The Artist's Guide to Freelancing: How to Get Clients and Sell Art Commissions

Updated: Jan 18

As artists one of our major streams of revenue comes from contract work and commissions. This is otherwise known as freelancing, which simply means you're an artist for hire. It's a great life style in all honesty. You take on the jobs you like the look of, pick your own prices, choose your own hours and be your own boss. It's the artists dream!

When you've got regular income that is.

And that's the major draw back to being a freelance artist who works on commission, short term contracts or one off projects. You only have work when you get the call. It's not secure. There's no way of telling when you're going to be making serious bank or when you'll be struck by a dry spell.

That lack of financial certainty isn't just a draw back when it comes to getting the rent and bills paid on time, if you've got a family to take care of as well it can be a dangerous gamble to get into the freelance scene without a safety net to catch you when worst comes to worst.

So in this article I'm going share my best tactics for gaining and securing regular work as a freelance comic book artist. Here's a quick overview of what we'll cover:

  • How to create a winning portfolio that attracts clients

  • How to accurately price your art

  • Where to find client work and get art commissions

  • How to forge a powerful network of clients and solid reputation

  • Methods for effective negotiation and communication

  • How to make sure you get paid for your work

There's a lot of ground to cover here, so lets get strait into it!


Promoting Your Art

First things first, if you want to get more clients, they've got to be able to find you. If you're drawing alone in your Mom's basement and never show anyone what you're capable of, it doesn't matter how much skill you've got, no one's going to know who you are or what you've got to offer them.

It's important to understand that no matter how talented you are, the major determiner of your success as a career artist will come down to your ability to get as many eyes as possible on the work you do, so that you've got an audience to sell it to. You run a business that offers a service, so you've got to be a great businessman as well as a great artist.