In December of 2004, I contacted an artist friend of mine (I hesitate to put her name out there as her getting angry could have major repercussions for me in terms of my role-play group) regarding a set of three pictures that I wanted to have done. After a discussion on the matter, we settled on a price of $185; I made out a check for $200 even and sent it to her, knowing that she was in a particularly tight financial spot at the time and I had it to spare. At the time, $185 was the very upper limit for three single-character computer-colored pics as listed on her commissions page. (Her prices have since increased.)
I know this person fairly well, as well as several of her past relationship partners; well enough to know that she is capable of tossing out a sketch in a day and coloring it in a second. I obviously would prefer she take her time in the matter, but...
As of today, she has completed only one of the three pictures commissioned. On this picture, instead of computer-colored, it was done in marker. I OKed this due to her -repeated- requests, as she apparently doesn't much like doing computer-coloring. It took over a year for her to finish this one picture - she claimed artist's block, and being an occasional writer, I can understand that feeling and was willing to wait for my friend to get through that.
Of the remaining two, I have seen sketches for both; one of them I oked over three months ago, but she has not completed it, despite repeated 'deadlines' set by both her and I in agreement.
The remaining one was -very- unsatisfactory - it seemed very much like she had completely disregarded the description I had sent her (three -times-, in fact, because she 'kept losing it') of my character. After sending a page and a half of various corrections regarding body structure, posture, scales, overall attitude, etc (including several pictures to use as reference points), I received... a very slightly modified picture that did not incorporate even half of what I'd asked and made my character look constipated in the bargain. On speaking with her about this last one, she confessed that she was pretty certain she wouldn't be able to draw him - odd, considering she'd seen the description -before- the final payment figure was agreed upon and my check sent to her. She did not, mind, suggest refunding my money when she said this; in fact, she has repeatedly said over our many discussions that she is -still- (apparently perpetually) in an extremely tight financial situation.
Most recently, I've attempted to call her cell-phone (twice), only to find that her normal answering machine message has been replaced by an automated 'The person at this number (blah blah blah) is not available, please leave a message'. I'm very worried that I may have lost my only real means to contact her, as repeatedly she's ignored my emails (to the point where in prior phone conversations, I've had to have her go -look them up- because she didn't read them.)
More particularly disturbing to me is that she has, in the meantime, created a slew of new artwork - many of which are not commissions, per her own word in the matter, but just for pleasure. I don't want to be oppressive about it or anything, but, well... It seems to me that having a customer sit and wait for over 2 years for their prepaid commission while the artist draw a variety of other pictures for the simple pleasure of it, -while- the artist is telling the customer that the very reason for the long delay is artist's block... well, it doesn't seem to add up.
At this point, I'm at a loss as to what to do. This person was my -very- close friend; indeed, she was a primary part of me ever discovering what 'furry' -is-. Over time we've drifted apart for various reasons (not the least of which is her addiction to WoW), but even so I don't want to be openly hostile towards her - especially as we belong to the same role-play group and that may cause social problems there. I've been trying to be understanding, but... 2 years is an awful long time...