Having support from your friends and family can be more than just emotionally uplifting it can be financially helpful as well. Family and friends are an artists biggest support system. Our mothers show off our work to friends, our friends support us on social media, and occasionally our relatives are interested in commissioning a piece or they know someone who does.

In my case, my cousin was looking for artists and designers to come up with merchandise for her company True Conversations. 


Mother and baby turtle blue and purple design handrawn in marker

I initially found out my cousin Meghan wanted to hire artists while scrolling through Facebook. This lead to a series of emails back and forth where we talked about her company and what it meant to her, all the ideas she had for her products and, my ideas for designs I could actually draw. The result was the first design concept “True Mother,” which is pictured above.

Mountain lion on a green hill design handrawn in marker

All together I came up with four designs from the prompts Meghan gave me, “True Mother”, “True Leader”, “True Spirit”, and “True Teacher”. Each of the animals in the drawing represent one of the prompts (I’ll let you guess which ones) and underneath each animal are the words Transparent, Real, Uplifting, and Empowering. These words makeup the acronym T.R.U.E. and are the basis for Meghan’s brand True Conversations.

Soaring flaming eagle flying over mountains design handrawn in marker

Now, I’m detailing all this information because it’s relevant to the design, but also because it’s important to note how much time you spend thinking about the designs you’re going to produce. You need to work back and forth and have good communication with the person you are designing for and keep in mind how many revisions you want to do. Remember that you’re getting paid a flat rate in most cases so when adding up your hours of work consider the time spent brainstorming and revising your designs.

Meerkat mom and two babies on the sand design handrawn in marker

Also remember that working with friends or family can be challenging. Some family might take up a lot of your time with revisions while others may give you little information and blind trust and later find out they don’t like the design. People are difficult to read sometimes so be sure to be open and honest and get as much information about the job as possible.

In my case, Meghan was fantastic about brainstorming ideas and letting me run wild with colors. She’s also been playing an integral role as one of my “business advisers” (a tip from my blog What I Learned in My Small Business Class Part 2) and continues to help me navigate the world of small business.

Whether it’s commissioning you for work or simply sharing your work around the internet your friends and family are your number one go to for helping you get commissions. They support you and want you to succeed so don’t be afraid to ask if they ever thought of custom art as a Christmas gift, wanted a portrait done of the family pet, or needed some business cards designed. You never know who you’ll end up working with but you can know that your friends and family will always have your back.

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