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Edit: This tutorial covers aspects related only to your Deviantart gallery and Deviantart Journal. It has nothing to do with the Deviantart's newly implemented points commission system. You can take commissions without using that points system on Deviantart as long as you have paypal.

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WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO START
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When you have enough watchers and people interested in your art.
When you have a closely-bounded community around your work/gallery


How many is enough I can't say for sure, because it depends on the community around you and your work. Some artists can live on one patron, others need to live on millions of them.

For DA, I would say typically around 20,000-40,000 pageviews, at least 40-50 watchers on your DA is best before you start considering taking commissions, (because out of that 40-50, you may have 1 person willing to pay, a safer bet is 100 people.) however, if your gallery has explosive growth, or you are good at making new friends, you probably can start earlier.



If you need more exposure, do really good fanart. After all, people would type and search famous series, not your name. If they do type your name, you are famous.

If you don't want to do fanart, the other option is draw the cliche-category.
Pirates are selling, draw pirates.
Angels and demons, vampires, wolves always sell...

However, the key is naming your title of the piece with "cliche words" so that the search engine will show your work up when someone searched it. Like my "Angel Shines" will come up when someone search "angel"

A list of cliche words in popular search: Angel, demons, vampire, devil, rain, wolves, wolf, dragons, tutorials, anime, pirates, jack, sonic, mario......

You get my drift?


Now that DA has clubs/groups, you can also submit more original stuff to those clubs and be seen, but competition is fierce still, make sure you only submit your best if you want business.

HOW TO START: - POST A BLOG ON DA and title it "Commission Me!". It's that easy!
For people who doesn't know how to post a blog: help.deviantart.com/100/

Content of the blog:

1. Draw samples of your art, make sure you can make the quality art you can continue to work at steadily.

2. When you are Setting prices:
if you don't know how to set prices yet, there's a few things that can help you to determine what prices you need to go with:

-Evaluate the competition:
take a look at other artists who are doing commissions and their prices. While evaluating, be critical about your work in a skill-based manner, (forget self-esteem for a while when you want to do business.)

Is my drawing skill high enough?
Is my painting skill high enough?
What's my strength?
What's my weakness?
What can I offer that is my specialty that this other person doesn't offer?


-Hours and effort spent on your part:
1. Time your hours per piece on the quality you are offering.
2. set an hourly wage for yourself
3. hourly wage X hours per piece= your set price

Ex: I want to make at least 10 dollar an hour.
A character design take 2 work day to make, 16 hours total
10X16=160 per character sheet



Generally, when your pageviews is over 1 million, (1,000,000) you can charge upto 300-500 dollars per finished piece, 20-25 a sketch, and you might still have a lot of buyers.

Most of the audience on DA are teenager to young adults, their spending range is really around 20-150 USD dollars. Anything over 100 (currently at 2010) is still pushing it.

*However, in a few years, if all of the users still stay around DA, and started working on jobs, the spending range might gradually increase.


Anything above 100 USD will be hard to come by for start ups, lower is not a problem. You also don't want to set it too low, don't charge less than 5 dollar per piece, if you do that you might as well do it for free. No one is interested in paying for a piece that's 1-3 dollars, it doesn't feel like buying art, it feels like donating to a beggar.

For Pro level users, they tend to charge $20-45 an hour rate and won't work lower than certain amount. You can work your way up to that. As Pro freelance artists your cost should cover your own insurance, retirement, and family expenses. 


2. Keep things flowing

-Free trials:
Use free offers on commissions to friends or your close-nit watchers to get started. (use what you have)
Submit your commission pieces to DA for advertisement. Commission pieces title should include "Commission" to let your viewers know you do commissions. Include your commissioner's name on the describtion.

- Include an easy access to your commission related information.

- Provide finished samples and price range next to each other.

EX: Finished illustration: [link] - 45 USD.

- Provide payment method: EX: My paypal email: xxxxx@xmail.com


KEY POINTS TO SET UP COMMISSION JOURNALS

1. Be clear, and make it easy to read

-Use spaces.... lots of spaces between words help for easy reading, the faster they can read your journal, the more business you may get.
If your journal is chaotic, you will get more notes of confused commissioners.
- use icons, graphic information to decorate your journal post


2. Keep a list
- Slots- the easiest way to let people know whether you are available, and that you are active in business.
- Keep the contact information somewhere you can review easily.




PAYMENT AND RELATIONSHIP WITH CLIENTS

1. Deadlines or no deadlines: most people actually don't give you a deadline, (then don't ask for one...) but if there are those who do, keep a clear account for that. Set your priority on the commissions in reaction to the urgency of your commissioners.

