I’d just like to mention, for those of you who are afraid of getting commissions, that out of all of the artists I’ve commissioned, burdwow was the only person I’ve had to request a paypal chargeback for. And its not exactly a small sample:

ALSO: I have a lot of trouble spelling the word commission 

tfw I knew Tevruden was a thing the moment I laid eyes on the massive amount of artwork that circulates. Whenever I see a picture, I know whom it is the before I see the titles on it 

In 15 years of getting artwork commissioned, I’ve had three artists flake on me.  One I just wrote off, because my whole purpose in commissioning them was to offer financial aid in a way their pride would allow them to accept.  One I requested a refund (and posted publicly about when they refused – I did eventually get my money back after 9 months of back and forth) and one… I don’t even remember what happened.

Commenting on this because I’ve seen a lot of posts about artists and commissions floating around this morning- if you’re at all concerned about getting a commission, Google is your friend.  Treat it like Yelp- you’re going to have negative reviews because some nitpicky customer couldn’t get 2 dozen changes to their finished piece and otherwise was an unreasonable toerag, but you’ll also get ‘This artist has terrible business practices. <lists legitimate complaints>’

I am a huge proponent of supporting artists; I was a freelance illustrator for 2 years.  But these are some of the things I’d watch out for:

– Constant emergency status.  Money shortages happen.  But if every 2-3 weeks there’s a new ‘I need money’ and there’s no output, odds are good you’re never going to get a product.  If you choose to support this artist, think of it as a donation rather than a commission.

– A relative unknown (not a lot of samples in an online gallery) taking a large quantity of commissions – Could absolutely be legitimate; they may not post their stuff online for a number of reasons.  But they also could be new to the business of freelancing and easily take on more than they can handle. Proceed with caution.

 – The only means of contact is via tumblr.   Tumblr is infamous for eating messages, and if there is no other way to contact the artist (email, DA, Skype, whatever), then that… feels really shady and fishy to me.  Email gives both of you a written record of what has been sent, and written records are your friend if there’s a dispute. 

Be sure you get everything in writing.  ‘I am paying for a 2 character, full body, colored commission x, y, z’ will protect you if the artist produces a single bust of a stick figure.

For the artists – Ask another successful freelancer how they handle their business.  All of the artists I’ve ever approached have been friendly and warm when answering questions, so don’t be afraid to talk to them!  Communication is huge; don’t hide from your customers- EVER.  If you get in over your head (believe me, it happens to all of us), talk to your clients and let them know what’s going on.

Try not to spend the money before the art is complete if at all possible. There will be times when a refund is the best way to maintain a good relationship with the client.  It’s never fun when money goes out instead of coming in, but freelance illustration is a repeat-customer game.  If they’re happy, they’ll commission you again.  (Which is not saying the customer is always right and you should bend over backwards to make them happy)

Annnd I have to head out to class, but if anyone wants to talk about the business of Art, my askbox/messaging is open.