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Gunna make this short and sweet before the beers steal my typing prowess. Don't commission people when they are "Strapped For Cash". I don't even need to explain this one. I mean, really. Just scroll down "artists_beware" and read what every other posting starts with.

Now, discuss "Why".

EDIT: OK, I edited this rather than reply to 22 posts made overnight. I do most my internetting from work but I don't have that much little to do. Also I'm sober now enough to make with the explaining. At least, to make with the "my actual opinion on the subject".

LJ cut for those who don't give a fuuuuuuuuuuuuuu~

I'm sitting in my office and a woman comes in. She says, "I hear you are looking for a driver." I am, infact. "Well I am a driver for H-County Blah and I need a new job, this one doesn't pay enough, and it's rant rant rant here. My life is [insert more negativity here] and I really need the money."

Did I hire this woman? F no. Why? She is more than qualified, she works for H-county Gov't. Because of the DRAMA and the mindset. You don't get a job by complaining about your life at an interview, OK? You sure as hell don't get a job by ranting about your last one**. That is so unprofessional it's not even funny. Well it kinda is, or I wouldn't have remembered it to use here in this post. (I once had an interview-ee put "sparkle concentration" as a skill on an application.)


I know, I know, not all artists are professionals, and not all artists act professionally regardless. That's because we are of all ages and backgrounds. Some of us have jobs on the side, some don't. But making yourself out to be a pity fuck is so degrading. Sell your art by showing your talent, not your helplessness. If you are /that/ strapped for cash anyway, get a fucking job*. It's one thing to be in a bind once or twice. But this is constant. I constantly see artists holding up "art for food" signs. [of course, i'll see ya'll at AC, right?] That shit is bogus. The pity party needs to stop.

*Does not apply to people who actually cannot get a job for a valid reason, obviously. I find comfort that some of those of us who cannot work in the working world still try to get by with some kind of work. Kudos to you!

**Don't get me started on furry artists who hate the furry fandom and can't stand furries and hate furry stuff but then still draw furry art and complain on every other furry commission they get- even though they can't live without the money or be bothered to get a real job and/or get the fuck off the internet and leave us alone if we're so awful.

So yes, aside from the people who actually screw others over, I really don't like the entire mindset of using your personal dilemma as a selling tactic. It's LOW. It's always going to be low.

And that is my opinion on it. There's not so much to comment about the other side of the coin, the people who are "strapped" then once they've got your money suddenly can't find the time to finish your commission. They either discount their work and then feel unmotivated by the pay, or they accept something they didn't really want to accept then don't feel like doing the job once they have "better commissions" on the horizon. And then you just have the people who take your cash and magically dissapear into the internetverse. Fuck these people, they fuck it for the rest of us. Buyers and Sellers alike.
Artist's beware has moved!
Do NOT repost your old bewares. They are being archived.


( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 15th, 2006 02:04 am (UTC)
I actually *just* came up with a solution for it on my journal. The problem is that furry (and most consumer art in general) is not done as a business, it's done as a hobby. Because it's a hobby it is usually a medley of bad business practices, poor procedural work, and some genuinely criminal people trying to buy and sell artwork.
Sep. 15th, 2006 02:16 am (UTC)
Furry escrow.
Sep. 15th, 2006 02:19 am (UTC)
It's true. o_o And, you know, I figure the reason is... well, okay, let's look at me, for example:

I had commissions and other projects in line. Then, my computer up and died preventing me from doing anything. I needed a computer to do those projects to pay the bills. So what do I do? Offer commissions where people pay in advance so that I can buy the computer, get my old projects done, then do those commissions.

Well. What happened was I got the money, bought the computer, started on the other projects... ... and ended up with cancer. :P Which messed *everything* up.

Now, that doesn't happen to everyone, but either way, I STILL hadn't properly budgeted my time-line. How was I supposed to do 20+ commissions in a row after I did my old projects, when I didn't even have a way to sustain myself in the first place? It has been a gigantic mess.

