Many people in general, be it writers, roleplayers, or those with a love of original characters in general will purchase art of their characters at some point in time. It’s a very fun thing to do, and artists that know what they’re doing can bring characters to life. I share exactly this on my Character Corner page, where I showcase art I’ve commissioned of characters from my novel and credit to the artist.
However, this website is entirely free to access, and I get permission to put the art into my gallery, with credit to the artist of course. When it comes to true promotion of your work, things get a lot more complicated. You should never assume that a piece of art you buy is yours to use for advertising purposes. Artists will have their terms and policies in their commission pages, usually, for that sort of thing.
Even if they have it spelled out, however, I am of the opinion that you should ask before anything. If you’re planning a big project, like a cover or art for advertising or promotion, be in communication with the artist. Tell then what you plan on using the art for, and get an estimate. You’re using this person’s art for more than just showing in a gallery for people to view Original Characters at that point, and trying to gain profit from it. Therefore, you need to work with that artist on copyright.
This art will be more expensive, for sure, and usually quite a bit so. Is it worth it? Well, in my opinion, yes. It very much is. If you can find the right artist to depict your character or scene well, it can please your fanbase immensely. I’m of the opinion that you should also credit the artist and bring attention to them when you can, even if you have full rights to the work. It’s only fair, from one artist to another.
I went through the process of buying promotion art from duRanch. They were an AMAZING artist to work with, and I will definitely be commissioning art from them again. I grabbed a piece of Ares, my male vampire, which can be seen at the bottom of this post. The communication was excellent, and I was upfront with my goals.
These art pieces are important–it’s OK to be nitpicky. Don’t be afraid to point out edits you want made, because you don’t want to be disappointed in the end, and the artist would rather you be honest so that you’re satisfied with their work. No one wants a disappointed client!
Anyway, without further ado, here’s the piece I got for my series of Ares Arachnida, one of my prominent characters throughout my urban fantasy. Like I said, the artist did an amazing job with him, and he is someone I would HIGHLY recommend. It doesn’t have to be for promotional art either! Commissioned art to simply bring characters to life is just as valid.