[Archive] Girlfriend starting to paint on commission - help? (DoC)


Hello Brethren,

My better half has started a small commission painting service. She got all the paints and an airbrush, and has started painting a Daemons of Khorne army for me as her first project (netlisted Time of Madness’s tripple-thirster list).

Seeing her work some guys in the group are already interested in her paintingservice, the problem atm is she puts alot of effort in the painting to a level far beyond what I’m paying her… 5 basecolors, 3 layers, different shades, glaze, technical and varnish, all based on wonderful lavabases and I’m speaking of the 'letters now. I don’t want to be an asshole and its a work of passion for her but I can’t afford this level, we talked about it and shes fine now this is my order and her first chance in the business and all but forward;

What should she charge? Should she offer tiers etc?

Thanks :hat off


Oh she has to do tiers, I don’t think that’s optional if she wants a life as well!

Not sure about prices as I never bother to investigate.


Oh she has to do tiers, I don't think that's optional if she wants a life as well!

Not sure about prices as I never bother to investigate.

Yeah I think so to, atm she's sitting with 40 letters to do and this extreme level is not really necessary. I'm obviously happy to get this done, very happy, but I feel really bad not being able to pay her what it would be worth... I've made a deal with a photo studio for some shots of the army when it's done so it'll be a good reference to the level of work she's capable of :hat off

Any more insight into the business would be great guys!


Hi MH,

if you wanna try your german have a look here:


If your German isnt up to it ill translate the relevant points.




so… FLG who is redoing my CDs has their price list for fantasy up

Fantasy Paint Price Guide.xls - Google Sheets

i feel their list is pretty dead on and in line with most commission studios. There has to be variance because paitning a necron is nowhere near as complex as a chaos lord. Their prices are in dollars.

The low end should be straight up table top quality. Showcase should always be one off negotiated price per project.


Get the client to spell out in writing exactly what they want (colours, highlights, basing, everything) and give them tiered options (with sample photos if possible). Try to be flexible about your prices if you think its appropriate (some models take far less time to paint than others, even to high standards, so it may be worth a little compromise to get a big job). Don’t lift a finger until they have agreed everything, including p&p, and if its a large project you’ll want half up front.

What she should charge depends on how good she is :slight_smile: Don’t think about cost per hour as she won’t have work every hour (but obviously you want to make sure it doesn’t dip too low); look at what the client is getting at the end of it - a full army, a warband, whatever, - and price according to that. Also, make sure you have a minimum charge.

The best advice I ever got as a freelance artist was “Charge what you should and be prepared to lose the job” - some people just don’t want to pay a fair price and you shouldn’t waste time on them.


Some samples images would be helpful


Thanks alot guys, slaves for all!

Gonna try and summarize this and check the links now, will be back with a wip she sent me today :cheers

EDIT: @DAGabriel, my german is not excellent but I get by actually haha, thanks!


Some samples images would be helpful

Here's the WIP pics I got today, it's still the testmodel she's working on :)

Now horde him x 40 :cheers


Like the work so far, really interested how far she will go with highlighting and detailing.


I'm paying her...

If you have to pay her, she's not really your "girlfriend", just saying...:hat off

I know they have a bit of a rep around here, but look at the pricing structure of Blue Table painting. People are clearly willing to pay that much. Look in tenebre's thread about their practices, and then do the opposite of their shoddy processes.

Oh yeah, I was also going to say. To get a good rep and show off work you can "paint-to-sell". I've seen a number of people who bought and painted up recent GW releases in fairly standard colours and sold them on e-bay. If you don't happen to have commissions that can be a good way to gainfully "employ" oneself for a bit. And keep oneself in practice.

As business it's going to be bit tricky I think, you'll be competing against Polish and other "low-cost" countries for work to some degree.


Looks good so far, but with a couple of more highlights it will be really awesome.


i agree it looks really good so far!

Vantraxx the Thrice Cursed:

Can’t help on the priceing side but that triple Thirster list is very sexy :wink:


The WIP pictures are most promising! :cheers


so for my commisions this is what i charge. I based these prices on how much time it takes my time and how complex the job is.

