QUESTION FOR ARTISTS: How many projects did you make for free before you were able to start taking commissions?

Hello there!

I’ve been doing some free art for some people in order to build up my resume. So far, I have made three large covers and three small covers (not counting the ones I’ve made for myself or the covers and assets that I made in the process of making these six pieces). I did this in less than a week, and I’m still just starting out.

Here are some examples:
(I’m trusting that no one will steal my art.)

The first one I made- WIP

The only completed covers I made for myself

There are quite a few versions of the small cover because I had a lot of ideas, but this is the only one with the full title. It’s done in the style of classic comic books to highlight the fact that it is a superhero story.

My first mission from someone else

This is (currently, to my knowledge) the official small cover for “College Girl”, and the first one I made for someone else.


I made another cover, but this is the one the author preferred.

And these are the two large covers:


However, as a college student, I am often reminded of the need to start earning money. I am getting much better at the art that I’ve made, and I’m able to make it relatively quickly (see above). How many more pieces do you think I will need to make for free before I have enough of a resume to take commissions? Will I also need more art from my own stories?

To the authors: How much of a resume do you need to see before you’re willing to spend $?

To the artists: How long did it take you to start being able to take commissions?

Hey!

It actually depends on how is your art. Some people improve slower than others (and that’s totally fine), so they take a little longer to start doing commissions.
I took about an year to do commissions after I started doing digital art. I did art before that, but not digital one.
If you’re unsure about doing commissions, create a post on forums. Include some recent examples of your art and ask if people think you should do commissions, it’s very helpful!
About the prices: you should put a small price at the beginning and, as you do more commissions and get more experience, you can make the price higher :heart:

Edit: I saw that you included your artworks. Just remember that you can’t commission anything that’s using Episode’s assets, even if you edit/change it!

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Hi, something to consider, you can not charge people for anything containing Episode assets - included but not limited to backgrounds/overlays and character models/clothing. So, you can’t take commissions for edits of Episode Characters.

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This is quite good for a beginner but I can see where there is room to improve on clarity/definition and shading of the characters but other than that, very good. As an author, I don’t know that I’d necessarily want to pay at the current level but I think with a year or two of solid practice and ‘free’ projects that challenge you and you could very well do commissions later on. :slight_smile:

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From the customer’s pov…

First of all, you must remember that not everyone will like your art or style. And that’s a huge factor when it comes to commissions. People will only pay for something that is to their liking and has a good price point. On top of that, when it comes to episode commissions, there is also a “famous” factor. If you’re a well-established artist in the community, people will more likely buy your art because of the recognition they can get if the artist posts it on their page. It’s something not many talk about, but it’s a common thing.

As someone who has purchased a lot of covers or arts for my stories, I can easily say that for me, quality should be equal to price. If your work meets my expectations and has a good price point, I’d definitely commission something if I needed it. I have high standards and I value my money, so if you’re not good enough (for me), then I’ll pass. But I know everyone is different; someone may like your art (taste for everyone is different), someone may like your lower prices, or maybe they want someone who will give them exposure; the reasons for authors are different and I’m not speaking for everyone. The thing is… find your niche.

Also, time frame - it’s a very important factor: how quick you are, because some may wait, and some may need that in a week or two (or even a few days).

If you’re starting, practice a lot, even for yourself; draw different things; use your best work as examples; and try not to be too crazy with prices. Build your portfolio on free work, and then expand it based on commissions you get. If you’ll feel like you improved a lot and people are interested in your work, then you can think about rising prices.

Ps. I see you added your examples, fyi, you cannot charge anyone for covers/arts that is edited - means, they have edited characters and assets from the episode portal, it’s against the rules (based on what you gave in “WIP”).

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Are there rules against digitally drawing over a character from Episode/using characters as references?

It can get sticky legally and ethically for what does or doesn’t count and ultimately it’s up to Episode’s very vague terms of use to determine what does count and I wouldn’t want to take the chance, really. The gist of it is: you can’t use their outline or character models in your art - at all - if you plan to sell the art.

The best thing you can do if you plan to do commissioned art is to improve your drawing skills, find your own favorite way to draw people and sell that instead of trying to make it look like Episode’s art style.

IF you are comfortable with edits, start an art shop and do edited covers in the interim of upping your hand-drawing skills – that way you are still being active and gaining recognition in the community which will help you later on when you introduce your own art style for sell – but it’ll give you ideas to practice drawing poses and whatnot.

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Also, it’s called tracing: drawing over real photos, other people’s artwork, or characters from an episode. So I suggest not even doing that when it comes to commission. You’ll get quickly called out and that will make you lose people who would be interested in commissions.
You can still use references, but never draw over something if you wanna sell it. For yourself? Sure. Do what you want to LEARN how to draw. Develop your art and style and when you’re good at it without tracing, you can start commissions. :3

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Hey!
An opinion from artist.
I have been drawing since 2021 and still am not taking comms because I don’t feel like it’s the level I want. I have asked people what do they think and I have received different answers. Also, as @Mi_writes said, the “famous” and “ultra realistic, semi-realistic” factors are important, meaning people want something that makes their jaws drop till floor, as it’s really hard to get our stories out there. The famous factor ruins a lot small artist’s chances.
You don’t need a specific amount of years or pieces before you can start taking comms. You need “the looks” of the art AND a lot of promoting. My suggestion - watch videos in YouTube, TikTok, pay attention to other artist’s process videos and how they shade, outline etc. And don’t give up.

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I, for the life of me, could not think of the word “tracing” last night. :joy:

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I want to say thank you, and thank you to everyone who has participated in this thread. I feel like I have received some really valuable information and genuine feedback. (Rather than just “you’re so great” coddling or “you’re so lame” insults).

I’ve been inspired to make my first attempt at digital painting 100% from scratch- only using Episode assets for the color picker.

I think it turned out quite nicely- but I know that I still have a long ways to go. Anyone know of any specific resources for this kind of thing?

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The best decision I have made is by following @procreate_free_brushes on Instagram. They have sooo many paid and free brushes AND they post regular tutorials and helpful tips from other pro artists.
Also @epi.rebelion has skin tone paletes for all skin tones in their drive. It’s a great starter. They also have tutorials.
For poses, there are a lot pose apps, but the best things you can find on Pinterest.
Just remember not to trace or try recreating other artists’ art, as a lot doesn’t allow it and could get you in trouble. It means, when someone wants for you to draw something and that is another artists art, you should ask if they have permission from the artist or they allow using their art as references.

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It seems that a lot of what happens in the Episode community happens on Instagram. Is it hard to be successful on Episode without it? I have no intentions of getting involved with social media because I want to preserve my anonymity.

Honestly, right now the answer is yes. :smiling_face_with_tear:
It’s even more impossible to get your story out there without Instagram. That’s where the biggest part of community is, then probably Forums and Discord.
I experienced it myself when I started. Without any social media (including forums), I thought I have to make everything myself and it will be fine without promotion. But boy, I was so wrong. It has been one of the best decisions because I met amazing people, learned from artists, got to know a lot episode stories and even had my own groups!