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April 25, 2007
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Creative Commons License
Some rights reserved. This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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.


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.

For people who doesn't know how to post a blog:

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 efford spent on your part:
how long do you need for each commission on the average, if you set the prices too low, you will discourage yourself from working, if you set it too high, you won't get customers.

I personally go by 10-20 dollars/hour estimation. Some people who are not in USA can set it cheaper/more expensive according to their currency exchange rate, most DA users are USA citizens, so going by "USD" is best.

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, 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.

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:


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 avaliable, and that you are active in business.
- Keep the contact information somewhere you can review easily.


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.

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 then I showed them the sketches, and 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.

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 to sign up, it's pretty easy.
For people who doesn't know how paypal works:…

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.


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:


Edit: included DA related general pageviews, pricing guidelines.
Add a Comment:
Eveon99 Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Wow, this is great! But just one question, I wanted to make a clear detail about my commission but when I start making the details, I'm afraid that some details I forgot to add such as what kinds of characters, what's the difference between that and those and can I make a simple detail in each commission I want? :confused:
mayshing Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Eh its best not to go so detailed you will loose people.
Just make general tiers, sketches, ink, color with single character, color with bg, major styles you can do... and list things you won't/can't do. 
After that just make estimate per job. 

and let the work balance out itself or estimate with a bit of buffer calculated in. 
Eveon99 Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Oh^^ Now I understand :) Thank you :D
Actually, I'm less on making digital but I've been doing some journal skin commission recently ^^
AmethystSlinky Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2014
Thank you! I'm going to start doing commissions soon (I have a small fan base of people who like my work outside of deviant art). I'm hoping to move this into DA. These tips are excellent!
CinnamonTheEevee Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm sorry, but I don't understand how you get the points when you finish the commission. Can you explain how?
mayshing Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2014  Professional Filmographer
points need to be delivered by the commissioner if its points commission on DA. I don't think there's any invoice function i know of like at Paypal. But in reality... even with invoice sometimes people don't get paid. This is exactly why most freelancers ask for a partial advance payment. 
CinnamonTheEevee Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
okay, thank you for clearing that up :3
Lomeinchops Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, I better start practicing my chibi's. I am planning to do a chibi point commission thing and then move up and up, etc. smile 
Silver-Stardrops Featured By Owner Edited Aug 19, 2014  New member Hobbyist Digital Artist
Could someone please take a look at my commissions page and tell me what they think? (Most of it is unfinished, but I'm posting it soon. I'm talking about what I have up already) c: Commission Info

Very helpful tutorial btw! Thanks so much!
mayshing Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014  Professional Filmographer
commented. :) 
Add a Comment: