Commissions by Joe Bush / Arcandio

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Hi there! I’m Joe, and this is my commission information packet. You might pick this up before a commission or after. It shows you the options I provide if you’re still looking, but it also tells you what I need from you once we get started. It’s kind of a big document, but it covers pretty much everything, so bear with me. The PDF version is fully bookmarked, so you can pop open your bookmarks tab in your PDF reader and browse around as needed. Don’t miss this important bit though: What I need from you. If you’re reading this in PDF, you can find the up-to-date version at

You can also download a PDF of this page: Commission Info Packet

Commission Status


I can’t guarantee the delivery date of any commissions ordered in December before Christmas.

The turnaround for any given piece is about 2-3 weeks because of communication time, and if there’s anything already in my queue, new pieces will naturally be done after those.

My commissions are sometimes closed. If you haven’t already purchased one, you can check whether I’m available by going checking on the web at

I’ve often got a number of commissions in the pipe at a time, which means there may be a waiting period, even if my commission status is open. You can get an idea of what’s going on by checking out my task board

Stuff I Will Do

This commission packet/page is mostly aimed at 2d digital character illustrations delivered as JPG/PNG files. I do also offer 3d printing, mini design, and mini painting commissions now, which largely function the same, except that they don’t have Etsy standard versions; they’re handled as hourly commissions. In short, here’s what I can do:

Stuff I won’t do

Commission Types

I offer 2 types of commission:

Type Notes Prices
Standard Commissions standardized, predefined features, handled through Etsy, agreed upon in advance, fixed price $
Hourly Commissions customizable features, speculative/exploratory work, price based on hours worked, initial deposit required to start work $$

Besides the information about the type of commission, I’ll also need information about the character. This is one of the most important parts. If you want to skip ahead, you can see those questions here.

The Tradeoff

Because I offer 2 different ways of pricing my commissions, it’s possible to try to game the system: if your commission is very simple, small in scope, and well defined with good reference art, you might be better off doing an hourly commission, because there’s a possibility that I might get it done faster than the standard, flat-priced version. But that’s a risk, it could take longer than the standard price too.

Conversely, if you ask for a ton of extras, elaborations, ornate clothes, three hyper-important rings, and somehow holding five weapons on a standard Etsy portrait, we’ll have to start talking about hourly commissions.

Standard Commissions

Standard commissions are handled through Etsy, and are faster, simpler, cheaper option, with less bells and whistles. I try to deactivate these items if my commissions are closed, but I may have missed one. If my commission status is closed, either avoid ordering at all (and favorite the commission you want) or realize that it may be a while before I can get to your commission.

If you do purchase a standard commission, make sure to message me about it! There are two ways to do this:

  1. Etsy Messages. Self explanatory.
  2. Email the Service Desk. This is the same system as the one for custom commissions. (more info)

The reason I want you to message me is two-fold: It notifies me of the sale immediately (which doesn’t happen if you just purchase the commission and don’t message me) and it opens the conversation for what your commission is about.

Note: Standard commissions include 1 character only. If you need more characters in your commission, we can do a Custom Commission.

Even if you’d like a standard commission, you might want to take a look at my art styles first to get an idea of what I offer. Most of them have a link to standard version of the commission on Etsy.

Hourly Commissions

I do accept custom commissions not handled through Etsy. These are better for complex or non-standard projects, like book-covers, posters, interior art for games, and so on. Because they’re usually more complicated and involved, they are often more expensive than Standard Commissions.

If I’m available for commission, you can set up a custom commission by emailing me at: incoming+voidspiral/ This is the service desk for this GitLab project. It will allow me to track the status of your commission and to communicate with you through it. You don’t need to do anything aside from reply to the emails in your normal email client. (more info)

For custom commissions, I only take Paypal at this time:

My current hourly rate is $30/h. I understand that hourly charges can be intimidating for clients commissioning work, so I’ve included some historical data in the next section, but suffice it to say that most of my commissions take between 4 and 8 hours for me to complete, which comes out to $120–$240. The average is 5.67 hours, or $170.

One important advantage of this hourly rate is that it vastly simplifies the setup process. I don’t need you to pick things off a menu, like I’ve had in the past. You can tell me exactly what you need, and I’ll do it. If it sounds time consuming/expensive, I’ll let you know.

