Commission a painting: 10 tips to get started

This entry was posted on June 16, 2023 by Gauri Thoyakkat.

Commission a painting

Are you looking to find an artist to commission a painting? If this is your first time trying it, you may find it intimidating. You may be wondering how you must pick an artist and what qualities you must look for in them. It is also natural to wonder how you should explain to them what kind of family portrait or any other painting you want.

Furthermore, you need to understand how to determine whether the artist is worth the price they are asking for. This article will walk you through ten tips to get you started and help you understand more about commissioning a painting. So, read on to find the do's, don'ts, and other essential points you must know before commissioning an artwork.

What Does It Commissioning A Painting Mean?

Before getting into the general tips, let us consider what it means to commission a painting. Simply put, to commission a painting means requesting or hiring an artist to create a painting or an artwork based on your preferences or specific requirements. The process of commissioning artwork thus involves hiring an artist or art firm to create a custom-made art piece tailored to your specifications.

Commissioning a painting

What A Portrait

Commissioning a painting typically involves a collaborative process between the client (you) and the artist you hired. You provide guidance and feedback on the artist's progress to ensure that the final product meets your expectations and is close to all your specifications. This may include specifying the subject matter, size, style, color scheme, and other details.

Hiring an artist to create an artwork for you is a time-consuming creative process. So, you must pay the amount they mention once the painting gets completed, meeting all your preferences. The cost of commissioning a painting will vary depending on the artist's experience and skill level, the size and complexity of the painting you wanted, and the materials used.

However, before the commissioned work gets started, you must establish the terms of the commission agreement. These terms include the timeline, payment schedule, and any revisions or changes needed during the process. This will help ensure clarity and understanding during and after the project is done for you and the artist.

How Can I Commission An Artist?

Now that you know what it means to commission a painting, let us look into the first step to it. The first step of commissioning an artwork is to find the perfect artist who can give you a satisfying result based on your specifications. Here are some tips on how you can commission an artist.

1. What type of art style do you want?

Before finding an artist to commission your family painting, self-portrait, pet painting or any kind of painting you require, you must think about and identify the type of art style you want for your artwork. Different artists may be good with different styles, so deciding what sort you require for your painting can help you search for apt artists for your commission.

commissioning an artwork


2. Research artists

Once you have determined the kind of art style you want, start looking for artists who specialize in that style. Many specific artists publish their works on social media platforms, so finding one online may be easy. Some websites have artists who can do commissioned pieces, so you can check such websites out too. You can also ask your friends or family for artist recommendations if they have prior experience with commissioning a painting.

Art in Context

Art in Context

3. Review artist portfolios

Once you shortlist some artists, you should review all their previous art commissions along with their art portfolios to ensure their style and past works align with what you're looking for. You may also want to consider the artists' experiences, training, and reputation.

You can also try connecting with their former clients to get feedback on the artists you shortlisted. This is crucial to understanding whether your shortlisted artists or websites are like what they are projecting themselves to be on their social media handles.

artist portfolios

Website Planet

Bring Your Vision to Life: Commission a Custom Painting

Transform your ideas into reality with a personalized commissioned painting. Our skilled artists collaborate closely with you to create a unique masterpiece tailored to your preferences and specifications, ensuring a one-of-a-kind artwork that reflects your vision and style.

Get Started

4. Contact the artist

Once you've identified an artist you'd like to work with, contact them to discuss your project. Provide them with details about the artwork you want, including the size, medium, and any specific requirements you have. If they are willing to take up your art commissions and meet all your needs, you can discuss the timeline and budget of the project.

What A Portrait

What A Portrait

5. Agree on the terms

Once you and the artist have discussed the project and agreed on the details, you should sign a contract or agreement outlining the commission's terms. This should include the scope of the project, the timeline, the payment schedule, and any other relevant details.

commission's terms

The Contract Shop

How Long Will It Take To Finish A Commissioned Painting?

The time it takes to finish a commissioned piece can vary depending on several factors. These include the size and complexity of the painting you want, the artist's schedule and workload, and your specific requirements and feedback. Such aspects can determine the time it will take to finish your commissioned artwork.

