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Not Quite a Beware...

Yet at least.
If this has to go further than my request for advice, I will add names and further details.

I've been a long time lurker of this community, and recently been having some issues regarding a friend I've commissioned for a number of works about a year ago, and was requiring some advice on how to tackle this situation I'm in.

To cut the story down, a friend of mine (As in actual friend I've met in person, not an artist I have 'befriended') was in need of some art supplies and I was happy to supply them with the items they required. The agreement was that she'd create a number of commissions for me in return for this. This was in Late October/Early November 2009.
Both of us are WoW players, and a few other items popped up on the Blizzard store later and she wanted them badly, so I (possibly foolishly) agreed to get her the items in return for a few more commissions.
So effectively, I have paid well in advance.

Now, fast forward to today, a year later from the first payment.

I have yet to see a clear sketch for any of these commissions, bar one, which I shall also address a little later on. I have poked her and prodded her on occasion, not hounding her along, about them and asking for a preview.
I get the "No peeking! I want to surprise you with them all at once!" response from her and then she often goes silent after that. I find my messages, both on IM and in game often go ignored, even if not about the commissions, so sometimes communication is difficult, which is ironic as before we met in person (June this year), she was always talking to me.

In regards to the commissions as well, this is a part that bugs me. She wants to present them all completed to me at once. I don't see any sketches or get to comment or request changes on them. Instead, I give her what I wanted, and she'd draw her idea for it.
In a way, I don't feel this is right, as I don't get to see if the picture is something I truly want or not, but get given it as payment.

Which brings me to the final point, the one commission I have seen a clear sketch for, which was I think now, seven-eight months ago I saw the sketch, wasn't something I asked for. It was their idea of a picture they thought was amusing.
Now, don't get me wrong, I liked the concept and agreed for it to be taken further, but I sort of feel it's not very... encouraging in that light, with the fact the concept I thought of was sort of ignored for something they thought was better.

So, this is where I am stuck.
Last thing I want to do, is hurt my friend by hounding her for the commissions, but I know she has been trading doodles with another friend of mine for a few months now. My requests for updates go mostly ignored and I'm sort of kept out of the loop and at her mercy of what she chooses to draw.
I'm not comfortable with this situation either. For all I know, she could have drawn nothing as well, and just be saying things to appease me.
And frankly, recently I've had a lot of people abusing my kindness and good nature (Long story with gift art I did for a different friend who requested 101 edits to the damn thing), so this situation has put me at wit's end.

I want to resolve it without destroying my friendship, but I'm just not sure how to do so.
So, I come hoping I can get some suggestions from you guys how to tackle this please?

Edit: So I took the advice that I read from here (Thanks everyone who suggested things), and confronted her about the issue.

There seemed to be a small attempt at guilt tripping and a comment or two that seemed, but overall, I think I got the message across to her that it was a business transaction, and that I wanted to see some results. I think she was a little surprised that the year had passed without her noticing since the original payment.
I've basically let her know that I do not want this to ruin the friendship, but that at the rate it's going, I am a little more than frustrated.
I think she's aware now that she has to get a move on, so I will see how things progress.

Thanks again everyone for all the advice (and the personal kick I needed to do to myself to actually confront her about it).

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Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
stormslegacy
Nov. 16th, 2010 01:39 am (UTC)
Never mix business with pleasure, and never loan to a friend that you value that which would devastate the friendship if lost or never seen again. These both are advice that I think applies. Granted, that doesn't solve the dilemma you are in now.

The reason the above is so important is that confrontation between friends (however necessary) can be sticky. Ideally, with you being in the right, it should be a no-brainer that she go "Oh" and the situation is fixed, but reality is that yes, you could lose a friend if she takes it the wrong way. Humans aren't logical creatures. Depending on how you think she may respond you may need to evaluate which you appreciate more, friendship or art. In life you have to pick your battles =(

Barring that (I'm sure you knew it already) I think the obvious answer is that you need to tell her you're unhappy with this agreement, whether by message, IM or in person. Politely tell her that you'd prefer to be in the loop, that this wasn't a gift and therefore you have some right to see the process so that you can be sure you're getting what you want. Also, no progress after a year? Not cool. Since it seems you're really frustrated, don't let her continue to treat it like a game, it's not her place to "surprise" you with it. Let her know (gently and politely) that you're serious.
bladespark
Nov. 16th, 2010 02:07 am (UTC)
This is a situation where you may end up having to decide between getting the art and keeping the friendship. (Though frankly if they'll brush you off like this and don't care about giving you what you deserve, they're not much of a friend in my book. And if they're not talking to you like they used to, from their point of view this friendship may already be over.)