Hourly Commission Process

Hourly commissions proceed in the following steps:

  1. Initial contact
  2. Discussion of project & setup
    1. Pick a Rendering Style shown here.
    2. Pick a Face Style show here.
    3. Collect & send me some reference art that describes what you’re after.
  3. $50 Deposit Paid by client
  4. Work Begins
    1. Repeated progress update images
    2. Repeated direction check
    3. Hourly work tracking
  5. Work is Complete
  6. Final Payment is calculated from hourly rate & hours worked
  7. Final payment made by client
  8. Final high-res work delivered

Why $50 for the Deposit? It’s any easy, round number, and it’s small enough that none of my hourly commissions have ever been less expensive than that. If you’re ordering a sketch though, I might change the deposit since it has a chance of being less expensive.

Setup Info

When we first talk about the project, we’ll need to agree on the scope, art style, and face style. If you need the piece expedited, I can do that but it will cost an extra $20.

Scope is basically a measure of how complicated the piece will be. The bigger the scope, the more time the piece will take me, and thus the higher the final price will be. I’ll let you know if your specific piece sounds like it’s going to take a lot of time, but here are some factors:

Things that contribute to big scope:

Note that these are all compounded, if you want multiple characters and each one has ornate clothing and wings, that’s going to take a lot longer than a single character with less ornate clothing.

Non-Character Art

I can also do non-character art as an hourly commission, such as landscapes, environments, objects, weapons, maps, and so on. The fundamental steps of the commission will be the same, but the discussion will naturally be more specific to the piece.

How much will it cost?

The following data only includes pieces that I’ve recorded the progress of, and thus the exact times and dates. This isn’t everything I’ve ever done, just a snapshot of 2019-2020 work, which should represent my working speed pretty accurately.

Rendering Style Scope Avg Length Count Avg Price
Anime Portrait 3:36 3 $108
Anime Full 3:42 7 $110
Oil Painting Portrait 3:54 22 $117
Oil Painting Full 7:30 8 $225
Pencil & Color Portrait 3:54 9 $117
Pencil & Color Full 6:54 6 $207

For me personally, right now I’m trying to focus on Oil Painting style Portraits, because they’re high quality but inexpensive and they give me the greatest creative freedom and challenge me the most.

Overrun Prevention

I’m aware that you might have a budget you want to stick to, but if you do, it’s best to tell me so that I can plan for completing the piece in your budget.

Additionally, regardless of whether you have a budget, you can also tell me at any time to wrap the piece up, and I’ll go ahead and finish it to whatever quality I can immediately. That might take up to an hour, but that way you can control how much time I spend on the piece.


I take Paypal for custom commissions. Make sure my commissions are open and that you message me before you send payment: I might be too busy to get to it any time soon. You can additionally check my commission backlog and/or ask for an expeditied piece if time is an issue.

Other Hourly Services

I do also offer other services on hourly commission, such as:

Generally I’ll provide as detailed an estimate as I can from the information you provide me, but that budget isn’t binding, it’s just an estimate of how long I think it’ll take. Such projects have things that come up that will impact the time and price of completion. While laying out a simple RPG, for example, we may find out that I need to process a bunch of the art assets, which will take more time. I’ll always keep you in the loop on issues that impact the price.

I almost always set up a GitLab project for these sort of things, so that I can manage the project on a task-by-task basis. You’ll be invited to the project and you can collaborate with me via the issues.


Using a task tracker like this is also helpful for showing you exactly what’s taking up time and revealing the complexity of the project. Publishing is complicated and there are a ton of things that need to be done that most people aren’t aware of. Email me if you’re interested in an estimate.

With some projects, I may send an invoice early on, so that I can make sure my clients are serious. If you really want my confidence and enthusiasm, you can pay for part of the project up front, which we’ll take off the total project hourly cost. Generally, I handle these projects using Paypal invoices.

Getting Started

My Workflow

I usually send sketches and roughs pretty frequently to make sure I’m getting your approval each step of the way. The earlier we catch a change, the more likely I’ll be able to make it. For example, don’t wait to ask about re-positioning an arm until after I’ve done the final lineart, etc.

