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An art commission invoice provides independent artists with a means of requesting payment for the creation of a piece of art on request. Often done under contract, commission work is often split up on a 50-50 basis, where the artist collects a payment upfront as well as after delivering the finished product. Working under commission provides artists with a means of budgeting – which can be hard to come by with the variable nature of the field of work.

What are Art Commissions?

Art commissions are contracts that establish an agreement between an artist and the entity seeking one (1) or more pieces to be created. Contracts are often signed by both parties and contain a series of conditions to ensure the artist has a clear understanding of what is to be done, and the timeline for completing it. The following should be included in an art commission contract/invoice to ensure it covers all of the necessary points:

  • Contact details of both the artist and customer (full names, addresses, phone numbers, etc.)
  • Details of what work is to be done (dimensions, colors, and styles)
  • Terms of the payment (50% on starting the work, remaining 50% upon finishing)
  • Rights to both exhibiting and/or reproducing the work
  • Visual references
  • Any optional conditions such as “right of refusal”
  • Dated signatures of both parties

Pricing Art Commissions

When pricing an art commission it’s first and foremost that an artist understands their art is valuable. With the onset of digital artist marketplaces, art has decreased in value in many ways. It’s very important an artist doesn’t fall into this trap, as pricing art below it’s worth 1) sends a message to potential customers that the art is not of quality, and 2) it makes it near impossible for the artist to make a living.

To price art effectively, the best starting point is to take the amount of time dedicated to creating the piece and charge an hourly rate ($/hr) that allows the artist to make a living. For example, a four (4) hour sketch shouldn’t be sold for $10. It should be sold a minimum of $32 (an $8/hr rate). However, charging upwards of $10 to $15/hr is common for the average artist. Additionally, the popularity of the artist and the desirability of the art being produced all factor into pricing as well. If an artist is regularly being requested to work on commission, the increased demand should play into the artist’s pricing structure as well. Overall, it’s important that independent artists price their work confidently and reflect any increase in demand in the pricing structures they offer.