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I commissioned a lot of artists (more than 50) and some of them didn't follow a commission process. These artists have asked for an upfront payment before sending the finished version of the image, and without doing any kind of on-going confirmation during the drawing process.

I won't commission this kind of artists anymore in the future, because I have no guaranty that the drawing will take into account the requirements of the commission. This has happened before, unfortunately.

Note: I'll use, below, client for the commissioner and artist for the commissioned artist.

For me, the perfect commission process would be:

  1. The client sends a note or an email to the artist with as many details and references as possible about the commission
  2. The artist replies quickly (within 1 or 2 days after receiving the message, if he's available), accepts or refuses commission, and gives a price for the commission
  3. The client replies whether the price is fine for him or not (but he shouldn't start to bargain)
  4. The artist gives an delivery date before starting to work. If he has a waiting list, he puts the commission in it
  5. Once the artist is ready to start the commission, he works on at least 1 (more is better...) rough preliminary sketch, integrating the important features (each character without details and a very rough background) and sends it (or them) to the client. This step is really important because the client can provide feedback and eventually ask for changes. Since it's supposed to be a very rough sketch, it shouldn't take much time to draw
  6. The client chooses the sketch he prefers and eventually asks for changes. Payment is specified as a Service and the artist decides whether to integrate Paypal fees in its price. The client then sends the full payment. If the deal is a failure (the artist is a scammer for example), the client can be refunded by Paypal, which is not possible when payment is specified as a Gift
  7. The artist makes a detailed sketch and sends it to the client for approval
  8. The client can only ask for small changes, since the artist can't redraw the whole scene at this stage
  9. Upon mutual acceptance, the artist can go further (line art and color validations are optional and depend on artist's style and if references sent by the client have enough information)
  10. The artist provides news frequently or updates commission status regarding its position on his waiting list. He replies to any client status request, possibly sends WIP, if he has done some. A client without news after several weeks will start worrying and begin to consider the artist as a scammer. Clients in general shouldn't need to ask for progress information
  11. Once the piece is finished, the artist sends, when possible, a high resolution version (more than 2000 pixels in larger side) in a lossless format (PNG, TIFF, PSD or BMP). Remember the client payed for a hi-res drawing without compression alterations and he shouldn't get a low res JPEG file. Warning! Verify that the lossless file is not a reconverted JPEG
  12. Now that the client has his commission done, the artist can publish it in his DA gallery, through any format and size of his choice
  13. The client should comment the piece in the artist gallery and say he's satisfied with the commission he got in the end, and thank the artist kindly


Some comments :

- Both client and artist should be polite the whole time and don't forget to thank each other when necessary :)
- Communication is very important. If the client or the artist doesn't reply to a message, both could easily think the other one is a scammer
- If the artist or the client checks more often his emails than notes, they should provide their personal email address and use them for communications

I hope this journal will be helpful for other commissioners or artists on their commission processes :)

If you find anything wrong (English is not my native language), don't hesitate to comment! Thanks :D

If you would like to share or publish it in any group, just help yourself.

Thanks to :iconfred73fr: for fixes and better translation :D
  • Reading: Lanfeust Odyssey
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Add a Comment:
 
:iconthaeonblade:
Thaeonblade Featured By Owner May 23, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Agreed
Reply
:iconkervala:
Kervala Featured By Owner May 24, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks :hug:
Reply
:iconshadowyzman:
shadowyzman Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
That's a nice streamlined process. I do pretty much most of those. Maybe we can work together sometime :)
Reply
:iconkervala:
Kervala Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks :D
Reply
:iconshadowyzman:
shadowyzman Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Anytime :D
Reply
:iconbloodtalonhero:
BloodTalonHero Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2014
Excellent advice! My process is pretty much same except for the rough sketches part. I have received no complaints so far.

Nice icon BTW. :)
Reply
:iconkervala:
Kervala Featured By Owner Edited Nov 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks a lot :hug:
Reply
:iconkobasena:
KobaSena Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2014
Exactly what I think when I commission artist ! (I'm at like 30 comm...).

