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October 26th, 2018

This is long but bear with me, I'm pretty sure I know that I need to stand firm on this but I have a soft spot for people in trouble and tend to be a doormat so I kinda need an outside opinion to help set me straight.

There's this artist I've been working with recently who is an owner of a closed species I had been wanting. Two months ago this artist posted a couple auction of two characters of their closed species saying if they were auto bought they would do two extra pieces of artwork of them, a "baby" image of them (Think like, puppy form so to speak.) and a full coloured NSFW piece of the two to the buyer's wanting. I auto bought these characters and gave one to my partner and we share the couple. They told me that they would "grind out" the pieces and would have it done soon. I joined their species' Discord as before the auction I caught hold of, they would "preview" their adopts on the species Discord before posting it on FA and I was struggling to catch an opening with ones I liked due to them being pre-claimed before I even saw them so I joined. I wasn't very active and really only talked in chat the first day and ended up quickly muting the server because it was very active. The artist finished the "puppy" photo (chibis really) and sent it to me right away but didn't give me anything related to the full-colour piece.

I waited over a week before deciding to poke them and ask if there was an eta on the NSFW piece since I hadn't heard anything. They told me they were sick and would be catching up on commissions soon. A few days later a close friend of mine was talking about how much she loved the species so I decided to go and commission a custom to give to her. I messaged the artist asking how much a custom would be and they replied with information and telling me they had posted the wip of my other piece in one of the many Discord channels (didn't @ me) so I went to look and saw it was a very rough sketch but I thought nothing of it and promptly paid for a custom which she replied that she would send me a WIP either that night or tomorrow morning which I never did receive.

It wasn't until a few days later that I found out the artist was with child, and at the point of "getting ready to burst" which wouldn't have been a problem but the artist later posted that she would no longer be working on art as she was "too big" to be able to sit around drawing comfortably. I was somewhat concerned as I wish she would have alerted me to this before taking on my commission and I started occasionally keeping an eye on the Discord for updates and she revealed a lot of personal life details and choices, along with some graphic information about her personal life and pregnancy in the Discord publicly and mentioned a lot of things that were setting off red flags such as she was going to refund a lot of old commissions she had because they had been waiting so long that her the work was no longer worth the amount she charged back then as she had "improved in quality". She talked frequently about how she planned on making adopts of the species and there was no mention of either of my commissions. She also was creating bases to sell, put up some ych's as well as posting frequently in the Discord server with a lot of personal doodles.

I messaged her once I saw she was still actively drawing and stated that I didn't really want to bother her after seeing her journal as I know pregnancy can be tough, but after seeing her post more artwork I was wanting to know what was going on. She told me that she was sorry and would send me a wip "this week" (she said this on a Thursday) but had had some personal stuff come up and that she had some financial stuff come up with her partner's job and that she was only doing the artwork to make up for that. I believe this was a lie as they had posted on their Discord channel the day before that they were getting money to buy her baby brother a birthday cake.

I waited until Monday to message her saying that I was messaging her as I did not receive anything for the second time and the next day she posted a journal saying she was currently in labour and that she would keep "us" updated. The next day she posted information about her baby publicly and messaged me to tell me about how she just had her baby and that she had to be there for three days but she would work on my commission in-between because her mother would be helping her.

I had not received any more updates since then and it has sixteen days since then. She was actively chatting in Discord and posting pictures of her baby on both FA and the Discord. I have tried my best to be patient but honestly really didn't want to continue the commission at this point as she seemed to not be stable with deadlines before she even had her child. (Which I understand is a tremendous stress on the body and I understand why she'd need time to recuperate ) but this mixed with her oversharing and attitude towards her commissioners were just too much for me. I messaged her today asking if I could receive a refund as I was no longer comfortable working with her and explained why to her. I offered that she could either refund me the amount for the work owed and I would keep what was already done or that I could give her back the characters to resell and she could give me the entire amount back. She messaged me claiming that her husband had his hours cut and that she had to have a blood transfusion because of haemorrhaging and that she already spent the money and would have no way of refunding me as she was already struggling.

Honestly I really really want to put my foot down and continue to ask for the refund but feel extremely guilty. I know she just had a child and pregnancy is a huge risk but after her flaking with deadlines, attitude about her customers and extremely personal stuff being mentioned in her public Discord I do not feel comfortable continuing with this. I've always seen the outlook on here that an artist should never spend the money until they do the commission and I honestly do know why she accepted my commission when she knew she wouldn't be able to do it and didn't even give me a heads up, and she had plenty of time to do the former commission before this even became an issue to her, and she had lied about being in so much pain she couldn't do artwork before she was in labour as well.

I really need advice here and anything would be appreciated.

Update: Fiance (who is a lot calmer at handling things for me because of my own personal issues) handled the response message for me. We are putting our foot down and have given her to a few days before the buyer's protection ends to refund us, which gives her a little less than four months. She has agreed to do the refund but didn't specify whether she wants to do the "in full" with me returning the characters for her to resell or the partial so I'm assuming she's doing only the partial. Will update if things go smoothly, if not I may have to make this into a full beware. We'll see. Thank you so much for your many kind comments, it gave a lot of clarity and made it easier to stand firm in this decision.

Update 2: The artist chose to resell the characters and has send me a total refund for both the custom and characters. Thank you all for the advice!

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