(Commission) Selling: $5-$40 Furry Art Commissions Open
website wilddogcreations.wixsite.com: PRICES | islandcollieart
FURRY ART COMMISSIONS
please read T.O.S
$5-$40 base prices
Examples are at the links at the bottom of the page
Full shot w/ background - $35
Full shot w/o background - $25
Half shot w/ background - $20
Half shot w/o background - $15
Head shot w/ background - $10
Head shot w/o background - $5
Reference sheet detailed (front+back view, also feral view. and add-ons of your choosing) - $40
Small reference sheet (front+back view, 3 max add-ons of your choosing) - $30
Chibi (can only be full shot) w/ background - $20
Chibi (can only be full shot) w/o background - $15
Sketch sheet (you can have over 10+ sketches!) - $20
Shading - +$5
Extra character - same price as what you bought for a normal, ex: 2 full shot characters w/o background is $50 for 2 characters.
WHAT I CAN'T DRAW
!!NO HUMANS!! , big rule of mine, please respect it.
Im not the best with insects
I usually only draw rodents, canines, felines, big cats etc. Along those lines, if you want me to try at something other than humans i'm totally down to experiment.
WHAT I CAN DRAW
Please be 15+ to order art from me! I don’t want you using your parents money without permission! Thank you!
Please remember I am still a student in high school, so please don't expect me to be fast on weekdays with your work.
Please don't try to lower my prices unless there is a sale or discount
I only take PayPal, if you chargeback I will take back the rights of you having the art from me.
I can take any amount of commissions, like bulk for example, this doesn't mean they are open all the time this means I can take large amounts.
Please don't spam me if I don't respond quickly, like I said i'm still in highschool and I like doing personal art to get rid of art block, please don't get mad if you see me taking a break from commissions to do personal art.
WAYS OF CONTACT
Discord - once you commission me I will give you it! This is my MAIN way of contact!
Instagram - Cam (@islandcollie_) • Instagram photos and videos
Twitter - Cam (Island Collie) (@IslandCollie) on Twitter
Deviant Art - IslandCollie - Student, Digital Artist | DeviantArt
FA - https://www.furaffinity.net/user/camlovesdrawing/
Amino - Cam (Cooper)
Telegram is also an option DM me for that
Welcome to guest poster Summercat – a great friend to Dogpatch Press, with a cool interest in Furry Comics and Zines History.
When I joined the fandom in 1999, there were very few ways to shop for furry fandom merch. Most of your purchases were made via mail-order, or at a convention dealer room. There were few options for buying things from individuals – I recall having to mail a money order for my first online purchases.
Anthrocon 2006 Dealer’s Den. Photo by GreenReaper.
But that was 18 years ago. Today, with low-barrier tools like Square and Paypal, it is easier than ever to purchase work directly from someone living somewhere else in the world. Starting in the mid-2000s, the Furry Fandom has had it’s marketplace explode in volume and quantity. While there is a wealth of options around us, it can be confusion on where to go or start when trying to see what sort of Furry merchandise is available.
Here, I have compiled a list of online places where people can find books, comics, clothing, fursuits, and commissions from a variety of people. Due to otherwise overwhelming the list, I am excluding publishers that primarily sell their own imprints. For those, see: Furry Publishers – A Resource for Artists and Authors. This list is not exhaustive – if you feel something has been left out, please speak up and let us know!
I’ve broken down the locations in this list into three categories: Storefronts, Auction Sites, and Listing locations.
While not intentionally not an exhaustive list of everywhere you can buy books and comics, these stores feature work from a variety of companies and artists, with merchandise you purchase directly.
Rabbit Valley – Books, Comics, Prints, Misc
Rabbit Valley started off as a mail-order distribution company, selling works via catalog on behalf of small publishers and individuals. They have since expanded their operations to include their own in-house publishing, but remain one of the biggest distributors of wares in the fandom. In addition to selling newer works, Rabbit Valley also has a large back catalog of older works from the 90s and early 2000s as well.
Second-Ed – Comics, Zines, Misc products
Started in 2003, Second-Ed is purely a distributor of Furry, GoldDigger, and related items. While Seond-Ed does get in new items, it also sells a wide variety of older Furry Fandom items from the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s as well.
Windshear’s Wares – Comics, ‘zines, Doujin, Misc
Windshear’s Wares is a Furry comic and Japanese Doujin importer and distributor. In addition to stocking newer items, Windshear’s Wares also has a large backlog of comics and zines due to long years of operation.
