While I'm excited and enjoying my first official commission a couple of thoughts came to me. Particularly how clients choose artists and can protect themselves. After all clients want painted models and artists want business.
JJ typing, my first official client has taught me a lot about working with clients who wish to hire a commission artist. I'd like to share some insights and ways to protect yourself.
Ron at From the Warp made a post like this several months ago. I'd highly suggest to check it out. He created a posts for commission artists and clients. This post is about raising clients awareness when considering working with a commission artist.
First: Communication. I feel it is best to be as specific as possible. Do not be afraid to tell the commission artist whom you are consider hiring exactly what you want. You're in charge of the situation. It is your show.
Second: Feeling. Recently was chatting with LT about the humans senses. Told him that every sense humans possess are located in the head. He pondered it and was amazed. Then he came up with something that caught me off guard. "There's a gut feeling." Damn, didn't even consider that. Even praised him. Being in tune with your gut is very important when you're considered hiring a commission artist. Does the communication with the artist put you at ease? Is he/she easy to get along with? Is there a communication problem? The intake is the most important part when considering hiring someone. Intake is a termed used when making a connection with someone before beginning a business relationship. One example of intake is the communication that occurs before a massage. The masseuse and client often take a couple of moments to get to know each other, talk about expectations and exchange cash.
Third: Quote. Get a quote. Quote is the amount of money the commission artist is charging for his/her services. Don't "play it by ear." If commission artist says that it's taking longer than he/she expected to finish your models and wants more cash. Do not do that. Through communication you made an agreement. Email conversation reaffirming the quote the artist provided. Now if you as the client want to change things about the commission it may be in the artist's best interest to renegotiate the quote.
Amount of time to paint your models. This can be tricky. You want your models both painted to your satisfaction and in your hands a timely manner, preferably quickly. As a commission artist I will advise that if you want your models done by a certain date to set that date at a reasonable amount of time and contact the artist as soon as possible. What is a reasonable amount of time to paint an army? I would say 1000 pts per month. So if you absolutely needed your army painted in time for a 1850 tournament give the artist three months. Also specify you should receive the models two weeks before the desired date. This gives time for the artist to receive your models, or purchase them, put them together, paint and package them for shipping. Quick tip for commission artists that will be putting models in a storage case. Keep the box the storage case came in. You'll be reusing that box to ship to the client. After removing the previous shipping labels. You know, reduce, reuse, recycle. Never thought this blog would go green.
This didn't occur to me til the next day. In PayPal you can create an invoice. It is extremely simple. This coming from someone that quadruple checks everything internet-wise before doing something for the first time. Should you hire a commission artist I highly stress you have them send you an invoice through PayPal. It creates a digital record of your transaction. This will be helpful in the future should you need said records. You can even copy and print the invoice.
As Ron mentioned in his post. Some clients aren't particular when it comes to where their commission is presently at. Others are quite specific. Some aren't concerned about their models til they are done. Others want updates. My suggestion is when you are first working with a commission artist is to get an update every time they worked on your models. Either pics or description of what happened. This does several things. It maintains the line of communication, builds trust between parties, level of comfort increases, client is happy to know exactly where the artist is in the project.
Don't pay the complete commission fee until your models are done and ready to be shipped. Please get a tracking number. Continue the communication of when the package was shipped. Pay for the signature. You don't want your models hanging out at your front door with tracking information indicating they have been delivered. Then to be disappointed to not find them there, leaving you wondering where they are. Only to see them a couple of months later on ebay. That is not part of my definition of fun.
These are a few things I believe every client should keep in mind when working with a commission artist for the first time. Of course as the relationship builds and there's more trust between parties many of these things will go the way side, as they should. You can't build trust without communication. Commission work comes down to starting a healthy and friend conversation. If you don't have that. You won't have business.