How to do Art Commissions Under 18

Being a young artist can be both thrilling and confusing. The passion to create meets the reality of how to share or even sell your art. But how do you approach art commissions under 18? This guide aims to shed light on the matter, ensuring that young talents understand the best ways to showcase their art.

Understanding Art Selling vs. Commissioning

Art selling and commissioning are two distinct concepts. Let’s explore them:

Definition of “On Spec”

Selling art “on spec” is akin to making lemonade without knowing who will drink it. You create your artwork without any specific person in mind, just as you would make lemonade at a stand without knowing who will stop by to enjoy it.

Commission Contracts and Examples

Unlike “on spec” creations, commissions are tailored for someone special. Imagine a racehorse owner who wants a unique portrait of their champion horse. They’d reach out to the artist and agree on the details, like the size, medium, and deadline. Then they’d sign a contract, making it all official.

Legalities Concerning Minors

Navigating the legalities can be tricky if you’re under 18.

Under 18, the law sees you as a minor, and that means you can’t enter legally-binding contracts for commissions. It’s like wanting to ride a roller coaster but not being tall enough yet.

But don’t lose hope; an adult agent, like a parent or guardian, can enter the contract for you. Think of them as the boost to reach that roller coaster ride.

Payment can be a hurdle for young artists, especially with online money transfer apps requiring you to be 18.

Are you out of luck if your parents refuse to use online payment methods? Not necessarily. You could ask an older sibling or explore offline methods. Think outside the box!

Remember, patience and understanding are key. If your parents or siblings are hesitant, have a conversation, and explain your needs calmly.

Comparing to Lemonade Stands and Child Labor Laws

Selling art can be as innocent as running a lemonade stand. However, beware of older people pressuring you for their income; that’s child labor, which is illegal and unethical.

Navigating tax laws may sound intimidating, but don’t let it deter you.

Some may warn you about IRS audits, but fear not. They’re like the school principal – might seem scary but mostly harmless.

Get to know the rules in your state by seeking advice from local small business experts. It’s like learning the rules of a new game; once you know them, you can play with confidence.

Practical Advice for Young Artists

Being young means juggling school, friends, and family. Don’t let art commissions throw you off balance. Keep your eyes on the bigger picture.

Consider this time as a training phase. Work on your skills, learn about marketing, and build an audience. Imagine yourself as a young athlete training for the big leagues.

Wrapping Up

Embarking on art commissions under 18 can be a rewarding journey filled with learning and growth. Keep your integrity, follow the law, seek guidance, and most importantly, keep creating!


  1. Can minors enter into legally-binding contracts for art commissions? No, minors cannot legally enter contracts, but an adult agent can on their behalf.
  2. What are the alternatives for receiving payment if I’m under 18? Consider offline methods or ask an older family member to assist you.
  3. Is selling art similar to running a lemonade stand? Yes, selling art “on spec” is akin to selling lemonade without knowing the buyer.
  4. What should I do if I’m making significant income from art? Seek guidance on small business laws in your state and stay informed about tax obligations.
  5. How can I balance my artistic pursuits with academics and relationships? Focus on stability, growth, and building your skills, while maintaining balance in your life. It’s all part of the exciting journey of a young artist.