Fusselschwarm – German language importer
Fusselschwarm is a German importer of Furry Comics, Books, and zines. They import from Inkedfur, Thurston Howl, Rabbit Valley, Furplanet, and others. Thanks to Fred Patten for the tip!
Pawstar – Apparel
Crossover between anime, cosplay and furry dealer den fare, with raver appeal too. Animal themed hoodies and kigu’s, ears/paws/tails, collars, goggles and hats, jewelry, and fur by the yard.
While nothing in the fandom could compare to the power of e-bay, auction sites have been a feature in the fandom for a long while. All sorts of items and goods can be listed and sold.
The Dealer’s Den
A low key auction site, The Dealer’s Den has listings for commissions, prints, books, partial suits, and allows adult work. While there is a $1 account verification fee for buyers and sellers and a $0.50 “Featured on the Home Page” optional fee, there are no other costs for using the site. Payments are made direct to the seller, but The Dealer’s Den offers an invoicing system to help keep track of things.
Launched in 2000, Furbuy is one of the more well-known – though with its share of critics – furry auction sites. While basic accounts are free, there is an optional $5/month verified account that allows for more than 4 auction listings at a time. There are no fees for listing items.
A craft and vintage focused, boutique alternative to ebay for the smaller seller. Tailoring your searches can find well established furry-specific storefronts.
Listing locations are not storefronts or auctions. These are places where people can list they are open for commissions or sales, and in a few cases that they are seeking to get a commission done. All of these need an account to interact with, but are free to use.
One of the features of online art site Weasyl, the Marketplace is a searchable and filterable list of Weasyl users who have marked themselves as open for commission.
Telegram Channels: The Dealer’s Den, Furry Market Place
Lumped together for brevity, these are Telegram channels specifically for posting ads seeking to buy or sell commissions. Both are very specific and strict about off-topic chatter and discussion. TheDealersDen has over 2000 members, while FurryMarketPlace has over 1250.
Furaffinity Art Sales and Auctions Sub-forum
The Furaffinity Forums have long had a marketplace for people offering and buying commissions and items to meet up, and this is the most current iteration.
Facebook Pages: Group 1, Group 2
Two Facebook groups for people to list they are open for commissions. They require a Facebook account and to join the group in order to see the postings.
Did I miss anywhere? Have a question about why a site may have been excluded? Please comment down below – as I said before, I could have very well left a site or location out of ignorance, so please let me know! – Summercat
Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these. Please consider supporting Dogpatch Press on Patreon. You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, or get Con*Tact Caffeine Soap as a reward. They’re a popular furry business seen in dealer dens. Be an extra-perky patron – or just order direct from Con*Tact.
What material is this item made of?
Gallery quality, 100% cotton rag. Ultrachrome archival inks for rich, long-lasting color. Trimmed for framing with a 1 inch border.
What is the Return/Exchange policy?
We want you to love your order! If for any reason you don't, let us know and we’ll make things right. Learn More »
Purchase panel space at myfwa.com!
Rating: The art gallery will have separate sections for General Audience and Adult artwork. All items of PG-13 or less may be featured in the General Audiences section. Ratings of R or above will need to be placed in the Adult section. Artwork for the General section may contain limited violence, however extremely rough or gory violence will be required to be placed in the Adult section. Nudity including any genitalia or female nipples will also be restricted to the adult section. Artwork depicting illegal drug use, especially artwork promoting it, will be restricted to the Adult section.
If you have artwork you wish to be checked out before the convention, feel free to e-mail us a scan, and we will let you know if it will be required to be in the Adult section.
Allowed Items: Entries are limited to ORIGINAL works by the artist or limited edition, numbered, and matted/framed prints of such. Prints are restricted to the display of one copy. If your entry is a print, it must be labeled as a print. Prints must be a limited print run, it must be numbered as to its place in the print run, the print medium and if the print is an art print, and the printer used. If the plate has been destroyed, the date of destruction must be also included. These are all items required by Georgia state law.
Although the Art Gallery has an Adult section, any artwork that may be deemed obscene by local community standards or otherwise actionable under the law will not be displayed. This includes, but is not limited to the following: pedophilia (scenes that depict sex or allude to sex between an adult and a minor, violence or torture with minors in any form), depiction of sex between a human and animal, depictions of the use of or promotion of illegal narcotics, or artwork that could be taken as a direct threat against an individual.
