new one unless your artist feels the need to. It’s difficult already for us to keep an eye on all of your information without it being spread over multiple emails
Speaking of spreading information: try to keep everything you have to say in a single reply. Double-check and let it sit there for a few hours or a couple of days to make sure it includes everything you need to tell your artist.
3. Don’t haggle 🙅🏻♂️
If an artist hasn’t stated that the price is negotiable, don’t try to bring it down unless you are willing to make sacrifices over the final deliverables.
If an artist’s price is too high, politely ask what can be done to lower the price. If it’s possible, the artist will suggest alternatives to your request that might help bring the price down.
If the price is still too high for you, there’s no shame in declining. Just make sure you are doing it politely, and before the artist has started working already.
4. Exclusive rights cost more 💸
Don’t expect to have full control over your deliverables by default. Make sure your artist is aware of the usage you intend to make of their art, and that they are ok with it. Before starting.
Be prepared to pay more for commercial usage rights, or even more for exclusive use. Even if the commission prompt is yours, we still retain the rights over the image we created unless explicitly stated.
5. Prep your briefings 📝
If your requests are unclear and confusing, it’s unlikely your artist will be able to untangle them and deliver exactly what you have in mind. True, most artists are gifted with enhanced insight that allows them to read between the lines, but better not to make their life even more difficult than it is.
Prepare a document or a board in advance to brief your artist. Make sure it includes reference images, descriptions, and whatever else your artist might need to understand what you need and deliver it. Just don’t use MS Word. Nobody is going to open it, sorry about that 😬
6. Research is billable time 💵
Don’t expect the artist to charge only for drawing time. If you are giving them an extensive briefing or if they need to spend time researching a particular topic or setting for you, that must come at a cost.
Make sure to factor research into your budget, and don’t expect your artist to read your entire 500 pages book just to draw a cover for a handful of dollars. If you cannot afford to pay them a decent hourly rate for their research, consider providing a summary or doing it yourself.
If you have questions regarding this article, make sure to ask them in the comments below.
And remember, kindness and respect go a long way. You might find an art buddy for life if you play your cards right.
If you enjoyed this article, I'd really appreciate it if you could forward it to a friend, or colleague who you think might like it too. If they are a creative type, they’ll surely find value in what I have to offer.
You can also help me by sharing this on your social networks. That’s always a big boost for me!
All the best,