How to Make Money from Art Commissions

Art commissions can be a lucrative and rewarding way for visual artists to make money. They offer the opportunity to create custom, personalised artworks for clients, allowing you to work directly with art enthusiasts and collectors. Whether you’re new to commissions or looking to refine your approach, here are some essential tips on how to make money from art commissions.

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Building a Portfolio

Before you start accepting commissions, it’s crucial to have a strong portfolio that showcases your skills and style. Your portfolio should include a variety of works that highlight your versatility and expertise.

Diverse Range

Include different mediums, subjects, and styles to show your flexibility.

High-Quality Images

Ensure that all images are high resolution and well-lit to accurately represent your work.

Process Documentation

Show before-and-after images or stages of your creative process to give potential clients insight into your techniques.

Tip: Use online platforms like Behance, DeviantArt, or your own website to display your portfolio.

Setting Clear Terms and Pricing

Establishing clear terms and pricing upfront is essential to avoid misunderstandings and ensure both you and your clients are on the same page.

Pricing Structure

Decide on your pricing method, whether it’s hourly, per piece, or based on complexity. Consider factors like materials, time, and the level of detail required.

Payment Terms

Require a deposit upfront, typically 30-50% of the total cost, with the remainder due upon completion. This helps secure the project and covers initial expenses.


Use written agreements to outline the scope of work, deadlines, payment terms, and any other relevant details. This provides legal protection and sets clear expectations.

Tip: Look at what other artists in your niche charge to ensure your prices are competitive.

Marketing Your Services

Effectively marketing your commission services will help you attract clients and grow your business.

Social Media

Use platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to showcase your work and announce availability for commissions. Use relevant hashtags to reach a broader audience.

Website and Blog

Maintain a professional website with a dedicated commissions page detailing your process, pricing, and portfolio. A blog can help drive traffic and establish your expertise.

Online Marketplaces

List your services on platforms like Etsy, Fiverr, and Artfinder where people search for custom art.

Tip: Engage with your audience by posting regularly, sharing behind-the-scenes content, and responding to comments and messages.

Managing Client Relationships

Building and maintaining good relationships with clients is key to a successful commission business. Clear communication and professionalism will encourage repeat business and positive referrals.

Initial Consultation

Discuss the client’s vision, preferences, and any specific requirements. Ask for reference images if necessary.

Progress Updates

Keep clients informed with regular updates and previews of the work in progress. This allows for feedback and ensures the final piece meets their expectations.


Be punctual with deadlines, respond promptly to inquiries, and handle any disputes or revisions gracefully.

Tip: Create a feedback loop by asking clients for testimonials and permission to share their commissioned pieces on your platforms.

Expanding Your Reach

To increase your income from commissions, consider expanding your reach and exploring new markets.


Partner with other artists, brands, or influencers to tap into new audiences.

Events and Exhibitions

Participate in art fairs, exhibitions, and local events to showcase your work and network with potential clients.

Online Advertising

Use targeted ads on social media and search engines to reach potential clients interested in custom art.

Tip: Offer referral discounts to encourage satisfied clients to spread the word about your services.

Offering a Range of Services

Diversifying your commission offerings can attract a broader clientele and increase your revenue.

Portraits and Pet Art

These are popular commission types with high demand.

Custom Illustrations

Offer custom illustrations for books, websites, and marketing materials.

Murals and Large-Scale Works

For clients looking for unique decor, murals and large-scale artworks can be very profitable.

Tip: Clearly list all the types of commissions you offer on your website and promotional materials.

Streamlining Your Process

Having a streamlined process for handling commissions can save you time and improve client satisfaction.


Use templates for contracts, invoices, and communication to ensure consistency and efficiency.

Workflow Management

Use tools like Trello, Asana, or a simple spreadsheet to keep track of commission statuses, deadlines, and client information.

Time Management

Allocate specific times for commission work, marketing, and personal projects to maintain a balanced workflow.

Tip: Continually refine your process based on feedback and your own experiences to make it as efficient as possible.

Final Thoughts

Making money from art commissions requires a combination of strong artistic skills, effective marketing, and excellent customer service. By building a robust portfolio, setting clear terms, and actively promoting your services, you can attract a steady stream of clients and grow your income. Remember to stay professional, manage your time wisely, and continuously seek ways to expand your reach and offerings. With dedication and persistence, you can successfully turn commissions into a significant revenue source for your art business.



Let’s Connect!

e: studio@madbutt.com.au