Updates: even though the clients didn't give deadline, it's best to offer them a healthy weekly update of your progress, they will feel like they are getting their money's worth, if you got busy for some reason, make sure you let them know too. Don't make them wait half a year to a year without a sound unless they say they are ok with it. I update the client at least 1 update a month if the project slows down or I got busy with other stuff. 



2. When should the client pay:

Usually the artists in illustration industry can ask for an advance after doing some sketches. Then the rest should be paid off after the work is done.

I do 50/50 portion payment with my clients, 50% advance after I showed them the sketches, update them on the progress, 50% final after I am done. But if trust is built between me and the client, often they just pay me in full after I have shown them the sketches.

If it's a large project costing several thousand dollars, (like animation or long term commitment) I do it by sections, (like 25-50% each deposit) negotiate a payable amount per stages, use up the fund upto that point completing the work then ask for more. 


In my experience, clients who already paid an advance stay and will follow up on payment, it's the clients who never paid that might take the work and run away. Once they paid part of the budget, I would say 95% would stay on project until it's complete unless they need to cancel. Follow this advice you will less likely to get run-away client. 



3. Payment method:
Paypal, money order, check, if you have your own shop set up you can take credit card as well.
Just go to paypal.com to sign up, it's pretty easy.
For people who doesn't know how paypal works: www.paypal-search.com/socialse…

For people who does not know paypal... this internet transaction bank (like a mid-way bank) can do fund transfer with just the email you use to sign up with. All you need to do is:

1. Sign up for an account.
2. Get your account approved with a bank account linked to it (or credit card account)
3. Give your paypal e-mail to your client, and they use their paypal account to pay you.

I personally recommend getting the business account, even though it's more percentage taken from your earned share, you get more access to all the merchant tools you will find useful later.


3a. Points Commission: DA allows people to take points and convert them to currency later through paypal or DA cash. You can do points commission with basic account but more shares go to DA if I presume correctly. I have never used the points commission myself, but if you do, follow the advance payment method I listed in Point 2, except with points instead of cash.



CHOOSE YOUR JOBS


If you don't want to do the job since the beginning of the request, you are better off not doing it.
(ex: If you hate hentai, don't take hentai work.)


-Choose the jobs that you feel is more suitable, compatible with your personality and quality. (unless you are super desperate.)
If you choose your jobs wisely to fit both your needs, and the clients' needs, you will get good work done, your client will be happy.


While choosing for yourself and your portfolio, you will also build a brand name with your commissions... that will create a steady flow of customers for you as well.
I think I have given enough advices to different people of the same thing I might as well write a journal about it. (So I can be lazy and just pass the link to them later.)

A more detailed article at:
[link]

[link]

Edit: included DA related general pageviews, pricing guidelines.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconmakaylafashion:
Makaylafashion Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Do you have any tips for mailing the finished commission? 
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2016  Professional Filmographer
I just use post office really with tracking, get a suitable mail packaging from dollar store if I can.
Reply
:iconroyaldrawings411:
RoyalDrawings411 Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2016  Student Filmographer
i habve no idea what to do to actually make a commission blog, i looked everywhere on da
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2016  Professional Filmographer
its really just posting a blog on DA on your page, title it "commissions" or "commission me!" 
There's no trick it's really that simple, letting everyone know you open for business. :)
Reply
:iconmaple-and-co:
Maple-and-Co Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2016  Hobbyist
Is there a way just to set up commissions for the points and not real money
Reply
:iconfreakyskull516:
freakyskull516 Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
hmm. hmm. ill get started.
Reply
:iconcraftygrl195:
CraftyGrl195 Featured By Owner May 25, 2016  Student Digital Artist
everyone loves hentai.....jk
Reply
:iconclockwork-jack:
Clockwork-Jack Featured By Owner Edited Apr 11, 2016  Student General Artist
Thank you, this was very helpful!

My only real problem so far, is that I'm not sure what to price my commissions at. I want to just change all the prices in my commissions' journal from Points to PayPal, but I'm not sure what the prices should be. :/ I have about 150 +Watchers (most of them are not active), and get a fair amount of Favorites every time I submit something--even from people whom I've never met before. Groups always help to boost how many Favorites I get (especially if it's fan-art), but as for commissions... I'm not sure how many people are willing to spend real money.
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2016  Professional Filmographer
i think u can offer your pixel art for commission, you never know, some indy game might just need your talent if you make yourself available and let everyone know.
If you are not sure, start at whatever price you are willing to do for an hour of work, and multiply by that. Some starters are willing to do it low to attract clients for experience, but over the years you will naturally raise your price. 
Reply
:iconclockwork-jack:
Clockwork-Jack Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2016  Student General Artist
I would be more than happy to help with an Indie game. I've always loved video games, and video game creation (especially art) has always interested me! Who knows, maybe one day I'll bump into somebody who's looking for in-game pixel art--or even concept art. (Concept art is more up my alley, I think.)

