The Ultimate Guide to Commissioning Furry Art
One of the coolest parts of being a furry is having artwork commissioned of your characters. There’s nothing quite like having an idea in your head for a character brought to life through some awesome art.
Lots of furries get art of their characters drawn. While commissioning art can be an exciting process, it can also be a little intimidating for first-timers. You might have questions like: how do you even commission an artist? What sort of things do you need to commission an artist, and what sorts of options are available?
Let’s take a look at what goes into getting a piece of art commissioned. After that, we’ll check out some of the different kinds of commissions you can get for your characters.
How Does the Character Look?
It’s important for the artist to know how your character looks. You should have some idea of the character’s appearance. But what’s the best way to do this?
Visual references are the most useful for this. The best kind are reference sheets. These handy pictures usually show a front and back view of your character. There’s more you can add to a ref sheet, but we’ll get to that later.
What if you don’t have a ref sheet? If you have any previous commissions of your character, that can help too. At the very least, you can gather some images to help out the artist, such as how you want the hair to look, the body shape, clothing, and so on. Some visual aid is better than none!
You can also try out a written description should you not have any images available. If you’re not too good with words, don’t worry – if you can at least give a basic description of the character, you’re good to go. No need to be a wordsmith to tell the artist that the character has a slender body and is 5’7”.
If you want to get crafty, there are even more options. For example, do you play Second Life? It’s possible to use that to create a model of your character! But you will need to buy in-game money if you don’t already have the furry avatar you need. There are also free options too, such as Heroforge. You can use this to make a model of your character, which can give a nice 3D reference. You can also change their pose and body structure with a few clicks. Unfortunately, there are a limited amount of furry models available.
You’ll also need a way of paying the artist. Many will use PayPal, as it’s very quick, easy, and convenient. Some artists might use alternate methods such as Stripe which links to a credit card. If neither of those options works for you, see what other payment methods are available. But not “exposure”. Artists need to pay bills, too!
Keep in mind that many of these payment methods have an age limit. PayPal requires you to be at least eighteen or older to open an account. You’ll want to stick to those rules too. If they find out you weren’t of age when you opened an account, they’ll lock or even shut down your account!
What to Look Out For
There are some guidelines to consider when looking for artists to commission, as well. Keeping these ideas in mind will help you find an artist that not only does cool art but is also reliable.
First, it’s always good to see if an artist is open for commissions or quotes. Usually, you can find this on the artist’s social media page, their Fur Affinity page, or their home page if they have one. For example, you can see on My Furry Art’s home page that they’re always open for commissions. But if an artist doesn’t have that information listed, try DM’ing or emailing them. Remember to be friendly and professional!
Second, try to see if you can estimate how long an artist tends to take to complete art, known as the turnaround time. Some artists can take a long time for art. Some might even have a backlog of art that extends for months and you’ll often go to the back of it when you order art from them!
One way to do this is to check an artist’s FA or social media page. See how long it took between them announcing commissions to when they posted sketches or finished pieces. You can also email or DM them and ask for an estimated time. Again, remember to be friendly and professional!
You can even do a bit of sleuthing and see if the artist comes up on any warning sites, such as Artist’s Beware. Sites like that can help you know about artists that are especially troublesome to work with.
It’s also good to check out any extra information the artist has. See if they have information on how refunds work, or how many revisions you can have done. For example, we can see on My Furry Art’s main page that they allow for unlimited revisions. If the artist has a queue, see if they keep it updated on their Fur Affinity page, or if they use sites like Trello.
Tips as a Client
There are a few things to keep in mind as a potential client as well. Remember that each artist has their own art style. Some are realistic, some are cartoony, and some use a mix of both. They might do their shading and coloring in a unique way. This could mean your character might look a little different than how you may have imagined it.
This is twice as true if you’re using a description instead of a ref sheet. Words can mean different things to different people. An artist might see the word “chubby” or “slender” in a different way than you.
Practice patience with artists, too. It’s a great practice to keep track of things like turnaround time, but don’t send them daily update requests. That’ll more than likely annoy the artist or even make them uncomfortable. Checking in every two weeks or so, if it takes that long, is fine. Keep in mind if you’re in a queue that being further down the list means it might be a few weeks before you even get a sketch.
Yet, try not to lose track of time. This is especially important if the artist has anything in their terms about refunds. PayPal has a time limit on opening disputes as well. And always remember – be friendly and professional about it!
So we now know some good pointers when commissioning art – but what types of commissions can a furry get? Let’s take a look at a few examples:
Reference Sheets / Ref Sheets
Ref sheets refer to art that’s used to show off a character’s design. These will usually have a front and back image of the character. Though you can get more added, such as expressions or even key accessories for your character, usually referred to as props. I’ve seen some ref sheets that do the front, back, and sides of a character.
It is worth considering extras such as props or even a closer look at anything special such as the tail or pawpads. Ref sheets tend to be zoomed out, so having extras that focus on those other features can be handy as it gives a nice, closer look.
If you’re going to be commissioning lots of art, ref sheets are very invaluable. They’re also very handy for commissioning fursuits. In fact, it’s very difficult to commission a fursuit without one.
Icons / Profile Picture / PFP
Icons are art that’s done of a character’s bust, or even from the neck up. This art is useful for various chat apps, like Telegram, or websites, like Twitter. You can set your icon to be your profile picture and give a cool first impression.
While you could resize and fit any piece of art, getting an icon is still useful. These are usually drawn with the use of a profile picture in mind, so you’ll get something that fits just right.
Stickers are smaller images used in various chat apps, such as Telegram, Discord, Whatsapp, and even Twitch. Some apps, like Telegram, even have stickers integrated, so with a few quick taps you can send a sticker.
These are a cute, fun way of interacting with other furs. Many even use them like emotes. Why use a generic happy face when you can use your own character giving an adorable smile? Or send a sticker of your character hugging your friend you haven’t seen since the last con? You can also use stickers to show your character’s personality, favorite things, and anything else you can think of.
There’s also a whole world of art that you can get commissioned as well. Some artists offer sketches or even different coloring styles such as flat colors or full-on shading. These options also often come at different prices, with sketches being the cheapest. You could get art done with backgrounds, done on a plain white background. Your imagination, and budget, are the limit!
Art made in this way can have various uses, too. Many furs will upload commissions to their FA gallery. Others will actually print and hang up art in their own room, too.
You can even use the art for commercial purposes. Well, sort of. It’s a complicated, and expensive, process. One that needs its own article.
Commissioning furry art for your character is fun, and it can be exciting to see how others interpret and draw your character.
There are many artists out there that offer all kinds of services, styles, and more. If you’re looking for a good place to start, consider My Furry Art. We have a full team of friendly artists with beautiful, flexible styles, and even a no-questions money-back guarantee.