How to Handle a Commission

How to Handle a Commission

Becky Joy
Wondering how to handle commissions? The brief steps that I outline for the client are as follows:
  1.  Decide on the size of painting that you want.
  2. Select what you love.
  3. Approving your commission.
  4. Contact
My main purpose on this page is to reassure the client that it can be done, I'm easy to work with, professional and they will be satisfied. I really want the customer to contact me before all the payment details and contract are worked out. I like to talk to the client first to get a sense of what they want, help guide them and reassure them if need be. Successful art commissions are a collaboration between the artist and the client.
  • I want to make sure that I can work with the clients and that they can work with me.
  • It is my responsibility to listen to and communicate with the clients
  • Be professional and confident. Leave the customer feeling confident that they chose you.
  • Meet with the client in person or by phone. I have had commissions both over the internet and in person meeting at the client's home.
  • Take good notes, find out the size. To help them visualize the size of a painting, I have put making tape on their wall of the overall dimensions. At this time, they don't need to worry about the size of a frame. You can figure that out. Get a good sense of the colors that they want using fabric swatched, paint samples or going through your artwork.
  • Ask questions:
              What colors do they like?
              What do they like about my paintings as a whole?
              What do the like in individual paintings of mine?
              What is their initial concept?
              Do they want a mood?
              Make sure that they know you are in charge of the painting.
              Tell them about your process.
             Ask them if they have any concerns or questions.
             Let them be assured that they will be satisfied.
  • Make pencil drawings. Give them a few choices, not too many, to narrow it down. After they have chosen the initial concept, I will often paint a small painting, about 8x10 to show them. I found that this will save me time and make sure that we have communicated well with each other.  Many people have a hard time visualizing things. This gives them something to see, make corrections and to give them confidence in the job.
  • Once all details are worked out, it's time to sign the contract. I have included a sample contract. Of course, there can be changes to the contract. Just make sure that everything is spelled out and agreed upon.
  • During the process, I  will email the client when the block-in is done. This is a good time to make changes. They also get excited about seeing the work in progress.
  • I personally don't like to send to many images to them. I don't want them to start managing the project. But I also need to remember that this is the clients painting.
  • I will send them maybe 4 images of the progress. I also will take more photos as I paint. Then I put the images together in a C'D to give to the client as a gift with the painting. It makes it more special for them and another small marketing opportunity. They will show some of their friends the process and talk about it.
Here is a youtube video describing some of the process that I go through.

This is a "sample contract". If you have any legal concerns or questions, please contact a professional for advise.


Commissioned Art Contract

This Agreement is made the _________ day of _____________ (month), _____________ (year), by & between: (The Artist) Name: ____________________________________________________________ Address: ________________________________________________________________ Phone: ___________________________ Email: _________________________________ And (The Collector) Name: _________________________________________________________ Address: _________________________________________________________________ Phone: ____________________________ Email: _________________________________ Agreement between Artist & Collector as follows 1.The Artwork:Collector is commissioning artist, _____________________ to paint a painting with the following guidelines:
  • title:
  • description:
  • dimensions:
  • support:
  • price: (include taxes, if appropriate)
  • frame:
2. Payment Schedule: The Purchaser agrees to pay the Artist one third of the total Price:_____ which is_______ upon affixing their signature to this agreement. The Purchaser further agrees to pay the remaining 2/3 of the total Price:______ which is _______ plus any other agreed upon fees on delivery of the Work.
  •  The Purchaser shall pay this amount immediately if Work is picked up or delivered in person.
  •  The Purchaser is required to remit payment upon notification of the Artist if the Work is to be shipped.  Upon receipt of payment, the Artist will delivery Work to shipping carrier within five (5) business days.
3. Copyright: Artist retains the copyright to all works commissioned by Collector that was created by Artist, including all reproduction rights and the right to claim statutory copyright. No artwork may be reproduced or altered without the written consent of the Artist. 4. Right of Refusal: In the event that the Collector does not wish to purchase the commissioned artwork, the Collector may refuse. In that case, the Artist will retain the refused artwork and the non-refundable deposit. This is free of any claims or interests of the Collector and the Collector will not owe any additional fees to the Artist. IN WITNESS WHEREOF the Artist and Collector have executed the Agreement on the day & year written above. ____________________________________ Artist ____________________________________ Collector

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