September 10th, 2003

  • martes

Advice for Customers & Artists

For customers:

Be very cautious about giving money for 'emergency' comissions. Once the money is in hand any incentive for finishing the picture is gone.

Be very cautious about comissioning people who have no track record

Do not pay full up front unless you really, really trust the artist. Nothing kills the desire to finish something like already having spent all the payment and knowing you're not going to get any more money, no matter how long it takes to do it.

Agree up front approximately how long the picture will take. Reserve the right to cancel if they take longer than the agreed time.

Do not order endless, nit-picky changes

If the agreed-on time hasn't expired yet, do not nag. It will just get the artist pissed off.

For artists:

Do not take more comissions than you can handle. If you're backed up more than a few months, stop taking commissions until you've cleared your backlog. Do not take comissions if you know you won't have time to do them.

This bears repeating: DO NOT TAKE COMISSIONS IF YOU KNOW YOU WON'T HAVE TIME TO DO THEM. Don't think--"Oh, I'll have time later in the year." You won't. You'll just end up owing a pissed-off customer money.

Do not send the customer a nice scan of the finished peice unless they've fully paid, or you really, really trust them.

When the sketch is approved and you're ready to start on the final picture, make sure to let the customer know that no more changes can or will be made.

Agree ahead of time that if the customer reneges on payment, you have the option to sell the picture to recoup your costs.


These are hard-won trueisms earned by being on both sides of the fence--trying to commission people and being comissioned. In all my years of doing this I've had only one person renege on payment (he vanished and never resurfaced) but I've been ripped-off, lied to and jerked around by a good half-dozen artists whom I've tried to comission. I'm not going to make any of their names public unless I see them soliciting for more comissions, or if someone asks for information on any of them (like if someone posts asking if "X" is a good artist to work with)
Black puppy
  • jcurtis

Get the payment first! Even if it's a best friend.

In March, I had a friend contact me because she wanted a commission for the cover of her book. I agreed to do it, and took down what she was looking for.

I gave her no guarantees when it would be done, but told her I would try my best to get it to her in time.

Then I get another call from her where she said she had many people "beg" to do the cover for her book, so what she was going to do was accept all "entries" and choose the best one.

So I decided to blow it off. I wasn't up for competition. It wasn't worth it to me.

In the beginning of April, my family was moving, and two days in our new apartment, I get a call from her saying she needs the cover ASAP.

I work my butt off on this commission for 8 hours straight that day. I hadn't any time for my husband or son. The day after it was done, I found a neighbor that had a scanner I could borrow, and I sent the image to her through e-mail.

What happens?

A day or two later, I get a call from her saying that the publisher had a better idea for a cover. That they're going to use a photograph of a real life scene based on her idea for the cover.

I was stunned. This was a very good friend of mine, who I had trusted would pay me after the work was done, and I wound up wasting 8 hours of my life for nothing!!

Lesson learned: Get the payment first, or at least HALF of the payment first so you're guaranteed something for your time.
Default Frisket


Hey. New to the group. Putting my two cents in :)

Old Gray Racoon(MjrivMike) - GREAT buyer.. great guy. He's very patient and very willing to make sure you feel good about your skills.

Cateagle - Another terrific buyer :) Friendly, understanding and makes sure that you get your school work done before commissions :)

Mossman - PATIENT! Can't describe that enough. This guy is utterly astoundingly patient! I felt guilty as it took me nearly a year to get done and he simply was delightful :)

These three people are utterly delightful to work for. They pay on time, they're understanding that you as an artist have a life. They are patient and kind and great people to talk with :D

Only one bad person, really.. that was a Rymeer. -snort- He bought a picture from both my friend and myself... He never paid CJ her $30, or my $20 :p Not a big deal.. He jus' quit replying to emails and just ditched us.. Thought it a touch rude o_o; Dun' bid if you're not willing to pay.. and don't say ya'll send it if you won't o_o;

.... I like pixie stix. (blue)

-love love-