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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 COMMISSION BLOG ON DA. 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:
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 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:
 
:iconjoneshenry72:
joneshenry72 Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2015  New Deviant
Thanks to have a great blog, everyone will be in love with this blog writing surely because it has quality stuff. www.listacademybonus.net
Reply
:iconchelseaduong:
ChelseaDuong Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
thanks so much for posting this~! Very very helpful :D
Reply
:iconjosiahnugent:
JosiahNugent Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2015  Student General Artist
Great advice, once I have more followers I'll set up a paypal. (Currently I have 42 but about 38 of them have been inactive since 2013. I keep trying to expand my audience, I've tried doing more fan art, uploading more frequently, submitting my stuff to groups, making my art more approachable, and tagging the hell out of each piece but it's not working. I don't know what I'm doing wrong, I'm not the best at my craft but I've seen work with equal or less than quality get a lot of attention).
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2015  Professional Filmographer
Your style work for animation, if you study animation and do youtube videos, you might have better results. DA is a very illustration focused site, so either study more basics for illustration and learn to paint digitally, or study toward animation and move your drawings and learn to add sound. Either way can help you improve your chances. Hope you get more audiences!
Reply
:icongoombablood:
goombablood Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2015
I have a question.

I just set up a PayPal account, but I still don't understand how the payment transfer works. Do you know any articles that talk about this?
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2015  Professional Filmographer
try this? www.paypal.com/us/webapps/help…

psst, this is the cheapest option, if you do regular service/buying there's a 3% charge. 
Reply
:icongoombablood:
goombablood Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2015
Thanks! This is exactly what I was looking for!
Reply
:iconmeeepow:
meeepow Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
great guide
Reply
:iconmodo3211:
Modo3211 Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Tysm i will definately use this for my 1st commision!
Reply
:iconfox-superior:
Fox-Superior Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2015  Student General Artist
Thanks a bunch for sharing. Definitely helpful. 
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2015  Professional Filmographer
np :)
Reply
:iconsilverwolf2525:
SilverWolf2525 Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2015  Student General Artist
Ty!
Reply
:iconjamietr:
JamieTr Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2015  Student Interface Designer
thanks for sharing this! I'm just wondering if a commission is done with traditional arts, should we send the original piece to our customers via mail?? Or we just need to take a full/high-resolution photo of the artwork and send to them online?
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2015  Professional Filmographer
Depends on you. I generally would charge higher and just give them the original, and keep a high quality copy for myself.
Reply
:iconjamietr:
JamieTr Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2015  Student Interface Designer
thanks ^^
Reply
:icontherainbowties17:
theRainBowTies17 Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I do requests on my Instagram, and I'm pretty sure people want my art.. Well, I hope so.
Reply
:iconartistic---pawz:
Artistic---Pawz Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Anyone mind checking out my page, then commenting somewhere how many points you think my more recent drawings are worth? Please be honest...
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2015  Professional Filmographer
you can start with doing requests... then do requests from family and friends and list them as commission sample, and then start charging based on how much they would be willing to pay for it for something similar.
Reply
:iconartistic---pawz:
Artistic---Pawz Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Okay, thanks for that. I will try it out once I get a bit better :)
Reply
:iconthealmightypig:
TheAlmightyPig Featured By Owner Jan 30, 2015
Howdy! Can only Premium Members do commissions?
Reply
:iconcandelantern:
Candelantern Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2015   Digital Artist
Hi, I've wanted to do commissions for some time but like a lot of people I don't have many watchers and I'm not really sure how to build a tighter community.  I've tried turning to fanart to build an audience, but I don't really know where to go from where I am now.  Do you have any advice?
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2015  Professional Filmographer
took a look at the gallery... I think you can start with taking requests on forums first.
Do service for others first, and gradually work into commissions.
Reply
:iconscyllarhia:
Scyllarhia Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
hi, I would like to ask:
I finished commissions but didn't receive points for it..
DA said the points is automatically deducted from the other party but...
Am I doing it wrong? Should I remind the person that he/she hasn't gave points for it yet?
I usually complete my commissions within a day or two.
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2015  Professional Filmographer
Sorry i have no idea about the points commission system in DA.
I don't do points commission myself. A safe way to do it is charge 50% before u start after you show a sketch, and 50% after you finish.
Reply
:iconscyllarhia:
Scyllarhia Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
okay, thank you for the response ^^
Reply
:icondarlasimp1:
darlasimp1 Featured By Owner Edited Jan 4, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
p.q downer....i wanna do commisions of people pets. but i dont have a lot of watchers...not hardly as many as mentioned.... and i wanted to do them for like 30 points...
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2015  Professional Filmographer
Try to have as many finished pieces in your gallery as possible, move all the unfinished ones into your scrapbook, and maybe try out a small local convention doing pet portraits first and see how well you do.

