Trello is an increasingly popular website for many freelancers, including artists. It’s an excellent way to keep track of commissions for both yourself and your clients! This post is just a simple guide on how I utilize Trello in my business, and how you can use it for your own.
Trello in it’s most simple form is a bunch of cards which you can rearrange by dragging them around. It can be used for all sorts of purposes from flash cards to business, here we’re going to focus on using it for commission lists.
My commission list can be found here. (Beware, there are of course NSFW images on there too – I am not ashamed to say I do a large variety of NSFW artwork).
Trello is a very easy platform to sign up for and to begin learning, so instead of simply being a ‘how to’ post, this will instead be about how I use Trello specifically for tracking my commission work.
My Basic Layout
This is the page I see when I log in to my account. You can see my two ‘starred’ boards are both commission boards – I have separate ones for my main commissions and my collaboration commissions with Pyropaws. The other boards are for my other projects, but we’ll leave those alone.
This is the page which is public – my actually commission list. As you can see, it looks a bit messy but it works for me! On the furthest left column you’ll see general information related to my commissions. I make sure to constantly update the ‘Last updated’ card to show my clients that I am active on the board.
My commission opening dates are posted here too. I usually advertise them on FurAffinity and Twitter, but if I have a concrete date I’ll stick it on Trello too.
Underneath that is my planned absences. The little ‘=’ type symbol there means that there is text in that card. Upon clicking it, it opens this (which will look a bit different to someone else not logged in as me):
Although I usually give a heads up on my twitter if I am going to be off that day, sometimes I forget and so this card acts as a public statement of my ‘pre-booked’ off days.
Under that is a link to my other commissions board, in case someone is looking for that. And below that is just… a photo of an opossum. Just something to personalize it!
Down a bit and you’ll find my label key! Labels are colour ‘tabs’ in which you can apply specific meanings. I don’t always remember to update them, but they are incredibly useful for letting your clients know where in their commission you are. Here is my current label key:
I have a variety of columns on my trello, all of which often get renamed and rearranged.
Finished (Month/Year): I move cards which have been completed to this column every month before archiving it on the last day. This is mainly to show what I have been working on, as well as reminding me how much work I have been doing that particular month.
Working on: Cards will often move back and to between this column and ‘waiting list’. Commissions in this column are actively being worked on, whether I have my focus on that one at that particular moment or I’m doing bit by bit.
Waiting List: These are commissions I have taken but not yet started. Commissions where I waiting for client feedback also go on this list.
CFZ Badges: This was added this month and is just a separate list for conbadges I am completing for the UK convention Confuzzled. By keeping them separate from the other commissions I can see how much work I have at a glance. This also makes sure they don’t get mixed in with other commissions by accident and prevent me from missing the deadline. I will often put time-sensitive commissions in separate lists like this.
Personal Projects: This list is simply to keep track of personal projects I have going on. These are projects I work on outside of my work hours. As you can see, this currently contains a fursuit project, reference sheets for my characters and some cosplays.
Trades: I don’t often take art trades, but when I do they are listed here.
Each individual card will usually hold at least the following info:
FurAffinity username/Twitter handle: I do not put real names on trello, due to privacy. If the commissioner requests a private commission then it gets added to another private list that is not publicly viewable.
Email: Email is the primary way I contact people! I used to use FA notes but their horrible lack of search function eventually ruled that one out for me.
General information: I use Google Forms for my commission slots, then I generally copy/paste any information I need for the commission into my trello for easy access. I will also copy/paste reference images here.
WIPs: I usually share work in progress images via my trello too. This is both for the client and for myself (to remind myself where I am in this commission).
An example of one of my cards containing a description, some WIPs and the finished resized version. This card will be moved to the Finished (Month/Year) column, before it gets archived. You can see the finished version of this commission here!
So this is how I use Trello! Lots of people use it nowadays as it’s simple to use and easy to update! Although not all artists use Trello, it is still essential to keep an updated commission list at all times.
Do you use Trello? How are you finding it? Maybe you use a different format to keep track of your work, I’d love to hear about it! Let me know either in the comments or by email.
I hope you enjoyed this post and have a lovely and productive day!