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5 Tips for commission management

Oct 14, 2023

Art commissioning is becoming more popular in the digital art community, and it has become one of the ways for artists to get paid. I believe practically every artist, including myself, has done art commissions in the past. So I'd like to share my experiences with organizing art commissions.

Managing an art commission can be tricky, especially when the client has a lot of specifications.

Sometimes it happens that the buyer is not satisfied with the artwork once it is created. However, with these tips in mind, you'll be able to better manage your commission requests with less stress. The following tips will help you get the best out of your artwork commission and limit the potential for problems.


Create an Agreement With Deadlines and Desired Outcome

Always create an agreement with deadlines and desired outcome before starting work on the project. Ask questions if there are any unanswered questions about specifications pertaining to the order

Artists should always create an agreement with deadlines and desired outcome before starting work on the project. It is important to set boundaries for the scope of the project, what you are willing to do, and how much you are willing to charge.

It is also important to know how long it will take you to complete a piece of art before starting. This will prevent any deal-breaking surprises in terms of time and budget.

This step is also important because it helps clear your head and get your mind in the right space before beginning work on a new project.


Set Aside Enough Time for Your Commissioned Project

Make sure you set aside enough time for your commissioned project or else you risk having to rush it or do it in less detail.

Every commissioned project needs to be managed in a different way. The amount of time you put aside for each one is unique, even if the overall process is the same.

It's important to know that every art commission is different, so it's important to set aside enough time for your commissioned project. This will ensure that it's not rushed and you have the time to do it properly.

Want to Manage Your Commission?

Access my FREE Notion template here!

Ready-to-use Kanban Board
Revenue Tracker Table
View Your Commission Order in Calendar


Go Over All Specifications Before Starting

Go over all specifications before starting work on the project so that there are no surprises later on about what they want

It is important for you to have a clear understanding of what your commission is, what they are being paid for, and whether they are getting any other benefits.

You should also be aware of any specifications that the client may have, such as deadlines and commercial usage. If you have any questions about the specification, you should ask the client to clarify before starting work on the project. If all specifications are clear before starting work on a project it will make both parties happy and there should be no surprises later on.


Avoid Taking on an Excessive Amount of Work

If you are new to art commission, avoid taking on an excessive amount of work. Just like any other career, you should start with a small amount of work and slowly increase the workload.

By doing so, you will be able to see how much time is needed per commission and how much you can charge for it.

Another tip is to know when to say no. If it’s too much work and the pay isn’t high enough, it might not be worth your time and effort.


Use the Proper Management Tools.

Art commissions can be a source of income and a creative outlet for illustrators. But it can also be quite time-consuming and stressful, especially when you find yourself juggling multiple commission at the same time.

A good way to manage your art commissions is to use tools such as Notions or Trello that allow you to organize the work you have and prioritize what needs to be done first.

If you're looking for a commission management template, I've got one for you. And, sure, it is completely free! You may get my Notion commission management template that I created and replicate it for your own needs. Furthermore, if you have any difficulty utilizing them, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time!


Commission Price Calculator

Another crucial aspect of commissions is setting the right price for your art. I learned this lesson the hard way because I undervalued myself by charging less than I should have.

Learn from my mistakes! You can read more about the errors I made in handling art commissions here and utilize the commission price calculator below to determine your appropriate commission rate.

Basically, you need to be mindful of both the time you invest and your costs.

That wraps up my tips on art commissions. But if you're interested in exploring additional income streams beyond just commissions, let's  check out this article where I've shared everything I did to earn $5,000 without relying solely on commissions, and this could be a great starting point for boosting your income as an artist.

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