There is a nuance I find myself thinking about lately when I quote prices for commissions.
The obvious thing to ask is “how long will this take me”. This many characters will take about X hours, a background at a certain level will take Y, complicated characters will add Z hours, multiply that by the hourly rate I like to get and I get a number. I’ve been doing that for ages, pretty much every artist figures this part out early on in their career, as well as things like “changes ain’t free and you should make that clear to your clients”.
But lately I’ve also been asking myself how long do I want to spend on this piece?. And more and more that’s an important question. It’s time I’m not spending drawing stuff that has to please nobody but myself and the people who support me on Patreon, it’s time I’m not spending doing things I enjoy that are not drawing like video games or broadsword class or whatever. It’s time I’m not spending doing mundane stuff like making sure the dishes get washed and the trash goes out. It’s also time I’m not spending hating a thing I’m drawing because it has gone on entirely too long and it is just drudgery, which means I start doing a half-assed job just to get the damn thing out the door. I’ve done that a few times and I really dislike doing that.
This makes the question of edits and changes a lot more fraught. In general I am blessed with clients who have paid for art many times before, have model sheets for their characters, and are gonna be delighted with anything I draw, so change requests are likely to be super minimal, if there’s any at all. If all you have is a text description of what you want with no visual reference, I’m pretty likely to say “nope” unless you’re also saying you’re gonna be pretty delighted with anything I’d do, and are waving a nice chunk of money at me to boot.
I do not have any real conclusion here. I guess I’m mostly pretty delighted to be this high up the ladder of artistic success where I don’t have to be the poor bastard on the artist side of this tweet that was doing the rounds today:
(Apparently this is from a vtuber whose schtick is “bitchy demanding spoilt princess”, and I sure do hope they paid a regal price for all those complex revisions. And that the initial deal with the artist was one where the expectation was that it would have a lot of revisions. If it wasn’t, I honestly would have said “well I guess I can do some of those but this is a lot, and I’m gonna need more money to do all these tweaks” to the first revision, and “that’ll cost you a significant percentage of the original price, and this is the last round” to the second revision. And maybe quietly put this client on my mental Never Again list.)