I took this character design commission a few months ago and recently completed it. The way I work is by asking for your "must haves" and then working around them.
I have to admit, I knew something was up and that this girl had a little bit of a special snowflake syndrome when she had someone else note me about her commission. She requested that she send the money VIA snail-mail (I almost never accept this method, but she seemed dead set on this commission and it seemed like it meant a lot to her) and it arrived after quite a bit of a wait. But the notes had already started pouring in. Almost constant "Is it there yet? Is it there yet?" Seemed sort of okay to me, though lightly obsessive. I'd be worried about my money too.
But then this guy gave me a NOVEL of a note detailing every single aspect of this girl's being. All of her friends writing a few paragraphs for her and other insane stuff. I thought it was a little bit bonkers, but it didn't really keep me from beginning work after I had the cash. I started off with this sketch here. And as you can see in her comment, she seemed really happy about it. But the note she sent me afterward said otherwise. She started nitpicking my anatomy, and wanting things done like a perfectionist. None of it was good enough. It was slightly annoying, but I went with it. I studied up a little on bear anatomy and came up with this.
I really wanted to be sure that the markings would be okay. She said this was JUST FINE. Everything "thrilled and excited" her, apparently. Her friends kept nitpicking me. And some even noted me. Frequently. She also felt it necessary to tell me EVERY single comment that she received by posting MY art to other sites. I felt like she was putting all of this on display and letting people openly criticize me. At times it felt she was ASKING them to come and bother me because she was to scared to do it herself. It was unpleasant to say the least.
So time passed and I finally got the time to sit down and complete the work. I showed her a WIP. It wasn't good enough. And you know, I understand a commissioner wanting a tweak or two, but she was wanting a re-do a lot of things we had already gone over. She was expecting the markings to "be more complex" even though I had already shown her the markings and she had previously approved. She hated the colors, she wanted the braid "moved behind the ear" (wtf, like it wasn't there to start with) and screwed around with. I told her that if she kept making these adjustments it'd cost her. I realized that this girl was NOT going to be happy if I just went with the flow and designed things without her input to verify that she liked them. Like I usually do. Not to mention she openly compared my art to Ellakins's, showing me her art and saying "I want the markings to be like this, blahblah like her's".
So I came up with a new color palette: http://www.colourlovers.com/palette/457246/Bears
She approved. I came up with different flowers because the ones she selected were fugly. I chose these: http://infomotions.com/gallery/ucla/Images/DSCN7183.jpg
She changed the feathers to kookaburras because I insisted that the Rainbow Lorikeet feathers clashed with his current colors. Cool.
I came up with new markings and shared them with her asking for her approval before I began colors: http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y180/Makime/dunewip2.jpg
I did a rough color and asked her if she liked the markings and color placement: http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y180/Makime/duneexample1.jpg
I stayed polite and professional while she acted like the jerk who harasses a waitress over and over again until they're finally satisfied. And I didn't even get a 50 cent tip. Well, she was finally satisfied. So I thought.
And then this happened: http://comments.deviantart.com/1/91838550/784092354
Blood shot through my eyes, I promise you. Firstly because I know Citrius told her what we had discussed and likely told her to make this comment. Secondly because she's dead wrong and I haven't been treated with such disrespect since I worked in catering. We're now trying to finalize her commission so I can get on with my life.
So artists, do beware. This girl's money is NOT worth the time, harassment, and general emotional discomfort you'll experience. She's the worst commissioner I've EVER had. It's ridiculous how much stress she and her posse will put on you. Take my advice and just avoid this girl.