Hi, just swinging by to see how you were doing! Also, wondering if you still have the comic strip advertising commissions (it's more for reference rather than actually commissioning you, sorry!) floating around somewhere? It was a while back and I was thinking of passing it along to a friend for study.
Hey!! I’m doing much better than a few weeks ago, feeling great and dandy, thank you for asking!
I KNOW THE COMIC STRIP THAT YOU ARE REFERRING TO AND it’s probably floating around on other people’s blogs, but I deleted it off of mine because I am no longer taking commissions. But since I had an interesting experience with regards to that specific post and commission period, I’m gonna repost the four pages here and leave some commentary about it.
I’m also going to go ahead and answer this ask, too, since it’s in the same vein:
Hey there Anon, I usually charged $35 for sketchpage commissions! I fluctuated the amount that I charged for them between $35-$55, and $35 seemed to be where the amount of interest peaked, though that is very much underselling. If I open up commissions again in the future, I will definitely charge much more, since they take a lot of time and involve a lot of drawing. As for the second question, see below for advice and tips/observations I’ve discovered while doing commissions monthly to make rent for the last year and a half, haha!
**DISCLAIMER: I’M NOT OPEN FOR COMMISSIONS THIS IS NOT A COMMISSIONS ADVERTISEMENT POST**
ALSO THIS IS GOING TO BE A REALLY LONG POST SORRY I DECIDED TO TURN THIS INTO A GENERAL “COMMISSION ADVICE” POST CUZ I’VE HAD A LOT OF PEOPLE ASK ME FOR TIPS FOR FIRST-TIMERS
This particular commission advertisement absolutely exploded, which was completely unexpected to me, and exciting! I guess since people don’t usually present commission prices in this sort of pseudo-narrative style, it was eye-catching.
I didn’t get any business!! This post originally broke at least 1k notes if I remember correctly (it was last year, and my memory is not the greatest), but I managed to attract less business inquiries than I did on my usual, straight-forward commission pages! Which was a huge bummer!! The problem with this advertisement is that it read more as a narrative to be consumed than as a serious call to action, which is interesting, but, again, a bummer.
Most of the reblogs and sharing that happened with this commission advertisement ended up consisting of tags and commentary saying “oh this is sweet” “wow this is really clever” “I’m going to do something like this for my next commission sheet” “I can’t commission this person but this is too cool not to reblog” etc. etc. etc. etc. I mean, I thought it was a cool idea, and I guess it was from how well it gained traction, but it was probably one of the singularly most frustrating experiences of my freelance life, haha!
So my advice would be: don’t make your commissions posts like this if you want to get serious business inquiries. Make your prices and examples as quick to digest as possible. The more simple the page, the more people will jump at it.
I’ve ALSO found that if you’re going to do commissions, you should limit the type of work you’re willing to do and limit the options that commissioners have to consider. That sounds a little backwards when you consider what the average commission post you see looks like, but hear me out on this one.
If someone sees a commission sheet with strong, solid examples of a single type of commission like fullbody sketches, that’s an easy decision to make. Base price of $30 for a fullbody colored sketch? I can afford that! I’ll message them right now!
But if you have separate prices listed out for Headshots, Bustshots, Waistshots, Fullbody shots, and then on TOP of those types you have listed different art styles such as Sketch, Ink, Flats, Full Shading, and Full Illustrations, that’s a LOT of information to process and a LOT of decisions to make on the part of casual browsers. I have found in my own personal experience AS a buyer that I’m less likely to jump on commissioning someone if they have a billion options listed. If I see a post that’s like “hey I’m doing sketches that look like [example] hit me up if you want one they’re $20″ I’ll be a lot more likely to seriously consider it.
So, take for example the above four page commission advertisement comic I did. I offered way too many options, and presented them in a hard-to-digest format. For viewers, it wasn’t clear whether I was making a joke about starving artists, or if I was seriously looking to do work for people.
After that particular commission period, I changed my advertisements to look like this:
Straightforward and to the point. I realized that I really enjoyed doing sketchpage commissions because they let me be flexible with how I drew the character, and they were also my most popular commission option. So I changed my business to ONLY offering sketchpage commissions, so it would be easier for me to keep track of what everyone was getting, and easy for potential clients to know what they were going to get if they commissioned me.
And it worked! I consistently got between 20-30 commissions every single month, and it’s why I was able to survive that first year of living on my own out in the big adult world.
Phew, okay, my fingers are tired, I think that’s all the information I have to share on the subject??! Hopefully that’s helpful for someone out there. Sorry it was so long.