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I want to ask something from all you fellow artists.

What do you do or what in your opinion should artists do when they finish a commission (anything like a painting, a fursuit, a plushie) and then the commissioner says that he or she doesn´t like the piece?

I mean, this is a case when there actually isn´t anything "wrong" with the art. You completed it in fair amount of time, you followed deadlines, you followed references, but the commissioner just doesn´t like it and starts blaming you for bad customer service and being a bad artist because you did "better" commissions for others.

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Nov. 4th, 2009 04:34 am (UTC)
Collect all relevant information, be polite and professional, make sure you did your best, try to work out something amicable to both of you even if it means a bit of a compromise on your part... then if you can't resolve the issue, escalate it to here. :D

As long as the work is of appropriate quality for the price, is what was agreed on, and within deadlines and you've been professional, then there is no excuse for bad behavior on the commissioner's side just because they liked other people's commissioned works better or for some reason doesn't like theirs.
Nov. 4th, 2009 04:34 am (UTC)
I keep a strict policy. I always digitally color my outlines first, just to make sure the colors are right, and I warn the customer that once s/he approves the coloring I will not redo it. It's even in my T.O.S, so if a customer suddenly turns around and doesn't like it I can point them to my T.O.S and be done with it.

If you feel you've done the art to the best of your ability than point it out to the customer. They paid you for your artistic skill, they shouldn't expect more than that :)

That's my $0.02
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 4th, 2009 04:46 am (UTC)
wait WAT. that's not even in the same fucking ballpark!
(no subject) - spiffystuff - Nov. 4th, 2009 05:00 am (UTC) - Expand
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Nov. 4th, 2009 04:36 am (UTC)
Well first I would like to know if the customer had any updates on the progress of the image. If the the customer wasn't given say, any sketches to approve for a full colored piece then that's bad on the artist. However if the commissioner did get to approve sketches and other stages of the piece then honestly, unless the artist went completely against what was agreed on then the issue is likely that the commissioner just wants to get away with something or is just not possible to please.

Of course there are always other situations and usually it needs to be viewed on a case by case basis so this is only a general thought on the matter.
Nov. 4th, 2009 11:22 am (UTC)
In my case it was actually a fursuit. The commissioner came to try it on two times before it was finished so he saw it twice when I was still working on it. I also showed WIP photos of it. The commissioner also came to pick it up in person and didn´t complain at all when he saw it. He started to complain later.

Also, the commissioner wanted to give me artistic freedom. There were no ref sheets and stuff.
(no subject) - ryunwoofie - Nov. 4th, 2009 01:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - azuredoragon - Nov. 5th, 2009 10:36 am (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 4th, 2009 04:38 am (UTC)
When someone buys a commission, they're not buying a finished product and therefore they aren't getting a "love it" guarantee. They are buying an unforeseen creative interpretation of their concept and if they happen not to like the finished produce, c'est la vie. You can't get into their head and know exactly what they want, so it's caveat emptor. The customer knows this, or they should.

So what is your obligation? Absolutely nothing. If this person goes public with their complaint, just leave the art in question up in a public place and "let America decide". If you're being honest with yourself and there's truly nothing wrong with it, you won't have anything to worry about.
Nov. 4th, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
agreed. In some ways, you could compare it to cases where a film company makes a movie based on a novel, and the writer of the novel does not like what was done with it. But they agreed to it, they signed the rights over, tough luck.
Nov. 4th, 2009 04:39 am (UTC)
I would say that perhaps doing something small to make up for it would suffice or a partial refund. However both of these things while I suggest I am sorta against. For all you know said person that commissioned you(you as in general) could be trying to get more art out of you or get more for less. Let them state their reasons of why they are dissatisfied and then it is up to you to decide if they are warranted.

