Taking projects on commission is a great way to earn money and increase your skills as an artist. You will often find yourself working on all kinds of different and unique projects, and will also have the opportunity to learn how to work creatively within client briefs.
Commissions come in such a variety of projects that you’ll never be bored—here are just a few of the different types of commissions that artists take from their clients:
1. Mural design and painting
Murals are bold, beautiful works of art created on a mega scale. Murals appear both in public spaces as a way of giving a neighborhood personality, and in homes as a unique and striking decorative feature.
A client might commission you to create a mural for a children’s bedroom, or to paint something striking on the side of their office building. Murals are a great way for an artist to get the word out about their work in their own community.
2. Clothing designs and illustrations
Clothing designers are always looking for unique designs for printing on t-shirts, bags and other objects. If you’re an artist or illustrator who creates interesting designs using bold colors and a graphical style, your art might work especially well within the constraints of t-shirt design.
Whether creating art for high fashion or a local children’s clothing designer, creating work for wearable items is a really interesting challenge for an artist.
3. Artwork for hotels
Hotels are an ideal client for artists as they often commission several pieces of art at the same time. A hotel wants their décor to look uniform, so they will commission a piece of artwork for every bedroom, plus the lobby, plus they might even ask for a stock of prints to sell to guests. I’d like to be the artist who gets that commission!
4. Tattoo art and designs
Tattoo commissions are becoming more and more common, especially for artists with a bold, graphic style. Imagine your artwork permanently adorning someone’s body!
The key to a successful tattoo commission is to keep your design and colors simple—if the tattoo artist is struggling to draw it, your beautiful image will come out looking awful. Instead, focus on a bold design with a simple focal point. That’s much more effective!
5. Functional art
While art can be beautiful, it can also be functional, or part of larger decorative elements. Maybe you’re an artist who works in metal, ceramics, wool or other materials. A commission for you might include designing a unique tap fitting for a bathroom at a restaurant, or creating an art installation in the middle of your local park.
6. Magazine and book covers
Although many magazines use photography for their covers (faces are good at capturing attention), many publications use artwork or illustrations to create eye-catching covers. Talk to your local publishing houses about the possibility of commissions for cover artwork.
Commissions are a great way for an artist to earn a living, as long as you are prepared to work within a brief and to keep the client involved at every stage to ensure they are happy with the result. It’s very different from creating work for yourself, but it can be extremely satisfying and fun, too!
Let's say one of your long-time clients has just asked about an unusual commission: he wants to have one of your drawings inked on his skin. What do you do?
Tattoo commissions aren't the most common type of art commission, but they do occur. It's an honor as an artist to know someone will be walking around with your work on their skin, but that also means you have the responsibility to. . . read more
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