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January 15, 2013
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People ask way too little money for commisions!

:iconruth-tay:
Ruth-Tay Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2013  Professional Filmographer
I've been doing commissions for a few years now. I've pretty much stopped doing them because I got a full time job as animator 1,5 years ago. So I don't have to do them anymore but also because nobody wants too pay me, because its to expensive.

But what I find weird is why is this expensive. For a fully rendered illustration I'm busy for about 20 hours. A professional freelance Illustrator or animator can ask between the 50 and 300 dollars an hour.

I've seen people asking only 20 dollars for a fully rendered Illustration. Would you be giving somebody only 20 dollars if they worked three days in a shop? No of course not.

I'm aware most of these commissions go via the internet and a lot are not done for company's but for personal use. But still!

Anyway I'm wondering why people ask so litte and why people only want to pay so little.
Please let me know what you think?
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Devious Comments

:iconangelsdead:
AngelsDead Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
people ask so little cause its only their hobby and they hope to sell more that way :D
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:iconhong-t:
HonG-t Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ahaha as soon as I increased the commission price because I was taking more time on the art and also improved in skill, and the number of commissions I get drastically dropped.
I guess that means I still need to train more and get better at art XD
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:iconcrypticink:
CrypticInk Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've always assumed there were others like me, who are afraid they won't get commissions at all if they raise their prices too much.
I've been told I undercharge but..gosh I need the money so bad sometimes, I don't want to kill my chances of making some by making people think I charge too much.

I am clueless at charging anyways, woah.. ;-;

And like :iconvagabouncer: said, I've kinda been taking what I can get.
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:iconcrystal-blue-dragon:
Crystal-blue-dragon Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
There is a similar problem in the cgi industry as well.. not just with graphic design and illustrations. I'm sure you're aware of this too being an animator!

Free lance 3D animators, modelers, etc. are often hurting their own industry by offering small sums of money to clients. This leads the rest of the world to believe that they can refuse business with the artists that are actually offering more realistic prices (which tend to be more expensive of course). That in turn, makes it that much harder for free lancers to make a living and earn money -_-

For my first ever freelance job awhile back, I did a small demo animation for a client (for free) and he liked it and wanted to continue doing business. He wanted me to make short animations, that were longer than the demo, more well made, etc. Since it was my first free lance gig I offered to do the first animation for 100$, and barely heard from him again..

To this day still not sure if that was too much or too little to be offering, but the client seemed to think it was too much :(
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:icondarktailss:
DarkTailss Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It comes down to the fact that people who don't sculpt/draw/paint/artz don't know what it takes to create something specific in their particular field, so potential customers lowball and the artists have no choice but to work at low prices. My friends who draw well don't know why sculptors charge $200 to sculpt a Barbie-sized head and my friends who sculpt well don't know why artists charge $200 to draw something :rofl:

There are other reasons too of course. For example, a kid who can't work legally might be happy to make good sculptures for $20. They have fun sculpting, it's good practice, and they make money they couldn't make otherwise, so they're happy.
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:iconmeganmissfit:
MeganMissfit Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I've been slowly raising my prices because really, for all the time and effort I spend on commissions, I have felt like I was severely undercharging myself for my work. Not only are you drawing the piece, you are also working with the client, spending hours/days sending e-mails back and forth, etc....and THEN drawing the art. Commissions really can be labor intensive, and artists need to price themselves fairly.

But it's always so disheartening when you give someone a price quote and after that you never hear from them again :stare: it really makes me wonder what kind of price they were expecting.
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:iconwezenbeesje:
wezenbeesje Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Professional General Artist
People who buy art have no idea how much effort it takes. They think it's easy, so they're expecting almost free art.
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:iconmeganmissfit:
MeganMissfit Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Yeah, or it's because art is fun, right? You don't need to be paid for it if you're enjoying yourself!
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:iconwezenbeesje:
wezenbeesje Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2013  Professional General Artist
Oh, yeah I've heard of that one too. :p
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:iconmisschibichild:
MissChibiChild Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013  Student Digital Artist
DeviantArt's user demographic seems to have more teenagers or young adults than anything. Your average teenager won't even think about paying $50 for a commission, let alone $300. My cheapest commission is $3 and my most expensive is $11 and I still can barely get a commission. Such is the world. :(
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:iconalalampone:
alalampone Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2013  Student Digital Artist
the people who are willing to buy my commissions usually can't drop 100 bucks for a drawing since my audience tends to be in my age group
which means they're mostly teenagers or young adults and can at most pay 20 or 30 bucks for a drawing
so I just take what I can get
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:icone-pendragon:
E-Pendragon Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Most likely it's because people can't afford $100 commissions. Beginning artist generally take as much as they can regardless how much they truly should be paid.
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:iconkeyboardingchihuahua:
KeyboardingChihuahua Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Student General Artist
Well, I think a lot of people just don't realize how much work can go into a picture, that even if the artist is really talented, it can still be difficult making a work worth selling. And the fact that a lot of people who want to buy commissions may be a random person just wanting a commission, and not realizing how expensive art can get also makes it worse. So I don't think it's necessarily people being cheap, they just don't know any better.
And also because many people just don't have the money to cough up a sum of money bigger than $50 or $100 for an artwork. I mean, I know companies do, but they're really the only ones that will pay someone an appropriate amount based on the wages you said ($50-$300 an hour). I wouldn't pay more than $100 for an artwork, and a lot of people wouldn't. Some people are cheap and just don't appreciate the time an artist puts into their work, but there are also others who can only afford low prices.
That's one reason why I decided against commissions. I'm still in highschool, and so I know that someone probably wouldn't want to pay me more than $30 for something, and I know I put in much more time than $30 worth.
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:iconlolilith:
Lolilith Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Student Digital Artist
lol.. this is kind of eye-opening to me :'D
well, it makes deciding prices a lot more easy o-o just count the hours working on it+maybe expensive materials used

