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Annie Felis's avatar

Aged Codger

I'm reposting this guide, hoping that this time the mod who moved it to the trashheap that is the chatterbox will not do so again. This is very much on-topic in the Art Discussion, and if it could get a sticky that would be very much appreciated.

There are a lot of people who just don't know how to order commissions, or intentionally try to be sneaky to get out of paying artists. This topic is to help both the artist and the customer know how to go about ordering commissions in a way that makes everybody happy in the end. Just so you know, while the customer is always right, the artist retains the rights to refuse, to set their own deadlines, prices, and to receive down payment before they even start. Otherwise artists can risk doing art and never getting paid for their work.

That being said, I'll first state the things YOU SHOULD NOT DO when ordering commissions:
1. Do not say "winner gets paid". This is not a contest, and we are not scrambling over each other to draw your art. Don't flatter yourself. If somebody is going to draw for you, then you will pay them. That's the agreement. The only exception is when you're getting a freebie from an artist. Saying that the winner gets paid is a way a lot of jerks go about scamming artists. They think they're being sneaky, because they're hoping to get multiple pieces of work yet only pay for one. Do not do this. And if you see anybody getting away with it, report them for scamming.

2. Do not "pay if you like it". As I said before, the artist is the one who decides what the price will be. If they decide to take up an offer you posted, then fine...but that's what you will pay in the end. You can't run off without paying; once again, that's scamming. If any of you artists have ever come across this, report the person for doing so.

3. Do not "pay when you get the gold". If you don't have the means to pay for a commission, then go to the Art Freebies forum. Otherwise don't order one.

4. Do not complain to an artist about their prices. There are many artists of many skill levels, and of many price ranges. If you see one you feel is overpriced, find another you like that's cheaper. Prices of art on this site continue to go up thanks to inflation. Artists charge a lot because they're also questing for items, just like you do. Art is a time-consuming thing that takes effort, and we artists need fair compensation for our work.

5. Do not change your avatar until the artist is done with your commission. This one has personally driven me nuts, and I've dropped commissions when people do this. How are we going to draw your avi when you keep changing the damn thing on us? We don't poop out art in five minutes, so don't assume it's cool to change what we're supposed to be drawing without notifying us. If you really must change your avatar, then make a tektek for the artist to use for reference so they know which avatar to draw for you. In fact it's a courtesy to provide a tektek in the first place, so the artists have an easier time of sorting out your items.

6. Don't whine if an artist refuses your commission. Maybe your avatar is too cluttered. Maybe the artist finds it offensive. Maybe they don't have the time. Whatever their reason, you have to respect them for it and take your business elsewhere. It's not a personal slight when somebody won't draw for you, it's just how it is sometimes. And that brings me to the next "don't"...

7. Don't harass an artist. If they can't draw for you, leave them alone. If they're not done with your work yet, don't pester them. It's fine to get on their case if they haven't coughed up your work after a couple of months, but don't be impatient and bugging them all the time. I dropped a commission where a jerk decided to PM me a few times a day asking "is it done yet?". When it's done, you'll know. PMing the heck out of them won't make your art come any faster, and odds are will make the artist give up on drawing for you.

8. Don't keep changing up what you want drawn. If you want your avi riding an elk, don't tell the artist halfway through the commission that you want them ice skating instead. Odds are you'll just get the elk picture and a demand that if you want an ice skating picture, order a second commission. It's just plain rude to ask somebody to throw out something they've been working hard on just because of your whim. It's different if the artist shows you a sketch asking if it's okay, though. Then by all means, tell us what you want changed.

9. Don't run off without payment. This should go without saying: don't try to scam us. Just don't. People get in trouble on this site for that. If you see anyone doing this, PM a mod about it and report them with proof.

10. Don't repeatedly bump your topic. If your topic falls off the front page of the requests/freebies forums, then it's fine to bump. But those forums are not Chatterbox, and your needless bumping can shove down the requests of other people. Don't be selfish and be respectful of the others who want art.

