Commissioning illustration may seem overwhelming, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. Don’t worry. I’ve described a few key points you can follow that will make commissioning illustration quick and hassle-free. Or you can simply use my commission form. More over, this guide is full of tips that may be useful for writers and publishers who are starting a new project and would like to pinpoint the essence of their idea quicker.
Be Brief and Specific
Before I’ve created my commission inquiry form, I used to receive many questions about my availability, but without any specifics about the project given. I do understand that when you’re doing an early research you may not know technical details like resolution or deadline, but providing even a very rough estimate is always better than nothing. Ask yourself the questions listed below to create a rough brief of your project.
Questions you should consider before commissioning illustration:
- Set Deadline
- Specify Size and Number
- Theme Description
- Collect References (recommended)
- Choose License
- Set Budget
In other words: when commissioned illustration MUST be delivered? There is always a deadline, whether you’re aware of it or not. It may be a day you need to send your book to the publisher, or simply a borderline of your patience, when you think you may become irritated by all the waiting.
It’s also good to remember that, as a freelance artist, I usually have my schedule filled for the next few weeks. Painting an illustration takes time. Simple portraits are usually finished within 3 weeks, while complex illustrations can take up to 2 months! That’s why it’s good to plan ahead and contact me when you’re still in no rush.
Specify Size and Number
There are three questions you need to ask yourself: how big the illustrations will be? Are they meant for printing? How many of them do you need?
Sometimes, when you order an illustration for yourself, you don’t have any specific size requirements. Nevertheless, there are technical aspects, like resolution and colour profile, that must be set correctly if the picture is meant for print. You don’t need to dig into the details, just let me know when you’re planning to print a commissioned illustration, ale I’ll make sure your picture is up to the standards.
What do you want me to draw? I’m a flexible artist and I don’t shy away from unusual themes. However, painting characters and portraits is where I shine!
Still there is a huge difference in painting a bust portrait and a battle scene with multiple not-exactly human characters. So ask yourself a few questions: What is going on in the illustration? What is the mood? Are there any important details (e.g. scars that make the character recognisable) that must be pictured?
I always recommend doing some research and collecting reference images. Pinterest is a great place where you can search for images and create a mood board or inspiration board. This way, you’re able to easily share them with me and show me what you’re looking for. It’s also a good idea to visit my portfolio and find a few pieces that fit your project.
Choosing a license needed for your project is easier than you think. All commissions with a private license are intended for personal use only, and cannot be edited or used for any commercial purposes. Keep in mind that any activity that generates revenue or is meant to promote your product or brand (including non-profit) is considered a commercial activity.
If you wish to receive a layered source file or gain exclusive rights to a commissioned piece you will need a commercial license. It’s worth mentioning that as an author of an illustration I still hold the right to display lower quality versions of commissioned illustrations in my portfolio and websites, including social media.
Be Honest About Your Budget
As I mentioned before, I’m flexible as an artist. That’s why I’m always willing to work within the given budget, even if it’s lower than my average price. For example, drawing a small sketch takes less time and can be commissioned for a lower price.
I’ve created a price list for private commissions and a page dedicated to writers with a price list for book covers and other illustrations with commercial commissions. Check my various commission options before sending a commission inquiry.
What’s Next After Commissioning Illustration
Once all the terms are in place and the payment is made, I’ll start the painting process and in the meantime you will be able to offer me your feedback. This way we ensure that the commissioned illustration is all what you wanted for your project.