Really low prices make me less likely to commission an artist.
Me: I’m not an artist. I do commission artists - I spend around $300-600 a month on digital art commissions.
I sometimes find an artist who has really impressive work, or a unique style, or something else that makes me think “I should commission this person.”. Then I look at their prices and they are crazily low. As in less than 20 dollars for a colour full body character.
And I don’t commission them. Because I can’t pay prices that low and feel good about myself for doing it.
I know it takes hours to draw even one character. Plus the time it takes to study the brief, look at the references, communicate with me, etc etc. No way are they making even minimum wage this way, let alone a living wage.
I commission art because it’s fun. It’s my hobby. If I’m knowingly paying someone slave wages to support my hobby, it isn’t fun.
To artists who undercharge: Please reconsider. I’ve heard many reasons why you decide to do this (see below). But if you price your work like you don’t respect it, you won’t get clients who will respect you or your work either. You charge peanuts, you get monkeys.
To commissioners who push for these prices: Have some respect. Not just for the artists, but for the other commissioners out there. You’re giving us all a bad name. If you can’t afford decent prices, don’t be mean about it. Save up, or find some other hobby. Or hey, learn to draw.
Comments I get whenever I say the above:
- "No-one will buy commissions from me at decent prices." - That’s a pity. But you realise by underpricing like this you are making your problem worse, by contributing to the “art should be dirt cheap” mindset that seems to exist in dA and other places? (okay mostly dA, that place is a cesspit) Besides, there are other things you can do than keep lowering prices. There’s tons of advice in dA:
'Official' Pricing Your Commissions or Artwork Thread
Finding Freelance work: pricing and self doubt!
And other places:
How to get commissions: A guide
Getting the Most Out of Commissions
If none of the above helps you… maybe you need to reconsider if you are at the right stage in your development to be offering commissions. Sorry.
- "I’m only doing this for fun, I don’t care about the money." - Good for you. But there are others that are trying to make a living doing this. Have some consideration for them, yes?
- "It’s the clients pushing my prices down." - Gah. Then your clients are awful people who don’t respect you. It’s a trap though - you charge low prices, you get cheap clients. There’s only one way out of that trap.
- (Commissioner says) “But I want this drawn and I can’t afford higher prices.” - I want to live in an exact replica of Wayne Manor, but I can’t afford that. So, um, I don’t. Simplify your idea, or don’t commission it until you can afford to do so without ripping off the artist.
- (Commissioner says) “By paying less per artist I can support more artists.” - No. Just… no. You are not supporting artists, you are exploiting them. Paying less per artists lets you exploit more artists.
- "Just tip the artist." - I have done that, but it sends the wrong message. Tipping isn’t the norm in this game, so when I tip artists assume it’s because they did an extra-awesome job, when in fact I’m tipping them because they did their normal-awesome job. Plus if an artist is charging one-third or one-quarter what they should be, do I tip them 300%?
(Image by me. Not an artist, remember? The price list is made up, but based on real lists I’ve seen recently.)
submitted by -badgermushroom
I’ve seen this kind of thing a couple times recently, and it’s irking me, so I’m going to just say this.
I definitely agree people far too often take advantage of artists offering commissions with way too low prices, and that is a big problem and artists need to start charging what their work is actually worth, but this is not the right answer.
You are not helping this person who’s charging too little by NOT commissioning them first off, literally all you are doing is helping your own conscience, second off you don’t know how they’re doing their pricing, and third off if you’re really concerned about it you should OFFER THEM MORE MONEY. People do cheap commissions because they NEED THE MONEY. You are literally fucking those people over by being all self righteous if this is the only way you react.
Offer them what you think is a fair amount for fuck’s sake! Don’t just pass over them, do not punish them for something they can’t do squat about half the time. You don’t know who it is you’re punishing here, you could be punishing someone who is well aware they’re undercharging but can’t do anything about it, you could be punishing the uncaring hobbyist who drives prices down because they don’t care, or you could be punishing someone who doesn’t know, either way it doesn’t help those artists. Maybe slowly it will help the artist and commissioner relationship within those communities, but come on.
Just acting like pricing appropriately is the only thing needed to fix the problem is bs, the heart of the problem is people expecting a ridiculous amount of work for nothing from artists, and the way to fix that is not by forcing artists in need to charge a certain amount that may starve them of work. It’s by waking people up to fair prices, and making those artists feel more secure so that they feel they CAN charge enough.
I mean it’s really great there is a push back happening and artists and commissioners are coming to respect the work more and appropriate prices are happening, but this reaction does not solve the individual private commission artists’ problem at all.
Not trying to add to this much longer, but yes, it’s counter-productive to simply ignore and walk away from the artist in question if they’re charging dirt-cheap prices. If it bugs you that much, say something: I can imagine that at the very worst you’re going to brighten some artist’s day by telling them you think their art is worth more, even if you don’t end up commissioning them.