  1. Info. You tell me what you’re after. We figure out any details or important factors together. I may ask a bunch of questions before I get started. It’ll help me a lot if you send along some reference art, either photos or artwork, that can help you describe what you’re after.
  2. Sketch. I’ll abscond and sketch out a rough. This will look crappy, but I’ll show it to you so I can make sure I’m headed in the right direction with the pose and composition.
  3. Roughs. This is a series of steps, ranging from sketch refinements to color choices. I’ll probably send multiple WIP (work-in-progress) images to you to get sign off on each step.
  4. Completion. I’ll finish the work and send it to you. If the bill isn’t settled, we’ll do that first.

Digital files are delivered either by email or by Etsy message, depending on how we’ve been communicating.

My Art Styles

There are two components to my art style: the rendering style, and the face style. They aren’t necessarily tied together: I can paint you a realistic anime face, or a lineart realistic face if you want.

Here’s a nifty chart for any art nerds that want to know more about my actual process. This isn’t really intentional, it’s more of the pattern that I tend to follow, so I may deviate if the piece calls for it.

artwork decision tree

Rendering Styles

Pick one, or select one of the images I’ve done. Prices are per character. A single image may consist of several characters, each of which adds to the cost of the commission.

Painterly Style

Pencil & Color

HFA Style

Anime/Manga Style

Lineart Only

Pen/Pencil Sketch

Face Styles

This is how I draw the face. These don’t affect the price. The face style is different from the rendering style: you can get a chibi face painted in the oil style if you want, etc. (Though I’m not good at that particular combination.)





Landscapes work a little differently from character portraits. If characters exist in a landscape painting, they’re not the focus. Instead, the focus is on the scene or environment.


Like landscapes, maps don’t involve character portraits. For a map, I’ll need a rough guide to the locations and positions, as well as regional biomes and overall themes or style. For a map, let me know how big you want to be able to print it and whether or not it should have a grid.

Size & Resolution

By default, I start each commission as a print-resolution 18x24" canvas. That means it’ll be 18x14 inches or 457x609 mm at 300 ppi, for a grand total of 5400x7200 pixels. That’s plenty big for any internet or screen use, or printing on letter-sized paper.

If you need your piece in a different size, just let me know in advance. Unless you need something that’s seven feet tall and magazine-quality print, it’ll be pretty easy for me to just start at a different size. I can’t resize the artwork after the sketch or lineart phase.

If you’re planning on having the piece printed, I recommend I’m slowly working on a process for doing the printing and framing myself, so feel free to ask about that if you’re interested, but it’ll be pretty pricy.

Now that you’ve made up your mind on what kind of illustration you want, you need to answer me some questions.

What I need from you

Besides what specifications you have for the piece (such as the rendering and face style) I need to know about the subject matter of the drawing.

The more I know about the piece, the more accurate I can make it. Here are just some of the usual questions.

Note: I can’t work everything into an image, but the more I know about something the better I can pick and choose details to make the image better.

Bonus Points

Here are some additional tips for making things easier on us both. Do any of these and we will be friends.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you sincerely. Following basically any of these steps makes my job so much easier.

Other Information


License: Joint Ownership

We both have copyright on the finished piece. I retain copyright, so I can print and sell copies and put the work in my portfolio, but I also grant you the same copyright so you can do the same. That means you can use the work in a commercial project, get it printed a million times, use it for interior artwork in an RPG, license others to use it, or whatever, so long as we’ve finished the commission and you’ve paid for it.

The fine print

Service Desk Info

I encourage people who want to do custom commissions with me to communicate via the Service Desk.

What is it?

I use GitLab, a web-based app designed for software development for project management.

2019-04-12 12_31_23-Window

Why would you do that?

  1. It’s easy. You don’t need a Gitlab account or signin or anything. Just email the service desk, then reply to the email as I respond.
  2. It helps me out. It creates a task in my task tracker so I can assign tags and update its status.
  3. I can include images and downloads in it.

What exactly does it do?

About Me

You can find out tons of stuff about me & my work (including my blog, live art streams, artist statement, and social media) on my website: You can find my games on my company website:


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