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Buyer/Artist's Guide to not getting BURNED

Would anyone in this community find it helpful if I posted a “How to Spot a Good Commission Artist” Guide.

I’ve read so many woeful tales from buyers who’ve been burned, but I know making a black list of bad artists just isn’t feasible or ethical.

I’m a freelance artist myself, and I’ve commissioned several pieces from other artists; and I’ve never had a problem in 7 years online. In that time I’ve also noticed some trends and tell-tale signs of bad commission artists. Would my guide be of any help? Would people like to make their own suggestions?

I can also make a "How to Spot a Bad Buyer - when an artist needs to say NO" or some such. Again, I've had several occasions when buyers have put me in tricky situations, but I can offer practical tips on how to minimise your loses (or avoid them entirely!).

Artist's beware has moved!
Do NOT repost your old bewares. They are being archived.


( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 16th, 2007 01:55 pm (UTC)
I think any help we can get would be fine. Seems everyone, including myself, is having problems.
Jun. 16th, 2007 02:02 pm (UTC)
That would also be valuable for artists being comissions so they don't give out the wrong signals to buyers. Some are blacklisted unfairly based on some minor mistakes, and a guide like this could help them make the best impression to their customers and avoid being labelled as a bad artist
I think it's a great idea :D
Jun. 16th, 2007 05:39 pm (UTC)
Agreed. I do my best, but I'm always a little bit paranoid that I'm doing something wrong. It's probably irrational, but it'll be nice to have a list of things to absolutely not do just to be sure!
Jun. 16th, 2007 02:11 pm (UTC)
Maybe something we could all contribute to? Start it off with your guide and then everyone contributes their own suggestions . . . only because one person's green light might be another person's red light. (Example: there was a good debate on FA about the merits of asking for some or all of the payment up front . . . many buyers said they'd never give a single penny up front because they said they'd been ripped off by too many artists, where many artists said they would never start art without money up front because they'd been ripped off by too many buyers).
Jun. 16th, 2007 08:50 pm (UTC)
I agree. My plan is to lay out some pointers, then get everyone who’s interested to contribute. We all know there are plenty of grey areas, and a large degree of trust required when making deals on-line. But I hope my guide can help both parties involved.
Jun. 16th, 2007 09:59 pm (UTC)
Hmmm... I wonder if it could be possible to have some kind of mediating site for these things, where artist and buyer can set up a contract of sorts and deliver proof of payment and proof of art completed.
Jun. 16th, 2007 10:03 pm (UTC)
That is a damn brilliant idea - a bit like
but not run by a thief and not charging a stupid amount on processing.
Jun. 17th, 2007 08:55 am (UTC)

Oh, thank you! *bow*

But something like that (I think), yes. Basically, two people logged in can set up a basic contract with a few settable variables (the art in question, the deadline, the payment). When both agree to the contract, they can stamp it digitally with their accounts. Once both proof of payment and proof of completed art have been attached to the contract, it is considered completed.

Other people with accounts not involved in the contract there cannot see the contract's details or proofs (to protect privacy such as RL names, etc) but they can see if it's been completed, pending, or has been reneged on and which party was the breaker.

Well, that's just tossing some ideas off the top of my head.
Jun. 16th, 2007 02:23 pm (UTC)
I'd certainly read something like that, not only for help in the rare instances I commission people, but it may even be helpful to better myself as a commissioned artist ^_^
Jun. 16th, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC)
Agreed, very good idea. Let's see how much we can really accomplish and hope to better such experiences for both artistts and commissioners alike.
Jun. 16th, 2007 03:58 pm (UTC)
I'm constantly amazed at how many stories of 'artists at school' involve the artist not having the slightest bit of business sense.

Perhaps they don't think that drawing for money is a business?
Jun. 16th, 2007 08:52 pm (UTC)
When I was considering art classes at college, I was utterly put off by that very important point. Colleges rarely teach artists any business sense.
Jun. 16th, 2007 04:45 pm (UTC)
Very good idea, especially if you do both sides of the story. I personally don't do many commissions, but I do like to commission artists and knowing what to look for in a professional would be very, very helpful.

