Art in the Professions
I've been making fractals for almost 4 years now and it happened that people sent me messages about using my fractals for commercial or personal purposes. These are my two cents on the matter of taking commissions and how to do that in the best way possible, for both you and the client.
(These tips can be applied to other fields of art too!)
I will add an "Additional Tips for Fractals" whenever I will talk about selling fractals in particular.
First and foremost:
If commissions are not your thing, don't do them.
Nobody forces you to take commissions.
It requires a lot of patience to deal with the clients and most of the times you have to follow their directions, despite you feeling that the final artwork would work out so much better if you make it your way. So if you don't feel comfortable adapting your artwork to the client's necessities
(because you feel they wouldn't make the best use of it), feel free to decline the offer(s).
You decided you want to try to get some commission...awesome! How do we get people to ask us for commissions?
Make a name for yourself!
Let's face it: if you're a really great artist, but you do your work in your little cottage in the unknown mountains of the even less known state of Molvania, it will be hard for you to get commissions.
There are some ways to get yourself known to the community and outside!
- Do point commissions. If you start doing good point commissions for personal use of your images, you get to make yourself known to the others, and others get to know what kind of art you're making.
- Share your work through DA Groups. That's the best way to spread your art in the community!
- Share your work through Social Networks, portfolios or self-produced exhibitions. That's the way you share your work outside the community, and the best way for people to reach out to you. It increases the chance of commission requests from people outside DA and companies.
- Be involved! You can be involved in the community only if you really want to (don't force it!). But it is indeed a way to make yourself known.
Congratz, now people know about your wonderful art! You're kinda famous!
We don't doubt that, but let's move on.
Let's pretend that you finally receive a message from Mr. Smith, a mediator for a bigger client (might be a person or a company).
Good morning awesomeartist5647,
My name is Mr. Smith and my client (XYZ Ltd.) is interested in your work for (insert reason). Would it be possible to commission a new artwork/to buy an existing artwork? If you're interested in making us an offer, please contact us at the following email address:
We're looking forward to hear from you!
John Smith, XYZ Ltd.
I need more infos.
The next step is to ask for further infos: make sure their intentions are clear to you and see if you can take the commission. In particular:
- Is the purpose commercial? You don't work for free, especially if they're going to make money from it. This includes prints that are to be exposed in restaurants, hotels, lounges, supermarkets, etc: although they won't be sold themselves, your prints will help to get their service sold better.
- What kind of artwork are they looking for? If you produce apples and they ask you for oranges, you can't sell them apples anyway. If they ask you to create something you CANNOT do, decline the offer and, if you know somebody who takes commissions, redirect them to the proper artist. Same thing if they show you something belonging to another artist and ask you for a similar artwork. Show them your gallery and see if there's something they might be happy with, otherwise redirect them.
- Is it achievable? Are they asking for something that needs more time than the deadlines they are giving you? The "nothing is impossible" thing doesn't apply here.
In essence: Be sure the work is doable before accepting anything.
Additional tips for Fractals
- Is it achievable? 2.0 Those who make fractal know how much of a pain it can be rendering at times. Sometimes, renders are not even possible to do! Make sure your computer is capable of rendering at the DPI and size your client requests and THEN accept or decline the offer.
- Don't steal. Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT take public parameters to create your commissions. If they ask you for a work that belongs to another artist and you know the params are publicly available, don't take the commission: either offer something from your gallery or forward the client to the proper artist.
- If you already sold that particular fractal... It's always better not to sell a fractal to two different clients. If they ask you for such a thing, offer a tweak of the fractal instead. A slight modification in the parameters will do.
- Standards. Every use has its standards. If you're going to make fractals available for prints, mind that DPI is really important.
Money, money, money!
As I said before, you don't work for free. It takes time and effort to craft a good artwork, especially if you're trying to pay bills and a flat rent. Or, if you're like me, don't have a job and don't want to ask for money from your parents all the time.
Whenever I do a commission for commercial purposes, I ask for money. Doesn't matter how much, the main thing is that it's appropriate to what you are doing.
About the invoice:
- Don't be afraid to name a price! If you think 200€/220$ is a fair price for your artwork, tell them. Explain your reasons. If you're selling to a company, probably that price is the equivalent of buying a bunch of peanuts to them.
- Be honest. Do not overprice your artwork. If you're honest with your client, it's likely that they'll contact you again for other commissions.
- Methods of payment. Be clear about this. Bank account? PayPal? And what about the invoice? When is the payment due? Do you ask for a deposit? How much?
if you're a private citizen and don't sell your artwork as profession, you can still write an invoice for your client (casual work invoice). The Internet is full of tutorials and templates you can download for free and fill in to send them to your client.
Additional tips for Fractals
- Ask for a fair price! Same as before, with few things more. Other than the time spent in crafting the fractal, we need to keep our computer on for hours, even days, to get our render done. This translates into money in the electricity bill. Before asking for a price, think about it!
Last few things to say!
- Respect the deadlines. When setting a deadline, consider every possible inconvenience that might happen to you, and set a comfortable date. If you still cannot make it in time, note your client as soon as possible and ask for more time.
- Give your professional advice. When your client is asking for an original artwork and they want something that you think it won't be good for the work itself, tell them. There's no need to be harsh, but your input is important, because YOU are the expert!
- If they're stubborn, let them be. If after receiving your suggestion they still want the artwork like they asked for, don't counterstrike. After all, they're paying money for what they asked for. Reply with something like "I had to express my professional opinion, but I'll do the work the way you asked for."
What can you use Fractals for?
They're great as prints, book covers, on dresses, furniture, boxes, events...literally anything you can think of would be good with a great fractal on it!
Works by fellow Fractalists
I had various chances to see my work used for the most diverse things: boxes for medicines (YEAH
), shop boards, videos, dresses, shopping bags and so on!
In 2014 I had the honor to be contacted for two of my fractals, and have them used as seasonal decorations at Loft Shibuya. It's been such a great feeling!p.twipple.jp/PafEH
That's it! Thank you for reading! I'd like to know some things from you!
- Have you ever done commissions?
- If yes, share your experience! If no, would you like to?
- Do you have any tips to share?