Open portfolio site DeviantArt will launch a new commissioning platform soon that aims to make the process of buying and selling illustration and design work easier. While DeviantArt is most associated with art niches such as manga and sci-fi, the company aims DreamUp to a broad church that offers a wide range of illustration styles and branding projects such as logo design – plus motion-focussed artworks such as storyboards. And unlike 'crowdsourced' spec-work sites such as 99designs, DreamUp uses a traditional one-to-one setup that ensures all work you do for clients is paid for.

"99 Designs is a huge pain point in our community," says DreamUp lead product manager Chinmay Lonkar. "We want to do something very separate."

DreamUp is also different from the likes of Behance in that it has a commissioning system built into the site. Artists on DreamUp have a portfolio of their best work – which can be a subset of their wider work on DeviantArt or created specifically (using DreamUp requires a DeviantArt account, but there's no need to host your portfolio on that site or use it at all beyond what you need for DreamUp). Artists also state their pricing – and while any price can be listed, Chinmay says that DreamUp will be informing clients when they start up that the cost of illustrations on the platform begins at $200. This should hopefully keep out the 'can you design my logo for a tenner?' chancers.

DreamUp's commissioning system from the client's side

When a commission is accepted by both client and artist, the funds are kept by DreamUp. When the final artwork or design is uploaded and the client approves it, the funds are transferred to the artist and the client can download the artwork. Disputes are handled by DeviantArt's customer service team.

Currently in a private beta that only invited artists can participate in, Chinmay says DreamUp is "investigating difference curation mechanisms" to ensure the platform includes only high-quality professional creatives. One possibility he mentions is a relatively small one-off registration fee, which he insists isn't to make money but to keep out timewasters.

Other future plans include artists being able to notify potential clients when they're booked up or on holiday, and for clients to be able to hire multiple creatives for a collaborative projects. Artists will be able to share work-in-progress shots with clients, and phases payments will allow artists to get paid for stages such as sketches or parts as a project progresses. Chinmay says this last feature is their immediate focus, with others to follow.

Unlike 'crowdsourced' sites DreamUp appears to treat both artists and clients with respect, and we hope to see the site launched fully and new features added in the coming months.