If you show artwork that features a character that belongs to someone else, you must credit the owner/creator and have their permission. Works of parody may be exempt from this rule, please ask the Art Gallery Director if you have any questions about a particular piece. We will show no art work that defames any copyrighted character, living person or fictional character.
Display: All two dimensional works must have surfaces that are not easily damaged by hanging. This means all pieces must be mounted and matted prior to the show. We strongly recommend you mat or frame each piece, or shrink-wrap it for protection. Furry Weekend Atlanta’s art gallery panels are made of standard pegboard, and we will provide long and short hooks, along with clips, to hang pieces with.
Three-dimensional space is also available at four square feet each and will be available on a first-come, first-reserved basis until all is gone. Please indicate on your entry form any special needs and the size and type of piece in question (free standing, a figurine that requires display case space, etc.). Three-dimensional pieces submitted for display require special attention. Therefore, the Art Show will not accept mail-in 3-D art. Attending artists or their agents are required to set these pieces up for exhibit. Display cases for jewelry will be required. Every piece should be shown in a protective display case where possible. Please provide shipping boxes with packing materials for all 3-D art that is for sale. This is for your art’s protection and for transport by a buyer. Furry Weekend Atlanta staff will take no responsibility for pieces that are damaged in handling while in the gallery.
All pieces of artwork entered into the art gallery must have accompanying bid or no-sale control sheets and labels. These are available for download from the Furry Weekend Atlanta website and will be available at the convention as well.
If we have sold all available panels for the Art Gallery, we will establish a waiting list to be filled. The Art Gallery director will notify you if you are on the waiting list and on details for how to check to see if any panels have become available for you. Any unclaimed Art Gallery panels will be released at 9AM on Saturday. If you do not think you will have your pieces hung by Friday night, you should contact the Art Gallery director beforehand. If any panels have not been claimed by noon on Saturday, they will be released for any exhibitors on our waiting list by order of position on the list.
Sales: Furry Weekend Atlanta will collect 10% of your total sales as its commission for the display and sales of your works. Artists have three sales options: retain the profits from the sale (minus the 10% commission fee), donate the profits to the charity, or donate the profits to Furry Weekend Atlanta. When the Art Gallery pickup opens on Sunday, artists and agents may pick up any unsold pieces and those labeled NOT FOR SALE.
Pieces that receive more than five (5) bids will automatically go to auction. Auction pieces will be sold during the live auction on Sunday afternoon. The auction will feature first the Adult pieces and will be restricted to members 18 and older. After all adult pieces have been auctioned, the auction will be opened to General Items. Auction pieces may be claimed by the winning bidder following the auction.
You have the option of allowing pieces to be sold during the gallery immediately, without the bid process by checking YES in the Direct Sale field, and entering a price for which the piece of art may be purchased directly from the Art Gallery. No piece sold by direct sale will be given to the purchaser until Sunday after the gallery closes.
Artwork not claimed by the winning buyers by Sunday evening at 6PM will be returned to the artist. Artwork not claimed by the artists by Monday morning at 8AM will become property of Furry Weekend Atlanta. These rules are subject to special arrangements that can be made.
While we will make every attempt to pay artists within six weeks after the Convention for art that was sold, please understand that we are a volunteer operation. No payments will be made at the convention.
Mailing: All mail-in artwork must include a prepaid return shipping label for unsold artwork via either United States Postal Service (USPS) or United Parcel Service (UPS). This must include any insurance you wish to purchase for the return shipment of any unsold artwork. Failure to include a prepaid return shipping label will incur a $20.00 service charge in addition to the cost of return shipping. Furry Weekend Atlanta will not be responsible for lost or damaged shipments of return artwork.
Final Notes: The art gallery coordinator will have final say in all disputes involving the art gallery. In rare cases, appeals can be made to the sales director or chairman, but they will likely decide with the art gallery director.
The exhibitor agrees not to hold Furry Weekend Atlanta, Inc. liable for any damages or charges imposed for violations of any law or ordinance by any exhibitor, his employees or agents, as well for failure to comply with the terms and agreements. Remember, the exhibitor shall at all times indemnify and hold harmless Furry Weekend Atlanta, it’s Executive Committee, staff, and volunteers, from any loss, cost, damage, liability or expense which arises out of or by reason of any act or omission of exhibitor, his or her employees or agents.