Thankfully, my commissioners have been so, so understanding and patient, and I've gotten the ball more or less rolling now. But since I had to spend all of the other time trying to figure out a way to live and pay medical bills, I couldn't work on those 'strapped for cash' commissions. Bad bad bad.
Sep. 15th, 2006 02:27 am (UTC)
These things do happen. Good to know you're able to get up and do art! I love when commissioners are understanding and patient<3
Sep. 20th, 2006 10:24 pm (UTC)
I think a potentially life threatening illness counts as mitigating circumstances. Hope you recover soon (if you haven't already)
Sep. 20th, 2006 10:29 pm (UTC)
Thanks muchly. <3 I'm a lot better now. :) Just slow and tired.
Sep. 15th, 2006 02:25 am (UTC)
I just posted a "help me eat" journal in open_paws...but I do get my art done for others. Soooo...I don't think it's really fair to say "never commission anyone who say's they're strapped for cash," because some people do finish their art, and they don't rip others off.

If I do get their picture done later than I expected I would I always ALWAYS throw in an extra prize for them for their patience. These have ranged from a sketch for being a couple weeks late to a 11x16 inch acrylic painting on canvas with no extra shipping cost for being a year or so late. I just want my customers to feel un-ripped off. :/

On the other hand, there are some, probably not a majority, but there are definately a lot, that do rip people off. They may feel bad and they may beat themselves up over it, but sometimes it's hard to get up and do something that you've had in your list for so long. This is especially hard if you don't really know the commissioner or if the commissioner is rude about you taking so long with their stuff.
And then there's some that just don't care and only wanted the money, but that's a vast minority, I'll bet.
Sep. 15th, 2006 02:31 am (UTC)
Artists who are "strapped for cash" take commissions that they don't actually want to do, I think. If you do art because you love it, and not as a business, then you're going to draw what you want, mostly, and not what you "have to" draw for paying customers. Which is fine if you're picking and chosing what commissions you take, and just take ones you know you'll enjoy. But not so good when you're taking anything from anybody, because you need the money that badly.

And then once you've got the cash in hand, the emergency is done with, and things are back to normal... suddenly artist's block decennds! This stuff you got paid to draw isn't what you want to draw right now, oh no! And so even with the best of intentions it gets put off a bit, and then put off a bit more. And those who don't have good intentions and don't care about their customers, well... they have the money, what reason do they have to do any work?

If, on the other hand, you are a businessman (or woman, or whatever,) you're never going to put up commissions just because you're "strapped for cash." It's not really good business practice, and most of the really professional artists don't need to fish like that anyhow, they just have to say "I'm open for commmissions and they'll get plenty of new work to do." (Though those who are up and coming, and working on becoming pros may need to, I suppose. But frankly, putting up pity commissions comes across as an amateur move, at least to me. I know there's a huge temptation to do it anyhow, because it does work, but I try to resist it these days. Even though I am *cough* really strapped for cash just now! *grin*)
Sep. 15th, 2006 02:45 am (UTC)
That and minors. I'm not saying all are bad but I've noticed a lot of kids under 20 do end up ripping people off.

I usually commission people I know have a good track record. Someone a friend commissioned before usually.
Sep. 15th, 2006 11:04 am (UTC)
Well the funny thing about minors is that you actually can't enter a legal contract with them so any work you do for a minor is done "under the table", so to speak. Well. Even more under the table than regular commissions.
Sep. 15th, 2006 02:48 am (UTC)
That's not entirely true, though.

Back in June, my ghetto 5-year old Graphire died, and I didn't have the money to replace it. I could've asked my parents to buy me a new one, but they have bills to pay and I didn't want to bug them with my "HAY BUY ME NEW TABLET PLZ." So I posted a "tablet died, strapped for cash" journal on DA, and used commissions to help raise the money for a new tablet, and I finished all of them.

Of course, I didn't take digital commissions because I wouldn't be able to do them until I had the tablet, so I just did traditional media.

Unfortunately people do get ripped off by "strapped for cash" artists, and make us honest artists look bad too. D:
Sep. 15th, 2006 02:49 am (UTC)
I think that's far too broad of a generalization to make basing it on this community alone. I mean, c'mon, this place was DESIGNED to complain about deadbeat artists. I've seen many artists take commissions for some much needed money and actually get the work done. The difference I've noticed is that these are the artists that say "Okay I need some money, I'll take x commissions", i.e. setting a reasonable limit for themselves, so as not to overload themselves with commissions. Sometimes they have a waiting list. My friend and I are commissioning an artist in just such a predicament, and not only have they been getting their art out, they refuse to take any money before they start the sketch. Now, if an artist says the need the money immediately for a bill or something, then I'd be a little wary, depending on who they are...not because they're a bad person or anything, it's just that if you pay them, and for some reason require a refund...well, then you're just S.O.L. But truly, I don't think that's a judgement you can pass on all artists needing a little money...definately a case-by-case basis.
Sep. 15th, 2006 03:09 am (UTC)
I dunno, I agree and disagree. I have done a few 'strapped for cash' actions. Only when I REALLY needed it, one when my laptop art station was stolen, and two when I almost didn't make it to AC due to medical bills.

