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A question

Hi, everyone. I'm not sure if this is the appropriate place to put this kind of question-post; if not, please point me in the right direction!

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...

Any suggestions?
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Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
vogeldrache
Jan. 29th, 2007 06:26 pm (UTC)
It's time you stop trying to be "understanding," because there's nothing further to understand. It's really obvious that your friend is kind of taking advantage of you. She figures "he/she's my friend, they won't get mad if I take my sweet ass time lol!" But that's not true, is it? You're entitled to a timely turnaround just like any other comissioner.

You've been more than patient with her, and it's time for you to grab the furry by the tail and let her know you're not gonna take this crap from her anymore. Be honest, be stern, and make it clear to her that if she does not deliver on her artistic contract, then you have a right to a refund. BE VERY VERY STERN AND SERIOUS WITH HER. You are not suggesting that she finish her end of the bargain, you're demanding it. Don't let her get into the habit of ripping people off. No one deserves that.

I'm sure you've learned this by now, but in the future, NEVER send the payment before you review and OK the prelim sketches. Set a managable deadline from the beginning to spur the artist away from (too much) procrastination.

You may anger her, but honestly, if she's getting angry at YOU because SHE took 2+ years to finish YOUR fully paid commission, then that's pretty fucked up. If your RP group suffers from her loss, just remember that this is the internet. There is no shortage of RPers and writers out there. It's just a matter of scoping out the best one for your group.

You deserve what you paid for. Friendship shouldn't get in the way of a binding artistic contract between a commissioner and an artist.
vogeldrache
Jan. 29th, 2007 07:12 pm (UTC)
I just thought of something.

Threaten to mention her by name in this community. Most online artists won't risk that kind of a dent in their reputation, so she might have more of an incentive to do as she agreed. Be very serious about it. Give her fair warning, and if she still doesn't start getting her ass in gear, just do it. You already know she has no creditable excuses.

$200 is a lot of money to lose to a flakey artist. I would certainly want to be warned of someone like her...
lastres0rt
Jan. 29th, 2007 07:16 pm (UTC)
Why just limit it to this community?
vogeldrache
Jan. 29th, 2007 07:50 pm (UTC)
True true. Post a warning in all your journals and groups. That's an even more intimidating threat than posting only in this community.
dinogrrl
Jan. 29th, 2007 06:55 pm (UTC)
Argh I had a nice long comment here but then lj ate it.

But I was basically saying that I agree with vogeldrache. The situation isn't going to change. You need to say 'I respect you as a friend but you are NOT conducting a good business. I payed for something that you have not given me. You've made ME sacrifice things (quality, medium, and even character description) that any artist should be bending over backwards to deliver to a customer. Maybe you think that this is okay because we're friends, but this is a business deal, not a friend deal. Enough is enough. You have until X date to produce X for me, or I demand to be refunded." And stand by that. If she's not answering email or phone calls, find some other way to put it where she can't miss it (even mention it in this rp group you talked about? It may be painful for you but if that's the only thing you can do, you have to do it). If she doesn't live up to that (which, by the sounds of it, she probably won't), you're out the money and art, sorry. But please do let other people know about this.

Oh, and as vogeldrache mentioned, don't ever pay the full amount until you've okayed ALL the sketches.
thaily
Jan. 29th, 2007 08:53 pm (UTC)
Humm humm.

I can "toss out" a sketch in a day and finish it the same day but it depends on the subject and how I feel and if I'm enjoying it and my time constraints etc. etc.
Also it's easier to work on drawings you enjoy than drawings you -have- to do (even if you enjoy them, it's different) plus an artist should do work for themselves now and then to unwind or else they might burn out.

However.

2/3 years is extremely late for 3 commissions if there was no prior warning that she would take so long. Now I can kinda understand, I've had a commission that just wouldn't come out right and because they had paid generously for it I really felt a lot of pressure to give them the best possible work I could give them, but I just couldn't manage.
I offered the customer a refund several times which they didn't take until much later so it dragged on a while, but I did offer a refund and I think you're way overdue for her to offer you your money back for unfinished work.
If she refuses to pay you back, even in small installments, then you might have to cut your losses and break the news to people so they can avoid doing business with her in the future, which -will- cost you your friendship (or what's left of it).
Alternatively, if you appreciate her friendship more than your money, cut your losses and forget about it. But you might see mutual friends get hurt in a similar manner.
Then again, you might see that even if you warn them, I mean, people still throw money at Starfinder, so.