Thanks, I will add it when I commission someone.
Reply
:iconkervala:
Kervala Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
De rien :hug: Je pense qu'on fait tous les même erreurs quand on commence à demander des commissions (ou qu'on en propose lorsqu'on est un artiste) :D

Merci pour ton commentaire aussi :D
Reply
:iconkobasena:
KobaSena Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2014
Oui, les premières fois c'est un peut l'aventure vers l'inconnu. Heureusement j'ai eu une bonne première expérience.
Tu as bien résumé les 2 parties.
Je vais m'en inspirer et l'utiliser pour la prochaine fois !

Et thanks for le llama, je t'en renvoie un plus tard 👌
Reply
:iconkervala:
Kervala Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Je suis comme toi, j'ai eu beaucoup de chance aussi :D Mais c'est vrai que je stressais beaucoup au début :s

Et merci pour le watch aussi :hug:
Reply
:iconkobasena:
KobaSena Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2014
Merki , toi aussi :)
Reply
:iconpizzapotatonbacon:
PizzaPotatoNBacon Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2014  Student General Artist
Wow, this is a pretty fair system. :) I confess I pretty much broke most of the rules and processes listed here, but I'll try to revamp my commission system now that I've read this. :D
Reply
:iconkervala:
Kervala Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks a lot :hug:
Reply
:iconithilloth:
Ithilloth Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013   General Artist
WOW thank you so much! this is unbelievably helpful for those who don't have that much expierience in doing commissions (me :B)!
luckily, my process is very similar - in fact, I just skip the rough sketch part, making a plain clean sketch at the beginning. usually clients like my ideas, but when they want me to change something, it's not a big problem on pencil sketch, and not at all on digital sketch. 
I also submit the commission to my dA gallery before sending the HQ full size to the client, but never thought that I should do reverse... is it that important? because it happened that I sent the note about finished artwork to the client and they replied after a week or longer, I have a client that haven't replied yet since October - while I would like to submit the artwork for my watchers and other potential clients to see that I'm honest artist. hope that makes sense XD
but anyways, I'm really happy I could read this, because all my clients were patient and never complained on anything, so I wouldn't know if I'm doing anything wrong. thank you once again! :heart:
Reply
:iconkervala:
Kervala Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist

You're welcome and thanks a lot for your feedback :hug:


In fact, for the rough sketch part, it depends also if you work digitally or traditionally and the type of commission. For complicated scenes with several characters, I suppose it'll be more helpful than for a portrait :)


And about sending the picture to the commissioner before to publish it, it depends if he already validated it :) Sometimes, if he didn't see intermediate steps, he could want to change some details. But it's up to you, you can even ask to commissioners what they prefer :) But the order is not so important as long as the commissioner get his commission and his satisfied with it :D


But the most important things are to keep in touch with commissioners and reply to their messages :D


Reply
:iconithilloth:
Ithilloth Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013   General Artist
no problem, thank you for your response :hug:
that's the point, I've never made a big picture with several characters, at the moment I'm making my first with two :D
usually I send at least one WIP, so I guess it's not that bad :) I just assume if the client doesn't ask for WIPs, they want their artwork to be kind of surprise maybe? anyway that's the good point, commissioner's opinion should be most important.
I once made that mistake that I had a very busy period in my life (exams, breakup with bf) and forgot to contact one of my commissioners, a few months passed when I finally sent her first sketch of her character and she didn't even respond ^^; and I understood her perfectly. now I'll never allow myself to lose touch with my clients. :nod:
Reply
:iconkervala:
Kervala Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist

Yes, at least one WIP is enough most of time :D But I suggest you to ask to the client if he want to receive the WIP or prefer to be surprised, perhaps he simply doesn't know he could receive it after all :)


