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A few sincere questions...

NOTE: I do NOT intend to stir drama with this, it's just a question that's been on my mind and I was wanting some advice.

Basically my question is this: How long is too long to wait patiently on a commission?

Most if not all of what I've commissioned in the past has been completed in a year. A year I feel, is pushing it, but understandable if things are happening in a persons life that make it impossible for them to work.

However the question of " How long should I wait?" seems to be different depending on the artist from what I've seen here. Is that true? Does one person gain more time than another due to reputation verses another?

And, as a commissioner is it every okay to be stern with an artist? Especially if you feel you're being jerked around? Again this question seems murky, with some people saying it's okay to do so based on an artist reputation. But if the artist has a clean reputation but is still taking months to years, is it okay to prod them a bit more forcefully to get a result?

Any and all advice is welcome and wanted, thanks!
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( 40 comments — Leave a comment )
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Sep. 16th, 2009 12:10 am (UTC)
At this point, I'm a little tired of waiting for a certain commission I've made, and I've actually contacted the artist several times asking for when I might be able to expect a return on my investment, to which the artist says, "I'm sorry it's taking so long, I'm waiting on these sketches to get finished by my friend before I can color them," and at this point, I'm about to let PayPal know I'd like my 20 dollars back.

Another has told me that, due to his backlog, I can expect "something" to be shown for my commission by October 1st.

I'm holding the first to another two weeks before I completely bail, and if nothing is shown on October 1st, I'm taking my money back from him, too. I don't think it's right for artists to go "Hey I need money, I'mma take commissions even though I've got a number of them on the board already so I can pay this month's rent off money paid upfront!"

Pisses me off, sometimes. But I am kind of an impatient businessman.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - djmethodist - Sep. 16th, 2009 02:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - haricotvert - Sep. 16th, 2009 05:47 am (UTC) - Expand
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Sep. 16th, 2009 12:23 am (UTC)
I think there's a fine line between being stern and being rude. It's okay to set due dates, but I know that if someone took a harsh or even passive aggressive tone with me, it'd get them booted right off my list and into a refund (though not all artists are as upfront and responsible enough to do this, depends on who you're working with). Same goes for the frequency of contact. Once or even twice a week is tolerable. Every day is not.

So. I guess it depends on what you mean by stern/forceful?

Sep. 16th, 2009 12:34 am (UTC)
Same. I take a long time with my commissions, but for that, you get full paintings for rock bottom prices. If I'm lax with communication, I don't mind a nudge - (I get busy, I forget sometimes. I'm human) but anyone being demanding/rude gets a refund posthaste.

I also would note that I see a lot of people saying 'you shouldn't take money if you're not going to be professional about the transaction' from the customer end of the transaction. As an artist, I feel like my customer has some responsibilities towards me, and being polite is one of them.

If you didn't set a time line with the artist, an email asking for one is not out of place. If you did, and they haven't met it, then asking for a new one is also perfectly OK.

Not saying you (the OP) are being rude, or even inconsiderate by asking! I think it's great for people to run things by this community before sending out emails.. saves everyone from looking like jerks. =)
Sep. 16th, 2009 12:34 am (UTC)
You're the customer -- it's your money. You have the power to negotiate the terms, but it should be done up front, before agreeing to hire the artist. If you leave it up to the artist, well, then it's up to the artist. Some haven't learned to manage time yet, or have other demands (work/school/family) that take priority.

If they're not feeling inspired to do your commission and keep putting it off -- and keep putting you off -- they're just not behaving professionally, and you should try to gracefully end the business relationship. Suggest a specific deadline: "It's been 6 months, can you finish it by the end of October?" If they agree, say "OK, please let me know if you won't be able to meet that deadline." Then if they don't deliver by November 1, you're quite within your rights to cancel the job and expect a refund.
Sep. 16th, 2009 04:20 am (UTC)
I agree with Petercat. :)
Sep. 16th, 2009 12:39 am (UTC)
up to six months for anything around fifty to roughly a hundred bucks is okay. After a year i get annoyed longer then a year its shake down time. Since many artists say this is their bread and butter i find it kinda unprofessional for the starving artist to take two years to finish less then a weeks worth of groceries in dollar amounts. For a more detailed expensive piece im willing to wait longer but beyond a year unless your told your in a line of commissions. And by buying a commission slot you knowledge the delay. For me generally speaking usually a year is as long as my patience cap waits. I start getting annoyed really bad as 2 years comes up three years for 80 dollars of art is UNACCEPABLE. It really depends ont he terms of the agreement and if they told you and give you valid reasons for a long wait ie a line. But my sympathy runs out as People who do this as a JOB need to realize i cant take three years to do 80 bucks worth of work on the job or id totally get my ass FIRED. I generally poke once a month or near the rough time they say its to be done. The longer it takes the more i start poking So far I've only been tempted to put one artists Name up on here as a warning. I just dont want the drama backlash.
Sep. 16th, 2009 12:53 am (UTC)
As an artist, I will be honest and say we are still human and can accidentally get back-logged or have forgetful moments. It's not professional, but it does happen. As the commissioner you have every right to make inquiries, but as a previous poster said there is a difference between being stern and being rude. Granted if the wait has been over a year I think it's about time the artists started to see more of the 'rude' side. You paid for the product, you have every right to have it delivered in a fair time!
Sep. 16th, 2009 01:04 am (UTC)
I know that it seems like a bad idea, but my wait-times are why I don't accept payment until I'm done sewing. Life happens, pattern and technique progress happen. If I'm not happy with how something is turning out, I WILL redo it. Sometimes, I'll put something on hold if my current techniques won't give the results I want. I'd rather fuck up one of my personal projects than risk ruining something intended for someone :
Sep. 16th, 2009 01:33 am (UTC)
If we're talking about plain old art (rather than plushies, suits, and other things that will take longer), I would think it's inappropriate for it to take longer than a few months to get it done. I have myself never spent over one month on any one piece of art (although my style is ont as detailed as some so I don't know if that's a good indicator).

