I'm posting a general warning regarding a commissioner who goes by Silver Frostpaw (firstname.lastname@example.org). He commissioned me for two con badges back in May of 2009, but when time came for payment he attempted to drop off the radar (with mixed results).
Silver emailed me on 05/15/2009 asking about commissions. I was not actively advertising at that time which I found odd, however since I was always in need of extra cash I took on the project. At first he was not sure what he wanted. I sent him examples and quotes, and he eventually settled on two "deluxe" con badges, for $15.00 CAD each plus shipping/Paypal fees. He informed me that he and his boyfriend would be attending RMCF in August and would need the badges before then. I assured him that I would have them completed and shipped before then.
First email (05/15/2009):
Hezzo *pawwaves* I was wondering if your were happening to be open for commisions of con badges at this time... FA is being retarted and wont let me see so ^^
My reply (05/15/2009):
Yes, I am most definitely open for con badge commissions! I'm offering two types right now:
((... insert descriptions of different commission types here...))
Thanks very much for showing interest in my artwork! If you would like to commission me, please drop me a line at this address with any reference pictures or descriptions you might have. It'll be a pleasure to hook you up with a con badge!
Silver replies (05/16/2009):
Awsome, so I'm going to be needing two, one of my character, and one of my mates... I'll send you the particulars when I get paid this week. I've got my mates character description but I'll have to send ya mine too ^^
My first mistake was eagerly getting started BEFORE getting payment. Since this incident I only begin work after receiving at least a partial payment.
Communication with Silver was like pulling teeth. He was very vague about what he wanted and it was clear to me that he had not worked with many artists before, if any. He did not have any reference artwork for one of the characters and it took me two or three emails to figure out what species they were. Finally I had enough information to get started. On 05/20/2009 I receive another email from Silver asking me about progress and when he can send payment. This is promising... right?
Hey so is everything ok, just checkin in as I get paid tomorrow and wondering when ya need the moneys and stuffs ^^ Hope all is well with you and such, I can tell you on this end, WORK SUCKS ^^ Hehe...
My reply (05/20/2009):
Awesome! Work does indeed suck on this end. :( As far as payment goes, I normally ask for payment once I have a sketch for you. I'm working on them tonight, but I don't think they'll be ready to scan. :) If you're more comfortable paying me up front tomorrow that's cool too, but I generally like to show you some work before money exchanges hands. By the way, did you happen to find a pic of the uniform you wanted on your character?
Silver's reply (05/21/2009):
The one I want is the one of the left... US army patch of course ^^ American flag and the rank of PFC (Private First Class)... Same Cover (hat) Too ^^
No mention of payment. I assume he is just excited about his badges and forgot to answer my questions.
Life got a little hectic for me for the next couple of days and I did not get much chance to work on his badges. He sent me a message on 05/25/2009. Notice that there is no mention of payment in either this email, just asking about progress. At this point I was getting a little nervous.
Just checkin in as to how the commish's are coming? Hope all is well also on your end and such ^^
My reply (05/25/2009):
Things are great over here, just had a busy weekend. Don't worry, I'll have some nice scans for you soon! :D RL is a bit cruel sometimes. I've been dealing with some work stuff over the past couple of days. Having a full-time job sometimes makes focusing on commissions as much as I'd like a little difficult.
Take care, I'll be getting back to you ASAP! :)
Finally life settled down (somewhat) and I was able to complete and scan his sketches. I have screenshots of both emails:
Notice that in the second screengrab I clearly and politely state that in order for me to go any further I will require payment in full.
Silver's reply (06/16/2009):
Ok lookin over it all is good ^^ Where the rank is its actually a solid black bar, its small enough to be seen but its a 1 Lt. Also dont worry about havin him salute its ok on that one ^^ Other than that its great, I get paid this friday so you should expect payment on saturday ^^...
Thanks again, and dont worry about the time its all good, I completely get heckteckness trust me...
I put the sketches on hold until payment. Unfortunately Saturday came and went and I began to worry a little bit. I sent a polite reminder on 06/21/2009 just to make sure he understood. I did not get any response. On Sunday, 07/05/2009 I emailed him again, this time a little more urgent. Remember that he wanted these for a strict deadline and it was approaching fast.
Screengrab of my email.
The following day I happened to see that he was on Google Talk while I was checking my email. I messaged him and asked him what was up.
Cap of our convo from 07/06/2009.
He was polite as always, but I decided to stay on top of it. If he had decided he was unhappy with the sketches I did want at least some payment for the work I did complete. I was a little worried that he had gotten cold feet and wasn't sure how to proceed. That would be the last time I would hear from him.
On 07/11/2009 I sent out another email.
Didn't hear back from him, so I assumed the commissions were cancelled. That was the end of it. Since then I have not seen him log in to Google Talk. I'm feeling a little cheesed because I sketched two large-format badges and received exactly $0.00 in return.
To be clear, I am not calling Silver Frostpaw a scammer or a thief. I simply think that he was unfamiliar with the process of commissioning and paying for artwork online. Maybe he hoped that these badges would turn into gifts if we became friends, or maybe he was easily confused. I'm not sure. He was perfectly polite (if a little immature and unclear) during what communication we had, but balked when it came down to payment. Maybe he was unhappy with the sketches and did not want to hurt my feelings by telling me. I honestly don't know.
If you are approached by Silver Frostpaw for a commission of ANY KIND in the future, be sure to get 100% payment up front, before your pencil touches paper.
Thank you for wading through my wall of text!