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Commissioning Artwork

If you somehow are a non-furry and non-brony femboy who was directed here, this chapter might not be pertinent to you. This treatise is predicated on the assumption the person has a fursona or ponysona and thus is focused on furries and bronies, but this section can also be applied to non-anthro personae. If you have no persona and have no desire to commission an artist, you will be happy to hear the rest of this series is pertinent to everyone.

So, you have a femboy character or persona and you can't draw worth a shit. Well, the good news is there are plenty of artists who will be more than happy to draw it for you with sufficient remuneration. The bad news is, well, the number of artists is overwhelming and there are many factors to consider and deliberate on. I am someone who is extremely biased towards order and efficiency, and after having acquired some experience as a commissioner, I have prepared a strategy for those who are similarly inclined.


List Compilation

I strongly suggest people start compiling a list of artists and their various characteristics before they even decide to commission one. Whether you do this after you determine a commission idea or before, it will be imperative for you to have a list to refer to once you are ready to commission something. I would suggest a list which categorizes artists in tiers of style preference (you really do want to go with someone whose style you are fond of, preferably extremely fond of if at all possible), and each entry contain the following:

-Their prices for each type of commission (sketch, ink, flat, etc), and the price increase for each additional character.
-What they tend to specialize in and favor, and what they seem to do extremely well (a couple of artists I notice do orgasmic faces in a way that is highly appealing, some specialize in femboys, etc).
-What subjects they will not do, and whether they will draw erotica. If you don't have erotic or otherwise 'objectionable' ideas, this isn't necessary. For me, it is.
-Whether they seem to be often available, and whether they seem to prefer YCHs (Your Character Here; the artist decides the scene and people commission the artist to render their character in that scene) overwhelmingly. A few artists seem to do almost exclusively YCH commissions, which limits their suitability but often or usually makes their commissions less costly.
-Any special considerations or factors, such as special rules they impose on the commission process, or whatever else.

I suggest that any artist you wish to add to your list, you look up on some fraud site such as Artists Beware before doing so. While the majority of artists- like the majority of people- are well meaning and will do what they are paid for, a few are prone to not doing this. There are a few high-profile furry artists with great talent who have a reputation for unprofessionalism, and the last thing you want is to approach such an artist and have your joy and enthusiasm transformed into indignation and rage.


Considerations

There are several major variables and factors which will rule out or make more desirable an artist before you even approach them for an image idea. The following factors will have a very great effect on which artists will be suitable and which will be incompatible:

-Some artists specialize in femboys, some never draw them or even dislike drawing them. Peruse the artist's gallery to ascertain whether they have experience with femboys. Preferably, the artist favors that subject.
-Determine whether you want your image to be erotic, and whether there are any potentially objectionable fetishes/themes in this image. Some artists will not draw things which are blatantly erotic, some will not draw nudity at all. Of those who draw erotic scenes, the vast majority have some number of things they will refuse to consider. If your scene involves underage characters (especially below the teenage years), rape, scat/vomit, or snuff, your viable list of artists will be drastically shortened. Of course, if your image is PG-13 or below, they almost certainly will not object, though if it's underage many will refuse to draw anything even remotely sexualized.
-How much content does your idea have? Meaning, how many characters does your idea have, and how much action and detail is involved? Is it a regular image or a character reference sheet? If it's the latter, it is effectively a multi-character commission since they have to draw your character multiple times, so they generally cost a substantial amount. If you have a procession of scenes for the same event which you want illustrated, whether it is a comic commission or a series of regular ones, this will cost you massively.
-There are many types of commissions, and the level of work the artist must do to render it will determine cost. If you wish for only a black and white sketch or ink commission (inks are essentially more refined sketches; I assume you know what a basic sketch is), this will require less time and less money. If you want 'flat color', that will be in the moderate range. If you want 'full color', it will require more time and money.
-If you have multiple ideas you want drawn and lack the money to have all of them drawn, determine which one you want most and then choose the artist accordingly. In my case, while I have many ideas I wish to have illustrated very much, I can only settle for one by a professional and well respected furry artist. I most need a modern picture of my fursona in the Strategist form, so I will choose this when I start actively trying to commission again.
-Somewhat related to the above. If you really want both an erotic and a generally presentable version of your character, are constrained by financial concerns, and don't mind both being derived from the same basic pose, explore the option of commissioning a multi-version picture. Changing minor details such as clothing or arousal/orgasm requires far less effort. The pictures from Tsaiwolf, for example, was a two-version one which economically served multiple needs of mine.
-Try to determine in advance how much time you need to analyze a WIP to determine everything which needs correcting, and how many times you will be asking for correcting and tweaks. This is rather important for two reasons. First, if you are highly deliberative and perform badly when you must make rapid decisions, do not seek stream commissions! Second, some artists have a cap on how many times they will edit something. If you anticipate you will be desirous of more tweaking than they likely will allow, you should at either raise the matter with the artist and discuss costs for alterations past that number, or choose someone else.


