A Framework for Accepting Art Commissions

Whether you accept commissions for portraits (houses, people, pets), funerary urns, custom jewelry, or garden sculpture, you encounter situations that other artists don’t.

Commissioned artists must meet with patrons, communicate throughout the process, figure out payment schedules, and create documents that outline terms to the clients. All of this on top of making the client happy.

Commissions aren’t for everyone, which means there is plenty of room for artists who enjoy and are good at them. If you are one of those artists, follow these 8 steps to land more of them.

8 Steps for Landing Art Commissions

1. Add a prominent link for commissions on your website.

Include steps for commissioning a piece and testimonials from happy patrons alongside images of the finished work.

2. Provide at least two ways to contact you.

See that your marketing materials, including your website, have both an email address and a phone number. According to Matt Oechsli, the affluent prefer phone to email.

At least one artist has lost an opportunity for a mural commission because she didn’t have a phone number on her site and her email was down. How do I know? Because I was the person looking for an artist to help a neighbor with her project.

3. Understand your pricing structure.

Commissioned artwork should be priced higher than your other work because you are trying to meet someone else’s expectations.

Some artists charge as much as

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How to Decide if a Call for Entry is Worth Sweating Over

There are differences among the various types of calls for entry competitions, but let’s start at the very basics: how to evaluate a Call and decide if you should respond.

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Attack it head on

Back in December, I ran a Deep Thought Thursday about how to satisfy an unreasonable client who has hired you for a commissioned piece of art. I presented a particular situation (which you need to read about to understand this post) and many alert readers helped an artist address this problem.

Later, I received this email from the artist with the unreasonable (?) client. She wrote.

I just wanted to update you and everyone that offered ideas and support with my 2-year-old commission. I met with [the client] several days ago and he asked me how I liked the finished piece. I told him it was perfect and that there was nothing more I could do with it. He said “ok” and thanked me. And that was it.

I think

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Deep Thought Thursday: Satisfying an Unreasonable (?) Client

You were thrilled to get that commission, but the excitement soon wore off. You can’t make your client happy! You do and re-do and start all over again. How do you handle an unsatisfied client in a professional manner while standing your ground?

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Deep Thought(s) Thursday: Do you owe your gallery?

If someone found you on a gallery website, do you owe your gallery a finder’s fee? How do you know? Does it make a difference if the client wants a custom painting that doesn’t yet exist?

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Deep Thought Thursday: Could you make it blue instead of pink?

What would you do (as an artist) when a client wants to buy a painting, for a few thousand dollars, but requires one of the minor details be changed? Would you alter the painting or not?

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