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A Beginner’s Guide to Accepting Art Commissions

Things are starting to look up in the art industry, and that includes new opportunities for budding artists. A study by Art Basel and UBS found that 59% of collectors have become more interested in art over the past few years. This is especially true among millennial collectors, with 70% of millennials becoming more enthusiastic about discovering and collecting art.

Now that more people are interested in art, creatives can strike while the iron is hot by offering art commissions to pull in potential customers. Here’s why you should start accepting art commissions, and how you can start the whole process:

Why Should You Start Offering Commissions?

Commissions can be a big challenge for creatives. They require lots of communication and trust on both ends, making it more complex than the simple retail relationships you can have with galleries or online shops.

However, artists Marge Corcoran and Deb Groesser note that buyers go out of their way to work directly with artists when they like your artworks and your personality. Experienced and budding artists can even charge a higher price range to include the time spent communicating with a buyer and executing their personal vision. By offering commissions, you can earn more income from a client base that’s actually interested in your work.

Apart from earning money, you can also pick up skills from commissions. An article on temporary work by LHH emphasizes that these short-term opportunities can expand your skill set by challenging you to pick up new techniques or experiment with various media. By going outside your comfort zone with commission work, you can hone your skills and gain more exposure via in-demand art forms. Your career can set off to new heights, especially once you build a network of clients.

Steps to Starting Commission-Based Work

Organize your portfolio

If you want to attract buyers who prefer your art style, you’ll need a good portfolio. Our article on Launching a Career as a Digital Artist states that you can describe your skills and garner reviews through popular commission sites like Upwork or Fiverr. Beginners can also opt to showcase their skills and talents by sharing sample works on social media platforms, or even on dedicated portfolio websites.

Learn how to set the terms for commissions

It can get tricky setting payment terms for commissions, so it’s best to be upfront with clients about this. From the very start, you need to discuss your price points based on the time, techniques, and materials needed for the prospective projects. Once your client agrees to a price, you can provide an invoice or even a contract that records the details for the commission.

Establish good relationships with your clients

You’ll need to maintain good relationships with your clients to ensure that the commission goes smoothly. A guide to managing customer relationships by Business News Daily states that you can take care of your clients by taking the time to communicate with them and addressing any needs that may come up in the process. You can also express your appreciation for their support through tiny tokens or even handmade letters to keep them coming back for more.

Art commissions can be overwhelming at the start. With the tips above, however, it’s definitely possible to streamline your process so that you can expand your skills, build your portfolio, and gain more recognition for your work.

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