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I've been wanting to do this for a while. I noticed a lot of people complain over seeing commissions that go for over $100 dollars. I personally have certain expectations when I commission people for certain amounts. I'm going to use a commission with Barachan to demonstrate a good way to go through commissions. You can crosspost it or add your own thoughts to this post.

History:
First I started off winning a commission from Barachan off furbid. I believe the winning amount went for around $160. (I'll go back and correct this). Since the bid went for so high for a 1 character, PG13 digital color piece with background, I decided to lay out some ground rules for this commission. The reason I did this was that she had complained about other commissioners being difficult, and I wanted to give her a method for how to deal with these customers and to price herself accordingly.

The Conditions:
For a high end commission, you need to allow your customer to chose what should be drawn, but at the same time you need to be in control of the commission - ie they hired you to be the artist, so while you give them a bit of leeway, you don't let them design for you because it makes YOU look bad. That may sound like "isn't the customer always right?" violation, but you need to make sure that you were commissioned to do a work and you don't want it overdone by their influence. If the changes seem unreasonable find ways to steer it into a middle ground.

For each stage, from thumbnails to final piece, I was to sign an art approval sheet which you can get from http://www.creativelatitude.com/links/resources_downloads.html

or
http://www.mediainspiration.com/contents/downloads/designer_forms.php 

I was to sign off each stage, and pay a fee if I had her go back after I approved a stage. The other thing I had her do was keep a timecard of her progress, and I was to see it. So the stages were Thumbnails/Concepts (4 minimum) Inks, Colors, Background. In addition she was allowed to sell prints of the character (though if possible I'd like them to send me a copy of the merchandise if possible - while the rest is sold). I wanted her to make as much money as possible and to see out of curiosity selling potential of the character.

So here we have the thumbnails

Concept 1
Concept 2
Concept 3Concept 4

I asked her which one she thought was the best, and I also gave her my input which one I thought was the strongest. We were caught between 1 and 2 though 2 was a bit stronger favorite.

She then went and did variations of 1 and 2 had suggested blowing a "kiss" to give it personality. She rendered it on both hands.

Alt Concept 1Concept 2 AConcept 2 B

I finally was happy with 2 A (the middle one) and signed off the approval form. I did chastise her  for one thing I consider a rookie error. She gave me concept pictures all facing the same way. So I asked her to flip the image on 2 B

(Edit, in case you're wondering about that rookie error, I posted an journal about it here: Hand Dominance

For Inks, there were really no suggestions but you can see it here:

http://www.anime.net/~arshesnei/baracommission/banimage3_2s.gif

We then went with the coloring stage, and here we encountered a bit of my pickiness on anatomy and so forth.

http://www.anime.net/~arshesnei/baracommission/banimage3_4s.jpg

I wasn't happy with the nipple placement (yeah the nipples! I felt one on the left was too far out) and the highlights on the legs. While it would curve in because of the femur's connection to the pelvis I felt it too extreme. We went back and forth on this a bit, so I had outlined my issue to see if I could be more clear.

http://www.anime.net/~arshesnei/baracommission/banimage3_4-suggestions.jpg

Because I had her rework so much, I felt it only fair to throw in perhaps around 10-20 (I'll need to go back and check) for the changes.

We hit a happy point with this: http://www.anime.net/~arshesnei/baracommission/banimage3_4-changes.jpg

Barachan offered me a few background choices and we settled on the Blue one that many have seen on DA

Here you can find the variations as well as the stages I posted in this entry  http://www.anime.net/~arshesnei/baracommission

If you look here  you can see the final output.

I calculated her timesheet after all the work she did. She was making around 10 by the time she was done with the original stuff, but since I gave her extra money for some rework, she actually was around 11 dollars. This excludes her own equipment fees, research time etc.

Anyways, if you have any questions, feel free to ask. I hope you guys can get some insight that artists really do spend quite a bit of time on these, pieces and depending on quality you should also in return ask for more choice. If you're working on commissions over 100 dollars you should deliver concept sketches so that your customer feels they have some choice without becoming too picky over minute details.


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Comments

( 102 comments — Leave a comment )
wtfbingo
Aug. 29th, 2007 09:57 am (UTC)
Not to kick a dead horse or anything, but I find it really interesting that, in the non-furry world I get, like, $45-$60/hour for stuff that I get beans for in the furry world. I think a lot of people should take that into consideration as commissioners.
tania
Aug. 29th, 2007 10:42 am (UTC)
Word. I don't do furry work anymore for that very reason: furries are harder to please than commercial clients and they pay a lot less.

