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I try to keep abreast of all the posts here, and I don't remember this discussed anytime recently (or at all, actually). But please let me know if this is a repeat.

I've not done a lot of commissioning lately, but in my past I've had situations where the artist I've commissioned comes to me with the finished product and lets me know that for whatever reason, the amount we agreed to/I paid them was not enough.

For instance, around four summer's ago I ran into an artist who made some amazing Silent Hill statues. I was horribly disappointed that McFarlane (or someone else) had not made any figures based on the movie, terrible as it was, so I commissioned this artist for one.

He quoted some prices to me, and I accepted. He was an absolute joy to work with, kept me updated constantly, was kind enough to answer my questions about his sculpting techniques, etc. However, when he presented the final product to me, he told me that he had been wrong in his estimation and that he had only broken even on the project.

That made me feel pretty bad, because this statue is just gorgeous, but at the time I was a college student who only worked during Christmas and the summer. I wasn't exactly rolling in money, and my parents still poke fun at me for dropping so much money on it in the first place.

I thanked him and praised his work profusely, but I did not send him any extra money (although looking back on it I wish I had, I'm still very much deriving a lot of enjoyment from his art). He deserved a tip, I think.

Later on, I commissioned a very famous DeviantArt artist to make me an icon. She offered still and animated options, and I opted for non-animated since I was a bit low on expendable funds.

Apparently she had gotten my order confused, because when she was done she presented me with an animated icon. I could have read her delivery note wrong, but I got the impression she would have liked me to pay her the difference for her mistake.

So, my question is, how do you feel about those sorts of situations? Would you feel responsible for reimbursing the artist for their mistake, or would expect them to honor your first contract? Would the situation change depending on your current financial situation? If you were the artist, would you expect the commissioner to pay you extra after the fact or resent them for not doing so?

All in all it's kind of an awkward situation, so I wanted to know how you would handle it.
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( 49 comments — Leave a comment )
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Sep. 26th, 2009 02:03 am (UTC)
As an artist who's miscalculated herself I don't know HOW many times... I think the responsibility lays squarely with the artist. I can't imagine ever expecting a commissioner to give me more money because I underestimated how long I'd spend on something. A contract is a contract.
Sep. 27th, 2009 02:56 am (UTC)
I agree. When I underquote- it's a learning Experience for me, and NOT the client's responsibility! Next time I'll quote more realistically.
(no subject) - starcharmer - Sep. 30th, 2009 01:43 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 26th, 2009 02:04 am (UTC)

As an artist, I'd have to say that if I underquote something? Well that's my problem then. If I accidentally upgrade a customer, that's my problem as well. But then I often randomly upgrade people if I like what I'm working on.

As a customer, I would also think that the original contract holds, a customer shouldn't be expected to suddenly cough up more money because the artist underestimated something or produced a more expensive image than the one ordered.
Sep. 26th, 2009 04:21 am (UTC)
^ This this this.

I've underquoted myself plenty of times, but I have NEVER asked the buyer for more money. It's the artist's fault. (Especially if you break even. If you don't know how much materials are, look in a store first before you just throw a random number out.)
Sep. 26th, 2009 02:05 am (UTC)
If you're really nice and have the extra cash I say it doesn't hurt o help the artists out. But all in all it's their mistake not yours. Same as when I give quotes for shipping or sculptures and undercharge. I eat the cost. It's my fault, why should you have to pay for it? I mean its nice, but its not something you HAVE to do in my opinion.
Sep. 26th, 2009 02:08 am (UTC)
I've had the situation come up to where I've made mistakes and put more into a commission then was paid for. But thats just it, it's my fault. Not theirs. I would never think of asking a client for extra money to "make up the difference" for my mistake. If for any reason they wanted to tip me, then I'd graciously take but, but never would I ask or even hint.

However on your side of things, I've run into artists who did just that: Do more then expected and ask for more before consulting with me. And generally I tell them No, unless it's something I'm greatly impressed with. (And given the circumstance, I was not only unimpressed, but it took well over a year to finish).

So...No. You shouldn't have to pay extra.
Sep. 26th, 2009 02:09 am (UTC)
Pretty much agreeing with the comments so far. If I misquote, that's my fault, not the commissioner, lesson learned and I move on.

The ONLY time I feel that it comes down to the commissioner to pay extra, is when shipping is quoted, but ends up far higher than needed, in this case it eats into the artist's profit, on a cost that determined by the buyer's location, not by the artist making a mistake.

It's /nice/ to offer tips, but in no way required. I have tipped on artists I felt undercharged, and went out of the way on commissions, but if someone told me they needed extra after the fact, I would not feel obligated to give them any unless they really did bust ass, and go above and beyond.

