Okay this post is a general statement and isn't aimed at any particular client or individual that I am or have worked with. However, this is something that has occurred to over the last few months, and I have heard from other artists experiencing the same thing, so I figured I should address it. I don't speak for every artist, but these are some general rules about commissioning and artists and working with them.

When one considers commissioning an artist to create a piece of art, especially if it is of your OC, please be as clear, concise and to the point when describing them. Provide useful visual information early in the process so the artist can accurately estimate the scope of work and the cost of the commission. Give an accurate overall body description that includes things like species, gender, height, build, any unique descriptive features like body markings, tattoos, scars, eye color and type, prosthetics, coloration, and additional limbs. As a rule, artists are not mind readers. Also while knowing something about the character's personality and background is useful, make certain the information is once again relevant to the commission. If you tell the artist to do a character who is supposed to be a hard-boiled detective type set in the 1930's please inform the artist whether the character smokes or drinks since those are iconic elements of the genre. The artist doesn't want to finish a please just to find they shouldn't of had the character smoking.

If you are providing visual reference material make certain that is accurate. Don't give the artist reference that shows the character with dreadlocks if you don't want them to draw the character that way. If that is the only reference you have available and you wish to change that feature be absolutely clear about this in your discussions with the artist. Don't assume the artist understands you want that detail changed. Be polite about it, but as we said in retail sales. “Know, don't assume.” Make it very clear to the artist what you desire from them.

If you don't have any reference for your OC expect to pay more for it. This is a general rule and not every artist adheres to this philosophy, but the more time they have to spend on, it the more they are going to charge you. If the artist has to go through four rounds of preliminary sketches, traditional or digital, before they even start on the finished piece, that is time that they should be charging you for.

You get what you pay for. If you are only paying $25.00 for a commission then don't expect the artist to put as much time or mental effort in to it as they would for a $250.00 commission. This may sound classist but for me I work by a simple rule. When you commission me to create a work for you you're buying time on the server farm in my head. The more you pay me, the more I will ponder, contemplate, research, make revisions, and in general think about your commission. There is a dining analogy I like to use. When I go to a fast food restaurant and have a $7.00 value meal I don't hold that meal to the same expectations and standards that I would have for a $70.00 steak house.

Know the style and type of work the artist does. If the artist in question generally likes drawing long pointy muzzles and gigantic breasts on female characters and these are not features your female character has, or you find them undesirable, then maybe this artist is not a good choice for your commission. Maybe you should find a different artist to commission instead. If you still wish to work with this artist then make it absolutely clear in the earliest communications with them that this is something you don't want them to do. And if said artist does not wish to change or adjust their style then don't berate, argue, or insult them. You are not winning points that way. Go find another artist and work with them.

Finally, if at some point in the commission, there does end up being a miscommunication and an error occurs, remain courteous while working with the artist. Questioning an artist's integrity, professionalism, and skills is not the way to get the best work from them. They will often make the necessary corrections to the commission, but in the process you may end up destroying any chance of working with that artist in the future. Artists are not slaves. They don't have to work with you, and they can always reserve the right to not do business with you in the future.