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Commission Help/Guide

Wed Jan 23, 2013, 12:37 PM
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Did I even put this in the right category? I don't even know.</i>
This week I've been seeing just one person after another with prices that are waaay to low for what you get from them, sooo, this is a bit of a rant/guide-like thing... A few people have been asking me how to get more commissions and stuff so here you go.
This is addressed mainly at Point commissioners, but most of it applies to money commissions, too.

Pricing you work
What is wrong with having your prices low- firstly, in the event that you gain a lot of watchers you will be flooded with work eventually. It will happen even if you have decent prices, just more slowly. And also, you won't be gaining much of anything for the time and effort you put into your work, which can make you loose motivation after awhile.

Minimum wage- Okay, so I search up what minimum wage in my area is- 7.25 USD per hour. HOLY FUDGE. So convert that into Points and you'd be making 725 Points per hour if you charged that much. I'm not saying to charge by the hour, or as much as minimum wage, but it's something to consider.

Why bother charging a lot if you don't have a PayPal or bank account- I know it's not much fun when you can't spend your money in real life, but how about saving your Points on your earnings page? You can convert them into real cash when you do get your PayPal account! But be warned, 1OO Points now is equal to 1USD! dA takes 2O% of premium content and commission widget earnings for themselves, so to avoid loss, you're gonna have to bump your prices up 2O%.

Premium Content & the Commissions Widget- I vastly recommend using this method of being payed over just sending Points. Using a premium  content download or commission widget, your Points will be sent to your earnings page, and will, after 14 days, be available to withdraw as either Points or real money. You can't do that with just sending Points.

So let's think about this:
- how many hours/minutes does it take you to complete your work?
- how much do you want/need to make from commissions?
- what is a fair price to not only you, but to the buyers?
- and furthermore, how much time and effort can you put into this without getting burnt out?
- what is your skill level?
- how many watchers do you have?

I am continually stunned by people asking 1 Point for something, and then fussing and being rude when something is sold for 1OO+ Points.
So stop undercharging yourself! You deserve to gain even a little bit for your work!

Getting noticed
Not getting any commissions whatsoever? Well, if you have less then 1OO watchers, I doubt your work has gotten a lot of attention.

Join groups and get your art featured- Just make sure to unwatch them or your inbox will become a hellhole. Join at least 2O art groups and that many commission groups with at least 1OO watchers/members. You can start searching here:…
When you add your work to a group, all the watchers will get it in their inbox, giving you more pageviews, faves, and watches. :>
When you get your commission info up, submit that to as many commission/featuring groups as possible!
If you have some time to kill, you can also use GetWatchers's art viewer to get more attention.

Make fanart, do kiribans, enter contests, get yourself out there in the community- I don't recommend the fanart so very much, read this if you want to know why. Contests are good, especially if you win, you will not only get a prize, but your name will likely be out there. Commenting on people's art is a good habit to get into, but do try to avoid 'empty' or 'one worded' comments, as those aren't looked kindly upon in most cases, being sometimes considered 'spam'.

Advertising- Aside from joining groups and the above mentioned things, you might also try paying/asking for a feature. Do not beg. Do not comment or note people incessantly about your commissions, asking for points or features or ANYTHING. This is SPAM, even if your intentions are good, nobody wants random comments begging for things on their profile.

Art improvement- if all else fails, go look at some tutorials, ask for critiques, redlines, etc. If your art is better quality, you can have higher prices and you'll gain watchers faster.
NOTE: I don't recommend asking for critiques on your finished commissions, this may point out unnoticed flaws to the commissioner, and might mean more editing work for you. No, I'm not saying be lazy on your commissions, just don't ask for people to point out what's wrong with something you got payed for.

The actual taking of commissions
Yes, this does need a section. If you aren't properly organized this won't be fun.

Commission Info- you'll want a journal or deviation with your prices and examples in it. It's good to list all of the important things, such as:
- what you can or can't do
- how much time you take,
- what order you do things in
- what the price for extra characters, complex bgs, accessories, etc is
- as many examples as is tastefully possible

How to order- I generally like comments and not notes, but it's up to you. It's good to have everything [order-wise] in one place so you can check it whenever you need to. I recommend having a form all your commissioners fill out, here's the one I use as an example:

Type: (the type of thing you're ordering)
Payment method: (please check to see what is available)

Character ref: (any clear image that displays markings and such clearly is fine)
Pose: (optional)
Details: (Important part! This should be filled with stuff you don't want me to miss!)

Schedules & the dreaded to-do list- I currently am using a document for my to-do list, you can see it here. It's good to list  how far along you are with something, maybe even what day you're going to be doing it. This way your commissioners will know what's currently going on and when their art will be done. Schedules are useful for you too, since you will know what you are doing on what day. It can be a bit stressful for me, and I end up procrastinating over things when I just have a huge list that has no order to it.

