Beginner’s Guide to Art Commissions ~ Time Management, Pricing, and More

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Taking on commissions can be a rewarding step for a beginner painter, but it requires careful planning and clear communication. Here’s a guide to help you approach commissions effectively

1.  Initial Steps and Communication

  • Understand Client’s Needs: Start with a detailed conversation to understand what the client wants. Ask about their vision, preferred style, colour schemes, size, and any specific elements they want included.
  • Sketch and Approval: Provide a preliminary sketch or concept to ensure you and the client are on the same page. This step helps avoid misunderstandings later.

2. Time Management

  • Set Realistic Deadlines: Assess your current workload and estimate how long the commission will take. Factor in additional time for unforeseen delays.
  • Progress Updates: Regularly update the client on your progress. This maintains transparency and allows for any adjustments early in the process.

3. Deposit and Payment

  • Upfront Deposit: Request a deposit before starting the work, typically around 30-50% of the total cost. This secures your time and materials and shows the client’s commitment.
  • Final Payment: Ensure the remaining balance is paid upon completion and before delivery of the artwork. Clear terms on payment help avoid any issues.

4. Materials and Quality

  • Quality Materials: Use good-quality paints, brushes, and canvases to ensure the finished piece is durable and looks professional. Explain to your client why quality materials matter.
  • Cost of Materials: Factor in the cost of materials when pricing your commission. Be transparent with your client about this aspect.

5. Pricing Your Work

  • Research: Look at what other artists with similar experience and skill levels charge for commissions. This helps you set competitive yet fair prices.
  • Pricing Formula: Consider a pricing formula that includes the cost of materials, the time spent, and your desired hourly rate. Don’t undervalue your time and effort.
  • Transparency: Be upfront about your pricing structure. Explain how you arrive at your prices, which can help clients understand and appreciate the value of your work.


Approaching commissions as a beginner painter involves clear communication, careful planning, and ensuring you are fairly compensated for your work. By setting realistic deadlines, using quality materials, and being transparent with your clients, you can build a successful and rewarding commission practice




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Other Blogs by Rosa Lea

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*Canal Art + The Buckby Can

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