A Beginner's Guide to Commissioning Artwork

Commissioning artwork simply means hiring an article to create a customized piece of art to the needs and requirements of a client. Even though there is a prevailing idea, it is up to the artist's creativity to envision this idea into a form of art whether a painting, sculpture or drawing. The following is a simple guide to commissioning artwork if you have never done this before:

Choosing an artist

This is the most important step of commissioning art. If you do not pick the right artist, you may be grossly disappointed by the results. Find out the kind of art the artist normally does, if it is in line with what you like. There are a few versatile artists but most usually have one prevailing technique evident in their work. With the nature of art it is difficult to truly determine if the artist has the skill to do exactly what you want them to do if it something new and unique but the more enthusiastic they seem about it, the more you can trust them to do the job.

Budgeting for the art work

Artists come with different price tags depending on experience, technique and popularity. Do not commission art from artists whose prices you cannot afford. You should use your budget as a guide to finding an artist with a little leeway for negotiations with the artist. You do not want to get a bad reputation of ditching out on commission so you should discuss the financial aspect of the contract early enough with the artist before they start working on anything.

Contacting artists

You should not expect that all artists want to take your commission. Different artists have different career paths and some may not want to put their talent into commissioned work. Be polite and find out if the artist is interested. You can give the artists details and references for the kind of work you want them to do. Give them time to respond to this request before choosing to work with another artist. When working with professional artists who often do commissioned artwork, you may find the transaction to be much easier and straightforward.

Paying the artists

The most practical way of paying artists for commissioned work is in two installments. Half of the amount before starting the work and the other half when it is complete. This method of payment is safe for both the artist and the commissioner. You can ask for a WIP or work in progress just to make sure the artist is still on track for the project.


Legalities may be involved if the artist is concerned about who has legal rights over the work of art. Artists make money off their work, therefore cropping it, coloring it, warping it or altering the final artwork they make for you may be an infringement of their copyright. Experienced artists are aware of their legal rights over the artwork they create. Creating and signing a contract clearly outlining the copyright details is the safest way to handle this.

Stephan Schoeppler is an abstract artist living in Destin, Florida. He specializes in Modern Abstract Art and Contemporary Art. He also creates Commercial Art as well as Art by Commission. http://artbystephanos.com

This article was published on 01 Feb 2016 and has been viewed 1353 times
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