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Submitted on
May 16


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What's the Deal with Commissions?

Journal Entry: Fri May 16, 2014, 9:02 AM

 Something I've seen around Deviantart for awhile now, and I was curious as to what other people thought about it.

It seems so often I see many artists complaining that they cannot get anyone to commission artwork from them. They go to great lengths to try and sell their skills, and some even adjust their prices to next to nothing or DA points.
When people don't bite, they ask me, or on the forums, "What am I doing wrong? I only want 100 points and no one buys them"

There are many artists such as myself who sell art/prints etc etc because we rely on it as a part of our income,  but many of these people still live at home, or are in school. So, 100 DA points ( for example), which is $1.25 , is not really going to help anyone with bills or rent, or much of anything else.

And yet, there they are over and over, very upset and depressed that no one buys commissions from them.

When artists ask me how they can better market their work so people will buy it,  I look at their work first. I'm just one guy so my opinion is just that- I'm by no means an expert on anything. But most of the time, I see students who are still in an exploratory phase of art ( which is awesome and fun), but who haven't really settled into a style, or final pieces. And by that I mean, pieces that have all the elements to make it look finished, whether that be a very strong sketch, or a painting with a background.
They usually don't really need the few points or cents that would come out of selling (They live at home, their needs are met etc).
So in those cases, I usually suggest to them that they don't worry about the commission aspect of art yet. That they should just enjoy art for now. especially if no one buying is taking them down. Just practice, and improve their skills. See where all that passion and energy takes them. Often, if you're just doing what you want to do without worrying about external things, you start producing artwork that people really like and then they come to you for it. People will naturally start asking you if you take commissions.

Well, usually they start asking if you take requests or trades ( freebies ;P ), but the interest is there, and it's a marker that you might be ready to start offering commissions.

So I guess I'm asking, why is it so important to everyone? Is it important to you? That someone buys a commission from you even if it's just for a few dollars or a handful of points?
Is the desire to sell your artwork a source of pride? Does that make you feel a bit better about your art or a bit more accomplished?

I'd love to hear opinions on this. :nod:

Edit Disclaimer ( I cant believe I need this): I am not saying people should NOT sell their art for what they want. I am not saying a few cents is worthless. I'm making no judgements. I just asked some questions to gather opinions to see things from multiple perspectives. :o If people aren't allowed to politely ask other people's thoughts, how will anyone learn anything?

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EpicNinjaArtist Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well, I dont force myself upon people to buy my commissions or shove it in their face (thats probably the most annoying thing about artists who wanna sell)

To be totally honest, I just have prices set just in case someone wants them o.O
I had someone want a commission from me and i was COMPLETELY unprepared X'D It was kind of embarrassing to say the least, i cant interact well with people apparently QuQ

But really, i just draw because i love doing it. And i wont do a commission if i feel i cannot complete it to the best of my ability.

It is a good feeling to know someone wants to buy my art from me, but it would feel pointless if i shoved it in someones face. It would really just rip the good feelings out of it :'D Its like screaming LOVE ME at someone.
And the lower you charge the less people see value in your work most of the time O.o So if you honestly cant charge a decent price for your work, then you should improve before selling.

I dont charge an extremely high or low amount either. Especially since i enjoy drawing, and i dont need the money (i just buy art supplies and cosplay with it anyways >.>) theres no real point in charging an arm and a leg lol. I think my average pricing is somewhere between 10 and 20$. Which is fine for me, i think its pretty reasonable :)
One day though, ill have more professional commissions. But right now im pretty content with my work ouo
Besides, commissions can be a lot of pressure X'D And im AWFUL at advertising myself uhuhuhu TuT
K-Koji Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2014
"And the lower you charge the less people see value in your work most of the time"


 Totally agree. If you charge 3 cents for your work, people will have a hard time valuing it for what its truly worth one day :[
EpicNinjaArtist Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Its just like when shopping for something at a store, you see the original brand and the generic brand that are pretty much EXACTLY the same, but ones cheaper. People typically buy the more expensive ones, because they think that its worth more than the generic. ;u;
one day i will buy a commission or something from you ;u; BECAUSE ITS WORTH IT :iconpervyrenoplz:
K-Koji Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2014
lol @ :iconpervyrenoplz:
Fate4Destiny Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2014  Student Writer
I'm more of an author then artist, but often see other authors do commissions. It's a funny idea in literature to me, considering I'll do requests and what not for free. I question wether people who pay the artist commissions then OWN the artwork or not. Because if they don't own the artwork (which they'll never own in literature) the entire thing seems pointless. You'll be able to look at what you want that author/artist to do somewhere else.
And people who ask for commissions in writing aren't that good, meaning you have no idea what the quality will be or if they'll put in enough effort. Not to mention a potential wait list.
i don't think I'd ever pay for a commission, or ask for them in return
Sencilia-Harp Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014
What do points do?
K-Koji Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014

 SHould explain it ^
Siorah Featured By Owner May 31, 2014  Student Interface Designer
i dont even know what commissions are, but i sure as heck see them a lot lol
K-Koji Featured By Owner May 31, 2014
Commissions mean someone paying an artist for custom artwork.
Siorah Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2014  Student Interface Designer
ohhhh it all makes sense now thanks a lot! ;)
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