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Feb. 6th, 2009

Firstly I’d like to say that I’m rather new at doing commissions. I’ve done trades and requests before (and loads of them) but I’ve never run into a situation like this.

A fur by the name of Whaletrainer2002 (he also goes by Marine_Wolf2008 and Firekeeper) commissioned me about a few weeks ago to do a colored pencil picture of his fursona. He told me what he wanted, sent me references, and gave me a very detailed description of the pose in which he wanted his character to be in. He also asked that I draw his character nude, though there was some discrepancy about whether he even wanted that done. I then gave him the option of doing a nude and censored version, because he was obviously nervous about his character being naked. He said that he liked that idea, we decided on a price and it was settled. He asked, however, that I wait a little while for him to be able to pay me before I start working on the commission. Around a week later he told me that he had run into money problems and had to take the commission down to just a lineart version of the nude picture, no censoring. I gave him the new price, he sent payment immediately, and I began working. That’s when the problems started.

He began messaging me every day, asking for scans of the progress and telling me what he wanted changed. He changed the pose a number of times before deciding that he wanted to go back to the original pose that he had in mind. Through out all this, he was hinting at the fact that he wanted me to color it, but couldn’t afford it at the moment. I didn’t take much notice to it and just kept working with the pose until he was happy with it. I sent him the final sketch and he okayed it, and I started inking. Later that night, he sent me an e-mail with a copy of the sketch as an attachment. I didn’t know what this was about, so I took a look at what he had sent and I see that had taken it into Photoshop and added a bathing suit to it. Needless to say, I was shocked and a little offended. When I spoke to him about it, he said that he had added it in because he wanted to see what it would look like and also so he could show his friends the picture and not feel embarrassed about the genitalia. I told him that I was okay with it as long as he didn’t post it anywhere but I asked that he not alter my work further. He agreed.

It took him about a week to realize that he, in fact, wanted me to color his piece and it took him another week to send me the remaining $3 for the coloring work. He (again) asked me to change the commission and I flatly told him no because I had sent him the final sketch and that he already approved it. Although feeling a little defeating (and sheepish, apparently) he said that was fine and let me get on with my work. I finished the lineart later that night and sent it to him, he said it was fine and I then went on to begin coloring. The next day, when I had completed the coloring work, I was about to send him the scan and let him know that it was going to be put in the mail when I find that he had sent me another e-mail with an attachment. He altered the lineart as well, just as I’d told him not to. Without saying a word I sent him the scan and I’m going to head to the post office this week to send the finished product to him.

All in all, he’s a nice guy. But he likes to be in charge, have frequent updates, and changes his mind a lot. I have nothing against him (he told me that he’s going to commission me again later this year, I agreed because I really need the cash), but all the altering and constant badgering really started to wear on my nerves. He’s also become really buddy-buddy with me, almost to an uncomfortable level. He’s gone as far as to talk about his personal life and beliefs with me, trying to change my views on religion to the point in which I had to tell him to back off a little. Had I known all this in the past, I’d have thought a little more before taking on the commission (or I’d have raised my prices to match the amount of work I’d be doing on it).

As I said before, I’m reasonably new to the commissioning scene. I don’t know if this is a regular thing, and if it is I’ll delete the post. But I figured that I’d post this in case he crosses someone else’s path in the future.
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( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 7th, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC)
You need to lay down ground rules with this guy before the next job as far as major changes, progress, etc. I usually tell my clients what stages they will see progress at so they can approve or make adjustments to it, and they can only have one MAJOR revision and it's my discretion as to what counts as major.
Feb. 7th, 2009 07:23 pm (UTC)
Make up a Terms of Service for the client to sign/e-sign before starting work.

For example - I have in mine that I will do no more than three minor changes before I start charging extra.

Some people are super-annoying and super-picky like that. Don't let them walk all over you. If you do that, you'll end up like me and not want to do commission work ever again. XD

I can attest that it's really REALLY hard when people think that because they pay you to do work, they are entitled to a friendship with you. I don't mind casual friendliness, but when it becomes more than that -like what you've got going on here with the constant contact, etc.- it's a really uncomfortable thing. -_-

Edited at 2009-02-07 07:23 pm (UTC)
Feb. 7th, 2009 07:26 pm (UTC)
Sounds annoying, but I find the less you charge, the more you'll have to deal with people like that.