If you have any questions about these rules, or have any special requirements, please write the Art Gallery Coordinator in advance. The e-mail contact for the art gallery is: [email protected]
All correspondence concerning the art show should be addressed to:
Furry Weekend Atlanta
ATTN: Art Gallery
1361 Fairbanks St.
Atlanta, GA 30310
This will also serve as the mailing address for all pieces to be entered in the art gallery if an artist is not able to attend the convention.
Sale for furry art
One thing that makes the furry community unique is the majority of the characters and artwork enjoyed by it’s members is also created by it’s members! Most of the items and artwork you can buy within the community come from other furries themselves!
Some of you reading this right now might be fellow furries trying to determine the best places to sell your own merch and/or services so you can try your hand at making money as a furry artist.
Below are some of the best places to set up shop so people can find you and purchase your work. Ideally, you will want to only pick 2 to 4 methods maximum as the more platforms you are on the harder it will be to manage everything. Start small. You can always expand later.
One of the best ways that many artists and merch suppliers sell their wares is by setting up shop at a Furry Convention! Since one of the pillars of the furry community is art, the busiest places at any Furry Convention will be where that art is sold.
There are three primary ways people can sell and buy art at conventions and each one will fit different peoples needs.
– Dealers Den
The dealers den at a Furry Con is the primary marketplace where artists, suit makers, and suppliers will have an assigned table or booth to sell to the public. Each table must be purchased and registered for in advance before the convention starts.
If you are looking for a permanent storefront at a convention, this is the best option for you. You will typically have more freedom with how you run your table as well as more space to display your work.
– Artists Alley
The artists alley at a Furry Con is a more casual space where the seller has the ability to set up a temporary booth and leave when it best suits them. These tables will typically be small and are often available on a first come first served basis.
Making use of the artist alley is a much more affordable option when compared to the dealers den. And if you choose you can close up shop early and enjoy the rest of the convention as an attendee instead of a vendor. This flexibility can help reduce the stress of some artists who are on the fence between selling and outright enjoying the con.
– Art Shows
Many big Furry Conventions will have an art show where artists can display their work and make it available for attendees to buy. These shows don’t require artists to be present and are run by the convention staff.
Utilizing the art show is going to be the most passive way to sell your art at a convention. Just remember that art shows are usually run by the convention staff. They will take a small cut of the sale price in exchange for hosting your artwork. Very often a part of the sale goes directly to the convention’s charity as well.
Your Own Webstore
For many furries, having a personal website to sell goods and services on will be an ideal option. This allows you to have full control of what is shown and how it is run without worrying about the unknown policy changes or censoring of big online marketplaces.
Building your own webstore does come with its own challenges. Having full control over your online store means added costs to consider like the domain name, hosting, and any extra services you are utilizing. You will also need to learn how to use the website creating platform you plan to build your site with. And finally you will have to drive traffic to your website by posting links on social media and other platforms.
A great way to sell your wares is by utilizing existing online marketplaces that thousands of people go to each day to try and find what they are looking for. This option gives you less control, but on the plus side requires less work to set up, and typically it’s cheaper than hosting your own website.
– The Dealers Den
A great website that is owned and operated by members of the furry fandom is The Dealers Den. This is a great marketplace for everything furry! From cute adoptables to full fursuits!
Before you can buy or sell on the platform there is a small fee that must be paid first. This is to discourage bots and scammers from using the site.
One of the best places to buy and sell hand crafted goods, and one of the cornerstones of the online market place of the furry fandom: Etsy. They have millions of people actively using the site every single day all over the world and shouldn’t be ignored!
There are some seller’s fees and restrictions as to what can be sold on the site, but this is a great place to sell fursuits, supplies, and accessories.
Another great online marketplace to check out is Storenvy. This platform has a free store option for users who are listing less than 1000 items. Keep in mind, this option requires your to drive traffic to your own shop. There is a small sales fee, but the site has an option to include the fee amount in the overall price.
While Storenvy may have fewer people actively visiting the site to shop, it is a great price and allows for plenty of flexibility so just about anyone can sell their art and supplies to the world.
Print on Demand Shops
Many of you will be selling prints of your artwork or wanting to have your art displayed on mousepads, wall scrolls, or even pillows! Keep in mind: print on demand style shops may require exclusive printing rights and have contracts that must be written up so that your partnership with them is well understood on both ends.
