I have a client that wants more than I can give

I am struggling to get my art career going. I didn’t go to college for this, everything I know is from high school or self-taught.
I have a new client that wants a 50in x 80in canvas painting of a samurai. I’m not sure this is something I can do, never painting on anything that big and I am still practicing drawing samurais. I am worried because this is a lot of money he will be giving me to make him this and i am not sure I am the right person for the job, but i don’t know anyone else who could replace me, what do i do?

Edit: I also have no idea how to handle pricing. I can make good works of art but I need a lot of time. I’ve charged by the hour before and asked for less money because I wasted too much time, and felt awful asking for an absurd amount of money for something that I didnt believed was really worth that much.
I am self taught mostly, no college, how on earth do I handle payment!?

First do a couple sketches. Just get the overall composition laid out, maybe sketch in a couple details, but don’t go crazy. Explore with a couple variations and have a meeting with your client. Give them the opportunity to have feedback and steer the finished product.

Then do a 5"x8" draft, plugging in any notes and feedback from your client meeting. Take this one to a higher level of refinement, but again, don’t go crazy. Have another meeting with your client and let them review the 10% draft. again, take feedback and adjust targeted goals.

By this point, you should have a pretty good sense of what your client has in mind and you can start making the fullsize final. Scale up your draft, plug in more details and stay in touch with your client, if you aren’t sure about some specific detail, ask. It’s also very helpful to do tests on something that isn’t your final canvas and get feedback from those tests.

Also, consider how you would like to be paid for this work. You can break up your pricing into phases, so you do the initial sketches for free, but to move to the draft, you need an advance to cover your materials cost and some of your time. Then when you get the draft approved, you can get a 50% advance for your final, with the final payment due on delivery of the final product.

Taking an incremental approach is the safest way to make sure that everyone is happy at the end of the day.


All of the above seems sensible to me. But it also assumes your client is not difficult to work with. Maybe he has no idea how to express his ideas to you. And it could make the process more difficult for you.

I would first find out if he even has any interest in being that involved. Or to what degree.

And I would also add to this that he be able to show you samples of what he wants that have been done before. Again, only if that matters to him.

Just be forewarned that you might wind up opening up a can of worms - as they say - that you don’t need to.

It could be he is happy to just let you do the work.

Regarding the process. I would take charge and explain to him your process.

And here is what I think it should be:

Take the time to do minor studies of the aspects of the project you need most work on. For example, smaller sketches of armor, or sword.,hands holding a sword. Basically the elements you need to get familiar with and work out how to do.

This is quite normal for even masters to do. And explain that to him/her if they don’t get it.

Also you can sketch poses and overall layouts of the composition.

Do your overall research, other paintings that have been done, get photo references and so on. Practice sketching things you need to work on. Would not be unusual for your client to walk in and see lots of small sketches and photos and various smaller projects lying around as you build up to the large project. The painting itself.

Take your time. Learn as you go. You’ll be fine.


Photoshop a image of samurai. Use a projector to project the samurai to the canvas. Draw outlines on the canvas. That how they do it on big canvases.



That was actually my original plan until he decided he wanted something else entirely instead which I’m much more comfortable in painting

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