If you’ve ever been to a comic expo of some kind, chances are you’ve probably bought artwork from one of the vendors, or at the very least, taken the time to observe and appreciate the prints on display above one of their booths. Either way, with the sheer abundance of artists who gather at these events, there’s bound to be a few that caught your eye. 

Maybe you bought a print of one of your favorite comic book characters from an artist, and it inspired a vision for a custom work of art that you desire. 

Alternatively, perhaps you’re a fan of a specific artist’s work, but his or her collection doesn’t line up with your own fandom. 

 If either of these are the case, you might consider whether the artist is willing to commission a sketch for you personally. This can be a collaborative and rewarding experience, but also intimidating if you’ve never asked before. 

Here are some tips for commissioning a sketch from your favorite artist. 

The first thing you are going to want to do is pick an artist. 

Now you may already have an artist in mind, which is fine, but artists are very busy people. Clearly, you picked this artist for their talent, and that means they’re probably already in high demand. This means they may already be backed up with work. If you’re lucky, they may put you on a waiting list, but it’s up to you to determine if you’re willing to wait. It may be time to gather a list of other artists that you enjoy. 

If your first choice is a no-go, it’s time to start researching artists. 

You can always research artists online. You can do a Google search for artists whose styles catch your eye, check social media platforms, or browse art sites such as deviantart.com. Search for keywords that fit your style, and pick a few that meet your own personal preference. 

Research the artists you chose and then contact them. 

Just checking the artist’s website may provide you with answers as to whether they do commission work and how much they charge. The best way to get in touch with them is usually directly through email. When contacting them, be as clear as possible about what you’re looking for.  

Communication is absolutely key in these situations.  

Explain to them what kind of work you’d like done. Just as you may decide an artist’s work does not match what you’re looking for, the artist may also decide that what you’re asking for does not match their own specialty. Also, don’t withhold important information on what you’d like done. For instance, don’t tell the artist at the last minute that you are wanting several more characters in your sketch. 

Do not waste an artist’s time. 

Whatever you do, don’t waste somebody’s time. If you see that the artist lists a specific fee for commissions on their website and your budget won’t cover it, don’t try to negotiate a lower fee. Always have your budget in mind. If you go into this arrangement lacking tact, this person will not ever want to work with you. 

Be courteous always. 

Again, these artists value their time and they do not have to work with you, so please be kind and courteous when discussing business with them. A negative experience does nothing for either of you. On the other hand, having a pleasant exchange may allow you to do business again. 

Be sure to finish up by discussing all the terms of the contract. 

Setting clear expectations ensures a positive and professional experience for both parties. Be sure to outline in the contract details such as your full name, as well as the artist’s full name, and the current date. Price, payment method, as well as a time frame should all be included in the contract. Be as clear and concise as possible with your expectations.