11. Don't ask us to design tattoos. We get paid in fake currency. The tattoo artist who is reproducing this thing on your skin is getting paid in real money. This is unfair to us, the original artists. If you want to take your offer offsite and pay in real money, that's perfectly fine. But please don't ask us to work for something intangible when somebody else is going to be copying our work for something that can pay their rent. Also...

12. Do not ask us to make commercial art for gold. The tattoo thing is an example, but don't ask for banners, graphics or anything else that would be used in a for-profit situation. This includes making prints of our art and selling those. Even though you've paid us, the art is still copyrighted to its creator and thus any profit you make off of it without paying the original artist royalties/a cut is illegal. Trying to pull this crap will probably wind you up in court, so don't do it.

13. Don't try to trick us into giving you free art. I've seen people try to be clever thinking they'll get free art out of artists; "try" is the word here because their attempts are pretty obvious. Things like "I dare you to draw me" or "let's try and see who draws me best!" are just insulting our intelligence and wearing down our patience, so don't pull this crap. This is not the way to get free art, and you're not clever for saying it.

14. Don't try to offer "credit" or "exposure" as a reward. That's not payment at all. Giving somebody credit for their work is sometimes legally required, but that's on top of a normal payment. We work for money or gold, we don't work in hopes that somebody may notice us on some far-flung corner of a site that's frequented by people under the age of 25. If we need to get noticed, it's up to us and not you to make that happen. If you think we'll get noticed by some big paying company for making a banner for your guild or doing graphics for your little Newgrounds flash game, you are sorely mistaken. Odds are we're on DeviantArt, tumblr, Y!gallery or other gallery sites, and people already know we exist.

Negativity out of the way, here's the things YOU SHOULD DO when ordering art:
1. Do shop around. There are a lot of artists out there, all of them of different skill levels with different pricings. If you're patient and take the time to look at samples and see what these artists have done for other customers, you'll find somebody who suits you. Patience is key. Be sure to check their samples, and the comments of other people who have ordered art.

2. Do talk with the artist. What specifically do you want? What medium do you want it in? How will payment work? Odds are, artists will want payment up front, or at least part of the payment before they give you the completed art. What I do is talk to the customer, do a sketch, show them the sketch and if they like it accept half the payment. A lot of other artists do something similar, just to make sure they don't get scammed. Also if you talk to an artist through the process you'll have a better chance of getting what you want.

3. Do tip if you like it. Tips aren't necessary, but nice. It lets an artist know that you really appreciate what they've done for you. It's also customary to tip somebody for a freebie, even if it's just 1k.

4. Do let an artist know if there's a problem. Got hacked and can't pay? Recieved your art and don't like it? Can't log on for a while? Let the artist know. Even if you don't like what you recieved, most artists are reasonable and will offer you something as an apology. It could be a refund (partial usually), it could be a re-draw of your commission, or it could be a second freebie. If you're polite about it, usually the artist is polite in return. If they're not and they give you total crap with a "stfu it's my gold now", then tell other potential customers this. Usually artists feel bad about screwing up and will try to make up for it somehow, though.

5. Do look out for scammers. Art thieves, specifically. There are a bunch of thieves trying to sell somebody else's work. You should always see if anybody has gotten art from the artist in question before you, and look at the end results. If somebody's art seems jaw-dropping and they've never opened a shop before or posted in any of the art forums, be suspicious. You can always check to see if an image is stolen by using TinEye, or by asking other artists discreetly. Just don't go out accusing somebody of stealing art. If they are thieves and are trying to scam, PM a mod and tell them so.

6. Do look in the Art Shops forum instead of posting a topic requesting art. It is much, much easier to find an artist this way. The Art Request forum has more requests than it does artists, so your request is pretty much a drop in the ocean there. You'll have more luck if you go into an artist's topic and talk to them there, or PM them asking them if they can work for you.

