How to: Commission Form

Some folks get understandably nervous about the best way to convey their ideas in text, so here’s a little guide on how to get the most out of a commission form. This is mostly for the new folks and the people who only commission work occasionally. Regulars know the drill but might find something useful here as well.

A Great Form:

  1. Uses simple but clear descriptions: “lavender and warm rose eye makeup” is better than “young feeling with lots of pink and purple.”
    • The first narrows my selection of colors to muted or pastel tones. This is helpfully specific but also flexible!
    • The second example uses highly subjective language: ‘young’ means different things to different people, and pink and purple are super vague color parameters: are the colors neon? pastel? muted? jewel tones? What is ‘lots’ to you? Lots everywhere?  Basically, this example is vague and creates a lot of guesswork for the artist.
  2. Uses a variety of references, not photos of one model or drawings from one artist.
    • Ideally, you especially want to include at least one example from the artist’s portfolio. This will help identify what draws you most to their specific work.
    • It might seem good to only use pictures of one model/drawings from one artist, but really all this tells me is that you like that model/artist. Chances are, the sculpt you’ve chosen differs considerably from that person/art, so a lot of choices will need to be made with no frame of reference.
  3. Does not try to control the process: Good: ‘no freckles’; Bad: ‘freckles in exactly X color’.
    • It’s fine to have a clear image in your mind, but I’ve absolutely had people surprised at how the exact color, brow placement, etc looked on their specific doll because they weren’t accounting for how it interacted with the sculpt/resin color/color palette they’d selected. That stuff is the artist’s job, so it makes sense that the client wouldn’t think about it, but this is why trying to control the actual process makes for an inferior faceup.
  4. Asks questions when necessary!
    • If you’re unsure whether something will work, or you’re worried about conveying an idea, it’s 100% fine to ask for an opinion or help. I’m personally never going to give you unsolicited advice, but if you want help finding that perfect color swatch or you’re worried that the brow shape you like might clash with the expression you want, I’m always happy to help.
    • Example: You want your super pale doll to have a muted color scheme, but you show me references with peachy pink colors. Peachy pink glows, especially on pale resin. Likewise, bubblegum pink will always read as ‘lots of makeup’ on dark resin. If you want to know the best way to achieve a general effect, just ask, and I will help you out!
  5. Demonstrates awareness of the artist’s policies and style.
    • Example: ‘I like the light texturing you did on X doll’ and I’m hoping you can adapt that to my doll’s darker resin and do a manicure to match’. This is a great way to show you’ve looked at my portfolio and you know that I only take manicures in addition to a faceup. Likewise, if an artist doesn’t accept detailed requests but only general guidelines, you should only send them general guidelines. Trying to force the process just frustrates everyone.
    • This probably seems really obvious, but I can always tell when someone is just contacting me out of the blue without having really looked at my portfolio or read my terms. I can also always tell when someone has approached the process thoughtfully. It’s not a race! Take time to read the information and view the images the artist provides, and you’ll have a better time with the commission process.

Some practical resources to help you describe elements of a face/faceup:

Surprisingly helpful eyebrow guide from goodhousekeeping 

Adobe Color Palette Tool

Sherwin Williams super handy paint chip colors

For the nerds, some color theory basics

A general face shape guide