How Do You Commission An Artist

How Do You Commission An Artist To Create An Art Piece Of Your Choice

How do you commission an artist online? Presented here is a step-by-step guide to dealing directly with artists and the factors to consider when commissioning art.

There are a lot of reasons why an artwork may be commissioned.

It is not purely the domain of the individual wanting a special art piece for their home. There is a huge market of people and businesses from all walks of life wanting an artwork for one reason or another.

Recommended Reading: How To Commission A Pet Portrait

What Does It Mean to Commission Art?

The practice of commissioning art entails contracting an artist to create a work of artwork based on their specifications.

  • Corporate clients may wish to order a piece representing their brand in their corporate colours.
  • Interior designers may want to commission art that specifically fits their latest project.
  • Sometimes an artwork that takes someone’s fancy is either too big or too expensive. A commission may then be entertained in a smaller size or at a lower price.
  • And of course, there is the individual looking for something specific to fit into their home, as a present, or as a memory of a passed-on pet.

What Can I Commission?

You can commission absolutely anything you want.

You need to do a little research and decide on an artist that complements the style and the subject matter that you like and want created.

Look at their galleries of previous work and, if you are happy with what they produce, contact them with your request.

How Much Will A Commission Cost?

This is a difficult question to answer, as every project is unique and requires a different amount of time and effort.

Many people believe that commissioning an artist is difficult and available to the wealthy. This is not entirely true.

Every artist has their own pricing structure depending on their medium, size of the artwork, complexity, and time restraints. All these considerations affect the pricing structure.

The most important thing you should consider is how much the project is going to cost.

Here are some general guidelines to get a rough estimate for an art commission.

The first step is to research the artist. Find out what prices their art is selling for in galleries or their online shop.

Take note of the size, medium, and subject reflecting those prices.

It is also a good idea to read the client testimonials. They are a good barometer of how the artist follows the clients recommendations based on their comments.

Using that information:

  1. Determine the dimensions of your project. The size of the art can greatly affect the price of your commission.
  2. Next, determine the medium you would like the work to be executed in. It could be oils, watercolours, pastels, or pencils.
  3. The details you want to achieve are also important. You may require just a simple portrait with no background, or it may be a full background with a landscape. The choice will impact the time and cost of your commission.

You will be able to gauge a rough estimate of what your choice of artist may quote you.

How Do You Commission An Artist The Correct Way

When contacting the artist for your commission, the more information you provide in your first correspondence, the better.

Stating what you are looking for clearly, makes it much easier for the creator to assess your needs.

  • State your preferred medium.
  • State the finished size of your artwork.
  • Provide a good quality photo of what you want.
  • State a time frame if you have one.
  • If you have an example of a drawing or painting you like, send it to them.
  • State if you want it framed (some artists provide this service).
  • State delivery address.

How Long Will The Commission Take?

The determining factors for how long your commission will take are similair to the cost factors.
Time is determined by size, medium, style, subject matter, and complexity of your commission.


The size of the piece is a factor. As a rule, the larger the size, the longer it will take to complete.

This is a generality. Sometimes a smaller work of art will require a greater number of hours for the execution of the smaller details.


Oils will take longer than drawing techniques. One reason is that the oil paint has to dry before the painting can be shipped.

So take this into account when ordering an oil painting. Drying can take a couple of weeks or more, depending on the technique.

Impasto or palette knife work will take longer to dry than a thinner brush technique.


The style of the artwork is a time factor.

A loose, free-flowing style will generally be quicker. A more detailed, true-to-life, and realistic rendition will take longer.

Subject Matter and Complexity of the Commission

The subject matter of your commission will determine how long it will take to complete.

A detailed subject matter will be more work than a simple one.

For example, a rose in a vase will be quicker than a landscape with mountains, stream, and rock pools.

Can I Return A Commissioned Artwork?

This depends on the artist you have commissioned artwork from and the terms of the commission.

If the artist is sending you regular updates on the progress, you are entitled to comment and make suggestions on how to improve the work. This should reduce the problem of your not being satisfied with the finished artwork when it arrives.

Some artists do have return policies. However, there will always be clauses on how and when the return will be accepted.

Here are some clauses that may apply to returns of commissioned artwork:

  • There will be a time frame in which to return the artwork.
  • You may need to provide a reason for the return.
  • Shipping costs may be non-refundable.
  • The condition of the artwork will be accounted for.
  • You may not receive a full refund.
  • Damage may be only the shipping companies’ responsibility, not the artist’s.
  • In all probability, the work will be sold to a different client.

Most Artists Are Open for Commissions

Commissions are frequent in the art industry for a variety of reasons. Most artists will be more than delighted to make a piece to the client’s specifications.

It can be scary to consider commissioning a painting, drawing or sculpture for the first time.

It may, however, be a pleasurable and collaborative experience.

Once you have envisioned an artwork that you want and discovered an artist who perfectly matches your aesthetic, contact them.

By following these guidelines, you are sure to be satisfied with your personalised art commission.

You will also have been able to support an artist you admire and have a beautifully crafted, one-off original artwork.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to commission an artist?

If you really like an artist’s work you simply email or phone the artist requesting them to draw, paint, or sculpt an image of your choice. It is a good idea to give details ie size, medium, and an image of what you are looking for. If an artist is open for commissions you will find their information on their website or social media feeds.

What is commissioning art?

Commissioning art is requesting an artist of your choice to create a piece of art to your requirements. Anyone can commission art including an individual, a business, or a government organisation.

How much does it cost to commission an artist?

The cost of a commission is dependant on the popularity and stature of the artist in the art community. Other factors that may influence a commission cost is the size of the painting, the medium being used, and how complicated the subject matter is. Therefore it is nearly impossible to put a generic price to an art commission.

What is a custom commission?

A custom commission is a very specific request from a client to an artist. The client is asking the artist to create a custom artwork that is bounded by certain requirements like size, medium, and subject matter.