And don't charge like 30 points that's waaaaay too low you might as well be doing it for free if its 30 points. @___@ 
You are a good animal artist, just brush up the finish touch to look pro for your gallery you should be able to get some business. 
Reply
:icondarlasimp1:
darlasimp1 Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I see, and ok. I will try too get better than. But im only fifteen so I can only do so much x.x, I guess ill scan all my art more often and scan the pictures I have posted that havent been scanned yet, to update them. Also, I dont know about the convention thing, I never have a ride anywhere and stuff. But thats my own issue. Thank you.
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2015  Professional Filmographer
u are doing well for 15. :D 
Actually... i don't know if u are allowed to set up paypal and such without parents supervision atm,

but its always good to start thinking about doing business early. It will build up for u overtime. :) 
For now just focus on getting really good art pieces into your gallery that's completed. 
Reply
:icondarlasimp1:
darlasimp1 Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Alright. Thanks fr responses and help.
Reply
:iconnurmuzdalifah:
nurmuzdalifah Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hi, I like to ask about which type of PayPal account would you recommend ?

I know you said business, since we ARE doing the business, but sometimes I'd like to use the account for purchasing commissions and other stuff to. What do you suggest ? Or should I get a seperate one JUST for buying.
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2014  Professional Filmographer
business account can purchase as well and have more tools, just go with business account. Personal account can only buy stuff.
Reply
:iconsweet-addict:
Sweet-Addict Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
So does that mean if we dont get the business account we cant recieve the money or? (Im sorry im so confused-)
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2015  Professional Filmographer
not entirely sure. @.@ I haven't used personal account for a looong time. 
Reply
:iconsweet-addict:
Sweet-Addict Featured By Owner Jan 5, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
Oh alrighty then thanks anyways!
Reply
:iconharuka--chan:
Haruka--chan Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Ohh, thank you so much for this!!! I need to work harder to be able to start doing commissions! That is a dream of mine someday! ^_^
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2014  Professional Filmographer
u have my blessings. Press on. :D
Reply
:iconharuka--chan:
Haruka--chan Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks so much! I will!!! ^__^ :highfive:
Reply
:iconredisawsome4:
redisawsome4 Featured By Owner Nov 24, 2014
the one thing I want to know is if I have to pay to get a drawing uploaded on here.:( (Sad) 
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2014  Professional Filmographer
no u don't need to pay to upload something. 
Reply
:iconredisawsome4:
redisawsome4 Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2014
REALLY!! THANKS FOR TELLING ME!!:happybounce: 
Reply
:icontwilirito94:
twilirito94 Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2014
This is some good advice here. I've been trying to convince my sister into taking commissions to get some extra money that would be very helpful and I was considering the thought that she should get a paypal account.
Reply
:iconbunny-lovah:
bunny-lovah Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
how do people add long pictures to DA the ones you usually see use for tutorials? I'm new so can you explain?
Reply
:iconailee33:
Ailee33 Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2014  Student Digital Artist
will the buyer pay first or wait for the artwork to be finished? Meow :3 
Reply
:iconmayshing:
mayshing Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Point 2 under PAYMENT AND RELATIONSHIP WITH CLIENTS in my article already addressed it.
Let me know if you can't understand it. 
*PS, the bold is unintended... it just happens as I copied the text from my article. lol
Reply
:iconailee33:
Ailee33 Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2014  Student Digital Artist
thankyou! ; u ;
Reply
:iconramstudios1:
ramstudios1 Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for the great information!! :)
Reply
:iconmelmuff:
MelMuff Featured By Owner Edited Oct 8, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I just did my first commission but something I just discovered makes no sense. I was selling the commission for 400 :points: but I only received 320 :points:. Why is that? So now I raised the price to 500 :points: so that I will now received 400 :points: I just don't understand why I receive less points. Wish I saw it sooner but at least I learned and fixed it so it will never happen again.
Reply
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