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How long is too long?

This is the first time I've ever felt compelled to post here, and basically wanted to ask for advice before I went and made a formal posting. I've commissioned an artist back in August of 2009 (got the final details worked out, payment 1 of 3 sent, 'officially' got the ball rolling - I was trying since January to get the details hammered out to get to that point) for a picture. I am being generally vague as I am just providing background.

Anyway, the first two months roll by, and I send a status update query to her - just to see if there was something holding her up from making any progress on a preliminary sketch, get told that she had some personal things happen in her life, but was going to get the prelim done for me within a week, so I felt satisfied enough to send the second part of the payment, figuring it would only be a few days before I saw a rough draft. Another month passes, so I send another status update query, get told that she has been busy with school and life in general, but would get on it soon. Come December, send her another status update query, get told that the holidays are around, but come student break she would bang out the commission, sorry about taking so long. Get to about Christmas time, contact her to make sure she has the right address, and that she doesn't need anything in case she might have lost any of my references, or any of the descriptions (it has been, after all, quite a while since a description was written or address was given - and at least four months since the official gears on the project started turning). Got a reply that she felt guilty - would finish it by Christmas.

Now, here we are at the 30th, and I have not seen even the roughest of rough pencil sketches - so I am wondering if I've been had here, did I do something wrong, or do I just simply got to give it more time? In the past, I have commissioned other artists and the work has usually been done in a timely fashion or I knew ahead of time it was going to take a while. I'll be the first to admit that I can't expect someone to work through a family emergency, school assignments, or the like - that's just not fair, reasonable, or very nice. I guess I am just worried that the climate of commissioning has changed and I am behind the times.
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Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
puppetmaker40
Dec. 30th, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC)
Just so it's here. I got rid of a comment that was spam and not at all germane to the question that has been asked.
puppetmaker40
Dec. 30th, 2009 04:41 pm (UTC)
August 2009 or 2008? 2009 is not that long ago but 2008 would be a long time to wait.
thaily
Dec. 30th, 2009 08:01 pm (UTC)
I dunno, 4 or 5 months without even a thumbnail? That's not too good :/
celestinaketzia
Dec. 30th, 2009 09:39 pm (UTC)
Agreed. That is a long time to not even see a rough thumbnail. They take not even a few minutes to do if only to get the general idea of the commission across.
synviver
Dec. 30th, 2009 04:45 pm (UTC)
Personally, I wouldn't have sent the second payment without proof of progress. That said, I also wouldn't tolerate that kind of delay from any commissioned artist without a damned good reason for it.

Honestly, how long is too long is up to the person commissioning the work. If you feel it's been too long, then it has. If you're willing to continue giving benefit of the doubt and let them keep making excuses, then by all means do so. I do think that the artist has been less than professional in not offering at least prelim sketchwork for you to look over, but that's my personal take on it.
allykat
Dec. 30th, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC)
If it were me, I'd not be too concerned just yet. Depending on when in August it was that's been only 4-5 months. It feels like a long time I'm sure, but depending on how large the commission is 6 months and even a year can be perfectly reasonable.

BUT, that's six months to a year for a completed image. I'd be a little troubled too if I hadn't seen a sketch or anything at this point. Rather than provide any details to A_B, however, if it were me what I'd do is just proceed with caution. I wouldn't send the last payment until I'd seen significant progress and I'd keep very, very good records of any correspondence between myself and the artist.

If it starts to be so long as six, eight, nine months without so much as a doodle... then I'd start A_B proceedings. (After having given the artist one last chance to either show some progress or tender a refund of course.)

Edited at 2009-12-30 05:09 pm (UTC)
cissa
Dec. 30th, 2009 10:10 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't send the last payment until it's DONE.
stormslegacy
Dec. 30th, 2009 05:16 pm (UTC)
Sketches can take a little while depending on the commission (I've had a commission before that took a while to work out the composition. That said I had pages of thumbnails, mock-ups and studies to show the commissioner.). Four months without even a thumbnail would really bother me, tbh.

Are they new to commissions and is it there normal method to send progress pics? If not, she might be an artist that likes to bang it all out at once, I used to be like that before I learned how to work multiple projects at a time.

growly
Dec. 30th, 2009 05:47 pm (UTC)
It is pretty unusual to go that long without contact. I'd check their FA or DA or whatever and see if they have a queue and see where you are in that queue. Otherwise I'd ask for an ETA on the sketch and if they refuse to set a deadline or if they don't stick to it, I might be concerned enough to ask for a refund.
spiffystuff
Dec. 30th, 2009 06:53 pm (UTC)
Well, one question I have is whether you've discussed deadlines with the artist. It's not really "professional" but hey, there are a lot of amateur artists and they aren't bad people, but they might lose track of time if you do not make it clear they need to finish up already.
From what I'm reading it's been 4 months - that's too long to wait for a rough sketch IMHO unless you were told ahead of time of the wait. I would write them saying that you appreciate they are busy but you'd really like to see the ball rolling or get a refund, IF that's how you feel. If you do not care about how long it takes, then don't ask for a refund, just state that it's been 4 months and you'd really like to see some progress by ___ (another month?)
leahtaur
Dec. 30th, 2009 06:54 pm (UTC)
I think it's time to bring up the option of a refund if a sketch can't be provided. Her communication seems okay at least, so see how she responds. It may give her the kick in the butt she needs to at least get started, and once that happens, the rest might come easily.

I can be slow myself, so to me it sounds like she's a procrastinator more than anything else. Continue being as polite and civil as you have been in your post, mention a refund, and I think you'll get results of SOME kind.
onesteptwo
Dec. 30th, 2009 07:10 pm (UTC)
I kind of want to know why it took so long (January to August) to actually agree on something? Was the artist just not communicating, forgetful, what?

You might have had your glimpse in to how this was going to be right there and should not have continued.
(no subject) - fenris_lorsrai - Dec. 30th, 2009 08:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
the_lest
Dec. 31st, 2009 12:30 am (UTC)
You shouldn't have sent the second payment when the work for the FIRST payment had not even been done.

Also, consider the time it is taking just to get the prelim done. If each section of the work - prelim, inking, colouring, or whatever else - takes as long as this first section has taken, how long do you expect the entire thing to take in total?
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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