Also to avoid this I would suggest showing each stage. I have my commissioners approve a sketch before I ink and if they are satisfied with that, then their shouldn't be a problem

Nov. 4th, 2009 05:24 am (UTC)
This is exactlly what good artists do, sketch and show, each step
(no subject) - animehoneybee - Nov. 4th, 2009 07:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 4th, 2009 04:48 am (UTC)
It really depends. I always show commissioners a sketch before I finish it. If they approve that sketch and suddenly complain when nothing's wrong with the art, they're obviously hoping to get free art from a refund. I'm not falling for that, so I'll tell them upfront that I'm sorry, but I did my best with what they gave me and they're going to have to deal. I get payment upfront nowadays, so I don't have to worry about them not paying me because of it, at least.

Now, there are some artists out there who don't offer WIPs. I really don't like this and will usually ask if I can see one before anything
is completed because for whatever reason, these artists are usually the same ones who don't pay attention to what they're doing and get all sorts of stuff on my characters wrong. I end up either having to just deal with something I paid for that barely looks like my character or asking them to change something that's finished and hope they aren't unreasonable about it. WIPs are so important! I resent artists who don't offer WIPs just because something is smaller, too. Sure, it may be just an icon or a badge or something, but it's still money I'm giving you and I still want to make sure I get something I'm going to like.

Basically, your problems can generally be avoided with WIPs. You'll get scammers sometimes, but learn to just brush them off.
Nov. 4th, 2009 05:01 am (UTC)
Honestly, I'd be a little more assertive and tell this commissioner you can't start to fix anything if they don't give you /EXACTLY/ what they don't like.

I've had a few people that piddle around and go 'I don't like this, but..I can't figure out why', and I tell them I won't play games, if they want me to make changes, they have to pin down exactly what's wrong, or the commission is over, I'm not going to put time into a million changes to see if they might possible end up liking it anymore.

If they can't really give you what they don't like, then I'd say they just want to see if they can wiggle extra work out of you.
Nov. 4th, 2009 07:23 am (UTC)
Nov. 4th, 2009 05:04 am (UTC)
I don't think I've had many issues with commissioners that were to the point where they just absolutely hated what I made for them, save for one, and it was fursuit-related. After that one experience, I started to notice a trend with unhappy commissioners.

It seems to me that sometimes when a problem is found by a commissioner, and you present a solution that they are not happy with (like you don't want to refund them the full amount while they get to keep the commission rather than send it back, as an example), they then proceed to pick out every single thing they possibly can about the commission that they don't like; as if trying to convince you that they hate the whole thing when originally, it was just one small problem that they had. "This marking is off by two centimeters," or "this fur is longer than what I wanted," or "I see a stitch on this glove," etc. Suddenly, the entire commission is completely soured because you won't do exactly what they want when an issue arises (like issue full refunds without the item being returned, or remaking the item completely without some sort of compensation for your efforts). I'm all for customer service and keeping my commissioners happy, as well as fixing issues that may arise when they receive their items. But I can't stand how some people go from having a small problem with the item to EVERYTHING is wrong, just because I'm not willing to send a full refund or remake the piece from scratch or something.

There are exceptions to this, of course (like nurseniknak's situation). This has just been my observation when I see these sorts of situations arise. I'm sure both parties are at fault, but it's important that a solution be found that EVERYONE can be happy with. If you make changes to a costume for free numerous times, and in the end, the person still isn't happy, then that's too bad. I mean, what can you do? You can't keep reworking something that the person obviously isn't going to ever be happy with. You can't always please everyone (but it's still important that you try in the beginning when the problem first comes up; just be fair to both the commissioner AND yourself).

I don't know if that made sense, I'm just sharing an experience and observation. :\ Good luck to you!
Nov. 4th, 2009 08:06 am (UTC)

I also know the quality of your piece is reflected in how much time you give an artist: EG, IMing them EVERY DAY to 'see progress' will get you a crappy piece, versus someone who lets you take your time, because people don't like to be annoyed in general, and will get away from the source of the annoyance as fast as possible. Naturally sometimes shit happens, an artist has an off day or something, but they still spent their time to complete a commission which you paid for, so asking for your money back isn't acceptable if something is really custom(EG: Non resellable).

