commissioned artwork

How is art commissioned?

Dec 26 2020
Edd Johannemann

Okay, now that I want to commission art, how does it work?

First, contact the artist and inquire as to whether they accept commissions. Not all artists work on a commissioned basis, but let’s assume the artist you’ve contacted does. How artists handle commissions varies, but there are common practices. Begin by asking about the artist’s process. This helps you learn about how the artist works and creates. It also will give you an opportunity to confirm that the artist is someone with whom you want to work. At its core, commissioning a work of art is collaboration between you and the artist. The amount of input an artist wants or will accept varies with the artist, so it is important to establish what the expectations are and insure you will both be comfortable with the relationship. Essentially this is an interview for both you and the artist.

Second, the artist should be able to offer you a contract that establishes the cost of the work, the payment process,  and the rights and responsibilities of each party. The contract should also establish expectations as to how long it will take to create the artwork being commissioned. The artist should be able to explain the terms of the contract to your satisfaction.

Finally, expect to pay a deposit for the artwork. There is a tremendous amount of time and materials that are required up front to create a work of art. To offset those expenses the artist will generally require a portion of the cost of the project before beginning. What an artist asks for in the way of a deposit can vary, but 50% of the cost of the project is not uncommon.

Next week I will talk specifically about my commission process. In the meantime, if you are interested in any of the artworks on my site, want to commission a work, or just wish to contact me, you can leave a note here or reach out to me at

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