Commissions are a funny way to practice and make some extra money. You can always draw something different without even thinking about what to draw! That’s the whole point of commissions: a client contacts you, asks for something in particular, you do it in your style.
But.. it’s not always that easy😅 Artists sometimes take for granted things that clients don’t even know, probably. And it sometimes happens that not even the client knows what he wants, or what’s possible to ask or not ask. Artists can’t do anything, so it’s really important that you start learning to say YES or NO (NO’s are even more important!!) to clarify and have a better relationship with the client and enjoy your work with serenity!
It takes time, you really have to be patient. Everything requires planning before, and patience to wait that everything moves.
And, of course, you need to know someone, that’s why networking is fundamental: word of mouth is incredibly useful in this area. The more people you know, or you reach, the more likely you can work, and take commissions!!
It’s not a from 0 to 100 in days. Not even in weeks. Maybe, not even in a few months. I’m not here to promise you instant success, because it doesn’t exist. But with effort, consistency and a lot of love for what you do, you can do whatever you want in life!
I know that you think that internet is the only way to work as an artist and start getting commissions, but I’ll prove you wrong!
Now, having said aaall of these things…
| How can you get commissions?
Connecting with your followers is fundamental. You need to gain somebody’s trust to get him to buy something from you.
Sometimes people don’t buy something just because is cheaper, better or original in confront of others; they buy it just because it’s yours! And they like what you do a priori (aside from the fact that it is aesthetically beautiful, and competently done.)
The internet offers a lot of opportunities, so there you go some of the infinite channels to use to get commissions:
Fiverr is a really known platform that allows you to be (and also hire, in case you’ll need it) a freelancer in every area: you can find artists, copywriters, translators and the list goes on.
ATTENTION: Fiverr is not liked nor recommended from everyone who has tried it. Some made a lot of money, some had problems. Some love it, some hate it. It’s a really discussed topic and I recommend you to inform as much as possible before using Fiverr, so you can know 100 if it fits with your needs or not!
As a freelancer, you can offer your different services and set your prices.
Don’t underestimate your work just because you see low prices on Fiverr. In fact, I recommend Fiverr as a “plus” in your life, at least in the beginning; it’s hard to pay your rent with it. But if you need extra money, to produce some art to build a portfolio or just don’t need a lot of money at the moment, Fiverr is quite recommended.
There’s people who make a lot of money on Fiverr, but the truth is that not anyone can. Not because of the skills, or the talent. It’s because Fiverr it’s difficult and unfortunately a lot of people lowered their prices a lot, so the competition is really wild.
It’s easy to set up: add description, some pictures of your works, prices and you’re done! Also, always ask for reviews from you clients, they are really important on Fiverr.You have to understand how to move, and then maybe you can find your client-flow and work with it!
Even though it may not seem like it, Reddit offers a lot to artists who want to start commissions.
Reddit was born as a channel to share news and common topics, as it was a forum. Anyone in Reddit can write, ask, comment and help other users.
There’s also the possibility of reaching communities in which people with common interests interact. You can find subreddits about every argument. There are specific subreddits about art, commissions and anything related to that.
These subreddits help artists to show their work and talk about commissions/hiring etc. One of the most common and active is r/artcommissions. Go and take a look!
ArtStations is a well known platform that allows you to build your portfolio and get in touch with your future clients. It’s mostly used by artists interested in the games, film and entertainment industry.
ArtStation is more focused on professional artworks and really useful to find a job in the industry. It’s recommended to post finished artworks instead of sketches or doodles and in a really high quality. Potential clients look for talents in this platform.
It’s not used to build friendships or create a community, usually. It’s mostly about work.
DeviantArt gives you the same possibilities, but it’s considered a little bit “softer”. There a lot of communities active and people share art even just for sharing! You can find sketches and doodles as well as finished professional artworks. You can build relationships, say something about other artists’ artworks, get critiques and just interact!
It allows you to post your art for free and sell prints and original work. Obviously, it also gives you the opportunity to know people and get noticed, and maybe in the future.. get commissions!!
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Today we feel like all opportunities are only in the online world.. not true at all!
The world outside still needs graphics, illustrations, decorations, paintings.. Everyday someone feels the need of art, of changing their brand identity, of painting a wall in their offices or schools or of owning a piece of art.
When I was 16, my school (I studied in an art high school) gave me the opportunity to be part of a project. We didn’t receive any money for that (☹️) BUT!! I learned that’s still a requested job.
We simply painted a murales inside of an elementary school, in a project that involved kids too. They needed their school to be colourful and be happy. We helped them satisfy their need.
Where can you find other opportunities?? Well…
Local new (not only) businesses
If an online approach looks difficult to you, you can always try and “ring the doorbell” in your locals! (You can always reach them through social media, email, phone calls etc., especially if you target small/new/young businesses)
A loot of new big and small activities are interested in art! Where? In their brand identity, physical shops, websites, packagings, advertising etc. etc.
What could a brand/shop need?
Everything! Everyone could be helpful! A graphic designer, an illustrator, a painter, a general artist!
There are a plenty of “visual things” that someone could need. Just think about a, idk, small bar, for example. He’s gonna need some menus, business cards, some graphic to put inside of it, and this is perfect for a graphic designer/illustrator (there are both handmade and digital techniques in these types of products); but also think about the decorations: we all like some canvases on the walls, right? Aaaand, that’s perfect for painters!
There are a lot of different things that you could be commissioned with; all you have to do is to have the courage of put yourself out there, make the clients realise what they need and start working with them!!
Family and friends (+pets are good supporters too!!)
(Also friend’s friends, friends of your friend’s friend and so goes on!)
Your family and your friends are the first people around you! Ask them support and a little bit to spread the voice about your art! Offer some portrait to your family members, paint some canvas to show into your house (try to sell them something cmon!! ;)) Let them be your first costumers!
Also, I think that drawings of your dog, cat, hamster or whatever pet you have are really appreciated! (Send us pictures of puppies, we really like smol animals 🥺)
Jokes apart, it helps a lot. I did a loot of tattoos to my mom’s friends, just because I used to tattoo my mom and her friends saw my works on her. This is how it works! “I see something cool, ok, I want it too!“
Just.. people! 😀
People always like the idea to be portrayed or take a portray to gift so some friends, for example! Know people around you and spread the voice. Anyone could like a small piece of art as a gift for others or for themselves! 🙂
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