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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.

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( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jun. 10th, 2009 12:58 am (UTC)
I've noticed a lot of artists have a policy that includes making changes needed but they usually have a clause saying excessive changes will be charged for.

Changes in things like if they ask for fur and change it to feathers I'd charge for honestly. They need to be sure of what they want before asking for someone to draw it.

I'd put up a rule in your commission info that if clear and well written descriptions of what they want drawn isn't given that you have the right to interpret as needed. I mean if that seriously has become a problem.

I hope some of this makes sense.
Jun. 10th, 2009 01:01 am (UTC)
I'm pretty clear up front that I allow three major revisions to a sketch before I charge per each new redraw. That seems to really keep 'tweakers' from showing up at all.

I've really never had anyone try asking for additional characters or full redraws after the sketch is okayed.

Maybe you need to write it out when you offer work? I don't think potential commissioners will see this as unfair or offputting, if they like your work enough, rules like that won't scare them off.
Jun. 10th, 2009 03:51 am (UTC)
Ditto. Once they know they have to pay for revisions, they are also much better at putting into words precisely what they want from the get-go. I've had next to no experiences with tweakers (I do hope this word catches on XD) because of it. :)
Jun. 10th, 2009 01:04 am (UTC)
It's always a good idea to write a revisions policy, something that gives examples of what you consider to be large revisions that would require additional payment, and maybe set a number of small revisions you are willing to do without charge. Encourage commissioners to read this policy before they commission you, and if what they're asking for starts to come into conflict with it, refer them to it again and warn that you will start to charge for revisions. If they're still insistent on clashing with your policy, it's easier to present them with it again and call the commission off, keeping whatever you're owed for the work you've done.
Jun. 10th, 2009 01:05 am (UTC)
It's good to have a clause or something that states for radical changes, or limits the number of revisions allowed before extra money is charged.

If you paid a graphic artist at a printers to design a banner for you, they will often give you maybe 3 versions of a design. Then you would get to pick one and they will do small revisions to the piece.
They charge an hourly rate and so should you. If revisions take more than you initially budgeted for, you should be charging for every hour it takes you to get it right.

People often feel bad asking for more money, but you must remember you should never under-charge yourself or people will walk all over you.
Jun. 10th, 2009 01:08 am (UTC)
View from the other side of the table
As someone who has asked for tweaks to pictures in the past, I try to keep my requests within the realms of limitations. First of all, I aim to be as precise as my expectations will be happy with minimally. In other words, leave as much as I can to the artist's creative vision and satisfy the basic requirement of the commission's description.

Secondly, I keep in mind that any major revisions just might not be doable - or require a redraw; so I mention this whenever I ask for revisions, that if the request will be a major hassle, for a price to be quoted or if it's not feasible, for the change request to be ignored.

Ultimately, I try to keep a flexible idea in mind of what I am looking for - allowing for a broad range of results without being disappointed. Being said, if I am disappointed - I will still *always* pay, but I just might not display it anywhere.

I want work that I commission to be fun, else I end up on artists_beware or something like that. I hope I didn't come off as a fantastic prick or something, just figured I would weigh in as a commissioner. :)
Jun. 10th, 2009 01:13 am (UTC)
Re: View from the other side of the table
You weigh in as an ideal commissioner though. Dealing with someone who doesn't ask for off the wall revisions and expects to have to give clear descriptions of what's wanted.

I've seen artists have a commissioner change half the picture after the sketch was done including changing their mind on species. That type of person is what the OP is referring to I assume.
Re: View from the other side of the table - lilenth - Jun. 10th, 2009 11:27 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: View from the other side of the table - haricotvert - Aug. 10th, 2009 05:34 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 10th, 2009 01:14 am (UTC)
If they okayed a pencil and I've inked and then they want a redraw? They pay for an entirely new image.

But essentially, when I take commissions, it is with the proviso of 'this is my style, I'll allow a few tweaks in the pencil stage, but if you want more flexibility than I am happy to provide, please commission another artist'.

Continual adds just get me charging what I do for my graphic design in 'the real world' - extra charges for the extra time. I'm upfront about this, though.
Jun. 10th, 2009 01:57 am (UTC)
Track This
If they okayed a pencil and I've inked and then they want a redraw? They pay for an entirely new image.

