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Advice - small commission, big changes..!

This is by no means a warning or anything, I just really want some advice. So I hope you don't mind that I'm not following the preferred layout that was recently produced for posts. :) 

I have a small albatross around my neck at the moment in the form of a low priced commission that I thought I'd get finished in a short amount of time but which is starting to drag.

I assumed that the commissioner wanted a sketchy, quick style and that therefore I wouldn't charge very much for it (I've been known to charge between £100 and £200 for more complicated stuff but this piece is only about £12).

I regularly update people on my work for them so I've shown the client a few WIP shots and each time, I received a positive response with some requests for minor changes, which I did - the client liked my progress each time. I thought that the design was almost finished in the last update I sent, however, was not replied to for a long time and when I finally did get a response the client is now saying that they don't like the image anymore and have showed me a new reference image, with an apology that this one wasn't what was shown in the first place. It will basically mean re-drawing the whole thing and starting over, and I've already spent way over £12 worth of time on this anyway. =/

I don't generally mind picky customers and since the client is very apologetic I think they're aware that I'll be a little annoyed about this request, but I really don't know what to do - I will probably end up just knuckling down and doing it, but I don't want to be stuck in a never ending process for such a small amount of money. I am not even taking on any other commissions at the moment and am too busy preparing for an interview and starting some garment manufacture, so this is a bit of an irritating niggle to have in the background now and I just want it over with!
Your advice appreciated. :) 

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( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 28th, 2011 03:58 pm (UTC)
Personally, I would not do it. I offer a lot of sketches for around that price, and I have in my TOS that once the basic sketch/ pose is approved, there is no changing it. It eliminates picky customers like this.

Of course, if they absolutely want me to change it, I have a $3 edit fee.

I'd be afraid of getting in this never ending cycle, too. It sounds like they're trying to milk the most they can out of you.

Edited at 2011-04-28 03:59 pm (UTC)
Apr. 28th, 2011 09:30 pm (UTC)
I usually do make clients fill out a contract, but stupid me thought that for this tiny, tiny sketch it would be out of the way with no bother in no time and that I could regard our emails as a 'signed agreement'. Sigh! I'll not make this mistake again.

I don't want to believe that I'm being milked because the person didn't seem that way inclined, but... maybe I'm being naive.
Apr. 29th, 2011 02:14 am (UTC)
You don't have to panic, but you can learn from it.

I would insist as I do, for now -- "I'd be happy to make those changes for you, but as I expect it will take X amount of time to make those changes, I would need to be compensated for that extra time. I appreciate your understanding."

Just as you have no ToS stating you must be compensated for extra time, there is nothing anywhere that says you have to do it for free, either!

But take this opportunity to write a clear and concise ToS that will include this point for future clients -- think of ANY possible scenario and write up your rules for that scenario.

When you accept a commission, ask that the new client confirm that they have read and agreed to your ToS before sending payment or before you start work. An e-mail confirmation is sufficient enough!

Also, be sure to update your ToS with a new date any time changes are made. It's also helpful to keep old copies of the ToS, in case something drastically changes (I keep mine in note files on my computer).

For now, though, don't feel bullied into doing free work; you didn't make any mistakes, and you shouldn't have to do work for free. Period.
Apr. 28th, 2011 03:59 pm (UTC)
I have a clause in my TOS about refs. If you don't give me the right ref, I can't draw what you want!

So My advice would be something along the lines of "Sorry hon, I can't draw a whole new piece of art for you. I'm going to complete this one with the refs given, and if you'd ever like to pick up one of my sale price works again, I would be happy to do one of this character"

Some might question my use of "hon" in a professional setting, but yeah XD
Apr. 28th, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC)
Sometimes the informal chat seems to work. :) Yeah, it looks like everyone is giving me very good and very similar advice here. It has clarified my thoughts.
Apr. 28th, 2011 04:01 pm (UTC)
i'd let them know you've already done several edits, and if they want you to basically redo the piece they'll have to pay for a new commission. or, cut your losses and refund them. they approved the edits every step along, right? then they knew what they were getting, and it's not on your shoulders to redo it now that it's done (basically). i tend to think the worst of people, and wonder if they haven't been stalling for time because they are trying to get out of paying for it/get a refund... your time is worth money, and it's not at all fair to you for them to pretty much expect two pieces for the price of one greatly reduced one...
Apr. 28th, 2011 04:17 pm (UTC)
I agree with this. Either they pay for a new commission or they don't get a whole new image and get what they had basically agreed to up to that point.