But, I had the common sense to still turn down anything I thought I'd not enjoy. And to not give more than I thought I could put into a picture for a price I could deal with.

But on the other hand, I've seen many artists go "Gimme money so I can fly to X con!" And once they get back, having spent the money, they kick back and ignore the commissions.

I think it's all research, if an artist has a good track record, chances are they won't change under a dire situation. An artist with a slightly flaky background, might resort to slacking once given money.

Just my two cents, as I've been on both end of those.
Sep. 15th, 2006 03:32 am (UTC)
I tend to finish the art quicker in my "strapped for cash" mode, honestly. Though I think that's because I only take commissions when I'm strapped for cash anyways.

So really, passing the judgment and saying ALL commissions that result from an artist being needy will turn out bad is too big a generalization. I think it really depends on the business practice the artist has.

How many commissions do they get in the first place? Often times the artist is extremely inexperienced in commission business, so when they say they are in dire need of money now, people take pity and commission them when they usual wouldn't (not saying that's a bad thing, just saying that it happens). They may only have one or two commissions regularly, but it may multiply greatly when they offer cheap commissions for quick cash. Thus the are incapable of balancing the workload. Then, as the list gets larger and larger, it perpetuates into a bigger problem. If that makes any sense.
Sep. 15th, 2006 03:59 am (UTC)
I don't buy this line of discussion.

I have done business with a lot of strapped for cash artists. A lot.

And I don't recall being ripped off even once.

Now maybe someday someone will rip me off, but I have not yet come to that conclusion about any of the commissions that I have out there currently.
Sep. 15th, 2006 04:03 am (UTC)
Personally, I think what happens is that an artist relies on the 'strapped for cash' commission once, finds it helpful, & starts doing it more often, whenever they need a quick buck
but eventually they come to resent commissions, but they need to keep doing them to keep up the income

I know this happened to me. I didn't rip people off, but I found it harder & harder to get the motivation to finish commissions, & it took me a lot longer to finish the ones I had (although I stayed in constant contact with the person who commissioned me)

I've managed to get over that hump & offer commissions at all times, not just when I need the money
Sep. 15th, 2006 04:04 am (UTC)
I think the whole problem with the 'strapped for cash' commissions comes in when you're dealing with, surprise surprise, artists who have no sense of business ethics. Which is the problem behind every bad artist who's been posted about in here--not that they need money, but that they're idiots.
Sep. 15th, 2006 05:18 am (UTC)
The commissions I've gotten have really helped me. I've yet to have a problem with anyone...
Sep. 15th, 2006 05:25 am (UTC)
I don't know. I mean, I've taken commissions in emergency situations. There's fund raisers to help friends, and bills to pay.

However I don't take anything beyond a badge or an avatar. They're quick, I love to do both, and I don't have people waiting ages.

The most I've made someone wait in these situations is two weeks for a badge. I felt horrible about it, so I'm giving him a little bonus sketch sheet of his character.

Now I don't agree with artists who take on large commissions when strapped for cash. I don't know about everyone else, but I won't be stuck by the creative sting if I know I have to get this large piece done or else.

Then again, I don't accept payment until I've actually begun the commission. I figure people feel more comfortable after they've seen some results. I'll ask for a messenger handle so I may contact them at any time and vice versa.

I guess what I'm getting at in a rambling way, is that grouping all of the "strapped for cash" artists together isn't fair to the honest ones out there.
Sep. 15th, 2006 06:33 am (UTC)
Agreed and disagreed.

I've been boned by people who were strapped for cash, for example by Stickdevil for a 100 bucks or so.
On the other hand, I've been strapped for cash and I did my work, so I think it just depends on the artist.
Sep. 15th, 2006 07:45 am (UTC)
I'm 50/50.

