I am Wolfie83 on DeviantART, and I commissioned DerSheltie on DeviantART because I admired his wonderful artwork and envied his talent. I am from Sweden and DerSheltie is from Japan. We communicated in English because that is our common language, though neither of us are perfect at it, as you can see in the correspondences.
On 28 May 2009, I started talking to him about a possible commission through comments on his DA profile. He had no price sheet, terms of service, or any information about commissions at all in any of his journal entries (I think I was one of the first people to ever commission him). Here is a screenshot of all the comments (I have put arrows next to everywhere that we discussed pricing):
So then, a little while passed, and I got a note from him with a pre-sketch, asking if I was still interested. Here is the conversation:
From this conversation and the previous one, I thought he had accepted my offer of $20 - $30. So, on 27 June 2009, he posted the finished commission to DA. I loved the picture, even though he had left off my character’s signature eye-scars, and got the eye color wrong, but I asked if he could change it, and he said that he could, and apologized for getting that wrong (that part of the conversation was in the comments on the DA picture, which are now hidden). In the meantime (before he made any changes), I sent a payment of $25, which was in the price range that I thought we had agreed on earlier.
Here is the conversation from the completion of the commission (before revisions) to the payment:
DerSheltie also did the corrections I requested, though I was not able to open the download page. I asked him if he could email the file to me, but since the problems started right after this, he did not email the file to me or help me access it. Here is the conversation about the revision file:
The following link is a continuation of the note conversation above (I’ve quoted the last thing that was said), which started after I had sent the payment. This is where the problems started:
So, I sent the payment, and DerSheltie refused it.
I’m not that good at English, so I thought maybe I said something wrong or missed something. I made a journal on DeviantART (seen here: http://wolfie83.deviantart.com/journal/25644045/ ) and showed our conversation in the notes, to ask if I did something wrong. I removed derSheltie’s name from all the notes. However, he commented on my journal in such a way that everyone knew who it was that I was talking about.
Later on, in different arguments with different people (all of which can be seen in my DA journal), he told someone else (he never told ME this, but told someone ELSE afterwards) the following:
If she paid $30, I would bear.
$40, I would compromise.
$50, I would be satisfied.
Actually I have requested jobs several times. The price that the opponent suggests were sometime over $100 per one work.
For example, I received $500 when I accepted this three logos.
Link to full comment: http://comments.deviantart.com/5/25644045/1114081914 So apparently, he deliberately made artwork that he thought was worth about double the amount that I offered him and that, I believed, he had approved.
In that comment, he also says:
Surely several points of that trouble caused by my ambiguous way of saying. I should think there are people who can't understand others' delicate expressions.
So he knew he was being ambiguous, but got angry when I didn’t pick up on his ambiguity, even when neither of us are native to English and really, neither of us are all that great at English either.
According to some of the comments on the deviation itself, he says he expected me to pay more because he assumed I was not a student and had a job, because of my age. Here is the string of comments:
He changed the image to be his own character (that doesn’t bother me), but what does bother me is what he wrote in the description (as of 8 July 2009), which can be seen here:
Here is the link to the picture on DeviantART: http://dersheltie.deviantart.com/art/Indomitable-Wolf-127404330
I don’t think I can do anything to change this person’s mind. But I think I am right (please correct me if I am not) in warning others not to trust this artist with commissions. He doesn’t say his expectations, speaks ambiguously, and treats his clients with disrespect for not playing his guessing games.