That's it for now, if you have questions feel free to ask them. Also, I could have no idea what I'm talking about so don't think I'm gonna be correct about everything in here. I'm probably not. Might add more later if I can think of anything...
edit1: fixed a typo and added something to the improvement area

BG by Charyu | progress bar code/buttons by CypherVisor
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T-e-a-K-i-t-t-y Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
      Thanks for this :'D
pandadoge Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Boop; this is really good advice! Especially the minimum wage thing; in Ireland it's 8 euro an hour, but the way dA's community is, you'd be lucky to get 8 euro for 4 hours work ;u;

If people are serious in making money out of drawing animals all the time I recommend furaffinity just to get experience, because over there for some unknown reason people have money to burn, and charging minimum wage is expected, heck I've been given tips before! C:
Emberguard Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013   General Artist
Something else to note about under valuing your work. The more people undervalue their work the lower people expect to pay for the work, eventually no one will pay anyone what the art is worth and it'll make the market impossible to work in both on and off the internet.

Over where I live, minimum wage is $15.96 per hour for a 21 year old. Or for a 18 year old it'd be $10.90.

According to this article [link], the americans minimum wage is $7.25 but should be $21.16 or higher

Now here lies the big issue, If I go by my countries minimum wage, and you go by your countries minimum wage, your prices are going to bring down my prices if we both have the same quality and amount of work. This is why the points system on DA make it very hard for anyone to make a living off of art, people when they first go onto DA tend to think of 1 point being 1 dollar instead of the 100 points is 1 dollar. This results in people who don't care about making a living as they're still in school in doing what's essentially 1 cent commissions and will slowly destroy the market unless they're taught to price their wares at a reasonable price even without the goal to make a living.
rainfreezer Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
YES. I just raised my prices a bunch, especially my icons due to popularity and I feel a lot better now *u*

all i've been getting is support too which is nice
except my friend
told me they were too expensive
in a not so good way and
i felt so bad ;m;

but i still have way more support so i feel ok
Emberguard Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013   General Artist
It's better to raise your prices to minimum wage then keep them under it. If you don't raise it to meet minimum wage all it'll do is damage the market in the long run. There was an article I read somewhere that said if you aren't good enough to fetch minimum wage, then you shouldn't be in the market. It's harsh to hear that but the fact is that the people who sell their art for basically nothing are taking away any chance for others to live off of their art as whatever they sell their art for becomes the benchmark. And if the time comes that the people selling their art for cheap have to rely on that art to make a living, they won't have a market to sell to because they'll have ruined it with the cheap prices and quality art.

I've had a look at your art, and it looks wonderful, I'm sure you'd be more then capable of fetching the minimum wage. In the end the two things that'll get the market of people willing to pay you minimum wage is having work that is good enough as well as advertising that work so they know you exist.

Now that only problem I have with the minimum wage, is the difference between places. Americas is $7.25 but Australia's is $21.16. big difference in prices
rainfreezer Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
oh wow
that is really true though, i saw an article too about why undercharging is bad...

ahh thank you so much!!
i really appreciate it <3

omg lol
yeah the difference between places is hard too

but you know
your art is very nice too!!
keep it up *u*
Emberguard Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013   General Artist
Thanks :3 I hope to get even better at my art. I've got some strong points, but also a lot of weaker areas I need to improve in. There's this guy that sells these beautiful paintings at a local market for $750 (size: 35.4x47.2 inches or 900x1200mm) he calls it cheap @.@ And perhaps it is considering the amount of detail he puts into it, but it really shows how undervalued DAs art is in general considering he calls a $750 top quality painting cheap.
rainfreezer Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
ahhh WOW >w<
but yes
paintings can go for thousands ahh
Emberguard Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013   General Artist
Being an amateur artist myself I would really like to sell my art at that market as well. But with such high quality going at the market I think I'll wait until I have a few really good pieces of my own that I feel would sell or otherwise I doubt anyone would want to buy what I'd be selling considering the competition. I'm hoping to sell pencil art. I don't want to undervalue my work at the market because doing so will only bring damage to the value of my competition. And while I want to make money, I don't want to make him lower his prices either, that'll just make it harder for me in the long run as I've got my entire life ahead. I certainly wouldn't want my reputation going out there as someone with either really cheap prices or really low quality pieces or I'll never get a decent price tag on my work.
rainfreezer Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
hmm yes

i thought to gradually increase my prices
but in the article, the artist, who is now quite well-known(on tumblr at least), said she'd started out that way as well, and it was a huge mistake
it brought her the wrong client base, and if it goes on, it will become harder to gather people who'd be willing to pay a decent price for art
simtix Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Very helpful! :D Thank you(:
fluffberry Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, you make a lot of great points! c: (Oh haha look a pun)
poooptato Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013
you make really great points, but I really wouldn't recommend using premium content & dA's commission widget to pay for commissions if you're gonna withdraw only points from it. dA takes 20% from it, so I feel like just sending the points directly would be better. (めωめ*)

ah idk, just my two cents, thanks for doing this !
Charyu Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Student Digital Artist
    Yeah, it would be better to do that. I didn't think about that when I was typin' it up. xD
OniricSkull Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Minimun wage here is like 1.25 USD per hour. XD Lot of stuff like food and healthcare is cheaper though
scellix Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013
-applauds- <3
Sunda-e Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
oh god this is amazing.
thank you so much for thiss <3
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Submitted on
January 23, 2013


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