Sep. 26th, 2009 02:10 am (UTC)
It's only ever appropriate for an artist to charge (or expect) extra if the commissioner has required an unreasonable amount of additional work. Too many redraws/sketches/etc would fall under this. An artist making a mistake and forgetting what to create, or spending more than he/she intended on the materials? Absolutely not the commissioner's fault, and no self-respecting artist has any business trying to get anything more than agreed upon, either by hinting our outright demanding.
Sep. 26th, 2009 02:11 am (UTC)
Also as an artist, I'd say it's my fault if I misquoted a price and thus my responsibility to keep my word and finish the work at the promised price. Definitely not the customer's fault, and you shouldn't have to pay extra if the artist made an error.

On the other hand, if you feel the artist truly deserves more or went beyond your expectations and you are really happy with the work, then there's certainly no harm in tipping them or sending more as a thank you. Totally not required, but it is a possibility if you're really happy with the product and want to.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 26th, 2009 02:41 am (UTC)
Wow, that's unprofessional. If he said $110, then it should be $110.

Edited at 2009-09-26 02:41 am (UTC)
(no subject) - megumi_kitten - Sep. 26th, 2009 03:17 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - haricotvert - Sep. 26th, 2009 03:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - kayla_la - Sep. 26th, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stormslegacy - Sep. 26th, 2009 11:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cissa - Sep. 27th, 2009 03:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - stormslegacy - Sep. 27th, 2009 04:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cissa - Sep. 27th, 2009 09:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 26th, 2009 02:29 am (UTC)
I believe that it's the artist's responsibility to keep track of all commission orders and if something happens? Well that's their responsibility 8B
Sep. 26th, 2009 02:33 am (UTC)
If this artist is accidentally mixing up her orders and upgrading them, she needs to make herself a standard work order form to keep everything straight. It's not your fault if the artist screws up, pretty much like everything else people have been saying.
Sep. 26th, 2009 03:19 am (UTC)
Seconding the Standard Work Order form.

I use these for my convention orders and they work WONDERS. Especially since they include up front how finicky the client's going to be (i.e. if they want approval at each stage, or if they're just going to trust me) as well as asking right then and there if I can reuse their art elsewhere.
(no subject) - kriscynical - Sep. 26th, 2009 03:25 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sushidragon - Sep. 26th, 2009 04:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kriscynical - Sep. 26th, 2009 08:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sushidragon - Sep. 26th, 2009 08:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 26th, 2009 02:37 am (UTC)
Yup, totally agree with everyone else, especially skulldog about the shipping costs being the only exception. I find it pretty unprofessional when artists request even more for a commission after the price has already been decided and paid. I've heard stories of people who've "held artwork hostage" until the commissioner sends them additional funds. Wtf is up with that? :|

Artists are held to the same contract as their commissioners, and that includes the price of the work. If the commissioner requests more work to be added to a commission, then the contract has been changed and the artist has the right to request additional funds to cover the extra work. If it's not paid, don't do the work. If the artist does more work without first informing the commissioner, then they forfeit their right to request additional funds. It's all about communication in my book!
Sep. 26th, 2009 03:19 am (UTC)
*jawdrop* Held the artwork HOSTAGE? That's just low. Incrediably so.

It'd be one thing if the commisher started adding and adding and no I don't want that I want THIS now...but not "Oh I want more moola" from the artist!

Stuff like this kinda makes me wary of ever doing commishes. :/
(no subject) - lobotomysoup - Sep. 26th, 2009 06:39 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mistystriker - Sep. 26th, 2009 09:58 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lilenth - Sep. 26th, 2009 02:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 26th, 2009 02:44 am (UTC)
IMO, The first guy did honor his agreement. Personally I'd send him extra money later (not promise it, just do it) when I could afford it, because I liked his job so much. The second...if its their fault, then iwouldn't worry about it. Their mistake.
Sep. 26th, 2009 02:49 am (UTC)
And this is why I keep records of every commission including price, details, and what's been agreed for shipping.

I even send receipts with finished work.

It'd be horribly unprofessional to ask for more money after a the work's done.
Sep. 26th, 2009 02:50 am (UTC)
It is the artist's duty to prove an accurate price up front and do no more or less work than was agreed on. If they make a mistake, it is up to the customer, based on his or her situation/reasoning, to either pay or not pay (since you should NEVER ask for more money, as an artist; if you worked too hard, it's your own deal and not what the customer asked for).
Sep. 26th, 2009 02:59 am (UTC)
When an artists makes the mistake of putting more work and effort into something than the client asked for, that's on the artist's shoulders. If you can't keep your clients and queues straight, you can't be surprised if you end up doing more for a lower price.

As to the first situation... hm. I've been on the other side before; Just recently I finished a sculpture that took a lot more effort than I was expecting, and cost a lot more to ship than I was expecting. I only made about 60% of the price I quoted my client. But it was MY FAULT that I didn't check on the shipping beforehand, and MY FAULT that I quoted him so low to begin with. So I let it go; Live and learn.

I think it's really sweet that you feel he deserved a gratuity. If you're ever able to part with a little more scratch, I'm sure he would be pleased as punch to get a tip. I always feel good when a customer puts in a few extra bucks as a tip ;3
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