A Guide to the Commissioning Process: approaching Donna, developing a dialogue, and an outline of the commissioning process


Working with an artist in the development of your commissioned artwork can be a complex process, but it doesn’t need to be intimidating.  To help make the process easier to understand and less daunting, we’ve put together this guide to help you.


Step 1: Get in Touch

Contact us with an initial query by using the query form and answering the key questions that will form the basis of your brief. A brief will outline your commission and Donna will use this when developing ideas for the work. Custom Query Form


Step 2: Meeting

Donna will be in touch to arrange a meeting in person, giving you the opportunity to view current works and projects. This is an opportunity to get to know more about you and your commission. (If a meeting isn’t possible, then emails are exchanged.) Together you will fill out the brief in greater detail, creating a concept around something that inspires both you and Donna. This may require further meetings’s/emails/research. Inspirations may come from a memorable moment, a loved one, a particular design, a bold idea or a colour. There are many ways to communicate your ideas. Magazine cut outs, mood boards, photos of the environment in which the work will be displayed, inspirational objects and texts are some ideas we’ve seen in the past.

If you want to commission, but don’t have a specific idea or can’t communicate what it is you’re looking for, it makes it hard for Donna to work with you. If you’re still stuck, it may be inspirational to have a look at the qualities and features you already like about Donna’s work. By looking at examples, it will be easier to talk about what you like, what you like less, and maybe even work out what you’re really interested in.

Questions to think about prior to the meeting:

  •  What do you want the work to look like?  What subject matter, size, materials, colors, and style?
  •  Why are you commissioning the piece?  Who is it for?  Is there a special occasion?
  •  What is your budget? For a general idea on the prices we charge, check out the shop section.
  •  Where will the work be displayed? This will impact the dimensions and colour scheme. In the living room? Office? Outside? Inside?
  • Timescale and deadline.


Step 3. Devising a Contract

After a period of time when everything is more or less agreed, a paper contract will be deliverd in the post, which is essential in order to achieve a successful commission. It will usually contain the following information:

  • Donna’s proposed idea. A detailed written description, drawings and/or model will present a clear idea of what the artwork will be.
  • Materials used
  • whether or not the work will be framed or how it will be presented.
  • the subject matter of the work.
  • the style of the work.
  • The process of production (Including scheduled visits, regullar reports if desired)
  • The budget – This will br broken down.
  • The cost of materials
  • Any services to be used/outsourcing
  • Travel expenses
  • Artist’s time.
  • Other associated costs
  • Payment plan – This will have been agreed in advance. Normal practice is to pay one-third upon agreeing the commission, a second payment mid way through the process and the final payment on completion and delivery of the artwork.
  • Timescale for completion
  • Delivery, Installation, Maintenance
  • Who is responsible for the delivery of the artwork?
  • Are there any special delivery requirements?Who is responsible for insuring the artwork whilst in transit?What are the costs and who pays for delivery?
  • Will the artwork you are commissioning require installing? If so who will do this? Installation may be carried out by the artist and/or a technician. Discuss this with the artist in advance and agree any potential costs.
  • Does the artwork require any ongoing maintenance? What measure do you need to take (if any) to ensure the artwork remains in good condition?
  • Responsibilities of the artist and Commissioner – If any specific
  • Whether or not you want the Donna to use images of it in future promotions.
  • Ownership and Copyright (Donna usually retains copyright)


Step 4: Signing the contract and paying the first installment

If you are happy with the contract sign and return together with the first instalment. If there are things you still want to change to the contract, make the amendment on the paper and return.


Step 5: Work begins

Yourself and Donna will be in regular contact throughout the process. This may include weekly updates via email and scheduled visits to ensure both yourself and Donna are satisfied with the progress and direction of the commission. The number of meetings required will depend upon the size and scale of the commission.


Step 6: Completion and Delivery

Upon installation or receipt of the commission it is important you immediately examine the work carefully, as it may have incurred damage in transit. It can become complicated in proving damage after receipt if left for a period of time.

It is worthwhile meeting or contacting Donna following completion so that you can exchange feedback on the success of the commission. Discussing the commission is of mutual benefit and could aid the progress and ease of future.