Jun. 16th, 2007 05:40 pm (UTC)
I would still like a blacklist, although I think only one that has links to the incidents in question would be useful (that way people can make their own decisions on whether to "risk it anyway")

I'd personally love to see "how to spot a bad buyer" (since I usually stick to just doing commissions rather than buying them), though I'm sure "how to spot a good commission artist" would be useful to others!
Jun. 16th, 2007 05:51 pm (UTC)
Jun. 16th, 2007 11:05 pm (UTC)
Spotting a bad buyer is really hard though, cos so many of them are wonderful at first and then become huge dicks after the commission has been established. I've cancelled more commissions than I've done because of people who ass-kiss at first, then become really fricking pushy.
Jun. 16th, 2007 06:24 pm (UTC)
The only real way to tell a good commission artist (or commissioner) is to find out how they've treated their past clients, and the only way to do that is a blacklist, word-of-mouth or some sort of feedback system.

I know in the current social climate it's considered so very wrong to do or say anything that might hurt someone's feelings (even if the someone in question has run off with a couple hundred dollars of your money) but it's the only logical way.
Jun. 16th, 2007 08:08 pm (UTC)
Yeah. I don't find a blacklist to be unethical, if it's properly maintained. (I run two now, actually.) You avoid mud slinging and name calling and just list the facts.
Jun. 16th, 2007 06:55 pm (UTC)
While I agree with martes, I think a guide would be great, but, would that generate/be generated by some sort of schema that might end up doing more harm than good for some people? Just some food for thought~ Either way, I know I'd use it :< Blacklist would be nice, too.
Jun. 16th, 2007 07:12 pm (UTC)
yeah sounds like a good idea to me
something that might help is also written contracts, or examples of, for those commissioners that like to change the agreements halfway through
Jun. 16th, 2007 08:51 pm (UTC)
Tips are always welcome, though they could be controversial.

The aforementioned payment issue is a big one, but smaller things could be controversial too. Personally I'd be apprehensive about people who don't type (speak) English well, some might consider it unfair to people who's first language isn't English but I worry that they might not know what they're getting themselves into (or feign ignorance for example when it comes to payment).
Some will happily take commissions from the under aged, personally I wouldn't risk it.
Jun. 16th, 2007 08:55 pm (UTC)
Also, people who are born deaf frequently have very poor writing skills. I didn’t even realise this myself until I experienced it online, and it by no means reflects on the person’s intelligence or intentions.
Jun. 16th, 2007 09:01 pm (UTC)
It doesn't -always- reflect on people's intelligence or intentions, but in my experience it often does. Most of the crazy fanboys, art thieves and trolls I've had all shared the same poor writing skills.
Maybe I've just had more bad experiences than most but in my experience the deaf and (not self-diagnosed) dyslexics (the real ones often use a spellchecker anyway) are the minority.
I don't blame people who are struggling with the English (or in my casealso the Dutch) language but I am apprehensive. And I'm not sure you can blame me, in an almost purely text-based communicative medium your first impressions will be made by what and how you write.
Jun. 16th, 2007 09:04 pm (UTC)
By the way I did not know about the fact that deafness affects writing skills, that's very interesting. Thank you.
Jun. 16th, 2007 09:26 pm (UTC)

Sounds great actually. It would be interesting to see what many people's viewpoints on what they look for in commissioners/artists are.
Jun. 16th, 2007 09:34 pm (UTC)
I think it would be very helpful to maybe list the etiquette that's involved the commissions. More so for the 'new' commissioner. For example, seeing the sketch before money is payed. Which this may be included in the guide you are talking about. I think it may be helpful for people that don't very often, or have never commissioned someone for art. I found myself a bit confused on the standards of commissioning when I started requesting commissions.
Jun. 17th, 2007 01:27 am (UTC)
I'm not sure I'll be telling people the right and wrong ways to go about a commission, because I simply don't think there is an ideal way. But I certainly will offer more personal tips at the end which might help newer buyers/artists understand the etiquette involved.

A good point, thanks 83
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 17th, 2007 01:25 am (UTC)
That'll be one of the first things on my list, to be sure!
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )


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