Owning a piece of art that you’ve commissioned is an indescribable feeling. It’s more than just a possession; it’s something that was created for you, personally, that carries significance and meaning.

Commissioning an art piece should not be something entirely conceptual. If you know you want to commission a piece but have no idea what you’d like or how you’d like it to be created, it’s going to be hard for the artist to create something that will meet your broadly undefined expectations. Sit and consider what holds meaning in your life, what your particular design style is, and how you can combine the two to make something that you would love and cherish.

Once you have a concrete idea of how you’d like your piece to look, it’s time for the most important part of the process: choosing the right artist for your piece. This is such a huge step because it’s important to find someone who not only will be able to capture your particular art style but whose personality will also work well with yours. Once you’ve selected your artist, it’s time for you to contact them.

Be as specific as you can when reaching out initially. If you’re looking to commission a specific piece or you already have a vision in mind for the work, you need to convey this information to the artist right off the bat. Each artist operates differently, so you need to be as clear as you can during the initial discussions. Inform them of the materials you’d like them to use and bring along references if able. The last thing that you should be doing is waiting until they’ve begun working to address specifics or change your request.  You’ll also want to let the artist know why you’ve chosen them, specifically to work on this piece. What about their work made you feel like they’d be a good fit? What about their style do you like? Prepare to answer these questions and more before an artist will agree to work with you.

You also need to be prepared to accept that some artists may not be willing to undertake your request for a commissioned piece. Some may not take commissions at all, may have too heavy of a current workload, or don’t feel as though they would be the right person for the project. All artists have their own style and methods they use, so if an artist tells you that they will be unable to complete the piece as you want it, trust them in their expertise.

Once you have found an artist who is willing to undertake your commission, it’s crucial to create a contract for the project to ensure that everyone is on the same page before moving forward. This contract should include specifics about the project including materials to be used, dimensions for the finished piece, presentation, subject matter, artistic style, a date of completion, and a payment plan. This will structure the process and hold both parties accountable for their ends of the deal.