All prices are in usd, and on a per model basis.

assembly/cleaning: $2.50 each model calvalry/monst inf/monst calv add $1.00, monsters $5.00

priming: $1.00

painting for 20mm-25mm models:

stage 1: base colors painted on models no shading, highlighting,  washing, or fine details(eyes, etc)$3.00 each

stage 2: includes stage 1 paintjob and also the model is washed $5.00 each

stage 3: includes stage 1,2, and additionally highlights are applied


stage 4: includes stages 1,2,3 additional highlights are applied, fine details are picked out (eyes, teeth, jewerly) $8.00

stage 5: all previous stages all details picked out to the max, glow effects, display quality $10.00

note: add $2.00 for any calvalry model on 25mmx50mm base; all monsterous infantry double pricing on stage paint jobs; all monsterous calv double pricing + $5.00; all monsters tripple pricing.


I think what most folks here are missing is a very simple idea, cost is equal to your worth in terms of monetary consideration. Or in a form that makes sense:

$*time where

$=your value of your time,

time= total time vested into a project.

For example I consider myself worth $20.00 per hour. So a project that takes me 2 hours is $40.00. Of course that can be daunting price to most folks so break it down to a per model cost, which I then rescale to about $3.50 a model. That’s very much on the cheap fyi


I think what most folks here are missing is a very simple idea, cost is equal to your worth in terms of monetary consideration. Or in a form that makes sense:
$*time where
$=your value of your time,
time= total time vested into a project.

For example I consider myself worth $20.00 per hour.  So a project that takes me 2 hours is $40.00. Of course that can be daunting price to most folks so break it down to a per model cost, which I then rescale to about $3.50 a model.  That's very much on the cheap fyi

The issue with this is that when you are really skilled, the time put into painting does not reflect how good the product actually is, and you are not really painting the model for an hour straight due to you having to wait for paint, glue, etc to dry. The actual project might take 3 days because of this, but you only put in about an hours worth of time to get an actual level 4/5 result on a single model. Essentially if it takes you more than 1 month to churn out a 2k army at stage4 you should not do commission painting because we are getting paid by a per model basis, and ideally you should be able to churn out ideally 2-3 2k armies by yourself per month (if doing this for some sort of a living most commission painters I know have regular jobs on the side including myself).

So for a 2k LoA army at level 4/ heroes at 5 which you have to do EVERYTHING for should cost between 904 for no conversions and around 1000 for conversions, and that is not factoring in weather or not you have to use your paint and brushes, putty, etc.

sample 2k LOA army:
2 daemonsmiths
1 bsb
25 infernal guard
20 hobgoblins
4 bullcentaurs
1 rocket
1 magma
1 irondaemon
1 hellcannon

Rescaling it to 3.50 a model is only viable if you are painting at a stage 1 level and no assembly, priming, basing is required.

Take these for example to get a feel for the market:


$450 for 12 ironguts is about the right price for a lvl 5 showcase quality factor in basing to my original which ranges from 1-3.5 dollars each, additionally possible conversion work and the size of the actual model changes the pricing due to a larger area to paint an Irongut is bigger and more detailed than a troll or a bull for example.

Than other issues arise like weirdos who want assbackwards highlighting, or want you to copy something. When this occurs they are really forcing you the artist to work outside of your comfort zone so either you turn down the job, or up your prices personally I would up all prices by
50% for all copy jobs, and weird not the norm painting requests you will have to determine that yourself.

Then if you really want to make serious money doing commissions, you have to get other painters working for you in a team such as the way BTP works but that is a different discussion.


“Take these for example to get a feel for the market:”

The price and always will be what the market can bare. Price is not a simple thing price is subjective, which is why I charge $20 an hour flat or much cheaper per model. I get more clients with cheap cost than with complex formulas or saying X has to be this price.


I don’t understand, are you saying $450 for showcase quality miniatures is to expensive? Not everyone can afford that level of paint job, just how some people cant afford other services outside of commission painting. That is why you define for them what they are getting so you protect yourself from doing to much work for to little money, and they know without doubt what they are paying for. $3.50 for a single model is completely silly if I am asking for a level 3 or 4 why would you even bother to do that? You cant even get a decent meal at a fastfood shop for 3.50. Additionally the people you want to be painting for, should be able to afford it. You do not target expensive luxury goods to the average, poorest people, you target the people who have the money for it. If they scoff at $20 an hour you are in the wrong market and should target the ones that can afford that.

What you are doing currently with your pricing is undercutting the market if you are painting models to a very high level, and if so you are really hurting other painters who are looking to get into the business of commission model painting and you are just cheating yourself out of your own time.

Certain issues do arise where you have to stray from your pricing formula, such as when someone wants a goblin to be painted. A goblin is half the size of a human sized miniature with far less details, so it is faster to paint. So you accommodate that by subtracting an amount from the normal stage price.