We've been observing the way people are using the platform to commission art pieces. Here are some best practices that we think you should know about.
1. Understand your client's vision
Ask questions, if no images have been provided make the effort to source for images on the net and ask which one fits the vision that the client has. Clarify whenever you're unsure of what the client means. The more insight you have on the piece, the higher the likelihood that you'll be able to create the perfect piece for your client.
2. Provide your professional advice
One of the things that we've seen is that people are open about what they want; they all have their preferences and big-picture vision, but in terms of actual execution, you as the artist needs to be able to say, what works and what doesn't. Keep it respectful and tactful, back up your opinion with a good reason, and trust that most of the time, clients will appreciate your honest and expert views.
3. Explain the way you work
Every artist has his own style, and method of working. Every new buyer has these questions in his mind, How will this work exactly? Will I be able to work well with my chosen artist?
It's good to have a ready introduction of how you work - from whether you'll start with a sketch, or send through a color palette for feedback, to how open you are to feedback and input. Sharing this information upfront with a new potential client will help to set the stage for a smoother working relationship.
For instance, if you'll need a certain number of days to make good progress on the artwork, let him know that he can expect to hear from you after a certain number of days. Try not to let too much time lapse before providing an update, even a short message can make a difference and allow the client to know that you haven't forgotten him.
4. Reply to queries promptly
If you want the client to have a wonderful commissioning experience, do your best to reply their messages promptly, where possible, within 48 hours.
If you know that you have an event or exhibition coming up, it's also good to give your clients the heads-up. Dropping a courtesy note to notify your current clients would help them be more understanding during this period. Small gestures like this go a long way in helping to build up trust and goodwill.
5. Keep communications within the platform
We encourage you to keep all communications with your client within the platform. This will help you ensure that both the client and you are protected if a dispute arises, as everything is in black and white and captured within the platform.
6. Communicate early if things crop up
For instance, if there are additional costs, or if there is an unforeseen delay, do communicate these issues upfront and get your client's approval to proceed.
7. Go the extra mile
One of our artists was working on a commission recently and in the middle of it, decided that the piece wasn't working out as planned. She then went ahead to seek the client's approval to create a new piece afresh for him, in order to give her best to the work. Granted these scenarios are rare, but the client really appreciated her professionalism and willingness to go the extra mile to do the perfect piece for him.
8. Say it with pictures
One of the things that people enjoy most about commissioning art via the platform is being able to get regular updates on the progress of the artpiece. Usually, after the initial sketch is done and agreed upon, artists will send work-in-progress pictures, every couple of days, or in some cases where the artwork takes longer, weekly.
Work-in-progress shots are important as they help the client know exactly what they're going to receive at the end of the day. This way, there won't be any nasty surprises.
9. Be open to feedback
Each artist's working style differs and sometimes it has to do with the nature of the art and medium that they're dealing with. For instance, for abstract art it's impossible to provide a sketch for the client to approve. And sometimes it's almost dangerous to let the client view work-in-progress shots early on in the process.
As one artist puts it, "What you see along the way isn't the real thing. The finishing touches are often what makes the painting."
But do be open with regards to feedback, as what you really want as the end of the day is a happy and satisfied client, who will be excited to share your work with the rest of his friends.
I hope you find these tips useful. If you have more ideas to share with me, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org