If you are reading this we know that you have thought about what it would be like to sell your art and earn extra money. Well, we have to ask, have you already taken some pieces of commissioned work? Do you fully understand what should be done for the piece? Many of the artists we have helped have made loads of extra cash by creating, marketing, and selling their custom artwork for people. Some sell to restaurants, hotels, or bars at first until they get notices. From there it is nothing but up when you continue to sell to residential, businesses, or private parties. It is a fun and challenging experience, but it does have major issues if you do not address them early. Before you dive deep into accepting commissioned pieces, here are some more things to consider.
Art Commission Rules
1.The most important thing you need to understand is to not sell yourself short. So the next time you ask yourself, “What is my art worth?” or “How much should I charge for this commissioned piece?” Remember, do not undersell yourself.
When you assign some dollar value to your work, the person or business you are selling this piece to will value it at that price. In one corner you can give the piece away for free, and that has sentimental value. On the other hand you can assign a huge, high dollar price tag to it. Each of these options is appropriate for different clients. If you believe that one of the clients would introduce you work to larger circles, maybe a free and sentimental gift is necessary. Where on the other hand there are circles of people who enjoy talking about how much they’ve spent on their art and include tid bits on who the painter or author is. Regardless, of your choice both have the possibility of becoming an heirloom for the buyer of your art.
The only thing you must never do, is place a bargain price on your art. In this scenario, the customer will value it as such and the piece has a high probability of ending up in the trash or worse, a rummage sale, within the next couple years.
- Price your work according to your skill level. Remember, when you’re just starting your art career you won’t be selling pieces for the same price as someone with a 20 year tenure. You must show that your skills are worth of the price that you are charging. Did you know that Van Gogh once sold a sketch for a meal, where nowadays that sketch is worth millions! The point is, unless you have or can reach a high skill level in a very short amount of time, don’t set yourself up to sell something that you cannot commit to. Be honest to your customers and yourself, and make sure when you paint anything your name is in the corner and that is the most valuable part of any painting you will ever make. Show your skill to prospective clients through examples of your work and make sure you are in agreement before setting off to do any piece.
Do not take on a job that is too far above your head.
- When you finally settle on a price and the piece, get the commission in writing. I cannot count how many times I have seen young artists get ripped off because the person would agree to paying more, then when the art is delivered they would say take it or leave to a smaller amount. By getting a written agreement you are protecting yourself and your brand. Be specific in your contract and make sure there are no surprises for your client upon delivery. This is where the second step is very important as well.
- Lastly, you should always get a deposit on your work. There will be an occasion where someone will decline the artwork because it is not what they had envisioned, but it is what they described. This is just a reality of dealing with people and a business that is as subjective as painting. This is just another way of protecting yourself.