You can even use these services to stock your con store or online shop as well which further supports the furry community as a whole.
– Paw to Press
If you are looking to sell your art either on prints or pillows (dakimakuras) Paw to Press is a great option! This is a furry run and operated one stop print shop that you can work with. They also dropship to customers who order through the site.
– Furry Dakimakura
If you want a little more variety on what you want to dropship, Furry Dakimakura can put your art on dakimakuras (obviously), mouse pads, face masks, and wall scrolls for your fanbase to purchase.
If you are an artist with an active fanbase, you can easily set up a livestream. You can then offer live commissions and work on them in real time for your audience to enjoy. This is great for creating social engagement with your fans and letting your customers watch their commissions being worked on!
One of the most popular art streaming platforms online is Picarto. They have a large and active furry art community on the platform and you can almost always find a furry artist streaming at any given time.
Even though it is primarily a game streaming platform, Twitch does offer a great streaming service for artists. They are fully capable of handling lots of watchers and have a proven platform that you can use all over the world!
If you want a streaming service made by and run by furries, Tigerdile is a place to check out. While they may be a smaller group, they can still provide a decent streaming service for your fans to watch you work.
Furry Art Communities and Forums
There are a bunch of different art communities online, but there are two platforms that currently get the majority of the traffic; Fur Affinity and Deviant Art. These platforms are best used as art galleries, places to make announcements, and being active in the forums.
The biggest furry platform online is FurAffinity and is a great place to both post artwork and engage in the forums section. They even have a service where you can create your own ads on the website so you can grab the attention of random viewers who haven’t seen your artwork yet!
– Deviant Art
One of the biggest and oldest art communities online is Deviant Art. While the community covers nearly every single type of art, there is a large furry community that resides here and shares their art.
Social Media Platforms
The best places to advertise that you are selling merchandise or commissions are social media platforms. These are great places to interact with other furries, share artwork, and drive traffic to your storefronts or sales pages.
These platforms do require more attention as posts don’t stay up for long. It’s called “social” media for a reason, so be sure to engage with others. If you are able to create a solid following on these platforms you will be able to find quite a few people interested in buying your art and commissioning you for work.
Furry Twitter is one of the biggest and most active furry social networks online right now. By using the right hashtags and posting up quality work, you can create a large following and direct traffic to the places you are selling your work!
Facebook has several handy furry only groups that specialize in buying and selling furry art and goods. These are typically smaller groups but are quite active. Some of the best groups to join are Discount Furry Market, Fursuit and Furry Trading and Selling, and Furry Craigslist.
– Furry Amino
Furry Amino is a social media platform where furry artists and fans alike can get together and interact with each other. It is a great place to share your art with like minded individuals as well as let others know where they can commission you or buy your art if you have a sale.
Finally, Furry Reddit is one of the best places to share your artwork and interact with other furries all over the world. They do allow posting commission info on the subreddit, but have just recently created a commission thread that makes it easier for others to find you and your work.
Just about every furry I know is on Telegram, and there are several channels that specialize in buying, selling, and commissions. These are perfect places to go and find customers that may be interested in your work. Links to these channels are below:
You could also create your own announcement channel for your fans to keep up with your commission status and see when you are opened up for commissions or have a sale going on.
If you have a large following and want to give your fans an option to support your work, a membership platform can help you earn money either in recurring subscriptions or tips!
Patreon is by far the biggest and most popular platform for fans to support their favorite creators. This platform also allows the creator to reward their patrons with special access to unreleased work, exclusive goodies, and patron only content just for their supporters. Keep in mind that Patreon does charge a fee to use their platform, but can be well worth it.
Ko-Fi (pronounced coffee) is a great way to allow your fans to interact and donate directly to you! They do not charge any fees on donations transactions. You can also open up a shop or commissions page right on the site itself!
Creative furries have a plethora of options when it comes to selling their art! Each options has its ups and downs, but you can be successful by picking the platforms that work best for you and what you have to offer.
While this post doesn’t contain every single option and place available online to sell your art (trust me, there are a lot) these listed above are more likely to help you succeed as an artist if leveraged correctly.
Keep in mind, that you don’t want to use all of the options listed above at once. This will cause you to burn out and loose track of important information and clients. Ideally you will want 1 primary storefront or service to sell through, 1 or 2 social media platforms to focus on for advertising and announcements, and a place to share an art gallery for people to find you or to show to potential clients.