$10/hour just doesn't cut it for art of that quality. Bara-Chan looks pretty versatile; I hope she knows there's an audience out there who'll pay her what her lovely art is worth.
(no subject) - arshes - Aug. 29th, 2007 03:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tania - Aug. 29th, 2007 09:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - arshes - Aug. 29th, 2007 09:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - tania - Aug. 29th, 2007 11:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - flyingwild - Aug. 29th, 2007 02:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilenth - Aug. 29th, 2007 05:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Thank you. - arshes - Aug. 29th, 2007 03:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Thank you. - arshes - Aug. 29th, 2007 04:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Thank you. - lilenth - Aug. 29th, 2007 05:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wtfbingo - Aug. 29th, 2007 05:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilenth - Aug. 29th, 2007 06:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wtfbingo - Aug. 29th, 2007 06:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilenth - Aug. 29th, 2007 06:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - arshes - Aug. 29th, 2007 06:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilenth - Aug. 29th, 2007 06:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - turbinerocks - Aug. 30th, 2007 12:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - arshes - Aug. 30th, 2007 12:39 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - beechan2 - Aug. 29th, 2007 02:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - growing_rose - Aug. 30th, 2007 12:33 am (UTC) - Expand
lilenth
Aug. 29th, 2007 01:14 pm (UTC)

It also excludes whatever money she makes from selling prints of the final piece.
arshes
Aug. 29th, 2007 04:04 pm (UTC)
That is correct, I wanted her to make as much money as possible as well as satisfying my curiosity about the sell factor of my character.
(no subject) - tania - Aug. 29th, 2007 09:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - arshes - Aug. 29th, 2007 09:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - zannyvix - Aug. 30th, 2007 02:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - turbinerocks - Aug. 30th, 2007 12:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilenth - Aug. 30th, 2007 01:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - foxhack - Aug. 31st, 2007 04:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
arshes
Aug. 29th, 2007 03:48 pm (UTC)
To bring this to the middle.
Design work is commercial work that pays you more because of usage rights.

A personal commission is nowhere near the same realm.

I have expectations when you get in the $100 dollar range. That means I expect choice, and thumbs, most artists bitching about being underpaid don't even do thumbnails or concept pieces. They just slap shit together in the first run and fuss over details which causes them to overwork the piece, then they complain how little they're being paid.

I also irritated that people complain about being underpaid compared to other professionals while they pirate software and stuff. Most professionals I know getting the higher end rates buy their software too.
(Deleted comment)
Re: To bring this to the middle. - rusti_knight - Aug. 29th, 2007 04:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - arshes - Aug. 29th, 2007 06:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Re: To bring this to the middle. - rye_bunny - Aug. 30th, 2007 12:44 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - lilenth - Aug. 29th, 2007 06:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Re: To bring this to the middle. - lilenth - Aug. 29th, 2007 06:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - arshes - Aug. 29th, 2007 06:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - tania - Aug. 29th, 2007 10:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - arshes - Aug. 29th, 2007 11:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - rusti_knight - Aug. 29th, 2007 06:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - lilenth - Aug. 29th, 2007 06:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - rusti_knight - Aug. 29th, 2007 06:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oh I am, you're just not doing the math. - arshes - Aug. 29th, 2007 06:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Re: Oh I am, you're just not doing the math. - arshes - Aug. 29th, 2007 07:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - lilenth - Aug. 29th, 2007 05:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - arshes - Aug. 29th, 2007 06:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - lilenth - Aug. 29th, 2007 06:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - arshes - Aug. 29th, 2007 06:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - lilenth - Aug. 29th, 2007 06:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - zannyvix - Aug. 30th, 2007 02:33 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - lilenth - Aug. 30th, 2007 01:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - arshes - Aug. 30th, 2007 03:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - turbinerocks - Aug. 30th, 2007 10:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - rayiroth - Sep. 1st, 2007 01:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Re: To bring this to the middle. - lilenth - Aug. 29th, 2007 06:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - tania - Aug. 29th, 2007 10:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - arshes - Aug. 29th, 2007 10:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - tania - Aug. 29th, 2007 10:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - arshes - Aug. 29th, 2007 11:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - turbinerocks - Aug. 30th, 2007 12:32 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - lilenth - Aug. 30th, 2007 01:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - arshes - Aug. 30th, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - lilenth - Aug. 30th, 2007 04:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - turbinerocks - Aug. 29th, 2007 08:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - arshes - Aug. 29th, 2007 08:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - turbinerocks - Aug. 29th, 2007 08:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - arshes - Aug. 29th, 2007 09:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - tania - Aug. 29th, 2007 09:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - arshes - Aug. 29th, 2007 10:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - tania - Aug. 29th, 2007 10:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: To bring this to the middle. - arshes - Aug. 29th, 2007 11:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
thaily
Aug. 29th, 2007 06:45 pm (UTC)
I'll go with what Amara is saying because I do know her and know her reputation in both the Furry and Starwars community and I know she works as a professional outside of those communities as well.

I've done business with her myself and have to say I didn't spend a penny to much for the service I received, if anything, too little. I'd happily do business with her again in the future.
arshes
Aug. 29th, 2007 06:54 pm (UTC)
Correct, but saying what you feel she is worth paying for, still isn't the overall deciding factor what everyone else pays for the work.

