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So I have a semi-repeat customer that I've never had a GIANT problem with, but always a small one. It's never about payment or promptness of service/payment, but it's just attitude.

Whenever I finish something for this person, they give me a sort of disappointed response. But, since I don't allow changes of previous steps once they've been approved on my work and they hardly give me anything CONCRETE (It's just always a "Oh, that looks good I suppose"), I can't work on it any more than I do. They also had the same issue with a FREE GIFT picture I did when they won a raffle, and even put something passive aggressive in their upload submission on FA.

I've started asking my other artist pals about this person, and many of them have similar stories, and some of them include said customer bitching to friends about their art, their prices and whatnot, so I can assume they've done the same about me.

Since there's never been a real altercation, I don't know what to do about the person. I would like to keep working with them, but at the same time, it's really bothering me that they aren't satisfied with my work, but still purchase it.

Does anyone have any advice? :/

EDIT: We exchanged a few more emails after this and I'm unsure if the person will be coming back for my services, but I've decided if they do, I will talk to them beforehand about their attitude. If they get defensive, I'll let them know I'm not up for taking their business. If they seem apologetic, they can have another shot.

I do my best to be a clear, friendly and easy to work with artist, and I hate the idea of having to say no to someone, but I've stressed so much with their work in the past I really don't think it's worth the 10-30$ they throw me occasionally.

EDIT 2: The customer (Xaxoqual) has come here and outed themselves along with an apology. They also sent me a long email with a thoughtful second apology and we'll be working together to make them a character sheet so they can avoid this in the future.

This situation has also inspired me to make a few tutorials including "Character Creation: How to be unique without being obnoxious" (Which Xaxoqual is not, but it ended up coming up XD) and "How to Commission an Artist: Getting what you want without the headache"

I know these have been done by people before, but the more info out there the better! c:

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( 86 comments — Leave a comment )
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Sep. 14th, 2011 07:25 pm (UTC)
Personally, I would just tell them outright, "Hello, your responses give me the impression there is something you are not satisfied with. If that is the case, I would like it if you were upfront with me. If not, I hope you can find an artist whose work is more to your liking."

If you really want to keep them as a customer and not risk driving them off, I would just ignore it. As long as they pay, and are otherwise easy to handle. I think sometimes people say that in hopes of getting something extra, and I'm not interested in humoring that kind of behaviour, so I simply don't.
Sep. 15th, 2011 12:43 am (UTC)
I've decided they do just try and get extra work out of people after talking to a few other friends. I've tried ignoring it, but man, it does get to me eventually @__@
Sep. 14th, 2011 07:33 pm (UTC)
Is their money worth it? Will they give you a more concrete answer if you press them for complaints at each step? If not, I say just deny this guy any further business.
Sep. 14th, 2011 07:47 pm (UTC)
^ excellent avatar :D (sorry, needed to say it)
(no subject) - sigilgoat - Sep. 15th, 2011 12:44 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 14th, 2011 07:36 pm (UTC)
Agreeing with others. If you don't need the money from this one person, decline. While you should be trying to put feelings aside, sometimes it can really bother you and make you have a hard time working fully on it.

I've had someone do it before as well. I was so discouraged, I didn't want to continue, but of course forced myself and made sure it still looked right.
Sep. 15th, 2011 12:45 am (UTC)
I know my art is imperfect and I know it's not everyone's favorite style, so I'm used to hearing that stuff from people who DONT SPEND THEIR OWN MONEY XD

I'm thinking it might just be because I have such low base pricing vs. my apparent popularity? Pricing is hard :C
Sep. 14th, 2011 07:38 pm (UTC)
I'm sort of having this same problem. They keep commissioning me, but they never seem satisfied with what I give them. It's very confusing! I consider them a friend, so I always ask if it's okay and they say yes... but only after telling me what's wrong with it. "This this and this aren't right, but yeah... I like it otherwise."

They have no reference sheet and expect me to pick and choose from the varying images of their character to reference off of - how am I supposed to know which one has all the correct details? D:

I'd very much like to see any advice posted here, as well!
Sep. 14th, 2011 07:41 pm (UTC)
That's a pet peeve of mine. I really don't mind fixing things that I made a mistake of but just tell me! Saying "His hair is more like this but it looks good as is anyways!" is very passive aggressive to me. I've ended up only changing things only if someone asks me.

If I were you, I'd either tell them to pick what they like or just too bad for them. A commissioner once told me to check her FA page for refs, so I picked one and apparently got things wrong since another picture was different.
(no subject) - vtforpedro - Sep. 15th, 2011 02:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Sep. 14th, 2011 07:44 pm (UTC)
If they keep coming back for more, they must be satisfied with your art on at least some level.

Sounds to me they just don't know how to leave out negative side comments or how to be direct in what they say.
Sep. 14th, 2011 08:14 pm (UTC)
I always wonder about these types. If they don't fully like the end result, why keep coming back? Or do they like it in concept but less as it progresses?