Have fun selling your sweet furry art!
A frequent source of confusion in the furry fandom is about commission pricing for furry art.
This confusion is often driven by (usually younger) furries demanding free or severely cheap art from artists, and the aftermath of such exchanges. There’s a reason @SpicyFurryTakes posts so frequently.
In the interest of not adding to the confusion, I’d like to offer a simple algorithm for artists to use for their standard commission prices, and then some guidelines for artists and commissioners to make the art commissioning experience better for everyone.
As my goal here is to simplify, I will be taking liberties and eschewing a lot of the economic details. If you feel that I made a mistake but aren’t sure because I’m not showing my work, feel free to leave a comment.
Commission Pricing For Artists
If you’re an artist reading this, you should almost certainly raise your rates.
Furry artists in particular are notorious for undercharging for all their time and hard work. We’re talking single-digit percentages of what industry professionals charge for roughly equivalent quality.
And then when one encounters a financial emergency, they desperately scramble to take on a lot more work just to pay for whatever life event happened. If the artist hadn’t been leaving so much money on the table with their commissioners, they probably wouldn’t need to do emergency commissions in the first place–let alone endure the mental toll of delivering on them.
If you’re not sure how much you should charge at all, I recommend the following algorithm:
- Calculate your floor.
- Increase your rates.
- Are you able to consistently fill your commission slots?
- Yes -> Go to step 2 above.
- No -> Be patient.
Calculating Your Floor
First, benchmark how long it takes you to complete a typical item on your price list. For example, a sketch of one character might take N hours to complete on average (with variance granted for complex character details).
Next, decide on a fair hourly rate for your work as a professional.
Don’t undersell yourself! For example, your hourly rate should never be less than $24 per hour (in 2020 dollars), in the United States. This number is based on what the federal minimum wage should be, if it was pinned to productivity. If that seems to high for you, don’t go below $15.
Whatever number you landed on, immediately double it. Roughly half of your income will be eaten by taxes (income taxes–including state income taxes if applicable–plus payroll taxes since you’re self-employed as an artist), unless your tax accountant tells you otherwise.
Now that you have a number in mind, you’re going to want to go through the rest of your price list and make a mental note of how many hours each item will take you to complete.
For example: If a complete illustration of one character with a detailed background takes you 8 hours, and each additional character takes an additional 2 hours, you can setup your pricing as follows:
where is the number of additional characters beyond the first one, is your minimum hourly rate, and is the price of a commission.
If you decided , then your price list entry for this type of commission might look like this:
- $400 + $100 per additional character
You should do this for every item on your commission price list.
Increase Your Rates
Once you have a price list figured out, you will want to occasionally increase your prices.
When To Increase Your Commission Prices
Generally: If you’re utilizing 100% of your allocated time for art, it’s time to increase your rates. This means you have sufficient demand to justify a price increase.
If you’ve allocated 40 hours of your time per week for commission work, and you’re consistently allocating all 40 of those hours, it’s time to increase your rates.
(This logic also applies to commission “slots”, but not all slots are equal. Use your best judgment here.)
How to Increase Your Prices
There are different schools of thought on pricing strategies. As a computer programmer, my generally recommended strategy is similar to a git bisect:
- Double your prices.
- Are you able to fill at least 50% of your commission time allocation at the new prices? (Let’s call your old price N, and your new price 2N.)
- No: Go exactly halfway between the old prices and the new prices (1.5N).
- Yes: Are you able to consistently fill 100%?
- Yes: Go back to step 1. You haven’t doubled them enough.
- No: You may have found your prices, but don’t bail out just yet.
You know that 2N yields between 50% and 100% utilization. If you dropped down to 1.5N, you’d very likely see 100% utilization, so your ideal rate is probably somewhere between 1.5N and 2N.
So try 1.75N.
If you’re below 50%, you need to go down (1.625N). If you hit 100%, you know you need to go up (1.875N).
Recursively iterate this process, increasing half as much as the previous step.
Keep this up until the difference between this step and the next step is smaller than some threshold (e.g. $5) or you’re at a comfortable utilization between 50% and 99%.
Working Through An Example
Let’s say you were charging $50 for sketches, $150 for lined art, and $300 for full colored illustrations, and your commission queue is always filled.
