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Creampuff 01-25-2011 08:32 PM

What do you like in commissions for you?
 
It's something that's been puzzling me for a while now. I see fantastic, high-quality artists who have decent commission prices getting zilch, while artists who can hardly draw a horse (making it look more like a wolf-horse hybrid) are making quite a lot of money on overpriced art (judging by their art quality).

So tell me: When you're looking to commission an artist, what do you look for? Do you like cartoony drawings? Realistic drawings? Portraits? Do you prefer (undersale) cheap, reasonable, or expensive prices?

In addition, what do you look for in the artist(s) you would like to commission? Age? Plenty of samples? How they convey themselves in their commission information page?

I'd like to know what you guys think! Have you had a bad experience commissioning an artist? Has it changed your outlook on commissioning again?

Personally, I look for a diverse artist who's capable of drawing a horse, a dog, a baby, or an adult (and making them look like they're supposed to). I don't mind cartoon drawings but I prefer semi-realism and realism. As for prices I base it on their art; if the art is "bad," I expect cheap prices (why would I pay a large amount of money for poor quality art?). If the artist is more "high end," with more details in their drawings, I expect a higher price. In addition I don't appreciate when I want to commission an artist and they tell me, "I will only draw ...," limiting themselves to a single animal type (most of them only draw wolves/canines, and nothing else -- not even for commissioners).

The way I see it: Once you're commissioned, you're working for the commissioner. They're your customer and it's your job to please them, not the other way around. If they ask you to draw them an owl portrait and offer you $xx, draw them an owl.

I was told by an artist I commissioned that she "wouldn't draw humans" after I asked her to make a cartoon-style sticker of my son. She would only draw wolves. Had she not been hurting for money I would have taken my business elsewhere. (Oh, lo, the soft-of-heart lament.)

cfralic 01-25-2011 08:51 PM

When you're looking to commission an artist, what do you look for?

I would have to say from the point of view of someone getting, for instance, their beloved pet or portrait done, usually it's realism, attention to detail, and personality. Personally related commissions should usually stay away from being too 'stylistic' (I use this word a lot). Photo-realism is probably the best-seller of all personal-related commissions. Something that has nice, earthy tones and fits well above a couch in the living room will generate a lot more interest then something with lots of boldness, outside-of-the-box imagery, surrealism, fantasy, etc etc.

By the way, in saying 'personally-related commissions' I just mean Joe's dog or his son or whatever. It's different when you're doing a commission for someone who just enjoys your work and doesn't necissarily want anything specific. (Yes, once in a blue moon, that does happen!)


In addition, what do you look for in the artist(s) you would like to commission?

For one, age doesn't matter, many artists choose not to reveal their age etc which is perfecty alright. Samples are important, and also a professional standard. If you are an artist who has a nice website, business cards, and a few showings under your belt people will be more interested. Most importantly in any business related to the arts you have to start building a solid network (business cards, schooling, websites etc will help you with this) the people that get all this attention probably know how to make search engines favour their websites, and will promote themselves while their network does the same. It doesn't matter about skill if you've got friends high up, you can just 'make it'. For the ''little people' like us it takes a lot more hard work, but it CAN happen!

I was told by an artist I commissioned that she "wouldn't draw humans" after I asked her to make a cartoon-style sticker of my son. She would only draw wolves. Had she not been hurting for money I would have taken my business elsewhere. (Oh, lo, the soft-of-heart lament.)

That was very kind of you. I don't think I'd be that nice... hahaha...

lilruffian 01-25-2011 08:57 PM

Some artists prefer to stick to one subject, simply because that is what they know they can do & feel confident of their skills in that area.
I myself draw & paint mainly horses as that is what i have the most experience in & so when i advertise, i advertise as an "equine artist". In my spare time i practice other subjects (dogs, cats, etc) but only offer those for commissions when i feel i can do a good job for the customer.
I now do cats & dogs as well & will even make the attempt at a person if the customer asks but i will not advertise that i paint people lol simply because i do not enjoy it & don't feel 100% certain about my abilities in that field.

Equusketch 01-26-2011 01:24 AM

I am with lilruffian 100%. I think an artist would be doing you a disservice by agreeing to draw whatever you want if they are not competent enough to draw that particular thing. I also advertise myself as an equine artist because I am much more experienced in drawing horses, but I can draw/paint dogs and other animals and have sold my art doing so. I will admit that I have a real mental block when it comes to drawing humans and I would not expect a person to pay money for a drawing that I can't do justice to the subject. If the person want's a human portrait, I will be honest and say I can't do that and I will not be in the least bit offended should they go to someone else who can meet their needs. Sometimes I prefer an artist who "specializes" in 1 or 2 specific things rather than one who sort of dabbles in a little bit of everything. It all comes down to what's meaningful to both the client AND the artist.