I find the idea of asking 200 euros for a drawing really scary though, I know I wouldn't get customers that way but it is a fair price considering the time and effort put into it..

haha decisions decisions...
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:iconwezenbeesje:
wezenbeesje Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Professional General Artist
Ik zie dat je nederlands bent. Het is ook beter je kunsten aan te bieden aan mensen die bedrijven enzo hebben, die betalen wel graag 200 euro. Bijvoorbeeld op hoofdkraan.nl of handigemensen.nl :)
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:iconlolilith:
Lolilith Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Student Digital Artist
O: Die sites zijn nice, vooral de eerste ziet er interessant uit.
Haha, 6% fee is zoveel beter dan de 20% die deviantart vraagt
Dankjewel voor de tips! :D
Nice gallery heb je trouwens :heart:
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:iconwezenbeesje:
wezenbeesje Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013  Professional General Artist
Ok, ik hoop dat het lukt dan!
In de eerste zijn ze best streng trouwens, maar volgens mij krijg je dan wel wat je waard bent. De tweede is (nu nog) gratis en vriendelijker. Er staan nog niet zoveel tekenaars op dus ik denk dat je best een kans maakt! :)
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:iconnarutokunobessed:
narutokunobessed Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Student General Artist
I think its because the majority of the people that come here are from cons or kids liking cartoons and cons. Rarely do I see a $100 commission at cons, and I think alot are used to that price $10-$20. .

And seeing that digital prints are pretty easy to reproduce, I think it can reduce the price a bit.

Also with the economy currently in the USA, its not easy to get people to buy.

But thats an educated guess

ANd hi ruthie, again XD.
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:iconruth-tay:
Ruth-Tay Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Professional Filmographer
Haha, Hi;p

Jup I think its that too, but it doesn't really help for the people making a living of it.
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:iconnarutokunobessed:
narutokunobessed Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Student General Artist
Well I said hi to you lots before.

Yea, maybe once were out of the recession, people could buy better prices.

And to think Im going to enter this field, which I am.
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's quite simple. Most of those people are young and inexperienced.
They don't see art as a way to earn their living, and do it mainly for fun and the extra money. And they most often lack the skills to compete with the more experienced artists, in sense of art quality.

I've been a freelance webdesigner for years, and seen and experienced the same thing over and over again.
A lot of youngsters work for prices as low as 5 euro's per hour. When I was 14 years old I did the same thing. I was young, I didn't need much money for what I wanted to buy, and saw it mainly as some part time job that earned me some money do spend on fun stuff. As I got older, my living costs became higher. And most important... I acquired more skills and confidence. 5 euro's per hour make me laugh now, because I know the quality I deliver is far higher than that, but I've been in such a stage as well.

