Do you want to start taking commissioned work?
Commissioned work is a great way to make money as an artist. You can set your own hours, and there’s no limit on how much you can earn. It’s a flexible way of working that allows you to focus on the projects that matter most to you. And it gives artists more control over their careers than ever before.
While taking your passion from a hobby to a career is a big step in any artist’s life, it is important to note that with every up there will be a down—and the down here is taxes! Taxes are complicated for everybody, but artists might have a tougher time. A tax calculator can help you with income taxes, but if you make more than $400, you will have to pay self-employment taxes as well. With that being said, it might be in your best interest to consult with a tax professional if you have any questions.
There are some upsides though! With commissions, we get the chance to connect with people who are passionate about our art and share our creative vision – which means we get paid for doing what we love!
However, we know how hard it can be when starting out in this industry, so keep reading to learn the 5 steps you need to follow to get started taking commissions.
1: Post Your Portfolio Online for Free or With a Creative Commons License.
The purpose of this strategy is not to attract clients directly but rather to build credibility and buzz by showing what you can do — information prospective clients can use as references when contacting you about commissions. Also, having an online portfolio makes it easier for people who see your work somewhere other than on Deviantart or Furaffinity to track down your contact info so they can hire you!
Some artists even take things one step further by running contests, such as “Paint a Werewolf” or “Draw your favorite Pokemon,” which encourage people to submit examples of their work.
Start conversations with artists whose style you enjoy and comment on the work of others, even if they’re not hiring. Make friends! Fan art is a great way to get a name for yourself within an artist’s community and show that you have good taste in high-caliber artwork. Additionally, it’s easier for clients to feel comfortable employing someone who has already established trust with other artists in the community.
3: Find Commission Postings Online.
Most of these are on sites such as Deviantart and Furaffinity — browse around them until you find postings that look interesting! When contacting potential commissioners, be courteous and professional in your email, but don’t be afraid to show off some of the best work that’s available in your portfolio — if they like your style, you might just score a commission! Make sure you’re clear on what the commissioner expects from you before agreeing to do any work for them.
4: Contact Game Developers or Other Clients Who Look Like They Can Afford to Pay Artists Well.
Most clients are more than happy with commissions provided their requirements are met. Satisfied clients make good references when it comes time for someone else to hire you!
5: Get Out There!
A lot of artists don’t follow this advice, keeping their portfolios under wraps or limiting themselves to online-only artwork because they’re too scared of getting ripped off. Don’t fall into this trap! If you’re confident in your work, putting it out there is the quickest way to start taking commissions.
How to Start Taking Commissioned Work
We’ve talked about the benefits of taking commissioned work and how to start. Now that you know a little more, why don’t you take some time to think about what type of service or product is best suited for your skill-set? Also, don’t forget to check out our blog for more articles on taking art commissions.