First, double your prices (sketches: $50 -> $100, line art: $150 -> $300, full colored illustrations: $300 -> $600).
If your next batch of commissions gets filled to 100%: double them again (sketches are $200, line art is $600, full illustrations are $1200). Keep doing this until you’re not at 100% utilization.
If, after you’ve finished a cycle of doubling, your next batch of commissions is between 50% and 100% utilization, sit tight at your current rate. Demand for your art will increase as you grow your audience, and you’ll find yourself needing to start the process over with again.
However, if you’re at below 50% utilization, it’s time to step halfway between the old and the new. If going from the initial ($50, $150, $300) to the new ($100, $300, $600) dropped demand to below 50%, your new prices would be ($75, $225, $450). If you’re still below 50%, you can keep decreasing it further.
(Feel free to round these numbers, but err on rounding them up.)
If you started at 100% utilization, this process will end up at some price greater than your starting point.
Every time I’ve said “your prices” above, what I’m talking about are your standard rates, not what you’re offering on a particular day.
You should absolutely feel entitled to offer discounts, sales, and special deals whenever it suits you.
Computer science majors will recognize this strategy as approximately a binary search algorithm.
A true binary search would zero in on your 100% utilization prices if you were capable of going above 100% utilization, but I wrote this with the assumption that 100% utilization is a market signal that you need to raise your rates. This is the guideline we’re using, because I’m assuming you cannot go above 100%. (That’s how you get burn-out!)
If you replace 100% utilization in the “true” binary search algorithm with another target percentage (say: 75%, and you bail out when you’re within 2.5% of this value), you will zero in on prices that meet your threshold.
The reason we’re increasing/decreasing by powers of 2 with each recursive iteration is that it’s the most efficient algorithm available.
A more naive approach would be to, instead of going from 2N down to 1.5N, decreasing by 0.1N until you hit your goal.
If you’re going from $100 and trying to hit a 90% utilization, and the magic number that hits that number is $147, the comparative strategies might look like this:
- $100 -> $200, 60%
- $200 -> $150, 88%
- $150 -> $125, 100%
- $125 -> $137, 100%
- $137 -> $144, 100%
- $144 -> $147, 90%
- $100 -> $200, 60%
- $200 -> $190, 65%
- $190 -> $180, 70%
- $180 -> $170, 76%
- $170 -> $160, 82%
- $160 -> $150, 88%
- $150 -> $140, 94%
backtrack, smaller increments
- $140 -> $149, 88%
- $149 -> $148, 89%
- $148 -> $147, 90%
The efficiency here is important: More price changes in a short time interval can make customers nervous.
In the example above, if 88% was acceptable, you could have stopped at $150. That would have been two total operations for the binary search and six for the gradual step-down approach.
In all but the most contrived scenarios, you want to use a binary search strategy.
Consider Hourly Commission Rates
Price lists have a tendency to get complicated, especially when complex character details (your fursona is a wolf, but with wings!) enter the mix.
One alternative to this is, after applying the price algorithm above, simply express your prices in terms of how much time a piece of art typically takes and advertise your standard rate.
Then your commissioners will know they’re hiring you for e.g. $50/hour for a project that typically takes N hours.
Improving the Furry Art Commission Experience
Guidelines for Artists
Communicate with your commissioners. If you’re not using something like Trello to track your projects, you should send them updates more than you’d normally feel comfortable. The more complex the work, the more updates you should send.
Dates Rule Everything Around Me. We understand that you have multiple projects–often running in parallel–that need to be completed to keep your clients happy. We know we’re not the only iron in your fire. Give estimate completion dates as soon as you can. If you can’t give a completion date, give an estimated date for a date. (I’m serious. This will virtually eliminate commissioner anxiety.)
Be transparent. If you need more time to get a piece done, tell your commissioners as soon as you can. Shit happens. We all get sick. We all have unproductive days/weeks. Anyone who doesn’t understand this is someone you probably want to decline accepting work from in the future.
Guidelines for Commissioners
Be polite. It’s difficult to understate how important basic manners are, even moreso when nobody seems to practice them.
Don’t bitch about prices. If you can’t afford their rates, you have three choices: Save up money for this luxury expense, move onto another artist, or learn to make it yourself.
n.b. This includes telling artists they should charge more! If you’re going to do that, your words must be accompanied by a generous tip. If they aren’t, you’re an asshole.
