One of the most important parts in commissioning art, aside from actually working on a piece, is staying in touch with the artist, and to communicate your intent clearly. While many artists and freelancers appear only online as portfolios of fancy pictures, Facebook– and Instagram presences, there is one point that should never be forgotten: if you commission someone, you are entering a business relationship. And while it’s naturally not on the same level as, say, someone doing business face to face in an office or a shop, a certain level of responsiveness and professionalism is not only desired, but necessary. Part of this relationship is to be willing to respond to each side’s inquiries and emails within a reasonable amount of time. My guideline here is to usually take two business days (sometimes a bit more, if there are holidays or the weekend in between) as the point that I’d see as still professional and courteous for a client in communication with me.
Not answering mails, not communicating, not sticking to deadlines; those are as unprofessional for me as the artist as their are for you, the client.
If you don’t have the time to check an update for necessary revisions – tell me.
If you don’t have the money right now to finish the commission – tell me.
If you don’t have your update of names and places you want me to put on your map ready by the time you told me – tell me.
I can only reschedule my tasks and not waste time – mine and that of other clients – if I know there is a problem.
So, stay in touch. Even if it’s just to tell me that we won’t be in touch for period X. Act as you would in any other professional context. You won’t regret it.