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sakarataryn's post below reminds me to post here, just in case some of you missed her brief mention of one of the most annoying commissioners ever, Ksilebo. I searched this community back 400 entries and have seen no mention of his name, but once I finished a commission from him and posted the art in my journal, I was astonished by the number of my friends who said "UGH. I don't do commissions for that guy any more." I just wish I had known it earlier, because I probably won't be bothering with him any more, either!

I can only speak from experience, so I will. Here are the reasons I found him to be so frustrating, which all sort of come down to poor communication on his part:

If I sent him an email asking three questions, at best I could expect half an answer to one question at a time, if I heard anything at all. I would have to nag him over and over if I wanted to ever hear an answer to anything. I am talking at least three emails and asking him over a messenger before hearing "the sketch is okay, but make the feet bigger." If you don't harass him, you will probably not hear an answer. For example, when he first emailed me, he basically said "I'd like you to draw my Hexadragon" and I replied immediately with "here are my prices, what kind of commission would you like (i.e. sketch, digital drawing, etc)?" I never heard back from him, so I assumed he was no longer interested and I went on to other commissions. A FULL MONTH later, he emails again saying "what's the deal? Aren't you going to take my commission?" He still didn't tell me what kind of commission he wanted until I pestered him again.

He is not clear about what he actually wants. In my case (and everyone I know who has taken a commission from him) he asks for YOUR interpretation of a Hexadragon. He will give you some guidelines about the numbers of eyes and legs and toes and so on, but tells you that all the other details (such as coloration, markings, spikes, wings, whathaveyou) are all up to you. Sounds fun, right? When you sketch up a rough draft and show it to him, he will tell you to change stuff. "I don't like the face." "I don't like the pose of the tails." "Make the feet bigger." He will tell you to make it more generic. More cliche. More like a traditional dragon. So actually, he's not really asking for your ideas at all. He is asking you to draw an idea he already has in his head, but he won't tell you what it is. I wound up having to start my drawing over from scratch three times because he didn't like them (though for the record, one of those times was because I misread an email and thus was my own fault.) Finally I just drew something really boring and he was satisfied.

In the end, with enough nagging, I DID get my payments, so it's not like he ripped me off or anything. And for the record, I'm sure Ksilebo is a great guy, and I'm sure there are some artists out there who have had a fantastic experience with him. Personally, though, I wish I had never taken his commission because the irritation alone wasn't worth the price of the commission in the first place.

My advice to anyone who hasn't been commissioned by him yet is either refuse him or make sure that the price is high enough to compensate you for all the time and effort you will waste just trying to get some clear information from him. Be prepared to wait at least a week, maybe a month before getting payments or replies. Make sure you establish in advance that you will only make changes to the drawing x-number of times before charging a fee, or that you will charge a fee per change and a larger fee if he makes you draw it over again. Also, don't bother being creative and save yourself a lot of heartache by drawing something boring from the beginning, because apparently that's what he wants.
Artist's beware has moved!
Do NOT repost your old bewares. They are being archived.


( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 16th, 2008 06:47 pm (UTC)
Ugh, one of my pet peeves is when I ask a list of questions and only get answers to 1 or 2 of them in response. Then I have to ask again...and again...and again...

I've never been commissioned by Ksilebo, though.

I hate sketching the most out of any art process, I think, because it's harrrrd for me. I can't imagine resketching a commission 3 times.
Aug. 16th, 2008 08:26 pm (UTC)
damn that icon
(no subject) - starcharmer - Aug. 16th, 2008 08:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mistresswolf - Aug. 20th, 2008 06:52 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - starcharmer - Aug. 20th, 2008 06:54 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 16th, 2008 06:55 pm (UTC)
From both posts i'm getting the impression he has plans for all these commissions he's asking for. I looked through his favs on dA and it just seems like he's getting enough variation from different artists.
Someone made mention of this feeling in the other post about him, but it just seems odd. Or maybe he just likes to commission people and give them a hard time.

Either way, i feel for you and sakarataryn. Though i probably will never get this particular pain, i do have one that is a serious thorn. -_-
Aug. 16th, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC)
I honestly think it's just some sort of fetish.
(no subject) - shiftergoddess - Aug. 16th, 2008 07:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 16th, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC)
i have had a few issues with him.
him asking me time and time again to draw for him.
And me telling him, After he pays me, I was even willing to take half and half.
It took me about 2 months to get my final payment, and this was after i saw him commenting on a friends journal for a commission, and publicly asked were my money was.

theres a few other things, id rather not go into on a public post.

