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An artist needs advice about specials...

Hi! So I've been lurking around on this community for a bit, but never posted before...so here it goes. (I hope I'm doing this right!)

This isn't a beware, but more about seeking advice about a situation.
I might be thinking too much into this or too far ahead, but I wanted some advice before anything got too sticky.

So I've been doing commissions for a while now, and recently I've raised my prices, and I know it wouldn't be too easy to commission me nowadays. So, I've been making sure to offer a lot more specials for people, so they can have a chance to get some art from me.

Right now I'm offering cheap commissions special, but with a catch. The commissioner would only be able to describe very basic details of the character (like, hair color and length, eye color, physique). The whole purpose of this was to give me more artistic freedom and in return the client would be able to get cheap art in a short amount of time.

So far though, people have been requesting more than they should (like tattoos, hairstyle, pants (these are only waist-ups too))...Basically, the more specific they get, the more I lose the freedom to do what I want. (btw, I'm offering them as flat color, waist-up, digital drawings for $10 each)

Now the problem is, well...I dunno how to tell them straight up that I can't do everything they ask. The whole reason for doing this special was to make it easier for me (esp. for the price I'm offering these at). I feel like...if they wanted something more specific, then might as well commission me for the a regular commission, no? Basically, I dunno how to say this without coming off as a douchebag. T-T


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( 40 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 13th, 2011 07:21 pm (UTC)
I would be distantly and politely honest. "Hi! Thanks for the refs, if I'm inspired I'll include as many details as I can, but otherwise as I stated in the commission info, these are meant to give me more artistic freedom, thus the lower price. I'll show you when I have a sketch finished, thank you for commissioning me!"

They can then choose to back out for a refund, but honestly chances are good they'll be fine with it. If they aren't and start throwing a fit, you can give them a choice to either pay extra for the specific details, or refund them.

Don't feel bad for sticking up for yourself. It doesn't make you a nice person to be a doormat, just.. a doormat.
Jan. 13th, 2011 07:23 pm (UTC)
just tell 'em if they start insisting upon specifics you'll be charging them your normal going rate for such a piece. otherwise, they'll be getting what they agreed to when they paid. don't worry, it's possible to be assertive without coming across as a d-bag... though it's scary to stand up for yourself at first, it gets easier with practice. :3
Jan. 13th, 2011 07:26 pm (UTC)
Just tell them they are asking for more than what is being offered, and if they still want more then they should be willing to pay a bit extra.

Some of us have a hard time telling people "no" but it has to be done otherwise you will end up doing more work than what you have been paid for, and that isn't fair.
If you want to seem "extra nice" maybe lace your response with smilies?
Jan. 13th, 2011 07:28 pm (UTC)
I am running a special like this and have found that more and more people are trying to get around it to have it more custome to their wants - instead of the idea and design that I laid out that sort of 'make' the commissions.

Sooooo I started to preface each email with:
This type of commission is (insert specifics), please keep this in mind when ordering!

That'll kinda save your butt, especially when they request more than what you were willing to offer... you can always simple repost that line to them and usually they don't give a problem. If they do, you can either cave into their wants (which can lead to more people expecting you to do this) and charge them a bit extra, or stick by your guns. Personally, I'd pick the latter so you don't wind up straying from your special.
Jan. 13th, 2011 07:34 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - pigeon_maiden - Jan. 13th, 2011 07:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hellebore - Jan. 13th, 2011 07:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 13th, 2011 07:29 pm (UTC)
Maybe the best thing to do for the future is to have a sheet that they fill out. You can specify that only the information that you left fields for will be used. This will make it much clearer. For the people that you have, make it clear that you might not (or flat out won't) be using the extra details, but give them a chance to cancel too. Alternative you might ask them to pick 5 details as the ones you will be using. That way, if the ponytail or tatto is important they can get that in, but then you might give them purple hair.
Jan. 13th, 2011 08:19 pm (UTC)
^ This. Or you could even easily set up a survey with Google spreadsheets where you list the details they get to pick (eye color, hair color, etc) and they're given a tiny box to put in their answers.
(no subject) - cissa - Jan. 17th, 2011 03:11 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 13th, 2011 07:41 pm (UTC)
Woot! Thanks for the fast responses! >3<

I guess I'm just afraid of people pulling out of the deal (then again $10 isn't much to lose I guess ^^' ), but I do have to stick up for myself.

I guess for now I'll emphasize it in my posts where I have the special advertised for now at least, and will emphasize it for future clients.