Honestly, if you ask them to approve a stage and they do there's nothing you can really do to get more out of them unless you want to run the risk of prodding them for more complaints and getting a landslide.

But i agree with what others have said here. If you need the money and you can set aside the passive aggressive remarks, keep him as a customer. But if his remarks bother you to the point where continuing on his pieces is harder, i would cut ties.
Sep. 15th, 2011 12:48 am (UTC)
I'm thinking it's a pricing issue, and I'm relatively cheap.

Something else I learned today: This person was looking into getting some art from a friend of mine, and when she quoted him her prices, he then went to her S.O. and began to whine about how much she charged. S.O. explained how many hours she spends on each piece and her pricing fits that accordingly and he responded "Well if you shovel dirt for 8 hours, that doesn't mean it's worth anything"

..... >:|
(no subject) - shiftergoddess - Sep. 15th, 2011 12:51 am (UTC) - Expand
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Sep. 14th, 2011 08:16 pm (UTC)
Those types baffle me. It makes me wonder if they are just unhappy that artists aren't magically psychic and can see the image directly in their head.

Either way, if you want to keep him, I'd just ignore it. He's approving the stages, so if there was really a problem it's on him to let you know instead of being passive aggressive about it.
Sep. 14th, 2011 08:29 pm (UTC)
It seems like this is just their general attitude, if it's how they're acting with everyone. There are certain types of people who act like this if you cant replicate exactly what they see in their head and this guy could just be a dreamer like that. Or maybe it's just an attitude problem.

If you can handle working with someone passive-aggressive like this then by all means continue. Raising the issue with him could get sticky though. Have you tried asking him why his responses are always so underwhelmed?
Sep. 15th, 2011 12:49 am (UTC)
I don't think I have the self confidence to work with someone who undermines me, and I suppose it's good I'm learning this still fairly early on in my art career XD

also can be read as: I DONT GET PAID ENOUGH FOR THIS SHIT.
Sep. 14th, 2011 09:02 pm (UTC)
If you can overlook it, do so. There's a few customers I've had that are like this, and yet they kept coming back over and over again so there must have liked the work to some degree. However if they get worse? Tell them how you feel when they make comments like that.

I once had a customer for several years who was never satisfied with what I did. He'd throw money at me, expecting one thing but got something else and then would complain and complain. Then immediately after? Commission me again. Needless to say, eventually I just couldn't stand talking to him anymore and told him we were done. Honestly, over time I'd deny a clients proposals if they continued to be passive-aggressive and not upfront.
Sep. 15th, 2011 12:50 am (UTC)
What I'm learning from all these comments is that I don't have to put up with it XD

I think I still have the attitude of OH GOD PLEASE COMMISSION ME FUCK ILL DO ANYTHING when I really don't have the time/energy to do everything people ask. I can "afford" to be picky now with going to school full time D:
Sep. 14th, 2011 09:20 pm (UTC)
You just have to decide what you're comfortable with and whether or not you need the money.

Personally, unless I needed the money, I wouldn't want to deal with consistently ungracious commissioners. There's nothing wrong with turning down a commission if you have issues with a commissioner's attitude.
Sep. 14th, 2011 09:25 pm (UTC)
I had someone like this once a while back. They gave me their ref and I'd give them the WIP images and they'd just be like "oh well, I like it. But you got this and this wrong" when it was clearly not that way on the reference.
Worse still they'd mention only one thing, then wait until the next wip or two down the line to mention they didn't like something else ("this is wrong, but I like it") asfdsdfasdsdfsada
Then when I FINISHED they still complained stuff wasn't quite right and I was like. 8|

It really irked me to no end, and I'm generally an easy-going person, but I guess I found a pet-peeve.
Sep. 15th, 2011 12:51 am (UTC)
I'm fairly nice and easygoing too, so I'm always surprised when something actually Pisses Me Off like this did. I'm glad to know I'm not alone in this being a problem XD
Sep. 14th, 2011 09:55 pm (UTC)
I just got finished dealing with someone who was passive-aggressive like this as well. I was up front that I didn't appreciate the attitude, and gave them another chance, but it just continued. In the end, I finished their commissions, then black listed them as a client for me. As much as I need the money, the stress wasn't worth it for me.

So I guess it's up to you what you decide you wanna do. If you can overlook the attitude and need the money, then go ahead and do it. Otherwise, I'd finish up any business with them and then not take any more orders from them.
Sep. 14th, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC)
I could just be suspicious, but it sounds like this person is a bit of a tire-kicker. Probably trying to mooch extra work by complaining and tire-kicking.
Sep. 14th, 2011 11:03 pm (UTC)
I'd personally just stop accepting work from them. I mean, if they're going to be whiney about everything.
Sep. 14th, 2011 11:44 pm (UTC)
Tell them the truth, that their less than enthusiastic replies regarding your work towards them are leaving you in an uncomfortable position that makes you not want to work with them anymore.

You can also pair this with the fact that you actually do like to work on their projects, but they need to be more honest in their lines of communication with you. You want to work with them not against, so being ho-hum is counterproductive in getting awesome art.
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