Portrait Commissions, Part Two -- How

I have begun a portrait of Toby!  He is so excited!  Not!  He doesn't care, he just wants to go on walkies and play and eat.  LOL!  He is willing to eat the burglars along with his chow.

 Toby of the Mile Long Tongue.  LOL!

Toby of the Mile Long Tongue.  LOL!

Okay, about how to commission artwork:  If I am taking commissions (and I am) then potential clients will find my commission guidelines on my website.  They must be read carefully and before contacting me by email, letting me know very specifically what is wanted, including any photos necessary.  There will probably be quite a bit of discussion, usually by email, but maybe by messenger or phone.  Sometimes it is relatively straightforward, though, and there is little discussion, just the client telling me what they want and me sending the quote/contract.

When the client receives it, they need to read it carefully and make sure it includes all that was discussed.  When he/she is happy with it, they print it out, sign it, and return it to me by snail mail.  After the signed quote has been sent to me, then the non-refundable 50% deposit must be made.  Why in the world would someone make a non-refundable deposit of 50% of the fee?!  Well, art is work and the work has to be done before it can be approved by the client.  If someone is serious about wanting this, they will have done their research, discussed it until they are satisfied, signed the quote/contract which provides protection for both parties, and are trusting me to make good art.  To make the art takes not only my time and effort, but supplies and overhead.  When someone pays an artist to do a job, they are paying not only for a specific product, but for the education, knowledge, style, personality, and experience of the person, like any other business that involves a person providing a product or service.  In my particular case, I am not a well-known artist and not as skilled as some, so my prices reflect that.  If you were to commission someone like Norman Rockwell, you would pay accordingly.  (Actually, you probably would not pay accordingly.  You, or I, would probably not be able to afford him.  LOL!)  The payment will usually be through my website, by credit card, and it is processed by Stripe through secure means.

 Sample of a quote/contract.

Sample of a quote/contract.

After I receive the signed quote/contract and the payment, I will begin work on it.  During the discussion and in the contract, there will be a date and time by which I have promised to have the project completed.  It is important to plan projects well ahead of time, especially if it is for a birthday surprise or for a holiday.  A few months ahead is always good.  Last minute rushes cause quality of work to go down.  Plus, there are always things that can go wrong, so it is good to have plenty of time to fix those.  Of course, there may be times when there is truly a necessary rush, but it will add to the cost.

 This is one happy customer.  LOL!  Actually, this was a class assignment...

This is one happy customer.  LOL!  Actually, this was a class assignment...

Remember, though, that I may not accept a particular commission for many reasons, mostly because I don’t think I will be able to get it done in the time stipulated or the project is unreasonable to me.  Also, the client may decide that they do not want to work with me, usually because of price.  I totally understand, so please don’t hesitate to make a proposal, even if you have to withdraw it later.  If I cannot do it, I will not send a quote.  If you cannot do it, you will let me know during the initial discussions, before you sign and send the quote and make your deposit.  But, we have to have the discussion to find out.  You have to dip your toe in the water to see how it is, before you decide to dive in.

If you have any questions about my commission process, please ask in the comments below so that others can see the discussion.  I am not an experienced business tycoon, just a struggling artist working from my basement trying to do it right.  LOL!  Thanks for reading this whole thing!