There seems to be a disconnect when people say "no they should be paid more" but then don't account for other factors why they're paid less. The type of art, the kind of clients they're with, who they are, and what they're doing.

I'm not saying she's a horrible artist or even a shitty person. I am saying however she's still a relative unknown in the big picture, so that DOES account for how much people would pay for her work. If she's upset over her dilution of name recognition then that is a personal problem. It's not a personal insult because I'm referring to the generalities of internet fame versus mass distributed work.

Nor am I saying you shouldn't do business with her because this is really not about Amarafox, but the artists that complain in general about the cost of art and who they're selling the works to.

Artists need to look at all factors before reaching the conclusion that it's just this way for X reason. Business unfortunately doesn't work like that.

If she's upset about me countering her opinion, she needs to look at the discussion as a whole. If we're not talking about ALL the factors that can affect pricing, how can you propose solutions or find way to make change?
neolucky
Aug. 29th, 2007 08:44 pm (UTC)
This is why I do auctions on deviant art now. People tell me what they're willing to pay, and I draw what they're willing to pay for.

But not everyone has the same formula for their business, what works for me, will not work for others and vice versa. It all boils down to what makes me and the client happy.

I offer several sketches, we work back and forth on things. I don't use a time card, I'm a pretty lax artist and I get by just fine. Professionalism is nice, if you want to get into the industry, but I'm happy just doing it as a side hobby. But it's interesting to see perspectives from a client, with high expectations (or any, some clients just don't give a flip).

However, my professional side resigns with Slipshine.net, but that's another story entirely.
arshes
Aug. 29th, 2007 09:00 pm (UTC)
Right. The time card thing was an eye opener for her. I think people miss the point of WHY I had the time card. They think the time card is the necessity. It wasn't. I put it in the terms of the commission to give her a perspective, in other words I was running an exercise with her to get her to see something.

It's a good practice to see how long you're spending on your work. If you're spending way too long just getting the concept art, or just getting the beginning stages done, then you need to work on that and handle yourself more efficiently.

Does that mean you need a timecard when you work with clients? No. In fact, it's generally not a good practice to charge an hourly rate. The timecard was to give her an estimate and approximation of how long she's working on her stuff to show her "hourly rate". If she decided "Well 11 dollars an hour is too cheap to be charging" she can now use a calculation to say "well my commissions go for X amount based on me wanting to earn an average of Y amount an hour"

I don't think there is that ONE Magic formula that a person can work with when taking commissions, however, this is a good rundown with certain stages. People may find one thing to take away with them. I have certain expectations for various commissions, and the higher the amount I do have expectations of what I get. I think people are afraid to post certain progressions with people like it takes away the magic of their craft. Like it's some carnival act. If you show them certain stages, people won't go for the show anymore. ;)

Nor am I saying this is the method I work with every artist, some are rather good at communicating and presenting their works. Some artists are too rigid in their methods. Some are too lax which both lead to problems with commissions.

I'm sorry if I'm wordy explaining it on your post, but I think people are missing some points.
zannyvix
Aug. 30th, 2007 02:46 am (UTC)
I'm glad she's happy with the system you guys worked out. Wouldn't work for me, personally. I don't allow major changes after the pencil stage mostly because I work in real media most of the time rather than digitally. The thing most likely to slow up a commission from me is if the commissioner waits until after the piece is inked, or worse, colored, to complain about some quibble. When you're working with inks and markers or paint, that means at the least I have to retrace (and possibly retrace and recolor) the whole damn piece. Real motivation killer right there.

I've "timecarded" myself on occasion to see what my rate works out to hourly. It's about the same as I make at my RL job, but I do it a lot less. I do report my art income to the IRS, which makes me legally a business, but it's a very small one, and I'm quite content leaving it that way. If it became my full time job, it would cease to be fun for me.
arshes
Aug. 30th, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
That's not the point of the system since it was a training exercise, and it's not the system or solution she ultimately decided on. The system will vary for each commission, and certain things in there were done to document an artist's time and money.

I understand that the system wouldn't work for you on traditional stuff. However, the frequent argument made by people is the "too much/too little" stuff. That was the overall point of the system was a good documentation of how it is work. There are way too many who don't understand.

You also can't blame people for getting the best deal possible, so people "doth protest a bit much" when people are trying to tell them the kind of work and usage they're paying for.
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alopex
Sep. 18th, 2007 05:13 pm (UTC)
I wish all commissioners were like you, I've had problems in the past from people unsure of what they wanted in their commission.
iluvhistory
Oct. 18th, 2007 06:19 am (UTC)
wow I don't understand why you were attacked. I worked for a record label doing album designs and if I expected the amount they (the company) paid me from private collectors, I'd have a bridge I'd like to sell you ;)
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