Argh, you're right ! The commissioner also has to reply to your messages :s But that's a problem with DA too, if a user doesn't go on DA anymore to check his notes, it won't be notified by emails :( That's why I try to communicate via email in priority :)


Reply
:iconithilloth:
Ithilloth Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013   General Artist
So in the end communication is always most important, it seems ;)
Thanks once again for all the information :heart:
Reply
:iconkervala:
Kervala Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You're right and you're welcome :hug:
Reply
:iconladydeddelit:
LadyDeddelit Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Professional
:hug:
Reply
:icondarkelixir:
DarkElixir Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
You get everything right! So good it's shocking. Love
Reply
:iconkervala:
Kervala Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I agree :love: In fact, that's after commissioning Dedde once again I decided to write this journal because her process is really perfect :D
Reply
:icondarkelixir:
DarkElixir Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
No wonder it's so well thought out, you were inspired by the best. w00t!
Reply
:iconkervala:
Kervala Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist

:blush: :tighthug:

Reply
:iconluciana-lu:
Luciana-Lu Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013
ScotsmanofAlbaery useful and good! Must keep on my favorites!
Reply
:iconluciana-lu:
Luciana-Lu Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013
Aw sorry, I pasted a name by mistake on the comment X__x
Reply
:iconkervala:
Kervala Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist

Thanks a lot :hug:


And no problem for the bad paste :D

Reply
:icondarkelixir:
DarkElixir Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Again you offer a valuable resource to other commissioners! This is very sage advice.

I have recently been stung by such a scam artist as you mention. Venlian completed the image Game for me. The artist demanded payment up front, missed the completion deadline by 2 months, I was not offered input in the image design process and the end result is full of anatomical errors and abysmal texturing. The final product is also only available in such a low resolution that it is unprintable. It was quite a wake up call and something I do not wish to repeat.

As a precaution I have started contacting individuals who have previously commissioned artists to find out if the process and final product was satisfactory. Only then will I contact the artist directly to commission them.
Reply
:iconkervala:
Kervala Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist

Thanks a lot :hug:


About Venlian, a friend told me she also had a bad experience with her :(


And that's an excellent idea to contact previous commissioners and get some feedback about artists :D

Reply
:iconjeardawg:
Jeardawg Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2013
I like it,  this is helpful, I wish I had a resource like this before one particular commission.

Reply
:iconkervala:
Kervala Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks a lot :hug: Yes, I also think it can be useful, because several artists don't explain their process in details but commissioners can ask them what they'll would like to see :) And it's always possible to negotiate the process with them :)
Reply
:iconcolletteturner:
ColletteTurner Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Looks good! This is pretty much how I do things now, although I don't post my commissions up on deviantart anymore. 

Sadly I find that most artists I've commissioned have gone the route that you pay them, and then don't hear anything back until they've finished the image, which sucks when you want something changed. >_>
Reply
:iconkervala:
Kervala Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks a lot Collette :hug: Yes, your commission process is identical :D

About artists you commissioned, that's very sad they do that, because showing WIP doesn't require much more time and errors (if any) can be detected and fixed sooner :)
Reply
:iconcolletteturner:
ColletteTurner Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Yeah, I imagine doing WIPS, and keeping clients updated really helping to prevent a lot of stress on both ends! 

This is awesome to see as a journal though, especially for people who are just starting out, on both sides. :D
Reply
:iconkervala:
Kervala Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You're right and thanks again :hug:
Reply
:icongorgriz:
Gorgriz Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2013
Si je fais la moyenne de mes commissions, les étapes suivies sont :
1, 2, 3, 7/8 une fois sur deux, 11 mais en jpeg, 12 et 13

Mais j'aime bien le déroulé. Est-ce que ça te dérange si je m'en inspire :) ?
Reply
:iconkervala:
Kervala Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist

Non, aucun soucis :D Plus un article similaire tournera, plus les artistes s'en inspireront pour améliorer leur processus donc c'est tout bénef pour tout le monde :)