I'd never come out and say "I really need the money", this reads to some less than wonderful commissions as "I'll put up with your shit, because I'm desperate for the cash".

Do you have a terms of commission page you're showing people before you start work? You might want to make one, with basic rules such as not altering the art, the number and complexity of alterations you'll do during a commission before you charge more, and so on. It'll help weed out more people like him. :)
Feb. 7th, 2009 07:50 pm (UTC)
I agree thats what burned me when I first tried to get into commissions. I quickly learned(not that I didnt know it before) how much art can take out of you and to put up with so much for so little just isnt worth it
Feb. 8th, 2009 06:00 pm (UTC)
AGREED with Skulldog.
Feb. 7th, 2009 07:26 pm (UTC)
Mmm. I wouldn't say this sort of thing is exactly "normal" but it certainly happens. I don't think it quite makes them a "bad" customer, if you're willing to put up with it. Always a good idea to know where your limits are, and not be afraid to clearly (if politely) tell someone when they start to cross the line. If he's too buddy buddy, you are not obligated to be his friend. Also good to have a TOS clearly stating your terms (ie, "2 free redraws, then it's $x extra for each, no free redraws after inking has begun", etc)
Sounds like you handled it perfectly. If you feel like raising the price on his next commission, do so. He'll probably whine about it but just be polite and firm that he needs to pay XX amount to get a commission from you. (don't make up BS excuses as to why, but it's up to you if you want to tell him the truth, or a nicer version of the truth, ie "I put a lot of extra work in to your commissions")
Feb. 7th, 2009 07:27 pm (UTC)
Like the others said, make sure you have a Terms of Service sort of thing written out, and make sure you write exactly what you will and will not do, what things will cost extra (such as more than X amount of revisions), at what point you will no longer do revisions, how often you will contact the commissioner, etc. That way, if someone starts getting annoying like what you experienced, you can just point them to your ToS and tell them to either abide by it or find someone else to bother u_u.
Feb. 7th, 2009 10:07 pm (UTC)
I have dealt with people like this, especially someone who has not only repeatedly changed their mind, but actually taken my work into photoshop and totally redrawn it limb for limb, with every limb in a different colour. Apparently to emphasise where I was going wrong, or maybe just because they were obsessive compulsive? Either way I ended up pulling out my ToS, cancelling the commission and refunding them for work not done based on harassment and communication difficulties (like you he was sending me multiple messages every day asking for changes).

But I kept some money back to pay for the sketch art and refined lines I’d already done. I felt rather bruised and upset by the whole affair, but having a ToS gave me something to fall back on.

Here’s mine. Feel free to use it as a template but please don’t copy/paste it word for word. It’s served me well over the years:

Also, consider raising your prices a bit. There is something about very very cheap commissions that attracts a certain kind of person. Either ones that overestimate the value of their $1 and take you for a ride, or those that think your desperate . . . and so take you for a ride.

As you handled things I think you did a good job. Knowing where to draw the line is always good for your mental wellbeing, workload and bank balance. Good on you C=
Feb. 7th, 2009 10:49 pm (UTC)
how disrespectful..
it may be wise to ditch clients like him. .Here, read this article. It tells toy the different types of clients and how to work with them.http://freelanceswitch.com/clients/12-breeds-of-client-and-how-to-work-with-them/ as well as others on this site. It's full of valuble information and resources.
Feb. 8th, 2009 12:45 am (UTC)
Firekeeper's actually a good friend of mine. I know he can be open about his personal life and stuff, but I don't think he'd mind you politely asking him to stop. He showed me some progress on this commish, but I didn't know he was going through all this hassle with you. Firekeeper's a good guy at heart; no one's perfect. ^^;

I agree that you need to set up rules and/or Terms of Service.
Feb. 9th, 2009 12:07 am (UTC)
I also have the same process as a few artists above. The client has five free changes. Afterwards, I charge $5 per change. It's nothing but a waste of my time and a waste of the people's time who are waiting in my queue. I tell my clients to know what they want before they commission me.

I understand that once you see the sketch, you may have a new great idea, or not like your original idea, so you want to alter it. That is fine and understandable, which is why I allow up to five free changes, but yeah... after five changes it's just absolutely annoying and a huge waste of time, so I charge them fees.

The only time I will make multiple changes for free is if I made a mistake on the sketch, such as not getting the hair quite right, or making a mistake on a specific marking, etc.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


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