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What do you charge for personally commissioned art?

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Hello artists--

I've looked for this topic in the search bar, so apologies if it's already been answered.

A woman liked what she saw in my Etsy shop and portfolio website, and asked about an 11x14 illustration for her child, based on an idea of hers (she originally asked about illustrating her whole picture book idea -- not feasible right now -- so this is just one desired image from that).

I've never done personalized work like this, and was unsure about pricing. I work digitally, so the material costs are printer ink and the material printed on. Then I'd add in a TBD hourly rate -- including the fact that since I'm always working on lots of projects, this takes up "cognitive space and time spent."

If you've ever done this kind of work, what did you charge for it? And how did you navigate copyright issues?

- Joey
#1 - June 25, 2013, 08:57 PM

I draw stuff for chocolates.
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I start at $600 for an 8X10 watercolor portrait of a single person and go up from there based on number of people, complexity of the scene, etc.

When doing a portrait, I sell the original but never any rights except for the purpose of display. The portraits can not be used for reproduction by the purchaser. Since it's a likeness, I've not actually reproduce them myself, but I do retain rights to do so.

HAVE A WRITTEN CONTRACT. Spell out exactly what you will do and deliver and exactly what the customer is expected to do and deliver. I never start a private commission without a nonrefundable retainer deposit. Usually 50% of the agreed upon amount. I also make it clear how many revisions on pencil sketches are included. Revisions beyond that or once I move to color are charged on an hourly basis. I always remind clients of this with each revision.

Remember, you are not selling paper and ink, but your skill as an illustrator and all the years you have spent perfecting your craft. Your craft has value. Charge accordingly.
#2 - June 26, 2013, 05:43 AM
Animal Totem Mandala 2016
The Story Circle 2016 (PiƱata)
Color and Conjure 2017 (Llewellyn)

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there is some great info here as well:
#3 - June 26, 2013, 08:22 AM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken


Thanks for the info, I will look this all over!
#4 - June 26, 2013, 07:04 PM


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