Here below is a checklist hat shows the commissioning process. Although it is understood that the art-buying practice may vary from business to business it is hoped that the outlining of the major issues will be of benefit to both commissioner and artist. Good communication between the artist and client is encouraged at all times.



  • Mechanical information such as the likely printed size, whether in colour/mono
  • In terms of content, is a specific visual image required? If so this should be communicated as accurately as possible to the artist so there can little or no room for mis-interpretation. Any visual material you can supply to this end will also help.
  • Is the brief open to the artist’s interpretation? Many artist prefer an open brief as it enables them to work more creatively; however frustration can set in if proposed sketches are repeatedly rejected. Be sure to outline any and all restrictions at the outset. The artist may reasonably expect additional payment if extra rounds of sketches are requested above and beyond what was originally briefed.
  • State the deadline for finished artwork and delivery of roughs. Also provide an indication of the time needed for sketch approval. Days spent waiting for approval on a drawing can seriously eat into the time set aside for execution of finished artwork.



  • As artist is costed out according to it’s usage the illustrator will need details of how and where the finished piece is to be used, and over what period of time that work is to be used, in order to arrive at a price. These uses can vary considerably depending on which area of the market the work is commissioned for.
  • Do not expect an immediate quote from an artist for a proposed job. Commissions can often be quite complex and the artist needs some time to consider the various aspects.



  •  It is in the interests of both client and artist that proper documentation exists for commissioned works. The advice is to use an Acceptance of Commission form (or licence) which is sent to the client outlining all the agreed terms.
  • Copyright is a very valuable commodity. It affords the owner the exclusive right to reproduce an image (or allow others to reproduce it) in any way throughout the world for the period of copyright i.e. 70 years.
  • Please avoid asking artist to sign a contract which assigns copyright or ‘all rights’ to the client without first agreeing a price for such uses.
  • In the great majority of cases a licence is the most appropriate way for the artist to give the client the rights it needs. The illustrator keeps the copyright and grants the client a licence appropriate to the commission. The licence would state the use, territory and time period and be exclusive to the client for the specified time.



  • Any envisaged problems over the style or content of artwork should be aired as soon as possible.
  • If you are unhappy with the quality of artwork (i.e. it falls far short of the quality seen in samples by the artists) and have to reject it, the following rejection fees are broadly accepted as industry standard. 25% of the agreed fee if the work is rejected at rough stage. 50% of the agreed fee if the artwork is rejected on delivery.
  • If a commission is cancelled through no fault of the illustrator, the following cancellation fees are broadly accepted as industry standard. 25% of the agreed fee if the commission is cancelled before delivery of roughs. 33% of the agreed fee if the commission is cancelled at rough stage. In the case of more detailed preparatory work such as coloured presentation visuals, a cancellation fee of 50% may be more appropriate. This should be negotiated with the artist. 100% of the agreed fee if the commission is cancelled on the delivery of artwork.



  • These days finished artwork can de delivered in a myriad of ways. Be sure to pass on your preferred method of delivery to the artist and confirm receipt with a simple email/phone call.
  • If alterations are required the illustrator may charge a reasonable fee for significant changes which were not in the original brief, however, the illustrator may not charge extra fees for alterations which are the fault of the artist, nor for trivial alterations.