7. Do talk to your buddies about artists. Does a friend have an artist they like? Did a friend get a lousy scribble that looked like it was made by a 5-year-old? Good artists get good rep, and lousy artists either get nasty comments (which are wrong, mind you) or don't get noticed at all. If your friend's friend got a good piece by so-and-so, then ask them about it. Word of mouth is a good way to know which artists are decent, and which ones to avoid.

8. Do be understanding if an artist has to postpone or drop your commission. Life happens: midterms, hospital visits, babies, jobs, car payments, ect ect. Sometimes even though an artist is respectable and responsible things just happen. If something comes up an artist will most likely refund payment, or ask if they can get it to you after a while. Please don't argue with them and trust them a little bit. We want to earn gold, we don't want to drop a commission unless there's a good reason to. I had to drop one because I became pregnant and too sick to look at a sketchbook or monitor. I apologized to the commissioner and told her that I'd try entering one of her art contests in the future, and because she was kind about it I plan on going back to her. That's an example of how it should work if anything should happen to the artist.

For the love of god, don't trash this topic in the chatterbox again. It's a resource, a useful thread that is on-topic with art discussion.
            Welcome back <3

            I suggest this thread is made into a sticky and a ghosted link is posted in the Art Requests forum, also as a sticky.
ThumbSuckerr's avatar


User Image
Ahh. Perfect.
May I post a link to this in my own art shop?
It's such a useful guide and another attempt to shoo away forms of stupidity~
KandiiPanda's avatar

ushigofasweet's Partner

Loving rule 7. I've encountered some people who do NOT know what it's like to have a life outside of the internet, apparently.

Also, maybe I didn't see this, but add something in there about begging someone for free art? I know this is a commission guide but for one, I'm tired of people (not specifically on Gaia, I don't get on here much anymore) asking me if I'll make them so-and-so for free. I think this is disrespectful to the artist =/
Fansub's avatar

Shameless Nerd

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I would advise against making this a sticky; they tend to be ignored.
Bleeding Art's avatar

Obsessive Kitten

I would advise against making this a sticky; they tend to be ignored.

Yes but it's a hell of a lot easier to click back, copy the URL of a sticky to post in an ignorant thread than to hunt down a thread that is all over the front page or even on page 2 or 3.
Fansub's avatar

Shameless Nerd

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The Loveless Blade
I would advise against making this a sticky; they tend to be ignored.

Yes but it's a hell of a lot easier to click back, copy the URL of a sticky to post in an ignorant thread than to hunt down a thread that is all over the front page or even on page 2 or 3.

Good point.
NuMedia Millie's avatar


sticky this now. I'm tired of telling people we don't know how to draw.
Hizaki Yuiji's avatar

Amorous Lunatic

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Yes, I vote for sticky-ing (? is that a word? sweatdrop ) this.
Only way this will get stickied is if we get it as a proposal with 5K cookies is my bet.
I am in favor of keeping this thread in any way possible.
God-the-almighty's avatar

Enduring Gaian

I was doing a freebee for someone when they changed. but they had different looks and said they still wanted what i was drawing. Thing is, I make a copy when I start art and whether you change or not that's the look you are getting.
God-the-almighty's avatar

Enduring Gaian

Millie Nao
sticky this now. I'm tired of telling people we don't know how to draw.
If they don't glance at a announcement entitled don't ask for or sell art here what makes you think they will ever look at a sticky they have to read?
The Zorya's avatar

Benevolent Star

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This shall be linked in my art shop & freebie topic. Maybe some people read it that don't usually visit AD. Because many need to.
Millie Nao
sticky this now. I'm tired of telling people we don't know how to draw.
If they don't glance at a announcement entitled don't ask for or sell art here what makes you think they will ever look at a sticky they have to read?

            ...I wonder if mods could make the sticky font size=24 and color=red...

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