Augh! This has happened to me as well! They've okayed everything and then suddenly they change their mind after I'm done >:/ Its doable if its digital but pretty much a "what?" if its real media.
(no subject) - silverblue - Jun. 10th, 2009 03:59 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - poisonbatcandy - Jun. 15th, 2009 02:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 10th, 2009 01:27 am (UTC)
Easy-- create a commission policy from the getgo. It's a client/artist agreement and keeps things very clear. When someone commissions me they must agree to it-- or, rather, I ask that they read it and if they have any concerns we will discuss and amend as necessary (I've never had to amend it though, so far all my clients have not had a problem with it).

One important part is to make note of how many free revisions a client gets with their commission. For example, up to 2 major revisions and/or 3 minor ones at the sketch stage, one revision during coloring (if applicable... this is obviously easier when doing digital work and changing colors is a bit less involved). Or, whatever you are comfortable with.
I also make note that 'major' and 'minor' are at the artist's discretion. This is also up to you-- for me, a major revision may be an entirely new pose, where a minor one would be something like a slightly different hairstyle, etc.

Any revisions beyond this (reasonable amount) incurs additional charges.
Jun. 10th, 2009 01:28 am (UTC)
This is precisely why I have a studio policy that is provided to the customer at the time we agree on a commission price- it details exactly how I deal with customer relations. In it, stated very clearly, is my revision policy. basically, customers get 3 revisions to their work in progress per stage (meaning one set of revisions for pencil, one for color, etc.). Anything in excess of 3 revisions will add a price for each revision. I also have included in the policy that both the commissioner and I have the right to cancel the commission at any time. I won't normally do this, unless the customer is just being unreasonable in their requests.

But as for your original question- YES, any major revision, such as changing major details (fur to feathers, skin colors) will incur an extra charge for each changed detail.
Jun. 10th, 2009 01:50 am (UTC)
Haha I read this and thought "why would meth addicts be buying art".
Jun. 10th, 2009 01:54 am (UTC)
I also wondered the same!
(no subject) - casteddreams - Jun. 10th, 2009 02:53 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 10th, 2009 01:54 am (UTC)
Ugh. People like that soon find their way to my "commissioner blacklist". I offer three changes before I start charging by the hour. Three changes should be /more/ than enough leeway for them to decide what is wrong with the image overall and what elements need to be fixed, and usually it doesn't go past one revision. (just to be clear, its 3 full revisions given a list of what they tell me, not 3 items only)
Jun. 10th, 2009 02:08 am (UTC)
I offer two free re-draws.. which is major changes. small changes i don't charge for. anything beyond two big changes/re-draws and imma charge. tha's starting to waste my paper there, and paper ain't free sir. :|
Jun. 10th, 2009 02:13 am (UTC)
My general rule is "If you think you'll want revisions, I need your approval at the inking and color stages of the art. Past that, you're putting your faith in my work."

Since my work is digital though, changes are significantly less of a headache for me for obvious reasons. :/
Jun. 10th, 2009 03:50 am (UTC)
I hate hate HATE that last one. Commissioners who expect me to read their minds are instantly warned that I won't tolerate it and would be more than happy to refund them than to try and be a mind-reader for them. Some people get this perfect vision in their head of precisely what they want and expect an artist to be able to convey it perfectly, which is near impossible even if they ARE good at getting across their ideas.

I make it known in my commission info that I'll make 3 revisions to a work that were MY fault for forgetting, or for getting wrong. After that, it's $5-10 per edit depending on how drastic it is.
Jun. 10th, 2009 04:14 am (UTC)
My revision policy is clearly outlined beforehand. I give them an unlimited number of minor revisions free of charge (like wrong eye colour, or marking is not quite right, etc. I wouldn't feel right charging for something so small), but I charge $2 for each major revision, like pose changes, or like you said, changing from fur to feathers.
Jun. 10th, 2009 04:22 am (UTC)
I tend to be rather open when I comission people (Usually handing them several reference images of the character, and saying 'Draw this character'). I've had one time where I asked for a small change (The characters eye position and a minor expression tweak), but this isn't anything big.

Pretty much what's been said here numerous times, set up a revision policy. Minor edits would be okay, but don't hesitate to put a finete limit on it (Since, as mentioned, some people thend to be tweak happy).
Jun. 10th, 2009 12:16 pm (UTC)
I'm the same. I can't really imagine being so anal about stuff. I commission an artist cos I like their style and want their interpretation of my (very loosely described) idea.

I think I've only requested a few tweaks in my time... Couple I can remember recently was the jaw on on pic was a bit too square and bloke-looking, and where the artist put items on the right/left of the character as you looked at her, not the character's left/right.
(no subject) - jennadelle - Jun. 10th, 2009 12:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
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