I'm going to start with lower prices. Like, larger pixel art could be 7$, and 50 x 50 pixel icons with no animation are 5$. Prices vary depending on how complicated a design is, if the commissioner wants more than one character in the finished piece, etc. I don't think I'll be asking to be paid by the hour just yet, since this is my first time opening PayPal commissions--and I don't consider myself to be a super-practiced artist at this point in time.

However, I've already posted a journal asking people if my prices seemed fair, and most people seemed to think so. :)


Thank you very much for replying, by the way!
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2016  Professional Filmographer
speaking of indy game u can try these sites to find your team, may not be money earning right away but u can possibly gain experience, and resume portfolio: 
www.teamups.net/find-team
www.indieteamup.com/

You are welcome and Best wishes. 
Reply
:iconclockwork-jack:
Clockwork-Jack Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2016  Student General Artist
I'll take a look at that, thanks! I could really use something like that, especially since I want to pursue art come college-age. :D
Reply
:icongalaxyartproduction2:
GalaxyArtProduction2 Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2016  Professional Traditional Artist
I still don't understand HOW TO start it? Any buttons to click or something?
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2016  Professional Filmographer
its really just setting up your gallery with what you have features for, using your art submission, journal, and plus paypal or DA points, and tell everyone "taking commissions! This is what I can do!" 
Pretty much~~~
Reply
:iconsaitouhime145:
SaitouHime145 Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have a question. I've already finished one commision for one deviant, but I haven't upload it yet. I want to give the commisioned art to that person, so should I upload it normally (like submitting it just like normal art) or I need to do something else so the points got into my earnings?
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2016  Professional Filmographer
ur earning/points is deposited by the person at will, no upload would charge it automatically. Its best u contact the person directly and ask about uploading the work they commissioned, depending on whether u did it purely for hire or u own the rights to it still. 
Reply
:iconsaitouhime145:
SaitouHime145 Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh okay so it depends on the person. So if the person want the art posted publicly, should I tag them normally?
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2016  Professional Filmographer
I would tag them and show their icons/project links, it gives me more credibility, and they get exposure, its win-win.
Reply
:iconcorruptillion:
Corruptillion Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2016  Hobbyist
I still do not understand HOW to start it, like what do you click?
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2016  Professional Filmographer
lol its not a function on the site usually... you set it up using the features you already can use on the site. Like your own gallery and blog. :) 
Reply
:iconcorruptillion:
Corruptillion Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2016  Hobbyist
Ohh... welp, time to go bang my head on a wall and call myself stupid again.
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Feb 29, 2016  Professional Filmographer
lol np, we all get lost sometimes.
Reply
:iconthecrimsonaries:
TheCrimsonAries Featured By Owner Edited Jan 14, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Hello! I know this post is quite old but I'd like to ask about how exactly I should set up a business account on paypal just for commissions?
I noticed that when you try to sign up for a business account they ask for a business name but well... I don't really have a "business" per se since I'm just an artist who wants to open up commissions. (I don't really know if a business name is important either but you can never be too careful with this kind of thing lol)

Also, i'm wondering whether I should add my real name or not since I don't want my clients to know my real name.
Does paypal show them that kind of thing?

