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I have recently been venturing into the world of freelance art and graphic design here on deviantART, by frequenting the Job Offers/Job Services forums.

Some may have noticed this, others may have not, but there are a lot of people out there who are looking for everything for the price of nothing, or damn close to.

The message I want to convey to artists and beginning graphic designers alike; don't settle for dirt cheap! Even if you don't think you're that worth it, you work hard on the things you create and you should be compensated appropriately. No more getting paid $5 for a picture that took you 9 hours to make!


Not only does working for an extremely low price cheapen you, but it also cheapens everyone else around you. Price competitively, but don't just drop your price to $1. At that point, you may as well just do it for free. :|

Something a book I read recently said, is that if you're offering work at an extremely low price because you want to build your portfolio, you're best off just doing a few things for free. Someone who's getting your work for free may be more controlled in how much work they ask out of you, versus someone who's paying you next-to-nothing who thinks they can ask you for anything no matter what. They figure it's okay, because "they're paying for it". (The book can be found here:… )


Check out the market! Look at other people's prices for freelance work and price competitively to that. You'd be surprised how much more money you could be charging, and just how much you cheapen the market by charging extremely low.


You're offering your talents for commission because you're trying to make money, right? Well, you won't be earning much money if you get 3 commissions a month, and you charge only $10 for each.

Keep in mind what you're working towards, and how much money you'll need. Even if you're just trying to save up money for a tablet, or maybe just a couple Copic markers, if you charge just twice and much for each commission making it $20 a piece, you're already saving twice the amount of effort for the same amount of money.

If they love your art, they won't really care too much about the price!

All too often I get turned down for a possible project that's basically asking for, say, an anime style drawing (the style genre I apply to). And I can tell you, I wasn't turned down because of my price, it was because of my art style.

Now, don't take this as an attack on your style! A style makes an artist unique, and you should never compromise your unique flavor, not for anyone. Generally, when it comes to art, whether or not something is either good or amazing is very subjective. It's all based on personal preference.

So in other words, having a lower price isn't going to attrack more commissions. Its more likely that you'll just atract more people looking for hentai. ^^;

The real key is exposure. Get yourself out there, don't be shy, and show people what you can do! Now you should still be modest, but don't let your humbleness be crippling. You have more room than you'd think to strut your stuff. If you get yourself out there, I'm sure you'll be able to find a few people out there who love your work and are willing to commission you.

Also, don't let rejections and no-answers dampen your spirit. Be persistent, you'll find something. :D


For small commissions, ask for payment up front. This protects you from someone trying to get your art work, and then not paying you. For larger commissions, ask for a deposit up front. If they wonder why, tell them you had a bad experience once where someone stiffed you your money. Or whatever you'd like, it doesn't matter that much. It's nothing personal, and if they act offended, they probably were planning on stiffing you, so better protection for you!

I personally suggest using paypal as where people send their payments to you. This is safer and quicker than sending money order or check, especially since you won't have to give out an address. However, in order to get your funds you will need a bank account. Unless you're buying stuff online, then you won't have to worry about it. :D

And last, but not least...

Never stop developing yourself as an artist, there is never a limit to what you can do with your art. :)

I hope this article has helped some of you, and I wish you all the best of luck. :D

Commissioning Artists: KNOW YOUR VALUE! by RSR-Productions

/ ©2010-2016 RSR-Productions
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fantasio Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
While I agree with all points, there is a nice additional quote that sums it up very nicely: "work either for full price or for free, never for cheap."
Thats a rule Ive go after, and it works, considering doing personal projects as "working for free" there is nothing wrong with it, but its really important to research and find your value.
Towim Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2010
Thanks for this, it really is hard to get started, and to know what to even charge for the amount of time I put into something. Still sort of trying to 'break in' so to speak, and get more exposure. Been on DA for six years now, maybe more, and still have less than 4k page views.

Its hard to stay encouraged enough to charge anything at all reasonable for someone like me. *hugs*
Fractalwise Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2010   Digital Artist
Well, I'm going to be looking for commissions, so I'm glad I read this. I'm going to take into account what both the OP and ArynChris said.

Thanks Guys:)
bitchbrain Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2010  Professional General Artist
I wish all artists know about this... And their copyrights too!
X---PunkiBaby---X Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2010
This is very true.

People do commissions for only $3.00 and it takes them at least 2 days to do the coloring and sketching they should charge more.

I mean its there choice but they are worth something.
ArynChris Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2010
There are a few other factors to take into account, you know. If one's only means of selling commissions is via dA, you run into the problem of having way too few watchers who might be interested. If you're charging 5 bucks, more watchers might be interested--more people in the forums might bother to read your post. As a commissioner, I only go in the forums when I'm looking for an uncommon type of art (such as handcrafted masks) or CHEAP art, $5-$10. For the more expensive works, I'm looking at the most-popular page when I log on and building up a watchlist of anyone whose work I might be interested in.

It's all well and good to say "don't sell yourself short" and "you won't meet your income goals if you don't charge more," but there are plenty of people on dA who start small and up their prices slowly over time, as their audience builds and they have enough requests that they can do so without losing customers. `hellobaby is a good example. If you are running afoul of the low cost of commissions here on dA, you are neither the first nor the first to write an article just like this one. If this was instead written out of the goodness of your heart... well, cute, but I'm afraid it just doesn't take all the facts into account.
Created-By-Caz Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Very good advice there, I'm sure it will help a lot of people.
B-Angelo Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This are some good guidelines.
hexthor Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2010
value me for commissions :D
RSR-Productions Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2010
Guh, I should have previewed it to make sure the coding was working.... :iconfacepalmplz:
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