006 Commissions

In this episode, hosts John Middick (Sharpened Artist) and Lisa Clough (Lachri Fine Art) discuss what a commission is and how to prepare yourself.  

Commissions may be a good way to earn some money as an artist.  But they can also be a double-edged sword.  If you don’t set some parameters and know what you are able to offer then it can bring a lot of frustration.


Definition: A patron or collector has made contact with you as an artist and has asked for a work of art.  


2 things happen right then..  

1) the person making the request for art has said to you that they like your art enough to exchange money for it.  

2) you are now entering into a working relationship with that person.  


They are a captive audience for the duration of the relationship.  -They will see how you conduct yourself in this relationship.  You have an opportunity at the end of the work to continue the relationship and keep them engaged.  (providing your website, business card, future discount if you offer discounts.)

  1. You are able to get paid to for creating art and you know the amount you’ll be paid from the very beginning.

  2. You know the customer already likes your art so you DO have some creative latitude in the process.

  3. Can help you build your portfolio.

  4. The customer can be another advertisement for your art.  They now have your art up in their house or business and others may ask about the piece.  Ex.- Owen Garrett of http://www.pencilneck.com/  takes the seller relationship very seriously where he is marketing to the person that is the recipient of his art.  So if they, the recipient of gifted art, decide to gift his art to someone he provides incentives for that.  So that keeps the ball rolling.  That can be a smart thing to do.


Should you take a deposit?

Should you discuss the copyright of the work?

Should you offer discounts?  

What should you charge?  Think about your time.



Know your abilities before you price your work and make the time commitment.   

Decide ahead of time how you will deal with poor references photos.


Here’s a link to a sample artist contract that you can make your own: