Learning How to Commission a Painting-Randy Gallegos

A great question we get from readers who enjoyed our past post regarding, The Ten Questions you should ask before you Say “Yes” to illustrating someone’s children’s book is, “What resource can we direct them to if they aren’t sure how to answer some of the ten questions?”.

Luckily we found an AMAZING free resource that you can direct them to.  Randy Gallegos is dropping in to share this great resource that will inform any potential client of the information they need to come up with a price, understand what rights to ask for, and explains many aspects of the publishing and art creation process and how to approach an artist correctly.

So please download the free guide and enjoy Randy’s post!

Artwork copyright Randy Gallegos

Some time ago, I wrote a post detailing how a collector might commission a unique painting for their collection.

However, the bulk of my year is spent producing artwork for clients, to be used as illustrations in various products. Typically, these are larger or more established companies. Increasingly, they are small publishers or even self-publishers (“indies”).

In working with indies, often I find they just don’t understand too much of what’s involved in commissioning illustration, because there are no good primers out there that I know of, written for them. One can get great information from product distributors, app stores, e-publishers, and printers on how to handle those aspects of their project, but when it comes to illustration, there is far less. As a result, I know many illustrators who just won’t work with indies, which is a shame because I’ve found that with knowledge, indies can be great project collaborators.

I’ve had very successful interactions with indies, and this has been because I have usually taken the time to educate them, so they get just what they want, without paying for more than they need. To that end, I’ve written a pamphlet for the indie publisher that lays out what commissioning illustration looks like, what terms you need to know, goes into copyright examples, and gives real-world scenarios to emphasize that when you understand all these, you can present your project to illustrators in a way that they’ll be interested in working with you.

To that end, I have compiled and expanded this information into a free pamphlet for you to read. I hope it will benefit you whether you end up working with me, or any other illustrator. It will help you land a great illustrator, and it will save you headaches and probably money. It’s an in-depth read, but it’ll save you time and make your proposal much more attractive to illustrators.

Download the free pamphlet here!

If you’re an illustrator reading this, please grab a copy, give it to your potential clients. Share it, blog it, whatever.

In fact, just last week, I received the following email from a prospective indie publisher. Consider this a cautionary tale:

Hi Randy

I have an urgent project. - its a book - I would like to hire you for the
illustration - scripts and everything sis (sic) ready. Please let me know

Now, at this point there are already so many red flags that I know many would simply not even bother responding (free tip: if you don’t know what “Work For Hire” means, don’t use the term; I suspect this person doesn’t know what they are asking for). By beginning education, I am often able to help a potential client redirect their inquiry to where we can work together, and I’ve taken a few such clients to final project, successfully. But it’s up to you to become knowledgeable. I sent the client a quick response, with a couple of clarifying questions, and suggested they read the pamphlet as it would be beneficial to them, whichever illustrator they ended up using.

I received a response that indicated they did not bother to read it. As it was still exhibiting a lack of understanding, I indicated that I would pass on their project. And so will many others for this person, unfortunately.

Don’t let that be you!

Related past article



  1. Mili

    Great Post! Everyone should have a copy of this.


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