If they really don't like what you did for them, ask why. if they give you something drastic that you couldnt' have forseen, like i don't know "Oh I hate forest backgrounds", ask why they didnt tell you in advance. If they say something like "I don't think the quality is up to par with your other stuff", go get five impartial people to decide that(not friends, work colleagues). If they agree it isn't up to par, a partial refund may be in order, if they say it is, then the person is being picky and they can sit on a stick.
(no subject) - the_lest - Nov. 4th, 2009 03:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ikirouta_fox - Nov. 4th, 2009 11:32 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - ikirouta_fox - Nov. 4th, 2009 06:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 4th, 2009 05:07 am (UTC)
"it depends"
I don't really have much of the story here nor can I see the pic in question. It would really help to be able to see your general gallery and the piece in question. One can sometimes "follow refs" but things just don't turn out looking good.
Another question is how the overall interaction with the commissioner has gone - whether the commissioner has been polite and nice or demanding and cheap the whole way.
The third major thing I don't know is whether you sent them any WIPs (if the commission was even large enough to merit WIPs - a $10 icon might not)

No matter what I don't think they have a right to DEMAND compensation, but if they have been reasonable and you don't think they're just trying to get you for extra art or money, I personally would consider a do-over or a partial refund.
Nov. 4th, 2009 05:27 am (UTC)
I say from the get go what my procedure is. If its a $5 sketch then they get what they get, it is their responsibility to give me a good ref. For something in the 30$ range I allow for minor edits to the finished piece after I give it to them, but don't hang around/ email it back and forth while it is in progress since I hate waiting, haha. For a larger commission ($70-100+) I confirm every step, since they are paying a bit and I don't want to gyp them. I haven't had any problems and I've done a lot of commissions.
Nov. 4th, 2009 05:28 am (UTC)
I agree with Loba. This is why originals are often more expensive than commissions- you're guarenteed to like it. If you had that guarentee with a commission (which is a custom piece of work) as many people here are suggesting you should, you should certainly be paying much more for that commission. Custom work thats absolutely to your liking? That sounds like its worth more money to me than just some original not made for you. Commissions should stay as something guarentee-less, especially since no guarentee can actually be truly lived up to.

I don't think that getting approval on multiple steps is practical- it postpones things. I offer WIPS, but after the sketch is approved, they only get to chance very minor things at the end.
Nov. 4th, 2009 05:30 am (UTC)
Oh- not to mention, if you try to prevent this problem with WIPS, you just end up with a customer who makes a billion little changes. Not practical.
Nov. 4th, 2009 05:47 am (UTC)
I'd say if you offer WIPs, limit it to three changes max, then start charging after that.
(no subject) - lurkerwisp - Nov. 4th, 2009 06:01 am (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 4th, 2009 05:42 am (UTC)
I would say it's a tricky issue, because there are times when it's fair to be dissatisfied, and there are times when it's not. From an artist's point of view, I would ask the commissioner to say what was a problem with the commission that makes it fall short of their expectations. Is the lineart wonky? Is the coloring rushed? Chances are, if the artist really is at fault, then it shouldn't be -too- difficult to figure out why. If you're still having trouble pinpointing why your customer doesn't like the image even after that, I'd recommend locating someone impartial to take a look at the piece and compare it with your other work; an unbiased source should be able to tell you whether it's consistent with your typical quality or not. But the most important question is one you need to ask yourself and be totally honest about: did you rush through the picture? Did you take shortcuts while drawing it, or get sloppy? Even if your buyer can't quite name what it is that bugs them, if you as the artist are aware that you shortchanged your customer, then you absolutely have an obligation to make up for that.

There will, of course, be some customers who express dissatisfaction to try and take advantage of you, but hopefully you'll be able to sort out them from the ones who have fair and valid issues with the drawings they're receiving.
Nov. 4th, 2009 05:51 am (UTC)
I actually warn you that there are some famous scammers who work this way, specially during the sketch phase, they will be all nice during most of the part.. but then...they will ask for a ridicoulous ammount of changes over some insignificant stuff. then act all "pissed" for your "bad service" and want a refund so they could run away with who knows how many free sketches.
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