Thanks again! (I feel much better now! I was getting a bit nervous about this situation! DX )
Jan. 17th, 2011 03:12 am (UTC)
If they pull out- you REALLY don't want to be dealing with them anyway. People who push, push... and that takes a lot of time and energy to deal with.
Jan. 13th, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC)
Honestly what you're describing sounds like a good way to get some annoyed commissioners... When I commission someone I want them to draw my character, not a loose approximation of my character. I understand that you want to experiment or do these quickly, but if my character has a tattoo and a loose ponytail and you don't want to hear about it because it is only $10, then where does that put me?

Also I'm not sure what you mean by "artistic freedom." To me that suggests playing with art styles, not with a character's design...

Sorry to be contrary to your post, I just think that whenever you are offering a service to the client you should put their needs in front of yours. Or at least make it really really clear from the outset exactly what you do and do not expect from your commissioners.
Jan. 13th, 2011 07:58 pm (UTC)
How would this annoy them, if there's a specific type of commission being offered? That's like stepping into Walmart and whining because the PINK glade airfreshners aren't on sale, only the BLUE ones are. You have your options, sometimes artist's don't want to be treated like Burger King.
(no subject) - alexds1 - Jan. 13th, 2011 08:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kayla_la - Jan. 13th, 2011 08:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celarania - Jan. 14th, 2011 12:55 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pigeon_maiden - Jan. 13th, 2011 08:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - alexds1 - Jan. 13th, 2011 08:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pigeon_maiden - Jan. 13th, 2011 08:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 13th, 2011 08:20 pm (UTC)
Well, I'd say either re-explain the terms of your commission or stop offering this type of commission. I understand the logic behind what you're offering, but I understand why people would be confused if you're not extremely clear with them - most people don't want a random character, but /their/ character. They probably thought you meant you were doing char commissions but would take a lot of artistic liberties :P
Jan. 13th, 2011 08:29 pm (UTC)
That's exactly it. When paying for a commission they tend to expect that the end result is something done for /them/. :V
Jan. 13th, 2011 08:28 pm (UTC)
Gotta agree with the above. Usually when people commission a piece of art they expect to be getting their character, not something random that you just pulled out of your head. Why would they pay for that? That's the sort of thing that artists sketch for themselves without the expectation of being paid for it. Obvious exceptions to that case are adoptables or something I guess but they're still usually done to some sort of specification. I think that's likely why you're running into problems.
Jan. 13th, 2011 08:32 pm (UTC)
'Usually when people commission a piece of art they expect to be getting their character, not something random that you just pulled out of your head'

I know that people will sometimes commission me to draw vague stuff such as 'hot guy/girl doing such and such.' In the artist's case, she is just offering 'sexy bishie' $10 sketches, not specific character sketches.
(no subject) - pigeon_maiden - Jan. 13th, 2011 08:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shukivengeance - Jan. 13th, 2011 08:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - millilicious - Jan. 13th, 2011 08:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pigeon_maiden - Jan. 13th, 2011 08:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shukivengeance - Jan. 13th, 2011 08:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pigeon_maiden - Jan. 13th, 2011 08:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shukivengeance - Jan. 13th, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - spiffystuff - Jan. 13th, 2011 08:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 13th, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC)
Tell them politely that they misunderstood, then revise your commission details to include a list like:

You can only tell me -
* Hair color
* Eye color
* Species
* Physique

Or something like that. As limited as you want it to be to ensure people don't go overboard.
Jan. 13th, 2011 11:29 pm (UTC)
These kind of commissions sound interesting, too bad I can't find any of your galleries.
Jan. 14th, 2011 01:24 am (UTC)
I never really use my LJ, so nothing on it is really up to date. lol
If you want to check it out, it's on my DA:
(no subject) - zackfig - Jan. 14th, 2011 02:30 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 14th, 2011 12:14 am (UTC)
I'll admit I was a little confused by this post until re-reading it and then the comments. While it's a fine idea for a commission, you'll just REALLY need to emphasize that these are not character specific commissions... seeing as that's usually what people want.
Jan. 14th, 2011 01:04 am (UTC)
After reading your post word for word in the comments I'm having a REALLY hard time seeing how it ISN'T clear that you are offering random hot guys and not specific OC's... But I guess like someone else said, people skim read a lot...

That said these sound AWESOME!
Jan. 14th, 2011 01:26 am (UTC)
Just wanted to say, thanks again for the tips!
Sorry if it was confusing at first, but I'm glad everyone eventually got what I was trying to get across. ^^'
Jan. 14th, 2011 02:21 am (UTC)
Can someone still get one of these? >.>
( 40 comments — Leave a comment )


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