There's no good reason they should think they're entitled to free art for 12 bucks. Remind them of their previous approvals and offer them another sketch of like quality at the price, but otherwise, you're done. Don't let them take advantage of you, because once that ball starts rolling, it's hard to stop it again.
Apr. 28th, 2011 09:35 pm (UTC)
Yep, they definitely approved the edits and on multiple notes were phrases expressing the fact that they liked what I was working on. The annoying thing is that I was given a very specific description of what was required down to the angle the figure was pointing, and now a completely different pose is being requested. Not only that, but whereas the first reference images shown were sketchy and I was to draw in a similar sort of style, this new reference is a fully shaded, refined image and I get the feeling that that's the style that the client now wants. =/
Apr. 29th, 2011 06:06 am (UTC)
well, if they want a totally new commission, they'll have to pay for a new commission. don't let them jerk you around/scam you like this, no one deserves that. it's like going into a restaurant, asking for a hamburger, eating it and liking it the whole way through, then when it comes time to pay, saying you really should have asked for a steak because that's what you wanted. no bueno.
Apr. 28th, 2011 04:49 pm (UTC)
Politely say "no, I've already done your commission this way and I can't redo it" or ask for more money. Simple as that!
Apr. 28th, 2011 09:35 pm (UTC)
It is simple, it really is - you've all shown me that. I just worry a lot about making clients unhappy!
Apr. 28th, 2011 05:31 pm (UTC)
Going to just echo what others have said; if you've already done several edits and the person has suddenly decided to change the whole thing, you're totally within your rights to politely decline, and let them know that to draw a whole new piece they'll have to buy a whole new piece.
In the future maybe make a TOS clear which'll include a certain number of revisions at what stages.
Apr. 28th, 2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
Yep, you're absolutely right about the TOS - I usually do require the signing of a contract for commissions but this was such a tiny, tiny sketch (or so I thought) that I decided to rattle it out without much thought. I didn't expect it all to take so long..!
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 28th, 2011 09:38 pm (UTC)
Yeah - the client did apologise for not showing me this ref before, as they'd only just found it (it wasn't of their specific character but something for me to look at because they wanted a drawing done 'in this style/pose'). The first ref and the second ref are completely different poses and styles, the second one being a far, far more complicated style to emulate. D= A line must be drawn here (and I don't mean the line of a brand new, unpaid-for commission!).
Apr. 29th, 2011 03:13 am (UTC)
I actually have a line in my ToS that states I will NOT emulate another artist's style on request! I state (politely) that if you don't like the way I draw something, you shouldn't be coming to me. That doesn't mean if I draw something a little wonky, they can't suggest I reference another artist to make it look more "right" to them (within reason, particularly in areas I consider myself to be weak in), but if they ask me to draw something that a person who knows my art wouldn't be able to recognize that it was me, it goes beyond my scope.
Apr. 28th, 2011 06:44 pm (UTC)
You have already done what you were paid for. They can't just throw in a new piece of information after it's done! That's like asking for a rabbit character - you drawing it, and them turning around saying they don't like rabbits any more and to draw them a cat character. Without more payment, why WOULD you draw any more?
Apr. 28th, 2011 09:38 pm (UTC)
I should have really made this reasoning on my own. :P This is a good way to put it and I appreciate it, I feel less bad about my initial feelings on the matter now. Thank you.
Apr. 28th, 2011 09:19 pm (UTC)
Basically what everyone else already said. If you do a new picture now, it's essentially giving them a free item in addition to their (extremely low priced) commission.
Apr. 28th, 2011 09:39 pm (UTC)
Yep - I don't think I'm going to do sketch commissions again if I can help it to be honest. Everyone seems to have a different idea for what a sketch IS! I consider it to be something rough and raw and unrefined, but the new ref image is for a fully shaded, beautifully finished drawing and that's the style that has been requested. =/ Not a sketch, to me!
Apr. 28th, 2011 10:47 pm (UTC)
You're absolutely right that everyone has differing ideas on what a sketch is, which is why it's a good idea to have a sample to link to and say "This is the quality of what you're getting" to prevent misunderstandings. Also state upfront whether you are willing to edit it or not. For sketches, most people do not.
Apr. 28th, 2011 10:46 pm (UTC)
It seems like they're trying to get a whole new image here to me, honestly. Sketches should be just that, a one-shot thing with MAYBE one single chance to ask for edits, but that's it. I've commissioned multiple sketches from people but I don't think they've even had an edit phase really, that's only been for clean lineart commissions. You've gone above and beyond the call of duty here.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )


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