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  • Writer's pictureOnyx

Commissions: Price is Right?

It's been some time since I posted one of these, but I figure it's a good time to do with my #Commissions getting some momentum once again. So the topic I want to touch on today in regards to commission is: Is the price right? Well that on its own is an interesting question so let's delve into that. What does price mean when we are talking about the artist picked in regards to the theme/genre of the commission? What does price really mean when we put it next to the desire for the commissioned art? How does price factor when we are talking about time and purpose of said art to be commissioned? Before I can attempt to shed some light into some of the answers, let me say that the answers I might be able to provide are subjective--some are my opinion. Commissioning art is different for everyone but I have a lot of experience so I am confident that I can at least help pave a few roads here and there.

With that said, let's find out what "price" can mean when commissioning custom artwork.


What is the commission for? This question can and will definitely play a role in how much someone is willing to spend for their commission. Is it for personal use or commercial (something one can use to advertise/make money; in case that definition is lost on you)?

  • If it's commercial, obviously it's meant to make some kind of profit back. Whether it's an advertisement art, comic book series, or any other means of using art as a profit based tool, commercial is really for those trying to use art to build income. Most artists charge more when it's commercial for that reason (more on the subject of artists in a little bit).

  • Personal usage of art is just that: for one's own entertainment. I have plenty of experience with this kind of Commissions, obviously. I use them for a myriad of reasons like cover art for fanfics or simply just adding more fanart of a specific character/s. I've also dealt with 'private' commissions, and that's mostly for OC related characters (which I have now made public). Private and Public commissions are relatively the same but some artist charge more for private commissions because they can't use it to advertise/showcase their talent.

I'm not sure if there are other type of commissions out there that is art related, but these two definitely hits a huge part of what commissions are for. Again, depending on what the commission is for can and will play a huge factor to the price. That's something to keep in mind when approaching an artist. Speaking of!

Which Artist to Commission? This question is VERY subjective and it all falls into the commissioner. Price will play into factor and every artist has a different price range. I found a few things that can really influence the artist's price and let me share some of these things.

  • Level of skill is probably the most sought out for. A commissioner wants a highly skilled and incredibly talented artist to put the picture in their head into 'reality'. But with that skill and talent comes with a price, literally. I have worked with a few different artists, different levels of skill, but in my opinion are all talented and well equipped for the pictures I had in mind. Which brings me to my next point about picking an artist.

  • Style of the artist is as subjective as they come. There's not much I can say in regards to this other than work with what you want. Do not settle and always remember that the final product is going to be within the artist's style that you choose. You cannot expect an artist to change his/her style for your preference. If you like the price but is ambivalent about the style then you should probably continue to shop for other artists.

  • Theme for an artist is also key. I commission some NSFW (not safe for work) art as well as SFW (safe for work) art. Some artists may not even touch NSFW themes and even if they do, they might not even WANT to dive into what kind of NSFW commission you are trying to pitch (for my case, it will be DiD and bondage related things that some artists will not go for). Just know what an artist draws and doesn't draw. Always look at their gallery to have an idea and if still not sure, ask. Most artists will be happy to spend a few minutes of their time for a possible customer.

  • Time is a essential but do understand that if this commission is for personal use, rushing the artist or getting a date of completion is not common practice. Artists are different when it comes to finishing work and it all depends on WHAT you commissioned, how many others s/he are working with, and obviously, what is going on with the artist's life. Some artists have a program where you can pay extra if you want a certain deadline. Honestly, I haven't really gone that route. All I want are updates like sketch updates, line work, etc. Some artists are really good about that, some aren't. It's better to get a grasp of how "fast" the artist is and how often s/he gives you updates and how they give you and update.

  • Rapport is not something that is always going to be required but I think that having an artist that you trust will make commissioning that much easier. It's different when testing the water with a new artist, trying to see how the artist works, if the artist is even trust worthy and all that. Professional communication is the key and just always know that it is still a business transaction. But it's always easier when you have a rapport that isn't strictly business.

  • Payment type I find isn't as big of an issue. Most artists will take paypal, which, from my experience, the easiest and safest way to do things. Some don't take paypal so one has to find other means to do so. Also, be on the lookout for 'steps for payment'. For artists that you haven't worked with, it's best to have 'pay after sketch' method, or something like that. Some artists prefer upfront payment and it wouldn't be an issue if said artist has a long standing gallery of commissions. If it's a 'brand new' artist, then take the pay after sketch method. Half after sketch, half after finished; least that's how I do things.

Well, the section about the artist took more time and effort, but the artist and the commissioner IS the most important aspect. I'm sure I missed some points here and there, but I feel as if I covered most general areas.


I feel as if I'm missing something. Regardless, those are some of the factors that a commissioner should look at when determining if an artist and the price corresponds. Also this goes without saying that can one really afford it? Yes it's nice to analyze and compare price in regards to skill and what one will get for the price, but if the price is just too expensive, it's just too expensive. There's no way around that. Other than that, I hope this gives SOME insight. Next post will touch base on: references, notes, and communication. Other than that, that's all I have!

Until Next Time!

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