I guess it's all a matter of experience :)
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:iconhaanpere:
HaanPere Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013   Digital Artist
5€ per hour?
More like0.5€. :C
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Heh... I was talking about the webdesign/webprogramming business ;)
The prices of art here are just dramatic, I admit that
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:iconhaanpere:
HaanPere Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013   Digital Artist
Ah, I see! I thought you were speaking of young artists in general.
But yeah, most prices are just awful here. :/ Not that my prices are too great either, my husband gets more per lineart than I do for a full picture...
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hmmm... depends a bit on how badly you want to be an artist and how badly you need the money.
I have a fulltime job so I don't need the money that badly. I decided not to go selling my work until the level is high enough to sell it at a decent price. But that's a choice you have to make ^^
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:iconhaanpere:
HaanPere Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013   Digital Artist
I've wanted to make art my profession for a good four years now and would need the money, yet each year I get less and less commissions whether the price stood the same, went lower or higher(in which case no commissions, ever). :I It's a mystery.
I'm on a parental leave and thanks to the economy, my husband hasn't managed to find a job since every place he could go for is already filled to its limits so yeah. >__>
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well... as for the number of commissions getting lower... I guess that relates to the bad economy as well. I used to work a lot as a freelancer in design, and I even I see the overall number of requests declining in the last few years. This hasn't got to do anything with skills. It has to do with the fact that people don't have so much money to spend anymore.

I realize well how damn lucky I am to have a decent job and a pretty solid skillset to fall back on. I know many artists out there in the field, that experience the same problems :(
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:iconhaanpere:
HaanPere Featured By Owner Jan 18, 2013   Digital Artist
I know artists who can't open their commissions without getting their slots filled within an hour(literally) and they charge above $20 a hour. And most of their commissions are between $200-$500, even. I'm so jealous! ;3; Not to mention that what I get told when I open my commissions is "too expensive" whereas my husband posts one picture and people are willing to pay twice as much as what I charge. So I think it's just that it's me.
You're lucky indeed! It seems that even keeping a job in this economy is like a miracle, not to mention finding one! :I
I'm sorry if I'm rambling! <:C
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(1 Reply)
:iconmythicsonofgod:
MYTHICSONOFGOD Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I agree you are very skilled! you deserve more than that indeed.
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well, that wasn't about art. It was about webdesign/webprogramming. I've never offered my art for money, but if I ever do I won't probably do it for prices that low, considering the number of hours I work on it ^^
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:iconruth-tay:
Ruth-Tay Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Professional Filmographer
True it is, but what I see here a lot is that commissioners even expect to get fully rendered stuff from a Proffesional for that price. They just have no idea.
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Because they, themselves, also lack professional experience.
Everybody out there, in the field of art, knows what is the price of real quality work. The others are just youngsters that don't know shit about art and hope to score something cool for a low price ;)
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:iconhabla-babla:
habla-babla Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Agreed. People dont realize outside of DA you can make $1,000 for a simple company logo (Im not exaggerating). Yet for an elaborate illustration that took you dozens of hours, some people dont want to pay over $20 lol. Crazyness.
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:icondamaimikaz:
DamaiMikaz Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Like I said... it's lack of experience.
It's not that I agree with company logo's costing far over $1000, but it's paid for it, so why not?
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:iconmythicsonofgod:
MYTHICSONOFGOD Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Not saying names but I recall seeing a not very good anime artist (very experienced but very very amateurish as a typical anime fan that only tries to draw "manga style" without realism .) Charging as high as $400 dollars to continue a few pages of comic series and as high as $250 dollars for a simple 5 seconds gif (trust me ) Which compared to the professional artist's rates is very very expensive

I am not saying it is wrong.... I am just saying that not all artist go on the cheap about their skills and in fact some might be in fact overestimating them. I have seen a lot of artists that try to get commissioned before it is the right time

Not because they are bad ... I am not good enough to give drawings for free ... but there is a time to seed and a time to reap....
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:iconmythicsonofgod:
MYTHICSONOFGOD Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I plan to draw for free mostly... But I am a law student so I am not really an obstacle to you :p
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:iconruth-tay:
Ruth-Tay Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Professional Filmographer
I draw for free when I want to practise. Doing free requests lets me ty stuff out what i've never tried before and I can also experiment in styles.
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:iconmythicsonofgod:
MYTHICSONOFGOD Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
that's very cool!. You are a professional for sure and you deserve to earn a good payment

I am hobbist, so I hope my free drawings aren't hurting/will hurt you in any way :)
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:iconashe-the-hedgehog:
ashe-the-hedgehog Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Student Digital Artist
In my opinion, if I was to open commissions, I would offer them at very low prices because I don't feel that my artwork is worth more, or that people wouldn't want any at all because the prices were too high. The reason I don't do commissions is because of that, that I feel that my art isn't worth the price.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I go with lack of respect for the profession :I I mean, you shouldn't be selling less than high-quality work in the first place.
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:iconruth-tay:
Ruth-Tay Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Professional Filmographer
That and not knowing any better, because people have no idea how it works.
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:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Facts. D:
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:iconsachi-pon:
Sachi-pon Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
i've seen this debate before and it's a tricky one. i **DO** understand your point, i really do. but i see the other side of this argument too. there are people who charge low prices and they rarely/never get commissioned. (i'm one of those people) and so, raising our prices seems crazy to us! we rarely get commissioned now, so why would we raise prices and reduce the number of people who might buy??