But if your going to deal with the dude, Get all your money upfront
Aug. 16th, 2008 08:05 pm (UTC)
THIS. I was commissioned by him for two pieces. I worked on the first one, and while he was okay at answering questions it was pulling teeth to get him to pay. In the end, I only got half of my payment for the first piece, and I never even worked on the second because I was so upset (and rightfully so).
(no subject) - thisbloodybone - Aug. 17th, 2008 10:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - megkillssugar - Aug. 18th, 2008 12:11 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rah_bop - Aug. 18th, 2008 01:07 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thisbloodybone - Aug. 18th, 2008 02:13 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 16th, 2008 07:47 pm (UTC)
Took me about eight months or so to get my payment from him for 2 full color Hexas I did for him and then another year (just got it about 2 weeks ago) for payment for a sketch of another Hexa. D: From now on it's payment up front or bust.
Overall though he hasn't been a pain to me and isn't a bad guy. I don't mind him and schedule permitting may still work with him in the future but he can be slow on payments is all.
If you feel revisions are too excessive, charge for them. It's extra work and time and so ya should be compensated for such.
Aug. 16th, 2008 08:25 pm (UTC)
I've never had any problem with ksilebo (except pronounciation of his name!) but I always get cash upfront with my commissions anyway.
Aug. 16th, 2008 08:35 pm (UTC)
I dunno, I hear a lot of people have problems with getting payment from him when you charge in halves. Personally, I think with anyone, that is not a very reliable method of payment. People ask for commissions when they have the money to buy it, if you take half of that money now and tell them to wait till later to give you the other half they might not have it then. That, in and of itself, is a problem in my opinion and you will eventually have a problem with it somewhere down the line.
Anyway that is what I have to say about that.

About Russ himself, yes this is his fetish, so of course he is going to be picky about it which understandably causes people frustration. If you don't want to draw someone's fetish don't take commissions from Ksilebo. However, he pays well and is always willing to commission more if you are up to it. As far as him telling you to change everything, yeah he does that. It doesn't really bother me, personally, because after all he is the one paying me for it so I am gunna draw what he wants in the end. Unfortunately that is the business of freelance work, I am not saying you are a wimp for complaining about it, but that is what some people do, and Russ is one of those peoples.
Personally, he pays what I ask for without complaining (which is more than a lot of furries can do and I need the money) and treats me like any other boss would so I don't mind him.

Some people can't handle him, that is cool, if you are not patient enough to deal with him then yeah, probably best to avoid him. Sorry you and so many other people have had bad experiences with him D: And I didn't mean to come off as pushy or know it all in this comment, I am just trying to share how it is with someone who he commissions often.
Aug. 16th, 2008 08:56 pm (UTC)
the one thing that always got me, and the poster mentioned.
Was him asking for a commission, and then never paying for it right away, or even replying. Taking that as him being uninterested.
But then emailing me a month later asking when i was going to start on the art he never payed for.
(no subject) - airukitsu - Aug. 20th, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - daughterofhavok - Aug. 16th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nambroth - Aug. 17th, 2008 02:24 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 17th, 2008 03:53 am (UTC)
I've done a request for him before a few months ago, and I do talk to him on AIM off and on if he feels like messaging me, rarely does the discussion of art comes up.

He seems okay, a little nitpicky and treated the request like a business exhange. But I've delt with worst requesters.

He did send me an email with all the information and a gallery of his commissions. Originally I was going to do a feral hexadragon, but he did not want that, though no sketches were made.

I followed the directions, except I made the hexadragon's second set of arms backwards. He checked out the sketch, didn't like that particular feature, and that was quickly changed. The drawing was finished in one night.

He told me via AIM he loved the finished product, though he never bothered faving or even commenting on the picture on DA.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - tech_rex - Aug. 18th, 2008 02:44 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ksilebo - Aug. 19th, 2008 09:42 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tech_rex - Aug. 19th, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ksilebo - Aug. 20th, 2008 02:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 17th, 2008 11:49 am (UTC)
It's stuff like this, things that require multiple changes, that I have been working on writing up a terms of service for my commissions that pretty much says I decide wether or not to charge for a change and how much it will be. None of this '1 change free and 30$ for the additional changes' for changes that result in taking more time than the initial sketch.

He's kept saying he wants to commission me, has for a few years now, I've always declined either for reasons not concerning him or for reasons specified. Course I've been open for pixel icon commissions and he hasn't taken me up on that so whatever. Would be nice if he were more clear :|
Aug. 17th, 2008 05:01 pm (UTC)
Hmm, I had mixed results from him...

I was commissioned for 2 hexadragon paintings back in 2006, and Anthro (http://windseeker.deviantart.com/art/Anthro-Hexadragon-34200796) and a Feral (http://windseeker.deviantart.com/art/Feral-Hexadragon-36533990) each $40 a piece. This was, if I remember correctly, the first really big commission I'd ever done, and didn't specify a payment method. I talked to him frequently through IM and had no problems recieving details on what he wanted. Overall he seemed pleased with my efforts.

