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Commissioners not giving much info?

I'm extremely sorry if this has been posted before! I tried to check, but I'm pretty tired and may have missed it.

What do you do if a commissioner doesn't give tons of info, then asks for changes to a sketch, inks, etc? Though I get asked mostly during the sketch stage. I know that when it isn't a big deal, especially on a sketch, you might as well just do it. But what if it's something bigger or you don't have a lot of time on your hands?

What I mean is, let's say they ask for something specific, like a pose. You asked for a ref picture since you weren't sure what they wanted. Instead they say they could just describe it, but not say much about it, then don't like what you sketched.

Or, another situation, they ask for specific colors or clothes, then change their mind later.

If I'm not making too much sense, please let me know and I will explain differently.

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( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 28th, 2010 07:51 am (UTC)
If they start out saying "I want this pose/clothing/colours" then change their mind after you sketch it, I would likely charge a fee unless it was quite easy to fix. I have a max of 3 changes anyway before I start charging for revisions ($8 each).

If you don't think they are giving enough info, you just need to press them for it. And if they still won't and then complain, have it in your terms that you can start charging them. I offer 2 full resketches then charge $15 a time after. Make it clear to them that the more detail they provide, the closer you can get to what they want, and the less chance of incurring extra fees.
Aug. 28th, 2010 08:00 am (UTC)
I'm pretty much the same as above. I do make a point to say "When I asked for info, you said _____, and it's not really my issue if you've changed your mind"

I offer 3 changes, then a 5$ fee (i should probably up that to 10$ sometime soon) for each change after
Aug. 28th, 2010 08:10 am (UTC)
On a sketch, sure. I ink after the sketch is approved, so I don't make any significant changes after or during inking. Colouring I can only change if it's digital, so no go there either without (quite a lot of) additional payment.

If they want a lot of changes you need to charge extra and tell them to wait longer for the additional work to be done.
Aug. 28th, 2010 08:21 am (UTC)
I tend to coax it out of them as much as possible before I even put pencil to paper. Comes with experience, you learn what you're going to need later as far as descriptions go.

*edit to add*, depending on the piece they get a certain amount of free changes in sketch phase. I take in on a case by case basis or based on the size/price of the commission. Pretty much if I keep asking them for details and they won't give any, and then they say its wrong I will remind them of what they told me so they know what I had to work with. Usually that will result in a very sheepish "I'm sorry you can leave it as it is" or "I'm sorry just this change and then it will be fine" or they'll pay for more changes. Generally I've had good luck with just being honest that hey, I need all you can give me in order to give you what you want.

Edited at 2010-08-28 08:23 am (UTC)
Aug. 28th, 2010 10:26 am (UTC)
Lot of people have a "___# free revisions" policy, after that they charge. I think that'd work well in this kind of case.
Aug. 28th, 2010 12:51 pm (UTC)
As others were saying above, I'd charge an extra fee after a certain number of revisions.

I used to get this issue a lot, but I've since started using commission forms (you can make 5 free ones on Formsite.com and it's really easy) where they have to fill in all the fields and I make them required so if they try to leave one blank and try to submit the form (which gets emailed to me) it'll tell them they have to fill it out first.
That way it's harder for them to be vague.
This is what one of my forms looks like:
Aug. 28th, 2010 05:09 pm (UTC)
Have you ever had commissioners complain about your form? I made up my own form a while back and the first two commissioners I asked to try it out seemed intimidated by it, even though yours demands more info than mine.
(no subject) - xylophagous - Aug. 28th, 2010 05:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Aug. 28th, 2010 12:55 pm (UTC)
If they want something changed insist on specifics, like a reference image for the pose or the hex code for the particular colour. If they're being vague when they obviously have envisioned something specific for what they want it to be it's really not helpful. I think sometimes commissioners don't realise that artists aren't mind readers =p
It is best to just politely explain that reference images are best as there's less room for error when you have a visual aid.

As for me I've never had to charge for revisions because I've never had anyone who wanted anything altered drastically, just minor tweaks. Most people either allow multiple revisions during the sketch phase but once it's inked don't change the lines, or allow only X revisions, and the only exceptions to these are when the artist has got something wrong about the character.
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 28th, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC)
Oh no worries, I do have rules about each stage in a commission. But I've just heard from people that when it's just a small or easy change, it's better to do then not. Good customer service, ya know? But I wasn't sure what to do if it's worse then that.
Aug. 28th, 2010 03:00 pm (UTC)
I charge 'em for major revisions, charge 'em after a certain number of small revisions.

If they couldn't be clear, they need to cough up the dough for changes. If I'm not at a salaried company, then they don't get to treat me like it, lol.
Aug. 28th, 2010 04:02 pm (UTC)

if they ask for a change to a sketch, that's fine. no big. just don't let it get too ridiculous; if there are a lot of revisions you are within your right to ask for more compensation, i think.

i am more firm on changes made to something completed.

i recently had a customer i ended up refunding, partially, because revisions were continually asked to be made on a completed project. they approved the sketch, i completed the work, and *then* they started asking for changes. i did charge extra for revisions but after too many i realized i just wouldn't be able to do what they wanted after all.

tl;dr sorry
Aug. 28th, 2010 05:06 pm (UTC)
I have a commission form that I've been trying out. Apparently, asking for all the information you'd need to make an accurate commission confuses most commissioners. It's frustrating because I look over the form and it's all stuff I need to know, so I'm not really sure how I can change it to make it more friendly. It's all stuff I'd have to ask them at some point.. why not get it up front?

You can use formsite to make a form for your commissioners to fill out. Otherwise, the other commentors have given good suggestions. Just don't let yourself be taken advantage of!
Aug. 28th, 2010 09:38 pm (UTC)
You could always do a sample form, fill it out for your own character so that you can show them what it should look like, and give them an example of the type of thing you are looking for. It might also make them feel more at ease to know that the person they're commissioning has done the form too. I find it can sometimes help. :)
Aug. 28th, 2010 07:03 pm (UTC)
Typically, if someone doesn't give me enough info or reference to work with, I'll ask if they can give me a bit more, usually specifying details which they didn't expand on so I get a better idea of what they want. Saves time dealing with revisions and whatnot later.

If the client is particularly anal about things and wants a ton of revisions, I have been known to tack on a few extra bucks just for the additional labor. I've never really had anyone change their mind so much that it made them impossible to work with but, if I did end up being commissioned by someone who just was never satisfied with what I showed them, I'd suggest maybe I wasn't the right artist to work for them and maybe they need to look around for another who can better address what they're asking for.
Aug. 29th, 2010 07:57 am (UTC)
With my commissions I have instated a 'change fee'. I ask that commissioners give me ALL required info in a note. If they leave something out of the note that they ask me to change later, then the fault is their own and not mine. So...I ask them for a small inconvenience fee to change their commission (note that I usually don't bother with a fee if it's still a sketch).

I do animated icons (and larger animations) so it's a REAL pain to change things once animation is completed. So my fees can be a little steep (in some people's opinions) as much as $5-10 extra for a change.

That's just what I do. I'm sure there are other solutions. But if you do the fee, post a journal stating that you will now be charging a fee if people want to make changes later or 'forgot' something so that you can refer back to it later (and don't have to retype it to everyone who commissions you).
( 32 comments — Leave a comment )


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