Question for those who paint on commission
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  1. #1
    Brushlicker Valander's Avatar
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    Default Question for those who paint on commission

    Been a while since I've really looked at the ebay and other venues for commission painting, but I've been thinking more and more recently about trying my hand at it.

    So, for those of you out there who do commissions, mind if I ask a few questions?

    1. What level(s) of services do you typically offer? Just "tabletop", just "master", or a mix of all?
    1.1. If you offer multiple levels, which do you do the most volume of?

    2. What are some typical rates for your services?

    3. How did you go about establishing a bit of reputation?

    4. How much time do you spend on commissions? Is it a part-time thing for you, or do you do it full-time?

    5. What's your average monthly income from commissions?

    I know that some of these are really "it depends," which I fully expect, but just interested in a little bit of a survey to get an idea of the market these days, compared to, say, 5 years ago or so when I last kinda looked.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2

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    Can't help you with any of that...but I just wanted to say Good Luck to you.

  3. #3

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    I don't do a painting business, but I have taken a few commissions in the past.

    1) I usually just do my best which, admittedly, isn't stellar but it gets the job done. I put much less effort into troop models because I hate painting 16 guardsmen at once, and more into character/special pieces because they're more fun.

    2) In the past, I've charged either retail value of the mini if I'm supplying it (I can usually get them cheap enough to make it worthwhile for both of us,) and 150% retail if the buyer is. So far that's worked out to everyone's satisfaction, but I imagine you'll have to charge more as a business; I prefer to remain a hobbyist.

    3) I just responded to peoples' want-ads and supplied examples of my work. I will say though that, from observation, good communication goes a long way towards bolstering someone's rep, and poor communication will do a lot of harm even for a painter that produces good-quality stuff.

    4 & 5) It's pretty rare, so I can't answer these ones.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Valander View Post
    1. What level(s) of services do you typically offer? Just "tabletop", just "master", or a mix of all?
    I only offer one level of painting to my clients: The best I'm capable of.

    1.1. If you offer multiple levels, which do you do the most volume of?
    N/A - see above.

    2. What are some typical rates for your services?
    It varies, depending on the size and complexity of the piece in question.

    3. How did you go about establishing a bit of reputation?
    I give my commissions my best, I email WIP pictures to the customers, so they know what's done, if they want.
    I get them done on time if there's a deadline. I can't stress how important this one is.
    My customers tend to be so happy with my work that they advertise for me. Meaning they actually try to drum up more business for me.
    Word of mouth is the best advertising there is.

    4. How much time do you spend on commissions? Is it a part-time thing for you, or do you do it full-time?
    I have a day-time job, so my commissions, when I have them, occupy my 'free time' in the evenings, and most of my weekends.
    It's often like having two jobs, but I enjoy it, so it doesn't stress me out or anything.

    5. What's your average monthly income from commissions?
    Average? I couldn't tell you, to be honest, but I can usually pay my rent every couple of months.
    2011 has been very kind to me, already. I've paid my rent and bought a laptop with commissions.



    Thanks in advance!
    You're welcome.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Valander View Post
    Been a while since I've really looked at the ebay and other venues for commission painting, but I've been thinking more and more recently about trying my hand at it.

    So, for those of you out there who do commissions, mind if I ask a few questions?

    1. What level(s) of services do you typically offer? Just "tabletop", just "master", or a mix of all?
    1.1. If you offer multiple levels, which do you do the most volume of?
    On the rare occasion that I have accepted commission work I only offer the best that I can do. I am just not interested in painting hordes of tabletop quality figures.

    2. What are some typical rates for your services?
    As above varies depending on what the client wants.

    3. How did you go about establishing a bit of reputation?
    Painting reputation can be gained a bit by posting examples of your work on here so that your work can be "seen" in a public place. Reputation as to what you are like to deal with is through doing jobs successfully and then word getting around.

    4. How much time do you spend on commissions? Is it a part-time thing for you, or do you do it full-time?
    I paint in the evenings and weekends as there is no way that I could make a proper living off painting alone. I mix my time between the odd commission piece and stuff for my personal collection/Ebay.

    5. What's your average monthly income from commissions?
    Varies a lot depending on what comes in and what I want to sell/keep. Generally the stuff I sell pays for the stuff I want to keep/paint&brushes/go to GD/etc and normally leave a bit extra. The most I made in a year was around £1200 (gross).

    I know that some of these are really "it depends," which I fully expect, but just interested in a little bit of a survey to get an idea of the market these days, compared to, say, 5 years ago or so when I last kinda looked.

    Thanks in advance!
    No worries. Good luck
    What you leave behind is not what is written on your tombstone but what is written in the heart of others.

  6. #6
    Brushlicker Valander's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks for the replies so far. It's sounding like the market hasn't changed all that much. It also seems like more people are doing the high-level painting over the mass of tabletop quality armies (which, honestly, if I was going to do much, I'd prefer to paint that way anyway--I have a hard enough time getting my own units done. ).

    For those wondering, no I'm not really considering "quitting my day job" and doing painting full-time; I know there's no way I'd make what I make now as a software developer. More to the point is that I've been wondering if it would be enough to sustain my hobby itself, allowing me to sock away more cash to pay off the house, etc. Sounds like that's not impossible.

    Keep 'em coming!

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Valander View Post
    More to the point is that I've been wondering if it would be enough to sustain my hobby itself, allowing me to sock away more cash to pay off the house, etc. Sounds like that's not impossible.

    Keep 'em coming!

    I agree...having your hobby pay for itself sounds wonderful.

    But, keep in mind, if you do a lot of painting for others, you may not want to do any for yourself. (not necessarily a bad thing).

    If the action of painting itself is your hobby, it should still be very rewarding.

  8. #8

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    I used to do commisions and was earning enough to help my earning and help with home loan back in 1990 at my peak I was doing $3000 gross but that was 3 hrs a day at one stag
    I offered unit prices (as did historical then)
    I no longer do any commisions or only very rarely for friend as I now sculpt more than paint
    My advice is set a routine and use the early morning light not late nights - do group painting 10 for 15mm,8 for 20 and 5 for 25 mm -buy the time you have put the colours on this many the first is ready to paint
    Its the Journey Not the End that counts

  9. #9

    Default Virago from Ilyad Miniatures or a Fianna Barbarian from Confrontation

    The two that come into mind would loom over more standard 28mm miniatures:

    Ilyad's Virago (you just missed one on ebay): http://cgi.ebay.com/Ilyad-Virago-How...#ht_500wt_1156

    And either a fianna as has been suggested by others (with very pert parts...):
    http://underthemountain.files.wordpr...-fiannas-1.jpg
    http://underthemountain.files.wordpr...-fiannas-2.jpg

    or the female Danu warrior with a giant axe: http://underthemountain.files.wordpr...arrior-iii.jpg

    Or some of the other Confrontation barbarian females: http://underthemountain.wordpress.co...sessairs-clan/

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