In your place I'd probably send a polite e-mail, and explain that since you paid for this, you consider it to be a commission, not a gift, and you would like to have it treated as such. Explain that 1. you want to see progress, and 2. set a deadline. If there's no deadline, then the artist can always push it back a little further, and rationalize that being okay. Deadlines are essential, and without you having set one it's partially your fault that nothing has been finished yet. (I don't mean that in an accusatory way, but as an artist myself it's just how it works. Things without deadlines take the back seat to things that have them.)
spiffystuff
Nov. 16th, 2010 02:09 am (UTC)
Well, first question is, have you told them how you feel? More than just "hey just wondering if there's an update", more of a "look, yer cool but this is kinda dragging on a while and I'm iffy on some of the ways you're going about this... please I don't want to see things all at once when they are all finished!" etc etc?
wannabejafa
Nov. 16th, 2010 07:31 am (UTC)
Honestly, not really confronting her about it.
Part of my own personal problem is how I'm often a bit too soft on people (even those that aren't close friends) and generally attempt to avoid confrontation.

However, I have taken the advice here tonight and spoke to her about it. There was what may have seemed like a little guilt tripping, though I do know her situation is similar to what she has said.
I have pressed on with her a bit to let her know she has to get a move on with it though, as the wait has been unacceptable and requesting to see the WIP as well.
kayla_la
Nov. 16th, 2010 02:11 am (UTC)
Me personally? If she were a good friend to me, I would make the things you gave her a gift. I would tell her 'Alright, you don't seem too into doing this art as commissions for me. So I'm going to say the items I gave you were a gift, and you owe me nothing. And if you still DO do art for me, yay, gift art!'. This takes the pressure off the friend, this makes me feel good for doing a good deed, and means I'll be pleasantly surprised if they surprise me with art later.

HOWEVER, I fully recognize this can be seen as enabling behaviour. Thus the 'good friend' part. If they've been taking advantage of me and my kindness for a while now, my advice would be different. I would treat it like any other business transaction at that point. Gather up proof, name names, post her here, etc, like any other beware.

I wish you luck either way. It's generally a better policy to not loan to friends, and to give instead. It tends to save a lot of heartache.
(Deleted comment)
wannabejafa
Nov. 16th, 2010 07:46 am (UTC)
I confronted her about it tonight.
She was most surprised to learn it had been about a year, so I think she's really lost track of time.

I've asked about seeing WIPs, so we'll see how that goes and if things start to improve, now she's aware that I'm feeling rather miffed about the situation.
jakejynx
Nov. 16th, 2010 03:00 am (UTC)
Looks like your friend is viewing it as a simple gift, and they'd just draw you a few images to say thanks. I think you need to make it clear that you hadn't meant it that way, and that it was supposed to be an actual commission, and maybe see how things go after that. Maybe it wasn't clear to her.
sovy
Nov. 16th, 2010 04:42 am (UTC)
You might have to be a hardass if you want your art. You can say you want to see some progress shots as proof she is actually doing something and not just giving you the run around. It has been over a year after all.

If your relationship with your friend is that fragile I don't know if I could call that a friendship. Couples and friends argue all the time, sometimes over the littlest things, but they make up with one other.
wannabejafa
Nov. 16th, 2010 07:37 am (UTC)
I confronted her, and learnt that yes, she's got about two pictures to about 50% and the others are bearly started, and she's been avoiding them somewhat. I've requested some WIP sketches and we'll see how that goes.

As for the friendship, I think that's more my personal fears. I hate and loathe confrontations, and try to avoid them. I often fear doing something like that in the fear I'll destroy it myself and regret it (which I have done in the past).
zackfig
Nov. 16th, 2010 04:58 am (UTC)
Hello random person who is in the same position as me. I feel your pain.
lilenth
Nov. 16th, 2010 06:13 am (UTC)

In my opinion? She doesn't sound like much a friend, good friends should be able to discuss this sort of thing.

I ended up in a similar situation at one point, only it was money and other things the friend was taking advantage of, at some point you just have to say no, if they pitch a fit and decide not to be your friend after that? Then they weren't much of a friend to begin with.

This is why I'm very reluctant to mix business and pleasure, I don't like working on commissions for friends, it's very easy to let things slip because friends are so gosh darn understanding and before you know it you're being a bad friend and badly behaved artist. (I'm not perfect, I've ended up owing friends art for longer periods than I would like simply because they're so understanding, I actually prefer hard deadlines for this reason).
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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