so it all depends on your perspective. if you're one of the artists who are fortunate enough to get paid a lot on commissions then i can see how you think people charge too little. but if you're someone like me who is a low-priced artist and never sells commissions, it's an entirely different perspective.

i actually think $20 is a fair price. and even with that, i think LOWER is a good price too and it's not often that i spend $20 on a commission. i only have so much money! (i'm a student, and i don't have a job) i did spend $22 on a commission recently and it's not something i do often. sometimes i've spent more than that but it's really rare. there is no way i would ever spend $50-$300 per hour for a commission, that is very expensive and completely unaffordable to me. even if i could afford it, that is still a lot of money to spend and i could buy so many other things with that same amount of money, so i wouldn't want to spend all that on just one commission.

so see? we have two completely different perspectives because of our different experiences. i wish those who say that "people charge too little for commissions" would understand the other side of this argument. not everyone can just raise their prices and still get people to buy. so that's why people like me don't raise our prices. (and, don't make this about me. there are many others like me and i don't mean to act like i'm the only one)
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:iconhaanpere:
HaanPere Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013   Digital Artist
In your situation, I'm going to say the reason you might not get commissions is because of the poor quality, messy coloring, poor anatomy and the eyes you draw look dead. What you should do is to try and work on your coloring skills, try a few different techniques and see whether you can make the coloring smoother, as now it looks very rushed and as though it's not too well thought out. The lineart also appears to be drawn using lots of very short strokes, as though you were unsure whether you'd be able to perform a long, smooth curve with one stroke. You should probably work on that as well. Do lots of practice pictures, don't hesitate to do longer strokes and if something goes wrong, try to see why and what you could do to fix it.
You should probably do some life studies(or draw people from photos) as well as anatomy studies. I'd suggest you pay especially much attention to hands, as the way you draw them makes them appear flat and malformed and the fingers you draw lack form. Studying hair as well could be extremely useful.
Perhaps this will help?
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:iconsachi-pon:
Sachi-pon Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
i'm reading through the comments on this thread. really interesting! and i was recently talking to someone else about this topic, too.

sorry but i want to add more to my already long comment:

there is a difference between "professional artists" and what i call "low-priced artists." (like me) there's a difference between people trying to make money to pay for bills and college and stuff, and people who just want some money to buy enjoyable things (like books, dvd's, fashionable new clothes). the pro artists charge a lot and thing charging a little is stupid. the low-priced artists who just want to buy enjoyable things only charge a little bit and think charging a lot is ridiculous. but on deviantart, both types mix. that's a problem. both types mix together and each side doesn't quite understand the other. so if we just talked about this issue more often, people would understand each other. i understand both sides of the argument because i've seen others talk about their own perspectives. this is a good thread to have!
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:iconruth-tay:
Ruth-Tay Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Professional Filmographer
Its nice if people would understand both, but there are still a lor of people out there that don't. I thought that opening this topic would open a few peoples eyes. And I wanted to know what people thought about it, because I was sure I was not the only one, that thought the prices could be more fair.
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:iconairlesse:
Airlesse Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
When it comes to my commissions, if I charged a fair price for the amount of hours I put into my work, I wouldn't get any commissions! It usually takes me over 5 hours to do a cel-shaded sketch. And if I put that to minimum wage ($10.25) that's over $50 for something that looks like this: [link]

I'm going to try one of those "Pay what you want" streams, and see if I can start making at least SOME income. v,=,v
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:iconruth-tay:
Ruth-Tay Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Professional Filmographer
As many people said te prices you ask are not only based on hour rate thats normal for minimum wage in your country, but popularity and quality of the art is also a factor. I'm aware I can't ask as much as people who make concept art for blizzard. Because they are Pro's famous for their work, really fast and they know what their doing. Also they have way more experience than I have. They could ask about 200 dollars an hour. But I think I could ask about 25 to 50 dollars for my work. Just because I'm just not as good as they are.

So also keep that in mind but don't end up doing 5 hours of for just for 5 dollars or something, thats just crazy. And there are a lot of people out there that actually do that.
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:iconairlesse:
Airlesse Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I'm just using minimum wage as an example to show how hard it is to make money off of art, when working in fast food would get me more money, and less time spent working.

So that's why I think that if I want to make SOMETHING from my art, I have to charge a lot less than what is legally acceptable per hour.

I think I'm going to try a base price, and only work on the piece for an hour. That might make me get faster at art-making, and a lower price might make my art more desirable.
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:icontiffa:
tiffa Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
You must live in BC xP.
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