Approaching Artists

Once you have decided on what you want drawn, which artists you wish to task with it who will consent to the subject matter, and which of those are/might be open, you would then approach those artists. Some have a set protocol and form they want clients to use, some just prefer PMs. There are a few noteworthy things to mention about this stage:

-Artists need to know what your characters look like in order to draw them. Overwhelmingly, they prefer suitable visual references. Some artists will not draw something without a visual reference, which means you will initially have to commission an artist who will work on textual references and instructions. For your first commission, you may wish to go with an image idea that also doubles as a great reference picture for your character.
-Ensure you understand this artist's Terms of Service before commissioning them. Preferably they have one, though some of the lesser known ones haven't gotten around to crafting one.
-Understandably, artists generally react very poorly to the following things: 1.) Trying to haggle with them. 2.) Being impatient and asking for a status update an excessive number of times. 3.) Being inappropriately friendly or chummy. Take care you do not do any of these or engage in other inappropriate behavior.
-Determine whether this is a stream or regular commission. As I explained above, if you are bad at making rapid decisions on commissions, stream commissions are not compatible. If you are the reverse and/or are very easily pleased, you might be better off with a stream commission. As I tend to be extremely analytical and fret over pictures of my fursona, I never will seek stream commissions these days.
-Understand that probably you will be in line to be served, and that artists need time and emotional stamina to work. It is very possible you will be waiting one or more months for the artist to get to your picture. If you are highly impatient or this is a time-sensitive piece, ask if you can pay more for an expedited commission (paying a premium to cut in front of everyone) and communicate your needs.


Active Phase

There isn't much to say about this. I just have a few advisory exhortations:

-If the artist seems to have genuinely forgotten about your commission, politely remind them. Coming at them menacingly doesn't behoove either of you, even if it is their fault and they were careless.
-It is very difficult sometimes, especially if we ourselves are not trained in artistry, to ascertain whether a concern we have about a WIP is a genuine error or something meant and ought to be so. If something about what you have been given still bothers you after a few days, politely raise the matter to the artist. Do not just remain silent due to fear and then be stuck with a picture you permanently have misgivings over or requiring you to reapproach them for corrections. If the artist behaves condescendingly in response (rather unlikely if you proceeded as I laid out above), at least you know they were a bad choice.
-After you give final approval, you have a shiny new image with which to serve your social purposes! What do I mean, exactly? Well, when people post a submission, people who look at new submissions will see it, which will draw them to that page. Probably they will only be interested in the image, but there's a small chance they will peruse the rest of your gallery or your journal entries. The artist also will most likely post the image to her/his gallery, and all of their active watchers will then see it, and a fraction will investigate at least your gallery. Particularly if the image is pornographic (yes, I have verified these get far more attention), you'll have surges of new visitors. One of them might become your friend. Either way, you'll be slightly better known and have another watcher or two. Thus, you are helping serve your social needs through aesthetical progress!


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roketsune: Animated icon of me, done by http://www.furaffinity.net/user/p-aei (Default)
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