3 higher-quality alternatives to Etsy for custom artwork

January 3, 2022

Although Etsy is a great place to find unique goods, getting custom art or commissioning an artist there can be quite confusing & complicated, causing many customers to overpay.


First, with thousands of artists listed, it can be confusing to know which artist is the right for you. Which artists will take my request for commission? How will the pricing vary by my request? Which artists will complete my portrait painting in time? Which artists are giving me fair pricing?


For instance, a common example is browsing around for several minutes on Etsy and finding an artist you like with a price of $150. Okay, great. But once you reach out to that artist & provide your photo you want turned into a painting, the artist tells you that your pricing will actually be $190 because there are two people in the request instead of one. Then, you may be told that the $150 pricing is also for a small canvas and the larger size one you want will cost more. By the end of it, you may be paying double for your custom artwork.


To be clear - this is not the fault of the artist, but the problem is that Etsy is not built for art commissions.

The reason is because Etsy is built like most platforms – selling items that have already been created and have a fixed price.


However, the process of getting custom artwork is unique because you are “shopping” for something that does not yet exist. As a result, you should use a platform that is specifically made to connect customers easily & conveniently with artists.


Etsy Alternative #1 – | Premiere place to get custom art

With over 400 top-rated artists, MadeMay is built specifically to make it easy to find & commission an artist for a custom art. The process is simple:

  1. Start a request
  2. Answer a few questions
  3. Upload your photo(s)


With seconds, MadeMay's smart algorithm will determine which artists are the best for you based on your specific request and provide up-front pricing so you know you aren’t overpaying. Best of all, MadeMay artists are vetted professionals that must be approved to join so you are in good hands with an expert artist each time.


Etsy Alternative #2 – | International place to get custom art

A popular destination for the international crowd, Artfinder has funky & contemporary artists available for commissions.

With artists from places as far as Africa, Ukraine, or Austria, you can get custom art with a unique twist to impress your guests.


You can use filters to organize artists by their country, art practice, and whether they are available for commissions.


Etsy Alternative #3 – Portrait Society of America | Traditional place to get custom art

If you are an old school type, you can go the traditional route by reaching out to the Portrait Society of America who will manually review your request & try to find an artist for you within their membership directory. Although the process takes a bit longer, it is an effective way to get the artwork you are looking for by commissioning an artist to turn your picture into a painting.


If you are interested in flying to the artist’s destination to do a “sit-in”, this option is available.