Typically, during the agreement of the terms phase, artists will provide an estimated timeline for the completion of your required painting. They will provide this estimate after discussing the project details and hearing all your requirements. This timeline can, however, vary from a few weeks to several months, depending on the factors mentioned above.

commissioned painting

What A Portrait

To get a more accurate estimate of the timeline for a specific commissioned painting, it's best to communicate directly with the artist and provide them with as much detail as possible about your vision for the piece. This can help the artist better understand the scope of the project and provide a more accurate timeline for its completion.

Once the artist provides you with a timeline, make sure they follow it well to avoid any delay. You must also check on the artist often to ensure that they are working on your project so that you will receive it within the promised time frame.

General Tips To Follow When Commissioning A Painting

Here are some general tips to help you through the process of commissioning a painting to ensure you get the desired result without any hassle.

1. Learn About The Artist And Their Work

It is vital to learn about the artists you shortlisted, understand the type of work they do, and ask around to see if they are good at providing customer satisfaction.



We are reiterating this tip in the article as it is critical to ensure you have a good, hassle-free commissioning process with your hired artist. Conduct thorough research on the artist you mean to employ. Here are some steps you must take to understand the art style and professionalism of the artist you are hiring.

Go through their social media handles and review the artist's previous works.
Check if their art style is what you want for your painting.
Go through the comment section of the different posts to see how people feel about the artist's artwork.
Find out their former clients and connect with them.
Ask them about the artists' professionalism, time management, and responsiveness.
Enquire how much the artist charges their customers and assess if their paintings and artwork are worth the money.
Finally, ask if they meet all the specifications you may make well and how they handle criticism or feedback.

We all check the reviews of a product before buying one. This case is similar as you are a customer hiring an artist to get the desired outcome. So, doing this groundwork before contacting the artist is very important to avoid any problems in the future after you have agreed to the terms.

2. Look Closely At The Cost of The Work They Sell

You have to analyze the works of the artist you wish to hire and determine if the price they charge is on par with the quality of their paintings. Talking with their former clients will help you understand this, which is the best way to get such details.

You can also compare the price of one artist with the fee charged by the others you may have shortlisted. This will help you understand which one you can afford and whose work has the most value for money.

commission paintings price

What A Portrait

The price charged by an artist can vary based on the size, medium, and special requirements, if any. So, it is subjective. But make sure to ask experienced people and other customers if the price the artist charges you is reasonable and worth it. Once a fair price gets fixed, reach an agreement and sign a contract if necessary. This step ensures you won't face surprises like extra charges later.

How much does it usually cost to commission a painting?

The usual method artists follow is to set a fixed price per square inch on the canvas and then multiply it by its total size. They will also have a fixed price for their time spent on your commissioned painting, style, talent, and reputation.

Then they will estimate the colors they must use based on your preferences and specifications. The total price they will demand will thus be a sum of all these factors, mainly depending on the artist you choose.

pay for commissioned artwork

What A Portrait

How to pay for commissioned artwork?

The installments you must pay your artist on hiring one to commission a painting can vary for different artists. Usually, you have to pay one-third of the final price upfront before the artist starts working on your commissioned project.

Some artists may ask you to pay 30 or 50 percent upfront after you have agreed on the price and the terms of the agreement. Some other artists may even be willing to work on your project without having to pay any installments at the start.

3. Recognize The Methods And Schedule of The Artist

While you are researching an artist, you can also try understanding the methods used by them to finish a commissioned painting. If there are videos of their art-making process on the artist's social media handles, they can help you get a clear idea about their methods and approach.

The methods an artist use may be different from the ones another uses. This is subjective depending on several factors like their art style, medium, preferences, etc. The standard methods used by artists are:

● Sketches: An artist may create several sketches to explore composition, lighting, and other elements before beginning the final painting.

● Underpainting: Some artists may begin by creating an underpainting, a monochromatic or toned painting that establishes the composition and values before adding color.

finish a commissioned painting

Realist Academy

● Layering: Many artists work in layers, gradually building up the painting by adding multiple layers.

● Direct painting: Other artists may prefer to work more directly, where the paint is applied quickly without waiting for previous layers to dry.

