We put together an anonymous survey for artists who take or have taken commissions to help creators better navigate the rates that they charge and the methods in which they accept commissions.
As mentioned, the data was gathered anonymously via Google Forms from a sample size of 290 artists. We are not drawing conclusions or interpreting the data, just presenting the results.
All of our page rate information is in USD. If any creators responded with a different currency that was noted, we’ve converted that to USD. The data has been compiled into a few different categories
Sample Size: 290 Artists
Of the 290 artists that responded to the survey, 96.9% currently accept submissions. The remaining percentage have taken commissions in the past but do not at the moment or any longer.
We’ll attempt this survey again in the future having learned quite a few things about the collection of the data, but it was really difficult to find common ground to average everything out. Artists accept commissions in completely different ways, so we’ve tried our best to lump the rates together based on the information we were given. For instance, “SKETCH”, “BLACK & WHITE”, and “FULL COLOUR” are based on an average commission size of 6 x 9 (or roughly in that area).
Lots of folks didn’t specify more outside of “BUST” or “FULL BODY” for some of their responses, so this could mean a number of different things – we apologize that this isn’t made clearer (again, like we said, we will adjust the survey in the future).
The most accurate data that we were able to compile is that of the hourly rates. Lots of artists seem to be working on hourly rates and that was very easy to process here. Some artists work in half hour increments but also included their rate for the full hour.
Ultimately this isn’t meant to be the be all and end all of artist commission rates. Please understand that we processed the data as best as we possibly could but it does have some flaws (as we’ve tried to outline). Use it as a base guideline, if you’d like, but it should not be the definitive way to price your work. Many folks specified that the rates provided were also the starting point, so please keep that in mind as you look through the data.
PUBLISHED CREATORS – TRADITIONAL
|BLACK & WHITE||$200||$20||$69|
PUBLISHED CREATORS – DIGITAL
|BLACK & WHITE||$65||$20||$35|
UNPUBLISHED CREATORS – TRADITIONAL
|BLACK & WHITE||$64||$10||$35|
UNPUBLISHED CREATORS – DIGITAL
|BLACK & WHITE||$100||$10||$43|
What medium do the responding artists typically work in for commissions (ie. digital or traditional)?
- 51.7% – Digital
- 15.5% – Traditional
- 30.7% – Both
The remaining percentage was broken up by creators going into the specifics (ie. “mostly digital but takes traditional commissions at conventions”).
Where do the majority of creators take commissions from?
- 89.7% – Online through social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
- 21.7% – At conventions only
- 4.5% – Through Etsy, Shopify, and/or other e-commerce platforms
Other respondent comments:
- Personal web site
- Email only
- Art dealer
How do the majority of creators receive payment for commissions?
- 79% – PayPal
The remaining percentage was individualized responses such as:
- Cash up front (for conventions)
- Square (for conventions)
- Patreon, Ko-Fi, Payoneer
- Google Pay
How much do commissions contribute to the majority of overall income for creators?
Additional notes and tips from artists on commissions:
- Remember to take payment up front (ie. first payment for sketch, require second payment upon approval before moving onto inks/colours – don’t work without compensation received or a deposit of at least 50%).
- Under-pricing harms the whole industry, even for newbies. It helps to also offer lay-by options, which people appreciate and make use of.
- Charge based on edits (ie. at each stage, offer a few minor edits (2-3 usually), and if they are unclear in their instructions/description/etc. and it causes a longer work process or it becomes more complicated, try charging $25 for each additional hour you work on a piece).
- For more detailed commissions, get everything in writing – outline what you’ll do as an artist (ie. thumbnails, sketch, ink, and color stages) along with what changes are acceptable at each stage. Offer them a contract to sign so they understand the obligations and expectations completely, or as closely as possible.
- For personal commissions, offer the ability to tip when you send an invoice and you may be surprised by how many of your clients give you an extra 30-40%.
- Don’t be afraid to be selective with your work. You can turn down commissions that don’t interest you or that you don’t feel you can do justice to.
- Don’t work for free for friends and family unless you absolutely want to. Offer a friends and family discount but never feel that you have to work for free for them.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We thank all the respondents for their time and efforts in helping us create this base rate list.
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