How to Commission an Artist
If you are thinking of commissioning an artist but unsure how it is done, this page will be a comprehensive guide to the simple process of commissioning an artist in detail.
Finding the Artist
Seeking an artist whom their artistic style, technique and approach that you like are important. It is also vital to find out what genre or specialist area they work in as well as the kind of medium they are familiar with.
You will need to decide what style, medium and size you want the final artwork to be in and to consider whether it is for personal (i.e. for yourself or as a gift) or commercial use. You will also need to find out the prices they charge for commissioned artwork and whether this is within your budget.
Once you have decided on your requirements for the commission and selected your preferred choice of artist including your budget allowance, you will need to make an initial contact by phone, email or in person giving a brief outline of your commission requirements and whether the artist is currently available to undertake commissions. The artist will usually respond within a day or two.
Forming a Contract with the Artist
Written communications by email will form the basis of a contract (agreement) between the artist and client for a commissioned artwork. If you prefer a hard copy of the contract, this can be mailed out to you upon request. If the commissioned artwork is for commercial use, then a formal contract will be necessary.
The Commissioning Process – how the artist works
When you have reached the stage where the artist agrees to undertake the commission, you will need to provide good quality reference(s) for them to work from. These can be in the form of photographs, illustrations and sketches. In order to obtain a good portrait or artwork, photographs will need to be clear, sharp and crisp.
The artist will then do a rough sketch of an idea or initial outline of the drawing or painting. Usually, this will be scanned and emailed to you. It will be an opportunity for you to see how the final artwork will look like and to provide feedback for the artist.
If you are happy with the initial artwork, the artist will proceed with the final piece. If you would like to see the artist’s work in process, the scanned artwork will be emailed to you and/or updates will be given. Some clients may prefer to wait until the artwork is completed.
Once you have viewed the completed artwork, it will be your chance to provide further feedback to the artist. The artist may charge extra if any changes or adjustments are needed to the artwork, however, you will need to enquire with the artist if you are looking for alternations to the work done in its final stages.
The Final Process
Once you are happy with the final piece, the artwork will be scanned or photographed and fixed with a fixative, if necessary to prevent further smudging and damage to the artwork. Delivery charges vary, so check with the artist what their postal fees are.
Timescales of Commissioned Artwork
The length of time for an artist to complete a piece will vary as this will depend on the complexity and intricacy of artwork commissioned. You will need to inform the artist if you require the artwork to be completed by a set date.
Payments and Budgeting
Depending on the artist, full payment may be required upfront before work commences. This may include postage and packaging fees. If you are unable to make your initial payment in full, it may be possible to negotiate with the artist to spread the cost into smaller instalments, however, please be aware that the artwork is not likely to be delivered if payment is not made in full.
Artist’s Policy on Delivery and Returns
This will vary, as all artists will have their own policies in place. Be sure you read and understand their terms on delivery and returns, including their postal charges before committing to buying from, or commissioning an artist.
Unless otherwise agreed with the artist at the initial stages, the artist will own full copyright of the drawing or painting. Reproduction or duplication of the artwork in any form or means is not permitted without prior consent from the artist. It is recommended to seek permission from the artist if you intend to use a picture of the artist’s artwork on the website or any social media platforms and artwork is to be credited with their name.