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Is it common professional practice?

Okay, this kind of stuff has been bugging me for a while, humor me for a bit.

Is it commonly accepted in the professional art world to do things like 'lose' people's commission specs and re-request it several times?
Also, what about progress pics? I see a lot of fursuit makers that pose their finished commissioned works and often it seems like the customer is seeing it for the first time, based on their responce.
These two things are really common in the furry art world, and I'm just wondering if that's the way things work in the 'real world' too.
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( 46 comments — Leave a comment )
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Feb. 6th, 2007 06:19 am (UTC)
Damn I sure hope it's not like that in the real world.
Feb. 6th, 2007 06:21 am (UTC)
Define "the real world." I've worked in a corporation where things got lost and had to be re-requested all the time, and I've worked for a museum where we never saw a new exhibit being built by those hired to make it until it was finished. So I'd say that stuff happens in the "real world" too.
Feb. 6th, 2007 06:22 am (UTC)
You've pretty much answered my question. :) Thanks.
(no subject) - drake_anaya - Feb. 6th, 2007 06:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thaily - Feb. 6th, 2007 08:11 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 6th, 2007 06:22 am (UTC)
I'd imagine that a pro who has to ask repeatedly for reference isn't going to be getting hired very often. You're responsible for keeping track of your own materials, and anything that can be seen as slowing down the process, particularly for projects with tight deadlines, is probably not going to reflect well on you (and potentially your employer depending on the work).

Pros always always always should do many thumbnails and rough compositions and submit them for approval before doing a final piece. I'm not sure about the "steps" between rough and final, though. A lot of it, again, has to do with deadlines and the specific work involved. A real media painting, for example, might require more check-ins in order to prevent the work from needing a complete do-over; if the work is primarily digital, maybe less so.
Feb. 6th, 2007 06:36 am (UTC)
I'd just like to add that my knowledge is based on what I've learned from a professional (who runs his own business) in the graphic design and illustration field.
Feb. 6th, 2007 06:32 am (UTC)
Well if one definition of the "real" art world is galleries and commissioners who collect mainstream wildlife art, I'd have to say no. Most of the artists I know who fit that bill are very organized in their office space and procedure. They keep running files, either in digital format, hardcopy, or both. They make sure they have a clear understanding of what the patron wants on the onset. They set clear and reasonable deadlines. I can't speak for others in this one, but I also send a commissioner clear photographs/scans of the finished product too, before the deal is considered closed. They will also receive a photograph of the finished piece with its frame and matting - there are no surprises. But from some of the things I've read, I perceive that comparing mainstream fine art to furry art as far as conduct goes amongst artists is like comparing apples to oranges. The same rules of courtesy and professionalism don't seem to apply. If a western and wildlife artist behaved like what gets complained about in this forum, he wouldn't be in busuness for very long. Just my humble $.02.
Feb. 6th, 2007 06:42 am (UTC)
To add, furry commissioners from what I've seen/read are also very different from mainstream fine art commissioners, at least from what I've seen in the Western and Wildlife arena. I have never *ever* heard a W&W commissioner say, "That looks NOTHING like what I had imagined! Change this, change that!" The preliminaries are talked out between artist and client, frequently even the color scheme is chosen (to match the home, I've encountered that) and the only time it gets nitpicky is when it's an historical piece and the commissioner really knows his stuff. Then you'd better get that cavalry saddle right, know what the uniform of that period looked like, etc. But again, all that is discussed in the preliminaries and the W&W artist is very adept with his reference material. Other than that matter of historical accuracy, a typical W&W piece done on commission usually has a bit more leeway in artistic interpretation than the average "Draw my char!".
(no subject) - lastres0rt - Feb. 6th, 2007 04:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - starcharmer - Feb. 6th, 2007 10:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 6th, 2007 06:36 am (UTC)
Since when is furry not applicable to the "real art world"?
Feb. 6th, 2007 07:06 am (UTC)
It tends to be such a bad example of business practices that one hopes it's not the real world, I guess. :}
(no subject) - thaily - Feb. 6th, 2007 08:12 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lastres0rt - Feb. 6th, 2007 04:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dinogrrl - Feb. 6th, 2007 05:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilenth - Feb. 6th, 2007 07:14 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 6th, 2007 07:18 am (UTC)

Probably not, things do get lost from time to time, every artist knows that. If you're doing it constantly though? Well in the professional art world, any art director might not mind re-supplying lost specs once or twice but if you constantly need new copies, the AD will probably drop you.

The furry art world is not like the professional art world. Not even half the stuff that goes on would be tolerated in a professional setting. But then given that the vast majority of furry artists are amateur artists or just do it "for fun" that's to be expected.
Feb. 6th, 2007 08:21 am (UTC)
It's pretty common for "real world" businesses to lose shit.
I've had businesses lose my personal info, my payments (and then whine for money) and I've had a company I did an illustration for throw a shitfit at me because they hadn't received my work and their deadline was imminent.
Nevermind that the envelope with my work was lying at their billing department which was the only address they had given me.

So it is common, but is it accepted?
It doesn't make a good impression, that's for sure. But what can you do but not patronize that business the next time? If they do deliver what they promised you don't really have grounds for a serious complaint, you can grumble, but it's not the end of the world.
People do lose things from time to time, I know I have.
And when doing commissions I often also ask for additional information, a lot of people forget little details like eye-colour for example.

Though I get the impression that people who repeatedly ask for information to be re-sent are just stalling. It gets the customer off their back for a while, and that is definately bad business.
Feb. 6th, 2007 03:05 pm (UTC)
Heck, I have had the POST OFFICE lose all my address change info when they started the new year. It is VERY common in the "real world" to lose your customer's specs.
(no subject) - thaily - Feb. 6th, 2007 04:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dustmeat - Feb. 6th, 2007 04:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thaily - Feb. 6th, 2007 05:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 6th, 2007 08:25 am (UTC)
Is it commonly accepted in the professional art world to do things like 'lose' people's commission specs and re-request it several times?