Doing business with friends can be so iffy :/
lilenth
Jan. 30th, 2007 12:10 am (UTC)

Speaking of starfinder, FC ended a week ago and there's no sign of her keeping her bold promise about finishing all that outstanding work. Guess you were right, another round of distraction techniques.
calorath
Jan. 29th, 2007 11:18 pm (UTC)
I'd ask for a refund.

And I'd mention her here by name. Though, I bet I know who it is, and if that's the case, don't feel bad, you aren't the only one she's accepted money from and then crapped on with substandard work.

Never hire someone who claims to be desperate for money.
lilenth
Jan. 30th, 2007 12:14 am (UTC)

$200? I'd out her. That's a lot of money to lose for two years, I feel bad about the commissioner who sent me a print I wanted and waited a year and a half for his picture.

To be honest, it's not a good idea to commission anyone who is "desperate" a lot of the time artists seem to take masses of work to pay off a bill and never complete half of it, then another bill needs to be taken care of and they're taking more commissions when they haven't even finished the first lot.

That said, I wish people would pay me $200 for that kind of easy work. I mean 3 single character pieces is nothing. I could do them in a couple of days.
daroneasa
Feb. 1st, 2007 07:31 am (UTC)
$200 is a heck of a lot of money. You shouldn't feel bad about getting a bit more firm with her over this. It's been two years, which is twice the maximum amount of time it should've taken.

You seem very nice, so I think perhaps she might have (subconciously or not) taken advantage of the fact. I'd try one last firm, but diplomatic, email to remind her and state your complaint. Remind her that it has taken her two years, and let her know that a refund for the part she has not finished would be acceptable.

If she doesn't reply to the email within a week or so, I'd assume she has a deviantart, fur affinity, or livejournal account somewhere. Reply to one of her posts and call her attention to the email in her box. If she ignores that, post the email. That will of course piss her off, but at this point it'd be the only way to make sure she paid you the attention you deserve.

I once forgot a commission for a year and the person got very mad at me, rightfully. She posted in both my journals when she realized that my list of to-do's didn't include her art, and let me tell you that nothing quite gets you on the ball like someone making a post for the world to see.
If this friend lacks a conscience about these things, and the guilt of forgetting or procrastinating isn't enough, the shame of having her reputation put in danger might.

It seems that in this case, she has no excuse for forgetting as you have made repeated attempts over a long period of time to politely remind her. You're entitled to a partial refund, and if she doesn't get the art or the money to you soon, I wouldn't hesitate to warn others about her.

Good luck. :)
blondierule
Feb. 22nd, 2007 07:14 pm (UTC)
you're bothered about a roleplay group, more than $200???! If the other members aren't understanding, then it doesn't really matter, You know she ripped you off and that's the long and short.

I HATE people who pull this kind of stunt.

I wouldn't accept a commission I know I couldn't do.

Though the art block, might not be art in general, but on your pictures. I know I've had trouble getting ideas I feel excited about enough that I think the picture will turn out well. But at the same time I can spew out little random pictures for myself. (because it doesnt matter if they suck)

The most I've taken is a year, and that was because my friend told me it was ok, and she knew she'd get them and that they'll turn out well in the end. Even then I draw up a free sketch for the inconvienience.

Give her a last warning and a last time limit, something that gives her more than enough time, but it's the LAST chance. THEN post her name everywhere...

(ps I'm in a very similar situation, 3 years, 45$ but I have NOTHING. And from someone who's really big at DA so I didn't expect it) It sucks...
kitsuken
Mar. 18th, 2007 07:39 pm (UTC)
i'd say ask for a refund on the picture that was nothing like you asked for and the one she hasn't shown any evidence of. If she's able to fund a WoW addiction (what, $30 a month plus maybe $40 for a reasonable connection to run it on?) then she can't be in all that desperate a situation.

So yeah, like blondierule says, either insist on a set date or a refund if that can't be met
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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