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Creating Commissioned Work as an Artist

Creating Commissioned Work as an Artist

Valerie Atkisson / ArtBistro

As you complete commissions you will get to know your work style and better understand your strengths and weaknesses. Personally, finishing the work on time has been a struggle for me. To avoid this, I have made adjustments in contracts that allow for more flexibility. Your struggle might be with not charging enough for your time or not communicating effectively with the client. Whatever it is, with time and experience you will acquire the means to both create your best work and make the client happy while remaining professional.

ArtBistro user, Marcel Franquelin adds the following advice to artists working on commissions:

1) I had a portrait to do for a woman once who wanted to surprise her husband-to-be with a glamorous/sexy portrait of herself: they broke up before I was done! Of course, neither of them wanted the work, needless to say, pay for it… Always ask for a deposit to start (sign a contract) and a partial payment at the halfway point.

2) Do not delve into commission work too heavily. I made that mistake from 1997 until 2001 and wound up out of inventory for my personal artwork! Not good if you work with galleries!

3) Even though it is nice to know that money is coming your way, keep in mind that you love painting because of the things you want to paint; try to balance your personal work and the commissions.

4) Keep your sense of humor when dealing with you clients.

Take this advice from your fellow ArtBistro users and you’ll be on the right track to a successful commission work career!

Photo credit: Marcel Franquelin, Oil on Canvas

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