How to get art commissions? In this blog post I will share 5 practical ways that I’ve used to get art commissions and that worked for me.
1. Fiverr.com, 99 designs.com, freelancer.com, upwork.com – all these websites provide listings of freelance art projects where you can apply to work on them. There is one caveat though, the projects are listed as a contests, because only 1 winner is chosen and gets paid from whatever number of the designers that worked. Even if you don’t win you get the practise to work on a real project, real client work and you might get to use the art on your portfolio, but make sure to read the terms to be sure that it’s okay with the project’s creator. Fiverr is a little different though, because you can also post your own so called gigs (commission services) and then people can find them in the Fiverr marketplace and order it and you get a commission that way. Fiverr also lets you to apply to a buyer requests, similarly as with contests, but instead of everyone working and one getting paid, here, only one designer is chosen, from whatever number applied and only one gets paid.
2. Contacting directly on Facebook and Instagram – direct messages on Facebook and Instagram. On Facebook you can find people to contact by using a search function and typing the customer that you would want to work with, for example “metal band” or “clothing brand” etc… Once you have some potential customer pages liked you can use Facebook’s feature to recommend you similar pages and like them too. On Instagram use relevant hashtags search, you can even search by location. Like all the bands, brands that you would want to work with. Also, if you are short on new bands, brands use similar pages recommendations. When you are ready to write contact the potential customers focus on how you could provide them value first and be sure to not spam them and create unique and personalized messages all the time, because people won’t read it otherwise and eventually you get banned, suspended by Facebook or Instagram.
3. Facebook groups – there are specific Facebook groups, which allow you to post your work samples, art services for sale and the potential customers can contact you if they like what they see and have a project to do. Use Facebook search field, write “metalheads group”, “goths group”, “artists group”, “clothing brand” and similar keywords and join these groups.
4. Having a portfolio website – that way people will come to you and can contact you for a custom work. You need to have some already done work samples for that though, but in the beginning you could work for your friends and family or use the work from those mentioned freelancing websites, that was not picked as a winner. You also could enter various art contests, just to gain experience working on real projects and have a portfolio sample, or maybe even win.
5. Posting on social networks like DeviantArt and Instagram – potential customers can contact you directly for work sometimes when they see you consistently posting your art and they like it and would like to buy it or have a project requiring similar work. DeviantArt’s forum also has some commission requests from people where you can apply.
At the beginning you might need to charge pretty low amounts, or sometimes even working for free (or exposure) just to gain some experience and get those first customer work samples. But after working for some time you will gain experience, portfolio samples and if you do a great job you will get recurrent work from them from time to time and also you might get some referral customers as well (these are when happy customers of yours tell other people about you and that way word spreads and you get more customers).
Personally I’ve got my first commission on fiverr.com back in a 2014 even thought I was paid a $5, it was fuckin’ amazing feeling and I’ve learned that you could actually get paid to draw things :). I’ve immediately started working and finished the work same day. The customer was amazing and he loved the work. Always good to remember your first commission :). Since then I’ve completed 130 commissions and earned a little over 4k euros on Fiverr platform.
It is not that much in 4 years (I’ve worked on Fiverr from 2014 to 2018), of course, but it sure is a good start and I’ve gained lots and lots of experience and made some money in the process as well :).
Let me know if you have any questions or have your own story to share or to add something in the comments down below. Would be happy to talk with you!