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Possible commissions, but what kind? by moult

Since I have some time on my hands, I'm thinking of offering commissions in the near future - probably a limited number, and in a limited choice of styles.

My question to you: what sort of thing - in terms of format, style and subject matter - would you buy from me if the price were right? My galleries give a rough sense of my range (not that I wouldn't stretch it, but let the buyer beware).

I ask because, not having done this since 2007, I'm a bit nervous, and I'd like to practice on some suitable examples first so I'm sure I can deliver.

Possible commissions, but what kind?


3 June 2014 at 16:11:14 MDT

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    Well, my suggestion would be to go with what you know. When I take commissions, admittedly I don't like to go too far out of my comfort zone because I can't assure the quality of something I have never done before.

    Looking at your gallery I do see a few interesting types of things-sheets with multiple drawings/characters on them, scenes, simple drawings of a single characters. Given your style, I can see something like this one being pretty attractive:
    It's got a full-body picture, a couple waist-ups and a bust. Good diversity, interesting poses, has a really neat look to it in my opinion.

    Pricing is something I can offer some rather unhelpful and painfully obvious advice on, when I do commission work I have set prices and they are probably a bit on the low side even for my rather mediocre skill level. I guess you'd need to figure out a per-character pricing model (including busts, waist-up, three-quarter and full-body) for things like your sheets with multiple drawings, letting the client pick what they can afford (say, a sheet with four busts or two busts and a full-body pic). Then figure out how to charge for complex props/items (I tend to count something like a car as another character due to the complexity, but something simple like a chair I wouldn't charge for).

    When it comes to actual numbers to charge, though, I have no idea. My main source of commissions is a single client, and I base my pricing on what he was willing to pay for various things so it works well enough. (Woo, textwall, sorry.)

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      I suppose it can be reassuring for the client (as well as the artist) to repeat the style of previous work, since then they have a rough example of what they'll be getting.

      The character sheets seem to be popular choice, and I prefer doing a few aspects to a character.

      I don't know about numbers either. I may literally have to do a trial run with a stopwatch and multiply that against a living wage rate. But I'd like to make the price structure as simple as I can, and not force potential clients to get out calculators.

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    What about reference sheets and other character design? I like what you did in pieces like:

    (Not like I could afford to commission anyone at the moment though, sorry. :C )

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      That's quite all right :) I was looking for input, and you gave me that!

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    Limited budget, so probably just inks.

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      Roger that. I'm expecting it to be true of most potential clients, really.

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    you could start with some simple little sketches to see how it goes! i wouldn't commit to anything too big if you're just starting up again.

    that's really exciting, though, best of luck!

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      I'm a bit torn (see below), but I'd probably feel happiest at the lower end of 'finished', perhaps simply-inked sketches and a bit of two-tone. My raw pencils are revolting, certainly not fit for discerning customers' eyes :)

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    the most success I've had from commissions has been to contain them within a certain theme (mostly within the REZQ setting/universe, where clients would be buying a picture of their character doing some kind of depressing future space job). This both helps people to imagine their characters in the commission (and thus be more likely to want a commission) and helps me to stop commissions from massively overflowing my skill set. It also makes pricing simpler and allows me to have a consistent sense of how long a commission will take.

    It's not quite a "Your Character Here" commission but it's providing an enabling constraint. I would say that in your case a good thing to do might be to take one of the larger projects you've done -- like that brilliant Burden comic you were working on, for instance -- and see if people might be interested in having their character rendered in that kind of a setting. Obviously if you've moved on artistically from that then think of something else but for me that has been, by far, the most effective approach to both attracting commissions, getting them done and having people really satisfied by the work (and coming back for more).

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      Your REZQ series was in the back of my mind as a good example of How To Do Commissions - their aesthetic loveliness aside, it's fascinating how they build and populate a coherent fictional world while still making the most of the clients' characters.

      I would love to do something similar in the vein of Burden (move on? Never). It might be a bit over-ambitious for a first round, though, and I'd need to think carefully about how I'd define it. ('Social realism tableau commissions'?)