Fiverr Community Forum

Narrowing my finalists via concept sketches

Hello, seasoned fiverr vets,

I’m a first-time fiverr buyer. I got 89 offers in the first few hours, “paused” my request, and whittled the offers down to about 10. I’ve asked each for a preliminary concept sketch or text description of how they might apply their skills that I like from their portfolio to my request. There’s some understandable reluctance to do any work without an order. My question is whether it is okay to solicit preliminary concepts through small orders ($10-20) so I can get a better idea of who understands what I am aiming for? I would pick one or more of those and execute a full order with revisions, etc. I would not ask for a refund on the sketches I turn down.

Thank you for any thoughts.


I think offering to pay for a very simple sketch is reasonable, but it depends on the artist. I glanced at your profile, so using that as an example: If I were approached with that description, and asked to make a quick sketch for $5, I would think putting about 15-25 minutes into a doodle. It would be very, very rough, but I’m confident enough in my own skills that I think I could whip something up that could easily convey the idea of “Internet grandpa reads silly books to kids through YouTube”.

(This took me about 5 minutes:)


Well, fiverr is not a “bidding” platform.
Rare and only desperate sellers will agree to do samples for free for you as fiverr states in their TOS that all work should start after placing an order.

As for the test orders- it is fine but again will depend on sellers. To be honest I never agree for sample sketches (but it also depend on the service you are looking for).
If it’s an illustration sketches only help me to understand the basic positioning of characters, sizes etc but it defenderlo wouldn’t reflect my final style and far from what it will look like at the end.
So it also will be understandable that some of those sellers also might reject doing test orders.

Thank you for the note about TOS. However, there is inherently some work done at the time of posting an offer for me to review, and my difficulty is that such work helped me quickly eliminate boilerplate offers that clearly were not addressing the elements of my request, but not enough for me to narrow the last 10 finalists further. And ironically, some of that is due to my reluctance to eliminate offerors based on their difficulty with language, because I prefer to let their visual work vouch for their skills. Portfolio samples do help, but only go so far in connecting to my theme because, by definition, they were developed to someone else’s specifications.

YES! Thank you–this kind of simple graphic showing broad arrangement of elements would help me gauge the artist’s approach to my request, and with the context I already have of their portfolio, it improves my confidence that we’ll work well together. So, for example, even if I didn’t keep the kid on the pillow with the swinging leg, that tells me the artist understands the environment of reading to children, and will have a better chance of executing my vision.
And even more instructive, @imagination7413 had dropped out of my top 10, and now I want to revisit your offer, based on this sketch!

Um. I never made an offer? I don’t even know your actual request. I was simply responding to your question of asking about purchasing samples and what you might expect for $5.

Really, this depends on how an artist values their time. If you go by wage-per-hour then I think asking for 15 minutes of their time for $5 to make a doodle on the back of an envelope is reasonable. I agree with @mariashtelle1 in that, the sample possibly being nothing like the end result is very true.

You would have to word your ‘sample request’ very carefully, and be sure to note that you don’t expect details. You could also mention that as these are samples, they can watermark them, as you’re paying for their time, not their work.

I don’t know. This might be off-putting to some artists. Maybe also invite them to make a counter offer to you? What time would they be willing to give you for $5-10?

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Hmm, okay, maybe I don’t understand what I’m looking at when I hit the “Review Offers” button on my Manage Requests dashboard. Otherwise I would not have even seen your portfolio. Does fiverr show me random standing “offers”? That would definitely explain the high percentage of generically worded offers, and if sellers can no longer see my Request once I’ve paused it, it would explain why some don’t seem to have access to it when I engage them in the Chat module.

Anyway, I now have some preliminary sketches from multiple sellers, and plan to compensate them for that effort, and go forward with additional limited-funding efforts for a few of them.

Thanks for the comments–these have been helpful!

I’ll admit, I’m not sure how the buyer’s end of requests works.

Sellers can only make offers on requests they see, and not every seller sees every offer. We are encouraged to read offers carefully and customize our offers to the request, but many sellers don’t bother. In a way, this is a good way to weed out the ones who are actually interested in your request.

I’m glad to hear you’re making progress in your illustrator quest!