An inverse of one of my prior journals long since lost in the stack somewhere, about why I commission artists. I was intrigued by this idea when I noticed that *falvie
had posted a journal complaining about how commissioners won't "save up" for commission and how they complain her prices are too high or some variation on this theme. So I thought about why wouldn't I commission an artist, and why and/or when I wouldn't save up for a commission. The answer is simple, but a little long winded. Enjoy, and discuss below. Why and When wouldn't you save up for commissions?
commissions are and always have been impulse buys. Someone gets that idea stuck in their head and they want it drawn, or maybe pop culture with their character inserted, or some combination of the above. $10 - 15 is easy, $20 - 30 is slightly less so, but still do-able. $40+ to about $59 is really limited, and then the $60+ is just not feasible as an impulse buy. I know that I hit $40+ and I start to think about what I could spend that money on instead of a joke that's stuck in my head, or a fad that's going around. I have to really think about what I want and pray, PRAY that someone of that calibre and price range is available at that time. Artists at the $40+ price range are extremely hard to commission, either because they are popular, or they rarely open up commissions (especially in the $60 - 100+ range), or they commit the worst sin and make you compete for a slot to then make you pay for the commission itself. Things like auctioning off a slot, or doing an email only commission where you have to write up a story or background or some other lengthy thing, or a popularity contest where she (usually a she) picks a handful of her favourite commission ideas and has her watchers vote. This is done to heavily weed out possible commissioners and might even be combined with making the commissioner submit their own artwork before she'll even consider the commission. So all this extra stress and stuff just to get a spot on some exclusive artist's commission list, and you still have to wait for it.
Lets talk about the wait. I've commissioned a ton, absolute ton of artists, and experienced their personalities (in either a positive or negative light). I have noticed that those artists that start in the $5 to $35 range are quick, friendly, and willing to work with the commissioner to get the job done right. Once I hit that bizarre $40-50 range artist (rare indeed), they're usually decent to work with, and they tend to have much better quality in the work and shading, but are rarely open for commissions. Then there's the $50+ artists, and most of the time
its a downright pain the ass to get on their lists because even though most of them do about the same quality of work as the higher end speed artists and only slightly better than the $40/50 artists, they come with shall we say, personality quirks. Most of them you have to know them personally (and/or their circle of friends), or you have to jump through major hoops to get their attention, or you have to wait months or years for your image to get done, or you can't have ANY input in your commission (you're paying them to draw whatever the hell they want [*Slugbox
]), or you aren't allowed to share your artwork with anyone (post it online)[`chutkat
], or you can't post above a certain resolution (even though I paid for it), or they're just never open for commission, or you have to auction/audition for a slot, and/or any combination of the above.
So before you even start to consider saving up, you:
A) have to find someone willing to work with you
B) have to have an idea they can draw
C) are available
D) are reliable (don't delay the commission until you forgot you even commissioned them in the first place) - I take notes, and keep a monthly journal
E) are still going to be available when you actually HAVE the money
F) you have an idea that's worth SPENDING that much money
That's a lot to ask people to go through for an impulse buy.
I've bought two high ticket items, $85 and $100, (there would have been a third but she backed out and refunded my money). Each time, I got lucky and managed to snag ~Empyrisan
at just the right time. These two images were worth the wait, and the money spent. The first, was a graduation image I commissioned and waited over a year to complete, and the second was just a really lucky break and I got in seconds after 14-BIS opened his (nearly) once a year commission list. Both of these commissions shared a few aspects. First, they involved a very simple theme. Two, the artists maintained consistent communication with the commissioner (me). Three, they were drawing similar themes to my own commission at the same time (interest). Four, all the images were extremely high resolution for the purpose printing out as giant wall posters to decorate my walls.
So lets wrap this up using Falvie as an example. Commissioning her requires a ton of patience as we never know just when she'll open up, and there's a lot of competition for slots. Two, the commissions we really want (custom fionbri) aren't just rare, they're also auctions. And its really hard to save up for an auction because you don't know what the upper limit will be. Then we have in the limited slots for each price range. Finally, there's her pricing and its in that range of "essential money" where instead of foregoing a pizza or two, we're skipping groceries, or gas, or trips out of town, or even paying for a part or repair. So add all that up and then to say, "just save up dummy" and you're ignoring the difficulty in saving up for an unknown time and idea and availability for what you really want to spend that money on, and faced with our huge ass unemployment rates and various emergencies come up...We just don't have the money to spare. I have to really really want something for $50+ (much less $125), and I really wanted a new hard drive for my computer instead. and new brakes for my car. and to eat this week. and gas in my car. and I could really use a new comforter for this winter as my old one has holes in the insulation.
And finally, and only slightly related, but I consider commissioning to be investing in an artist not the artwork itself. And I look at Falvie, and I LOVE
her artwork, but she doesn't seem be doing so bad financially. She's kept demand and prices high through scarcity (not a problem), and I haven't seen a post begging for money in a long time. There's a lot of starving artists out there and I've only got a few bucks...
But at the end of the day, does it really matter if the artwork was done in two weeks at $30/hour effort for an authentic "falvie" or in two hours by a new artist that's willing to do more for less just for a taste of attention? If all you care about is the authenticity of an original work, then sure! But if you care more about the result because it didn't matter who drew your idea, only that you're happy with how it turned out, then that's just as equally valid.
Or does it matter more, that you're supporting an artist whose works you love, and the joy of watching something that was only in your head come to life under the hands of your favorite artists? That's me. Livestreams are one of my personal joy in life. Watching the sketches become outlines, then solid shapes, then colours, and shading. Watching and waiting until at last, the image is done, and I can show people on my gallery on DeviantArt the cool things I got from people I like.There's a certain selfishness in creating a commission only gallery, but instead of filling it with "Authentic <insert artist here> " artwork, I instead go, "See look at all these people."
I love ya'll. Good night.
INTERNET ARTWORK COLLECTOR
Supporting Artists Wherever I Can.
My Commission Tracking Journal: [link]