Commissioning an Artist

If you want to commission a personal bookplate from an artist:

  • Keep the brief simple, don’t demand the design to reflect every aspect of your life. Think of what is important to you at this point in time.
  • Make sure the artist’s chosen medium is exactly what you want.
  • Establish the contract so that you know exactly what you’ll receive for your money… how many copies/proofs and how many of them will be signed.

Remember, the quality and type of bookplate you commission will determine the kind of bookplate collection you will establish when you exchange your bookplate with other collectors.

A typical bookplate commission might be to ask a printmaker to create a linocut design and you would expect to approval a drawn concept and receive one hundred signed proofs printed on fine light-weight paper, the original block and any design roughs. For that, a printmaker could expect about $500 which is the going rate for competent bookplate designers internationally. More well-known artists usually receive a higher fee.

In giving you the block, plate or matrix, the artist is expecting that you will have other people print it at a later date but copyright will always belong to the artist.

There is a broader aspect of bookplate design and commissions that Australian artists should consider. The international fellowship of collectors and the two hundred or more institutions that collect bookplates are always looking out for new talent. No other aspect of Australian art is so rapidly embraced by the international community. Such notoriety can work as a vehicle to promote other aspects of an artist’s oeuvre.


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