It also helps to understand the schedule and the time your shortlisted artists usually take to complete a client's commission. A good plan traditionally followed by artists when they get commissioned to do a painting looks as follows:

A. Discussion and Planning: The artist takes time to discuss with you the details of the painting, including the subject matter, size, and style, before beginning the work.

B. Sketching and Approval: Depending on the artist's process, they may create several sketches or mockups for you to see and approve before beginning the final painting.

My Modern Met

My Modern Met

C. Painting: The artist will work on the painting in multiple sessions, allowing each layer to dry before adding the next. The duration of this phase of the commissioning process can vary widely depending on the complexity of the painting, the size, and the artist's schedule.

D. Delivery and Final Approval: Once the painting is complete, the artist will deliver it to you for final approval. If you need any changes, the artist may make minor adjustments before providing the final piece.

4. Create Your Art Brief

Once you have identified and fixed on hiring an artist, it is time for you to create your art brief. It would be best if the art brief contained the following things to make a perfect commission request.

Background: Start with a brief introduction to yourself and your background. Include relevant information about yourself or your space to help the artist better understand your needs.

Purpose: Explain the purpose of the painting. What do you want to achieve with this piece of art? Are you looking to decorate your home or office? Is this a gift for someone special? Knowing the purpose of the painting will help the artist understand the context in which it will get displayed and the emotions it should evoke.

Laasya Art

Laasya Art

Style: Describe the style you’re looking for. Do you want something abstract, impressionistic, or realistic? Do you prefer a particular color palette or texture? Provide examples or references of paintings you like or dislike to give the artist a clear idea of your preferences.

Size: Determine the size of the painting. Think about the space where you plan to hang the artwork and consider the scale of the room. The size of the painting will also impact the level of detail that the artist should include.

Deadline: Specify the deadline for the painting. This will give the artist a clear understanding of how much time you expect them to take to complete the work. You may mention that the time frame is slightly flexible.



Budget: After researching the standard price ranges, set a budget for the painting or a budget you think is apt for the kind of painting you want. This will help the artist understand what materials they can use and how much time they can spend on the piece.

Communication: Determine how you will communicate with the artist. Will you have regular check-ins or updates? Will you want to see sketches or progress photos along the way?

Contract: Include in the brief whether you wish to sign a contract after agreeing on the terms. Make sure to sign a contract outlining the project's scope, payment terms, and other details. This will protect you and the artist to ensure everyone is on the same page.

5. Preview Artwork Proof

Before the artist works on the final artwork, ask them to provide a preview artwork. This is a common practice when you commission a painting that allows you to see what the final painting will look like before completion.

The preview artwork proof can take different forms, depending on the artist's preference and the stage of the painting. It can be a sketch, a digital mockup of the artwork, or a photo of the work in progress. The purpose is to give you a sense of the artist's vision and to allow you to provide feedback on any changes you may want.

preview artwork

What A Portrait

To request a preview artwork proof, communicate with the artist and ask if they provide this service. Be clear about your expectations and any specific details you want to see in the preview. Once you receive the proof, take the time to review it carefully and provide feedback to the artist. This will help ensure that the final painting meets your expectations and is a piece you will be happy with for years.


A painting, be it a Family portrait, pet painting, or a painting of a deceased loved one, is a beautiful piece of art that can immortalize sweet memories. Commissioning such a work of art can provide you with a wonderful experience that you will cherish forever.

However, it can also be a daunting process, especially if you are new to the world of art. Following the tips outlined in this article can make you feel confident and prepared as you embark on your commissioning journey. Remember to take your time, do your research, and communicate openly and honestly with the artist. With patience and persistence, you can commission a painting that is truly one-of-a-kind and that you will cherish for years to come.

Leave a Reply

Recent Posts

  • Famous Female Painters: Celebrating Their Extraordinary Contributions

    June 28, 2024

  • How to Sell Digital Art: A Complete Guide to Success in the Digital Marketplace

    May 15, 2024

  • What is Digital Art? A Comprehensive Exploration of Digital Art

    May 15, 2024

  • Mastering Black in Watercolor: Techniques and Tips

    May 11, 2024

  • Paint Markers for Canvas: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Brands and Techniques

    April 19, 2024