I at times post the "Strapped for cash" bit, but usually I sell prints or sell something much easier to send the person. Or I work my ass off day and night and finish the commissions.

Since when were artists NOT strapped for cash? *laughs* most people I know wouldn't take commissions if they didn't need cash in some form.
Sep. 15th, 2006 11:37 am (UTC)
I don't follow your reasoning. :) You could just as well say that 100% of all posts in here are either about artists or about buyers, therefore you should obviously *never* commission an artist or accept a commission from a buyer. :)

Sep. 16th, 2006 02:42 am (UTC)
Whenever I have been 'strapped for cash', I've offered commissions, and the ones that I have gotten are put high on my priority list, and I finish their commissions as fast as I can, because they're helping _me_ out financially, even if just a little...it's the least I can do.
Sep. 16th, 2006 04:17 pm (UTC)
Eh, I agree and disagree. I don't commission people outside of cons, and even then I hardly commission people because I don't have much extra money.

I have posted the "strapped for cash" thing several times and commissions have really helped me out. I have never ripped anyone off. I usually take half of the payment when a sketch is shown, then take the rest when the image is complete. I know this sets me up for being ripped off, but it also keeps me motivated to finish the commission. I'm in college now, I can only work on weekends. I do admit that I am a bit slow with commissions, but I put a LOT of time into them and make sure the commissioner is satisfied. I also do not mind scanning sketches or any progress thus far if there's any doubt.

It really depends on the commission and commissioner in the end. I admit that most things I am commissioned for I don't want to draw, but it's not about what I want to draw, it's about what someone helping you out wants you to draw, so suck it up and get the job done to the best of your ability.
Sep. 17th, 2006 11:24 am (UTC)
I can both agree and disagree. There's making a pity trip and then there's realizing you have a problem that needs to be taken care of, stating what that problem is and then letting people know how they can help and what they'll get in return. I have a job, but it provides me with no medical benefits and the job market where I am is screwed, so for money for things like dental work and getting my ears checked doing commissions can be extremely helpful.
Sep. 29th, 2006 12:14 am (UTC)
I totally disagree with this. I've been taking a lot more commissions than usual because I'm in serious trouble, and I'm getting them done just fine. I don't have artists block.

Anyone who does deserves to be poor :P
Oct. 5th, 2006 07:04 pm (UTC)
i've done a few of those- "i need monies" sales- genuinely because I am in the military and cannot get another job with my hours and when you havve a mate on disability and a car breaks down you either fix the car to get to work or you buy food and have to bum rides for two weeks which gets hard after two days.

Sometimes the instances are real- esp when the military cuts your check short by 300 bucks.
Oct. 8th, 2006 07:13 pm (UTC)
I do commissions ONLY when I need money. Why? Commissions are a lot of work because they have to fit a pre-defined mold and involve dealing with the very precise and often incomprehensible mental images of other people.
I make and sell my other types of art inbetween, but if I have a rush of bills I drop MY artwork, and do work for other people.

I am one of those individuals who cannot work a normal job. I try my best, but I dislike putting employers in the position of having to fire me because I can't uphold my end of that whole "you work here regularly" deal.

I will, every few months, put out a "Hey, y'all. I need cash. Do you need art? Let's make a deal." Sometimes it's more of a sob story than that (I think people tend to want to know what's going on. Especially friends that might be slightly out of the loop). The problem is that I have both carpel tunnel, and slowly developing arthritis. Occasionally, right after I get a commission my hands go "Umno... screw you, we're going on strike. Just -try- and grip that stylus you fool! MWAHAHAH!"
I take my commissions extremely seriously, and extremely carefully. Anyone who's worked with me when I'm on a good clip knows I can crank out four or five peices a day. Anyone who's worked with me on a bad clip knows I'm clawing at the wacom trying to get it to work left-handed so I can finish my commissions even if it kills me.
Most of the people who've worked with me insist that -any- amount of wait is worth it which is increadibly flattering and makes my little heart go pitter-pat.

The thing is... I don't take commissions unless I have to. And I only have to when I'm strapped for cash. On one hand I understand how it's a bad situation for some, but a few desparate people who turn out to be leeches should not ruin the whole swimming hole.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )


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