Anyway thats all I'm wondering!
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2016  Professional Filmographer
for usa, your business name can simply be your name or your alias online, anyone can start a small business account with simply their own name.
Since paypal is usa company, usa law applies first, other laws are secondary. 
If you use business account it shows your business name not your name. 
Reply
:iconthecrimsonaries:
TheCrimsonAries Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh, I see.
Thank you! :D
Reply
:icontamapochi:
TamaPochi Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for this journal it's very helpful! I have a question, I have at least 40+ watchers but not even near 20, 000 pageviews orz do you think I can start doing commisions? Or should I get more pageviews and watchers?
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2016  Professional Filmographer
Eh technically u can setup your commissions anytime, but you will only get business once your stuff is out there.
So try to do some well known series fanart for exposure. 
Reply
:icontamapochi:
TamaPochi Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh thanks
Reply
:icondestatidreamxiii:
DestatiDreamXIII Featured By Owner Edited Dec 19, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Very helpful journal! Though I was wondering, have you ever had issues with paypal? I've heard of accounts being frozen, or artists being charged a lot of money, for things like commissioners sending money as a "gift" rather than a service and such...has this ever happened to you?
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2016  Professional Filmographer
No, it hasn't. I think its because all my exchange are fairly small... paypal gets picky when u give big chunk i think. 
Even staff would tell us to try "giving money to family/friends" option if its not a large amount. 
Reply
:icondestatidreamxiii:
DestatiDreamXIII Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Oooh I see. Thank you so much for the reply, I'll definitely keep this in mind when I give PayPal a try! ^_^
Reply
:iconsilverkittykat:
Silverkittykat Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2015
For the paypal business account, it requires information such as an address, phone, and a business name. I have a couple questions.
1. What would you prefer be the business name?
2. Will it share my address information with other people? If so, that is a very discomforting thought.
3. Can you put in a false address if the answer to the second question is yes?
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2015  Professional Filmographer
I think u are allowed to do a po box. But best provide real address, i don't think it shares my address with others but u can look it up. 
I use my studio entity for business name, or the legal name my company is registered under, you can also use ur official name. Anything u do on paypal has a record so best keep it to the lawful side. 
Reply
:iconsilverkittykat:
Silverkittykat Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2015
Alright, thanks! :)
Reply
:iconr3dfangz:
R3dFangz Featured By Owner Edited Nov 28, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'd like to know, how exactly does PayPal charge me and when? I read something on their site about currency conversion but didn't really understand what they meant by that. Obviously they won't charge you at certain periods of time just for having an account on their site, but I want to sell commissions and I really want to know in what situations PayPal will charge me and how much they will. (I have a personal account btw)
Also, thanks for writing this guide!
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2015  Professional Filmographer
paypal only charge per transaction, aka when you actually make money.  Usually 2-3% depending. If you pass the money as family/friends, then no fee unless there's international accounts from different countries.
Reply
:iconr3dfangz:
R3dFangz Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So even if a person from across the world sends me money as a "gift", I'll get that money, minus 2-3% percent of it, right?
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2015  Professional Filmographer
yes. across the world however i think its got some international fee. like 50 cents or something, there's different range for different country: www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/…
Reply
:iconr3dfangz:
R3dFangz Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! That cleared things out for me. ;)
Reply
:iconleenieh:
Leenieh Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2015  Student General Artist
Thanks so much for this post, it was very informative and helpful! 
I had a question though, I have at least 100+ watches now, but not anywhere near 20,000 page views o_O how would you recommend I get those up? Also, even though I don't have a lot of page views, do you think it's a bad idea if I start commissions anyway?
-Eileen <3
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2015  Professional Filmographer
You can start, just need to do more advertising yourself, and start posting around on forums, indy game community forums, and see if you get any bites. :)
Reply
:iconleenieh:
Leenieh Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2015  Student General Artist
(Or should I start requests first?)
Reply
:iconhorach-u:
Horach-u Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2015  Professional General Artist
Hi!
This article has helped me way more in setting up my business module; now I got better idea in how to price my work and other stuff like selecting clients.
I'll still be polishing some details, but for sure I'm gonna sell commissions soon...
Thanks a lot! :D
Reply
:iconjoycie24:
joycie24 Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2015  Student General Artist
Thank you this has been especially helpful. 
Reply
:iconkyunenee09:
kyunenee09 Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hi, would you recommend setting up a personal or business Paypal account for commissions?
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Edited Aug 27, 2015  Professional Filmographer
business. always business. lol much more tools and options. 
Reply
:iconkyunenee09:
kyunenee09 Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah okay, thank you!
Reply
:iconotakulane:
otakulane Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2015
hey, i wanted to know what do you think about fanfic commissions??? I write fanfics and other literature works and i have been making requests for some time now. But i have only seen a few number of writers who do commissions and i dont know if i should start or not. I understand that usually people are less likely to pay for written works instead of drawn works, but idk. i put in a lot of effort into each of my fics and i really could use the money....
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Edited Aug 26, 2015  Professional Filmographer
If you are good at writing, you can offer assistance on research, writing, editing,
to any new writers who may need help, if you want to make money off writing
you might need to start out with more packages/offers and see if anyone is interested. 

Of course have your own writing put together as portfolio. 
More people are in need of editors, especially those who put out books/products.

I won't count on writing commissions on DA,
Kickstarter might be a far better place trying to find a fiction writing gig job. 

For fan fics, you can advertise: Turn your rough idea into novel grade writing... you might have biters.
Reply
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