Commission work, meaning, how to price, details

Questions and answers for both the artist and the client.

What does “commission work” mean? Commission work in art means hiring an artist to create an artwork. It is an act by a client requesting an artist to create a piece.

How to handle the proses. (This is for both the client and the artist).

When you follow these suggestions, the artist will be happy and the client will walk away with an art piece that he is satisfied with.

  • Find an artist whose work fits with what you as the client, wants.
  • Provide as many details as possible to the artist about the artwork you, as the client wants.
  • Images will help a lot.
  • Provide photos of the area where the artwork will be displayed. This helps the artist a lot.
  • Discuss details such as a medium, price, deposit, timeline, stretched or not stretched canvas, colors, framed or not, size, style, payment terms, delivery (courier/pick up by client).
  • Ask a drawing from the artist and when satisfied, sign it off.
  • A simple contract is always a good idea.
  • The artist can be flexible for small changes. Stipulates if bigger changes are requested it will mean additional costs for the client.
  • Stipulate what will happen if the client is not happy with the end result.
  • Make sure all details are listed in the contract, every page is properly signed with the starting date. Stipulate that a 50% deposit has to be paid before starting the artwork.
  • Keep in contact while the artwork is in progress.
  • When the artwork is complete and the client receives it, make sure the client signs receiving it.

How to price artwork.

I do get this question frequently. And this is not an easy one to answer. I will only provide guidelines but remember, you as the artist, has the last decision. No one can tell you what to ask for your artwork. You can use the following and decide which one suits you best.

  • Beginner artists can consider to rather start with a lower price ratio. With consistent sales increase the rate.
  • At least make sure you cover your costs.
  • Do not undercut the gallery that helps you. Your price in the gallery is the same as your price at your own studio/home. The percentage the gallery takes is well earned.
  • Square centimeter: Multiply the height and width. The total is in square inches.  Then multiply the total by your rate = Price.
  • Linear centimeter: Adding height and width. Multiply the total by your rate = Price.
  • Price per hour: Decide your hourly wage. Work out the hours you might spend on the artwork. Multiply the hours and hourly wage. Add the cost of materials = Price.
  • Double the costs: Multiply the height and width. Multiply the total by your rate. Calculate your costs of materials. Add all together = Price.
  • Keep in mind that your rate differs when painting for example a landscape, an abstract, or realistic painting. Details take a lot of time. I will recommend that if you are a beginner artist, rather use a square or linear calculation.

Hope you find this helpful.

Uploaded on YouTube is a video clip of Anne de Goede talking about a commission work she is busy with.  Anne is a Virtual art teacher and she is available for art classes during the day and evening. Classes are for beginners and advanced students. If you are interested, please contact her via email: Her telephone number is 072 024 9099.

The photo above is a painting of Donkeys that Anne de Goede did.

Have a nice day.


Note: If my grammar and language use are not the best, please forgive me as I am only trying in my second language!

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