I believe that iff an artist has a lot of people to draw for before he/she can work on your commission, it's inappropriate to take your money. I personally never take money from someone until I am ready to begin their art, and would never pay an artist for a commission until they're ready to start drawing it.
Sep. 16th, 2009 02:03 am (UTC)
Ive taken up to a year for a commission, but it was a full color painting. It depends on the situation and what exactly you commissioned and also, what the artist's circumstances are. Before commissioning an artist I tend to like to know what to expect in terms of turnaround. Is this person a student? Do they work full time? These are contributing factors to how long you can expect.

Waiting a year for a badge, for example, I feel is unacceptable, but if an artist is taking longer than scheduled it is their responsibility to contact you and say as much. I always keep in contact with my commissioners whether they email me first or I periodically check in with them.

If a commissioner is displeased with the amount of time I am taking with their commission, I offer a refund or partial refund if work has been done. I don't think that's a lot to ask.

So, in short, checking up on an artist periodically (ie: not every day nagging them) is acceptable. If you've given them ample time to create a piece, relative to the size and medium, then you have every right to ask for a refund or be increasingly more stern with each point of contact.
Sep. 16th, 2009 02:14 am (UTC)
Well my artist went past the dead line.
And flaked out on me.
Paid 700.00 up front then sent all the fur too.
Then shoes fan,s for the head duct tape dummy but I was the dummy.
For being to nice out 1000.00 plus and have nothing to show for it.
I can not trust her she has lied to me a few times.
It was 89.00 dollars to ship to alaska 2 times.
She needed money so I was helping her out letting her do my first suit.
Bang my head into the wall trying to trust any one.
Rhavvy you should have dont the right thing me your first fur-suit commission.
Sep. 17th, 2009 02:51 am (UTC)
um. if you have an issue to report with an artist, you should make your own post about it. with more information than that. posting it in someone else's thread isn't going to be of any help to anyone.

and this isn't a poetry comm. you don't need to hit enter on every sentence.
Sep. 16th, 2009 02:17 am (UTC)
4-8 weeks max for my work (unless it's something that's going to take 50+ hours alone or I'm absolutely swamped, then it might be longer).

Each artist varies, some turn it out fast, some take forever. I suggest any commissioner should say when they want it by, I for one actually find it easier to work with a deadline, without one I tend to procrastinate.

As for being stern, being blunt is fine with someone like me, other artists not so much, so it depends on the artist. But be sure that you don't come across rude or aggressive.

Edited at 2009-09-16 02:21 am (UTC)
Sep. 16th, 2009 02:58 am (UTC)
Really depends on the artist, as others have said. Some work slow, some work fast, some have full time jobs and some don't. The amount of time you're willing to wait is really up to you, and varies from person to person. I've waited upwards of two years for a commission (and we're talking a little rinky dink $30 thing) but that's just me, I like surprises.

As far as communication, be simple - "Hey, if you can't get this piece done by such and such a date, I'd like to get a refund instead." I can't imagine that would upset too many people.
Sep. 16th, 2009 03:03 am (UTC)
Fully depends what the commission is - a tiny sketch is not the same as a large painting. The Sistine Chapel took 5 years :D
Sep. 16th, 2009 03:08 am (UTC)
If no one sets a deadline I try to make the turn out under 2 months. If someone does give a deadline I can get an image done by then no problem. I actually feel people who don't set a deadline, know you have a bunch of other commissions and then choose to complain when you aren't done in a week are a little out of line. Though, I do put in my contracts that if there is no due date specified a person will probably need to wait within a certain time frame (such as a week to a month).

I feel it's perfectly acceptable to use force and get stern if:
a) Someone doesn't deliver by a deadline
b) An artist has poor communication
c) An artist is uploading art they have done recently that isn't commission work and after weeks still hasn't even touched your art
d) A number of other CRAPPY things and artist can do...

As for a SET time, I don't think there is one. It's up to you to set a date with an artist if you want something done by a certain date. For myself? I think a wait time of a few months is acceptable. Bordering on years or deadlines is where I draw the line. The longest I have had someone wait for a commission was a year and a half but the entire time I kept very good communication with the customer. They understood the situation and were fine with the commission taking a while. So... it really depends both on the artist and the commissioner when you should draw the line. Some people are far more impatient than others, some artists take more time than others.

Also, being stern with an artist is NOT a terrible thing. Would you be upset about being stern with your Credit Card company when you feel you've been wronged? Would you be upset about being stern with a Car Salesman when you just don't want him to go in the 'back room'? No. As long as you're JUSTIFIED in being stern then it's well within your right. Making a scene for no reason is another story....

AND as the person above me said it all depends on the commission
A large detailed commissions will probably take MUCH longer than a sketch, some people draw slower than others etc. It all depends. To avoid any surprises just do your research on the artist before you commission them.

Edited at 2009-09-16 03:10 am (UTC)
Sep. 16th, 2009 03:28 am (UTC)
I'm wondering this myself. Part of me is torn between the fact that I've spent a fair amount of money, and the fact that I know how hard it can be to produce art.
Sep. 16th, 2009 03:49 am (UTC)
I'd tell ya, but I've currently got some a few over a year which I've frankly given up hope on... Expensive ones too that I've been told 3-4 times 'expect something next week' >.>

Sometimes you can know these things depending on the artist.. but once in awhile it just hits ya out of the blue.

Edited at 2009-09-16 03:50 am (UTC)
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