Out of all the subjects, everyone has a hot take on commissions. In this blog we are going to only briefly talk about pricing and get into the nitty gritty of working with clients, where and how to advertise yourself, and meeting both you and your clients expectations.
I want to begin by saying that building your business and your reputation takes time, patience, and a hell of a lot of work. There’s no easy way to the top, there’s no right way to the top; but there are a lot of bad habits to avoid and I’m here to help get you started. If you find something that works for you and is contrary to what I’ve said, go for it as long as it’s not hurting yourself or others.
So Pricing. Everyone has various models that they use, there's so many resources out there that I recommend you do a little more research in this area. Remember that you are enough, you're art is enough, and you should be charging enough to make money on your product. Let's get out of this rut where art should be done for exposure and chump change. Here is what I’ve found to be the most common discussed pricing models.
Time (equated usually as skill level/hr +$) +Material to make + Shipping/Handling = Final Cost
This is a great starting place for artists. It’s clear cut but takes more math than people expect, once you quote a client it is really hard to adjust prices without seeming flaky or inconsistent. Start with $10/ hr or your local area's minimum wage if you're unsure where to start. I’ve seen a lot of artists under price themselves this way, and I think that a variation of this can be really effective. We'll indulge in artist pricing in a different blog post.
Base Cost of Subject + add ons = final cost (shipping/handling added separately)
This is popular for commission sheets. You can organize your art in a simple manner that makes choosing expectations and cost very easy for your client. If you do character art I see prices organized by completion (i.e. sketch, line art, flat color, shaded color, detailed) and by the body (i.e. Portrait, waist up, hip up, full body) This can be tailored in whatever way works best for you.
Price per Item
Each item is quoted differently. This can lead your client in a bit blindly but gives you complete control of your quote before you give it to the client. You can adjust your cost for client budget work with them on the price.
I personally work a little in all the above, focusing primarily on the base cost of subject matter. I offer payment plans and work with clientele on a price that suits their needs as well as making sure I’m properly compensated for my time.
Let’s move on, you can’t beat a dead horse. Again, I recommend doing research and experiment with all of the pricing suggestions, including ones I haven’t listed.
Now, let’s get into advertising. I think paid advertising is mostly garbage. You don’t need to pay for an advert, especially if you’re just getting started. Instead focus on talking about your art, your journey, and what you’re learning along the way.
Your clients aren’t just your friends and family, you have a whole world ahead of you and somewhere someone is looking for the kind of art you can do. Give your audience the opportunity to get to know you, be silly and share parts of your life and your work. If your audience has an emotional connection with you and your work they will be more likely to support you.
Post often. Social Media right now is so over saturated with ambassadors and influencers, unfortunately you are competing for “air time”. Realistically you can’t be making new art for every single post, instead take photos of your process or of you working, add time lapses, detail shots, and repost your work. It’s okay to repost and not make new art every time you post.
Do your hashtag research. Find out what’s trending, and figure out what works for you. Only tag what’s relevant to your post and know what the hashtag cap is for the social media your posting on. High performing hashtags aren’t always the best, you might get the views but there’s so many things in that hashtag you might get washed away. Lower performing niche hashtags can put you in the right communities you want to work on.
Finally, how do you talk to clients? Client relations, to me, is one of the most important part of the process because a happy client is a repeat client.
Be open to their ideas, set your boundaries early on, and make it clear what your expectations are for your project.
Send updates if they are receptive to it, keep a constant communication through the process. If you’re running slow say so, if you want to make a change talk to them first. In that, after a point if the client wants to make significant changes I’ll charge for them because it takes more time to redo portions but I alert my client of when we are at that point.
Maintain a thorough and compassionate conversation. This seems excessive, that it might be a lot of work but I swear by my customer service and most of my clients have come back for seconds.
Once you decide on your pricing model, how you handle your advertising, and your client expectations you can start posting. I’ll get into it more in another blog post, but to get you started here’s some suggestions-
Social Media Announcement
Groups that align with your subject matter (not other artist or commission groups)
Hope this gets you started! Good luck fiends and until next time.