Hi Leslie! I'm a game design major and after seeing some of my art in class, a classmate of mine asked for me to draw him in some cartoon style. I told him that I don't do that kind of thing for free, so he agreed to pay me. I took the request, but after a bit, I realized that I know NOTHING about taking commissions. I don't know how much to charge, if I should send progress updates or anything really. So that brings me to ask: do you have any tips or insight on doing commissions? Thank you!
1.) Figuring how much to charge is p hard. I heard there are websites that help you do it. All I can say is make sure it’s never less than the minimum wage. Here in CA I think min wage is $10.50/hr. so I won’t go under that. Technically I’ll spend up to 2-3 hrs per icon so I should be charging up to $30 haha but ech. JUST YKNOW. Dont undercharge!
2.) Make them pay UPFRONT. Don’t work first and then have them pay! You can get scammed like that really how stupid!! If the person who is commissioning you doesnt want to pay upfront don’t take the commission. They can find someone else then.
OR you can have them pay half up front, do a sketch and send them that, and once they like the sketch they pay the other half and then you finish. But yeah I rather go with full payment up front cuz I refuse to work for free lmao.
3.) I, personally, love sending progress sketches! So that if they dont like something about the picture they can tell me as soon as possible! Nothing sucks more than finishing a long commission AND THEN they ask you to change something they dont like.
“No one could ever be that big of a jackass, Leslie!” UM YES THEY CAN haha trust me. So its best to send people multiple updates if you can afford to do so!
I like to send then a rough sketch WIP. If they like it I’ll do the lineart and send them that too. Once they approve the lineart I finish the coloring! The end!
4.) Communication is VERY important! Try to keep your commissioner updated often! If you dont talk to them for a while they’ll think you abandoned them and their commission. If you need a vacation or hiatus or whatever let them know!
5.) REQUIRE VISUAL REFERENCES. unless of course it’s a custom adoptable or something. Nothing sucks more when someone is like “can u draw my oc they have short brown hair and blue eyes thanks :)” LIKE NO THANKS
Not having visual references makes things incredibly hard! If they have no references then it’s considered a custom adoptable (you design a character for them) and that is usually more expensive than normal commissions! CUZ YOURE DESIGNING A CHARACTER FOR THEM WOWIE yeah
6.) Be upfront about how long it’ll take you to finish the commission! If you think it’ll take you a week tell em! A month? Be honest! Dont say youll have it done in 2 days when you know youll be extremely busy or whatever haha like I said, COMMUNICATION IS IMPORTANTE!
TREAT YOUR COMMISSIONER THE WAY YOU WOULD WANT TO BE TREATED IF YOU WERE IN THEIR SHOES!
7.) If the commissioner is rude, too impatient, overall an unpleasant person it’s okay to drop them. Give them a refund and let it go, you HAVE that right. Don’t put yourself in a position you dont want to be in. If they cant be professional you can leave. If you give them a full refund you owe them nothing more. Sometimes people are assholes so don’t work with them.