June 8th, 2009


Hey artists_beware community, I'm hoping you can shed some light on the following:

What is the proper, or accepted, etiquette for dealing with "tweakers"?  I'm not really sure what the appropriate vernacular should be, but I would define a "tweaker" as a commissioner who continually makes changes to provided sketches, or the final product.

As the 'commissionee', I want to create an image perfect for the commissioner as much as they would like to have one but when time spent making changes far outweighs the initial cost of the piece, what's your policy? e.g. do you ask to be compensated for the extra time? do you have a revision policy?

Since the majority of my commissions are small pieces such as icons, progress sketches usually aren't an issue and it's my permanent procedure to offer to make any changes to the final piece.  However, I've started taking on larger commissions, which usually entail some kind of rough sketch before the final image for the benefit of the commissioner (which I'm more than happy to provide!).  The actual problems begin to arise when one or more of the following happens in this stage:

* The commissioner makes endless, or even radical, changes to aspects previously agreed on or outlined, e.g. change the skin from green to red, feathers instead of fur.

* The commissioner continually adds things to the initially proposed idea, such as an excess of additional props or even other characters without offering additional compensation.

* The commissioner is simply a poor communicater, and a lot of extra time must be invested to interpret and articulate their idea successfully.

I understand that this isn't something done out of malignant intentions and can simply be the result of bad communication, but when what would normally be two hours of work turns into days of dialogue and several generations of sketches it can be frustrating not to know what quite to do.