JustDressageIt 01-26-2011 01:39 AM

Subscribing to reply to later, with a full keyboard :)
Posted via Mobile Device

tinyliny 01-26-2011 01:50 AM

I have never commissioned anyone to do a painting for me, so I can only add my two cents worth from the other side of the fence; as the commissionee (correct word?).
I feel that if I am commissioned to do a portrait, I want to try and capture the "essence " of the being. If the owner wants a hair by hair reproduction, I would advise them to get a photographer to take a portrait. I want to try and get a feel of the way that animal moves or stands or the heaviness or lightness. The medium I work in does not allow erasing, so I cannot work and rework a line or shading. I have to get the "feeling" the first time through, so I need to concentrat on the most important parts that will say "your horse".
Afterall, what is it really that makes us recognize our loved ones, from a distance in a crowd? There's just something unique, and if I could grab the tiniest hint of that, I am satisfied. If the owner doesn't think that is enough, then they should not choose me to represent their pet.
So, I think there is nothing wrong with saying upfront that you cannot do a certain thing, such as humans. Saves everyone lost time.

Crimsonhorse01 01-26-2011 02:09 AM

When you're looking to commission an artist, what do you look for?
Lets see usually when I do a commission I want realism. Its usually sentimental for me or for a friend/family member. Even just art though I like to see a horse that is either totally whimsical or perfectly rendered.

what do you look for in the artist(s) you would like to commission?
As for age, usually skill increases with it. I have seen some very talented young people though.
I want to see multiple pieces of work of the type I'm looking for. Ive seen some pictures that looked Great. But looking at the rest of the work its not quite up to par.
Websites are wonderful. Keeps everything together. I like to see prices as well. I cant pay $250 for an 8x10. Id rather not waste your or my time either.

First and foremost I want professionalism. I am hiring you to do a job. I want updates. If something comes up do tell me. Dont leave me in the dark wondering whats going on.
Good communication is a must. You dont want to communicate dont take commissions.
Customer service and integrity are everything.
The Negative-
I went into a deal with Wolves Realm Studios In June and I have yet to receive my end of the trade. Lots of problems arose and then she disappeared. Yet, she still managed to post on ebay and other sale forums. (the internet is a powerful thing) I had to go to a main model horse site to even get her to talk to me! And again no drawing and no communication still.
I love custom work. I love art and I love supporting those that have the talent I lack.

lilruffian 01-26-2011 12:57 PM

[QUOTE=tinyliny;904156]I feel that if I am commissioned to do a portrait, I want to try and capture the "essence " of the being. If the owner wants a hair by hair reproduction, I would advise them to get a photographer to take a portrait. ]QUOTE]
:lol: Me too! You'd pay alot less for a photograph than for a painting. I try to bring out every detail but in my mind you should be able to tell that it's a painting.
Also, i have no problem trying something new (ex: if someone asks me to paint their kid or cabin) however i tell them specifically that if they aren't satisfied i can either change/fix it or they dont have to pay.
My paintings are priced depending on size not an hourly rate as i have a tendancy to zip right through them! I also don't think it's right no matter how good you are to charge $600 for a 12X16'' painting or a couple hundred for a sketch.

smtracy 01-26-2011 05:44 PM

[quote=lilruffian;904687]
Quote:

Originally Posted by tinyliny (Post 904156)
I feel that if I am commissioned to do a portrait, I want to try and capture the "essence " of the being. If the owner wants a hair by hair reproduction, I would advise them to get a photographer to take a portrait. ]QUOTE]
:lol: Me too! You'd pay alot less for a photograph than for a painting. I try to bring out every detail but in my mind you should be able to tell that it's a painting.
Also, i have no problem trying something new (ex: if someone asks me to paint their kid or cabin) however i tell them specifically that if they aren't satisfied i can either change/fix it or they dont have to pay.
My paintings are priced depending on size not an hourly rate as i have a tendancy to zip right through them! I also don't think it's right no matter how good you are to charge $600 for a 12X16'' painting or a couple hundred for a sketch.

I try to draw and paint with as much detail and realizem as possible. But I have yet to be commisioned by someone here. Everyone wants them for free. Maybe my work isn't that great. But I've seen other artist that are for sure a lot better than I am and I see the same thing
Some of us are trying to do tis to pay bills and to buy more art supplies to try to stay in our homes. I Live in the air capital and that tells you on thing. No jobs no unemployment money. Some of us can't keep doing things for free. I need to make money some how. I'm 55 yrs old and a female. Yeah I really have a great chance to get a job NOT

kristan 01-27-2011 07:18 AM

I'm not answering your exact questions, but I have some thoughts...
I occasionally do commissioned artwork (see my thread about the race horse drawing) and have found that having a nice art resume can help to get commissions. In order to have this you need to belong to some kind of exclusive art club and have won some awards. Winning awards isn't the easiest because it seems to me that the more prestigious show prizes are awarded based on who you know, what club you belong to, etc. and no so much on talent. I entered an international art contest awhile ago and the winner had a very simple digital line drawing of a rainbow with some music notes and rain clouds around it - a second grader could have drawn it. However, he was considered contemporary and abstract, knew several others in the business, had an art gallery, and had already won several awards and been featured as an illustrator in magazines. So...selling artwork isn't easy, regardless of how much talent you have.


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