Updates are your opportunity to request changes. If you just say, “It’s coming along great, thanks for the update!” then you’re agreeing with the current direction of their work.
If the artist forgot an important detail (e.g. a marking on your fursona), the sooner you tell them, the sooner they can correct it. You aren’t being rude by informing them (unless you word it rudely; use good judgment!).
Credit your artists. Always. Link to their account too, if reasonably practical.
A lot of an artists’ income is the consequence of their previous commissioners showcasing their work. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising most can afford.
If you credit your artists, you’ll be helping them stay afloat until you decide to commission them again in the future.
Questions and Answers
I’ve received a bit of feedback since I first published this article from various sources (Reddit, forum posts in other languages that I can only hope Google Translate got right, etc.) and I thought I’d address some of your questions and concerns here.
“It takes me forever to get art done. Should I bill for my egregiously slow time?”
There are three reasons I’m aware of that could lead an artist to have a glacial work pace.
- They have insufficient art practice
- Their techniques and strategies aren’t time-efficient
- They live with some sort of disability
For the first two reasons, the solution is simply to practice more, try different techniques, and learn from other artists so you can get your work pace fast enough to earn a living from art. It’s okay if you’re still somewhat slower than your peers, but until you’re able to consistently produce art at a reasonable rate, you’re probably not ready to do art professionally (and that’s okay, not everyone has to be).
For the last one, I don’t have any useful advice. I don’t know your disability and am unqualified to advise you on what to do to overcome the challenges you face as an artist because of it. The advice on this page is intentionally very generalized and I’m sorry it won’t help you.
“My clientele only make poverty wages. How can I raise my rates without betraying them?”
I mean this in the gentlest way possible: If you’re in this situation, you do not have clients, you have friends. Friends are an incredibly good thing to have. Humanity overall severely underestimates the importance of good friendships, especially in America.
But if you’re trying to earn your living through art, you have to distinguish between the two. Clients are people who–whether through income or saving up–can afford to pay you a livable wage for your time as an artist.
That isn’t to say that you can’t continue to give your friends a discount, or even free art. They’re your friends, it’s your time. Do what you will. I mentioned this above. But if you’re doing real work, you should be getting paid a real livable wage.
Your friends might even be able to help you find clients that are able and willing to pay for your time. Don’t write them off or treat them as second-class.
“This advice doesn’t apply to me because my customer base is small, or nonexistent. What now?”
There are a lot of things you can do to change this fact, but I’m not qualified to speak competently to them. (If I knew the secret to a larger social media following, don’t you think I’d have used it for myself?)
Ask artists in your community for help and advice. Some might even help increase your follower counts so you can acquire more business.
“How do I find furries with sufficient disposable income to pay a livable wage?”
The truer but non-helpful answer is, “You don’t, they’ll find you.”
A lot of furries that work in tech fit the bill, but not all of them. Additionally, some well-off furries are righteous assholes and you really don’t want to deal with their bullshit.
The best advice I can offer here is:
- Be active on social media.
- Be kind to people on social media.
- Don’t be afraid of self-promotion on your own feed.
Everything else boils down to patience and luck.
“I’m not an American, so what should I do differently?”
There are two schools of thought here.
- On one paw, you can localize your prices to the cost of living for your area. This will ensure your needs are met and you can comfortably continue to work as an artist in relative comfort.
- On the other paw, you could recognize that the Internet is an international marketplace and you are, at least in part, competing globally for clients. Many clients will come from wealthy countries and have the income or savings to facilitate large commissions, and therefore you can earn more money for the same work.
Use which ever you like better as your guiding light. I’m not a dictator, and even if I was, I have no mechanism to force you either way.
“What if I don’t want to make a livable wage as a furry artist, and just want to make art for other furries as a hobby?”
Why’d you click the link to this article?
“What would an increased bill rate look like for an artist that followed this advice?”
See this post for a detailed breakdown of furry fandom art spending, accompanied by an analysis based on an arbitrary rate at $50/hour and utilization at 30 hours per week. (Spoiler: It ends up at about $80,000/year.)
“This pricing advice isn’t specific to furry artists, it’s general pricing advice for freelancers in any industry!”
It’s true, I didn’t invent these tactics or pull them out of a magic hat. If you’re trying to make it in the world as a professional, price your work like a professional.
From what I can gather: Roughly half of the people that read this blog post picked up on this nuance immediately. Y’all are pretty sharp.
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