The problem though was, I finished the commission in July 2006 and did not recieve payment until January 2008. I, at that point, was not expecting to be paid, so I was very surprised when I recieved payment in full at that late date.

I'd simply suggest for anyone commissioning him to require payment upfront.
Aug. 17th, 2008 10:56 pm (UTC)
What IS it with that guy and the FEET. He commissioned me...going on 3 years ago now...and that was the one thing I NEVER seemed to get right for him. Fortunately in terms of payment and feedback I didn't have too much issue. Of course I did his commissions in traditional media and told him he would not get the originals until I had money in my paypal account. I gained most of my feedback from him over IM at the time so they were quick but I will agree there were FAR too many I had to make, and I don't even remember how much I got paid...but looking back on it, I know it wasn't quite enough :/
Aug. 19th, 2008 09:41 am (UTC)
So, I'm going to respond to these...

1- For whatever reason, email communication just broke down. Either I was busy or it got flooded by other emails. No idea what happened there.

2- I am not an artist. I try, but fail constantly. My Tablet PC, Intuos 3, Pantone Huey, etc. don't make up for lack of talent. I seem to be mostly unable to convey the image in my head to get what I would like. When I ask for a commission, I try to get something out of your imagination, and usually, 8 times out of10, I love it and want to continue. That's totally my fault, and I never have a problem if you want to charge extra for my indecisiveness.

3- I simply forgot to send off the payment. If its in passing by an IM and I was busy, it falls of my mental stack into oblivion until you remind me. I'm working on a better system for tracking this on my end.

I'm just going to open it up, and try to fix this. I can't resolve issues that I am unaware of, and I want to resolve them. If you don't want to take my commission, I can respect that, and move on. If I don't know why, I'll repeat whatever mistakes I've made and the cycle continues.

Hit me. I can take the criticism. I've got thick skin. I can take it.
Aug. 19th, 2008 02:05 pm (UTC)
I think my biggest frustration was that I couldn't ever seem to get a straight (or timely) answer out of you. Even if I asked you something really simple that would have only taken you two seconds to type out, I still had to email you over and over again with the same question. I know if I don't answer my emails right away I sometimes forget about them, too, so if it's something that doesn't really require a lot of thought, maybe just reply right away before getting distracted? Also, after writing a response, please double-check the original email and make sure you didn't forget to answer anything. please.

Gmail is really convenient when it comes to collecting all your emails together, so it's easy to see the exchanges you've already had with people. It's easy to look up things like paypal addresses and how much you owe.

I know that, for me, it can get awfully complicated when I have 12 different commissions going, and some people haven't paid, some people have paid in full, others in installments, some need shipping and others don't... so I write down everything in a notebook, and double-check it every once in a while to make sure everything is updated and I haven't, say, forgotten to mail something, or forgotten part of a multi-part commission. It seems like you tend to have a lot of commissions going at the same time and I can understand how that could be frightfully confusing. Maybe try collecting all the information together and figure out who you are commissioning, the status of the picture, and how much you owe. And then tape that list to your monitor.

I can totally understand that hexadragons are important to you and you want them to look how you want that to look, and that's cool. If I am doing a commission for you, I want them to look how you want them to look, too, because making you happy is important to me. At the same time, if you say "take this idea and run with it," I'm really going to do that. I will entertain myself and draw something fun. The risk is that what I think is fun is not what you think is good-looking, even if it does fit the criteria. It would save a lot of grief if you would give me a hint as to what you think is good-looking before I spend a lot of time drawing a kickass sketch that you might not like. You said to stay away from sea creatures and insects. That's cool. I could totally work around that. If there are other things that you specifically do or do not want to see -- for example, eyes in expected places, wings with really strange anatomy, robot parts -- please mention it. Otherwise, it can be very frustrating for the artist to hear "I want to see what you do" when you really mean "I want to see what you do as long as it pleases me" because we're not psychic and we don't know what you want.

Anyway, having to change stuff is not that big of a deal because you are the commissioner and are the one paying the money to have your idea drawn. And that's all good. Having to change stuff over and over can be a little irritating after a point, but not nearly annoying as having to plague you with emails and never hearing back from you. I do appreciate the fact that you were willing to pay for the changes, though. I really honestly do.

Thanks for being understanding and hearing me out.
(no subject) - ksilebo - Aug. 20th, 2008 02:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 24th, 2008 07:54 am (UTC)
talk about getting the guy wrong. XD
Aug. 24th, 2008 08:47 am (UTC)
How so?
(no subject) - synchra - Aug. 24th, 2008 04:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
( 35 comments — Leave a comment )


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