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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 03:13 am (UTC)
Tips are always nice, but they should always be unexpected too.

The only reason the price should change after the initial agreement's been made is if the scope of the project has also changed (i.e. multiple redraws, etc.) because of the CLIENT'S demands, not the artist's.
Sep. 26th, 2009 03:53 am (UTC)
It's the artist's mistake and any attempt at guilting you into sending more money is wrong.
Sep. 26th, 2009 04:03 am (UTC)
As a professional artist, I will always accept tips for commissions, but my quoted price always stands. I will not ask for more unless you ask for more afterward (this is what contracts are for).

Feeling a little guilty for not being able to pay what you think the work is worth is fine. But know that if the artist closed the sale with you and you paid what you could, that piece of art has gone to a good home and you will treat it better than someone who could easily have afforded it. A good artist knows this.

Just don't spread the low price around. Let the artist set the price for their next piece on their own.
Sep. 26th, 2009 04:30 am (UTC)
Things like this kinda are a case-by-case thing. I had commissioned someone to do plushies for me, and when they sent it out, the shipping was a little more costly than they were expecting since the plushie came out a little heavier than expected. Although they didn't require it of me, they did ask if I would compensate them for the extra shipping charge. I know what it's like to send out packages and be surprised by how expensive it can be. So I paid them the extra money, as well as a little more as a tip, since they had rushed my order for a friend's birthday. Something like this I wouldn't see a problem for paying a little extra.

Now for your first case with the statue, I'm calling bullshit on the price estimate being wrong. You buy your materials before you work on your commission, and how much was spent on it becomes apparent then, not when you FINISH the commission. Sounds like to me they were just trying to squeeze you out for extra cash, which is dickish of them.

The second case however seems more of an honest mistake. Paying for the extra work may just come down to if either you might have been too vague on what you wanted. If you stated clearly you wanted non-animated, then don't feel obligated to pay them the extra cash. Personally, if it isn't too much of a price difference, I'd probably tip them when I'd get the money.

If you weren't clear enough, I'd pay the extra when you can. If you were though, I wouldn't worry about it.
Sep. 26th, 2009 06:14 am (UTC)
IMO on the statue: They figured out labor cost on a sort of per hour deal.. and realized they worked on it too long to get their 'normal' rate. So saying they broke even was just a way to guilt them into paying more.

So yeah, I agree, total BS. It makes me sad. I don't even estimate shipping until the project is done unless specifically asked, and I still say it's just an estimate.
Sep. 26th, 2009 05:21 am (UTC)
I agree with pretty much every comment on here. If the artist add stuff - whether it be details, time or upgrades - then it's their miscalculation and not in the hands or responsibility of the client.

Unless it's paper products or something that would be easy to ship cheaply, I keep shipping separate from the commission. I personally don't think it's fair to make clients who live really close pay for as much shipping as someone living really far away, especially if they're close enough to just pick up the product themselves.

I think you are completely within your right to stick to your original agreement.
Sep. 26th, 2009 06:36 am (UTC)
With the statue guy, I'd give him a tip, if not back then, then some where down the line. If he was that much of a joy to work with, then its worth it.

The icon chick, well, it isn't your fault that there was a mix up. I wouldn't make the difference, since its not what you ordered.
Sep. 26th, 2009 07:01 am (UTC)
I am an artist and I have sold myself too cheap many times. But I have never demanded the commissioner to give me extra money. Because I think that when I agree about a price with a commissioner it´s kind of a promise or a contract and it´s not the commissioner´s fault if I undersell myself. I have tried to learn from my mistakes and sell the next commission with a higher price. I think that changing prices in the middle of a commission process is not a nice thing.

I have once commissioned an artist who demanded extra money after the commission was finished. I paid it but was not happy. I think that it´s very unprofessional.
Sep. 27th, 2009 03:06 am (UTC)
Sep. 26th, 2009 11:07 am (UTC)
I experienced this from the artist's side once, I got carried away with a commission and told the customer "If someone asked you what you paid for this, please tell them you paid X" to try and stimy people from going "But that guy only paid X for that kind of work!"
He ended up tipping me and I thanked him for his generosity. But had he not? I was the one who got carried away/under quoted my price and I wouldn't have had any ill feelings towards the guy.
But tipping is always appreciated, even if it's sometime after the transaction was concluded.
Sep. 26th, 2009 11:08 pm (UTC)
I was thinking this too! It also prevents the same person from coming back and complaining that "It cost Y last time!" if they want a new one.
Sep. 26th, 2009 05:04 pm (UTC)
Agreeing with posts here. On the other hand, if you think the guy deserved a tip, wait until you get some money and then send him one! :3 I think donations are generally appreciated.
Sep. 26th, 2009 08:51 pm (UTC)
The only time the price should go up is when the -client- specifies changes that were not part of the original agreement. Otherwise the artist has to suck it up. The client should not pay for the artist's mistakes.
Sep. 27th, 2009 05:33 am (UTC)
When you commission someone, you're entering into a legally binding contract. The ONLY time that modifications can be made to contract are when BOTH parties agree to them BEFORE beginning the extra/modified work. If they choose not to get your agreement (which would create a new contract), then they run the risk of being in the wrong and doing those extra things to their own detriment.

Don't feel guilty because of someone neglecting to stick to the terms agreed upon, and don't allow another party to bait&switch or hold your art hostage. It would be the same as a contractor refusing to finish the work on your house unless you paid more money. It's extortion.
Oct. 3rd, 2009 11:01 pm (UTC)
I just wanted to say you all have certainly made me feel a litte better about commissioning artists--in that it seems I just had bad luck.

I've had this specific problem happen to me twice. One person who I commissioned started getting really busy while they were in the middle of my project. Some of the other people that commissioned her after she had begun work on mine were paying a lot more than I was, even though the price I payed was the price she quoted me, and decided I wasn't paying her enough. She only gave me a half finished piece and refused to refund any of my money. The other just refused to give me what I had payed for until I gave her more money because she took more time and put more effort into than what she had expected.

And with those particular pieces, as any other, I didn't nit pick about how I wanted one thing done a certain way and this another. I just told them the basic details of the subject and asked them to go at it--I like artists I commission to be creative with things and do it in their own style.

So it's not like I ask them to make a bunch of changes, unless its something blatantly wrong from the base details I gave them, like specific colors I want or markings/defining features that I originally told them I wanted in it.

This all happened over three or four years ago (I was much younger then and didn't know I could do anything at all about it), but since then I haven't commissioned anyone that I don't know personally in real life, which leaves a limited selection, or have known for a long time.

This is out of four artists that I have ever commissioned that I didn't actually know in person or have known for years (and one of the remaining two just skipped out with my money completely). I had believed that this was fairly common.

If this does happen again (if I decided to give it another try), is there any more I can do about it than post who they are on some boards or try to research them before hand to see if they're trustworthy or not?

Thank you very much.
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