Et sinon c'est vraiment récemment que je me suis rendu compte que c'était pas mal quand les artistes filaient plusieurs sketches préliminaires :) Je dois avoir 8 artistes commissionnés en tout qui m'ont envoyé 2 sketches ou plus à choisir :D Et je trouve que c'est vraiment appréciable :)

Reply
:iconsatrathai:
SatraThai Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, what you said is correct =)
However, lemme say some words about my commissions, haha x3 ( coz any criticism's useful )
Process' almost the same, however, I never send several rough sketches. I draw several, but choose one, clean and send this one to customer. I never heard about sending several sketches to choose, and I also never got several sketches to choose when I was buying commissions ( I rarely got any verification sketch lol xD ). So it's like, I skip steps 5-6. With it, as my commissioners know me, and I know them, they can pay asap, or after verified sketch, or when pic will be finished. But if it's new clients, I prefer them to pay asap x3
High resolution: as I told you already, I'm drawing on canvases 1000x1500px, or on A4 (~2500x3500px) for bigger price. Sadly, I usually save in .jpg with quality 12. I just used to, idk why =) I think I should check it better next time too x3
And publishing, well.. I can be slow about it. But some of commissions I bought weren't published or were just published on tumblr (I have no tumblr xD), and it feels a lot like artist feels shy or whatever about this art..
Now I'm waiting for your criticism! xD I do something wrong or it's still ok/acceptable?
Reply
:iconkervala:
Kervala Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist

Thanks a lot for your reply :hug:


I'm only angry against artists who ask an upfront payment and only send the final version without any progress (and even worst don't even reply to messages) :D


The steps I wrote are just the best process ever I can imagine (I don't see what could be added ^^), you don't need to follow every steps to be a good and honest artist :D The high resolution mention is only there for artists who works in a high resolution and only give a small one :(


Some artists would like to start commissions, but don't know how to process, so I think it can help them :) It can also helps commissioners to see what points interests them :)

Reply
:iconsatrathai:
SatraThai Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, I see =)
Thanks for useful information! :hug:
Reply
:iconkervala:
Kervala Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
De rien :tighthug:
Reply
:iconkittywolfinc:
KittyWolfInc Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Gah thank you, I'm just starting out in taking (point) commissions and this will help me out tons !
Reply
:iconkervala:
Kervala Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist

You're welcome, I'm glad it can help you :hug: I know a lot of artists are not used to commissions and perhaps they could get lost at beginning :(


By the way, some aspects I mentioned are really specific to artists who are charging a lot (more than 50$) for commissions.

Reply
:iconkittywolfinc:
KittyWolfInc Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:iconspazhugplz:
Yeah, I charge points for my commissions and even now I'm scared because I think they are high ><
Reply
:iconkervala:
Kervala Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You shouldn't think that :D Good luck for your commissions :hug:
Reply
:iconkittywolfinc:
KittyWolfInc Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
^^
Reply
:iconqdla:
QDLA Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2013
Je viens de regarder, j'ai facilement 75% de JPEG dans mes commissions...
Reply
:iconkervala:
Kervala Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist

Arf, c'est vraiment dommage ça :( Je dois en avoir 33% ou un truc dans le style...


En fait, j'ai eu 5 genre de cas :


- l'artiste envoie directement en PNG et c'est parfait :D

- l'artiste envoie dans un autre format lossless (TIFF, PSD, BMP, etc...), ça me convient parfaitement aussi :)

- l'artiste envoie une image JPEG, mais sur demande m'envoie une vraie version PNG, c'est nickel :)

- l'artiste envoie une image JPEG et une PNG sur demande, mais c'est la JPEG qui a été reconvertie, pas top :(

- l'artiste envoie une JPEG et ne répond pas à ma demande de PNG, encore pire...


Reply
:iconqdla:
QDLA Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2013
Ya aussi "erikvonlehmann" qui doit m'envoyer la hi-res de ma comm, qui me dit oui-oui mais qui n'envoie rien...-_-
Reply
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