I'd say not. It still happens, I've met a lot of wacked-out artists, gallery owners, etc. But those who are consistently unprofessional tend not to stay in business very long.

Also, what about progress pics? I see a lot of fursuit makers that pose their finished commissioned works and often it seems like the customer is seeing it for the first time, based on their response.

Unlike a painting, a fursuit in the middle stages of completion really doesn't look like anything. Although the fursuit-maker can see where they are going with it, the customer may not be able to and it would just introduce unnecessary worry.

If everything was talked out beforehand, and both parties understand what is to be done, and the artist follows those guidelines, then there should be no problems.

As far as the real world goes, it varies between mediums and artists and commissioners. Same as in the furry world.
Feb. 6th, 2007 08:41 am (UTC)
I like to try and provide a progress picture of the head before furring. I think that's a good stage, as even someone who isn't familiar with suit construction can point out any errors in the design, and it's not too difficult to really change things at that stage, while it would be after furring. I'd rather someone say "that bit's not quite right" before the fur gets put on. I wouldn't want to suddenly have to fix a mistake after completion - that would be far more of a pain.
(no subject) - beetlecat - Feb. 6th, 2007 07:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - growly - Feb. 6th, 2007 04:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - beetlecat - Feb. 6th, 2007 07:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bladespark - Feb. 15th, 2007 01:57 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 6th, 2007 01:10 pm (UTC)
Depends on the field, I suppose. As a software engineer who builds systems to spec for customers, I know that it is not common practice to just lose specs and have to re-request them. In fact, were that to happen -- me to start a project and have to come back to the client two months later and ask "um, what did you want again?" -- I'd be out of a job so fast it'd make my head spin.

And yet, it happens to me at least half the time I commission a furry artist...

I think, however, the operating term is "professional".
Feb. 6th, 2007 01:38 pm (UTC)
Losing folks's specs isn't an appropriate practice(in practice), and is definately unprofessional.
However, with a 'real world' commission, the buyer does not see the product until its' finished in most cases(Of course unless progress pictures are agreed to). The buyer is relying on the artists' skill and style to finish out small details that would have been hammered out initially. This fails to be true in the furry world, where people are picky, and anal about small things that normal buyers wouldn't be concerned about, so it makes progress pictures a necissary evil.
Feb. 6th, 2007 01:41 pm (UTC)
common yes, professional no.
Feb. 6th, 2007 01:46 pm (UTC)
Nope not professional at all.

Artists are required to make progress shots of what they are working on in order that the buyer is getting what s/he wants. And so that the buyer can make any adjustments to the current peice.
Feb. 6th, 2007 03:03 pm (UTC)
I have lost commission specs due to computer crashes or whatnot, it happens.
Feb. 6th, 2007 09:58 pm (UTC)

Don't you back them up onto a flash drive or something? That's what I plan to do.
(no subject) - dustmeat - Feb. 6th, 2007 10:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilenth - Feb. 6th, 2007 10:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
Theoretically! - dustmeat - Feb. 6th, 2007 10:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Theoretically! - lilenth - Feb. 6th, 2007 11:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 6th, 2007 03:23 pm (UTC)
The way my illustration prof works (and he is a successful professional illustrator like most in the department, as you know), there are no progress pics. He gets an assignment, sends a sketch to the art director for approval, and they don't see anything else until the piece is finished. He's done work for a variety of different clients and that seems to be the norm across the board.

Basically, I can ditto what skanrashke said.
Feb. 6th, 2007 04:29 pm (UTC)
I often do it the same way, mostly because people who aren't artists can freak out over works in progress. Obviously it's different when working for other artists or very experienced customers, but most people have no understanding of the artistic progress.

That and I hate it when someone who has no idea what they're talking about tells me to do/change something. I had one guy tell me to use a different brand of markers, despite the fact he saw and liked my samples of marker work I already had made with my current markers.
Yeah okay, I'll throw away 3 binders of Copic Sketch markers and buy a complete set of Tria markers that I have no experience with because you claim their colours are better. As someone who hasn't handled a marker since kindergarten you obviously know best.
And I'll make a jolly ol' profit that way >_>

(no subject) - lemonfruitpie - Feb. 7th, 2007 05:16 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 6th, 2007 08:00 pm (UTC)
"Is it commonly accepted in the professional art world to do things like 'lose' people's commission specs and re-request it several times?"

I don't think it's commonly accepted, although from working with other makers and from personal experience, there are times when asking for clarification is necessary. Of course, asking for clarification and asking for everything to be resent are two different things. You also have the issue of some commissions stretching out for long periods of time, and sometimes it's nice to double check with the customer to make certain they still want it the way it was originally described when the order was first taken. I've experience some customers who change their mind as to specifics mid-commission, which really aren't any extra trouble, but you wouldn't otherwise know if you didn't contact them and ask.

"Also, what about progress pics? I see a lot of fursuit makers that pose their finished commissioned works and often it seems like the customer is seeing it for the first time, based on their responce."

I agree completely with beetlecat on this one. Showing customers pictures of the foamed head/in progress head (unless construction pictures have been agreed upon before work begins) isn't common practice among fursuit commissions. It really can make some customers anxious, who will otherwise be quite satisfied with the end result. With fursuits especially, if someone isn't at least somewhat acquainted with the methods involved and how a carved head looks; they don't always know exactly what they're looking at, and asking them to point out changes that need to made at this stage could be problematic at best.
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