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Hello! I'm new to the community!

I just started my first commissions and trades about a month after creating a gallery at Deviant Art. I've read a few of the mishaps that commission artists come across, and I was wondering if I'm going about this the right way. I finish a commission and post a small portion of the completed piece before I receive payment. A sample like this.

Is that a good thing to do? :-/ Is there a better way so both the customer and myself are comfy with the transaction and no one gets taken advantage of?

Thanx in advance, all! :)
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( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 30th, 2005 06:57 pm (UTC)
I guess I'm just too jaded and sick of being screwed to deal with after art payments myself. All up front, or half up front if it's money coming from someone who's name I've seen around.

I see nothing wrong with what you're doing, that seems like a nice bit of the art, and give enough idea how things are going before payment.

I can't tell if you you cropped that picture on purpose, but it's good to at somepoint show a full sketch to the commissioner, so they can make changes to things, with out being surprised last minute by a foot or tail they didn't see before.

Good luck and avoid the crazies. :)
Nov. 30th, 2005 07:50 pm (UTC)
Don't know if you got my note on dA or not. I gotta pay you for my lizard!
Nov. 30th, 2005 08:09 pm (UTC)
*Goes to check* DA's been a little flippy on me, I don't see new messages right away 0_0
Dec. 1st, 2005 03:14 am (UTC)
I think I'll start charging upfront, at least half price. But most of the time I enjoy what I'm asked to do, so it wouldn't be much of a loss if I wasn't paid once or twice. :)

I did crop the image, just enough for the customer to see the essential parts. I never thought about them making suggestions before it was complete. I'll take that into consideration for next time!

Thanx so much for your advice! :D

btw: I love your icon!
Nov. 30th, 2005 07:06 pm (UTC)
For me, half up front or all up front is the only way to go. :) Even taking half you'll still have people disappear on you or not be able to pay the rest, it's happened to me. Taking no payment and doing work is just asking to be taken advantage of, in my opinion.
Dec. 1st, 2005 03:17 am (UTC)
Yeah, I think I'll start charging at least half upfront. I don't like the thought of being taken advantage of, but I admit that I enjoy what I do so much and I charge so little, I could manage going without a payment or two! :)

Thanx so much for your advice!
Nov. 30th, 2005 07:25 pm (UTC)
The only problem with showing just a part of the finished piece is that the commissioner can't critique and point out things they'd like corrected. (Though sometimes with the nitpickiness of some commissioners, that's a GOOD thing! heh)

You can always say that payment is required after a finished sketch is completed. This way you can feel out working with the commissioner (if they are far too nitpicky about miniscule style elements while you are sketching, for example, you may choose not to complete the commission with the person) and also they don't get the full image - if they decide they don't like it, they haven't taken up TOO much of your time.

Most of all, it's all "live and learn" with commissions. Everyone here has been burnt/burned someone in different ways, it just varies, really.
Dec. 1st, 2005 03:28 am (UTC)
LOL! Very true! @ it can be a good thing. I should probably consider allowing my request-ers to critique part-way. After all, I'm sort of using this as an art class...that pays! hee!

I guess I'll find a method that fits me. I feel guilty asking for money upfront, and I rather enjoy doing a lot of the requests take, even if I weren't being paid. It's a nice bonus to get $1-10 for something I'd gladly do for free! :)

Thanx for your comment! :D
Nov. 30th, 2005 07:52 pm (UTC)
I definately agree with the at least partial payment up front. That just makes the most sense.

Don't go doing the whole thing at once without payment. And make sure they know your stance on things. Like you can sell any sketches or whatnot they don't pay for/want in the end.
Dec. 1st, 2005 03:41 am (UTC)
That sounds like a really good idea. I think I will start charging at least half price up front. I've been going at it pretty lax. I'm doing this for fun, to learn and earn a little cash. I only charge $1-10 and I love drawing so much, I wouldn't mind if I didn't get paid once or twice. :)

Thanx so much for your advice! :D
Nov. 30th, 2005 08:43 pm (UTC)
I just post up what I have hope for crits and if the commissioner wants me to take them down i do.
Dec. 1st, 2005 03:44 am (UTC)
Sounds good! I'm using this as a sort of art class, so maybe I'll start asking for crits before I complete commissions. Thanx for your input! :)
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 1st, 2005 03:53 am (UTC)
Hmm...it takes the surprise out of it...but I must admit a piece that's done perfectly with crits from the request-er would be a lot better than a crappy surprise! :P I may start doing that because I'd like to improve as an artist, and a lot of the time I'm doing commissions for people with complex fursonas that I might need pointers on. And I'm going to request at least half payment up front from now on. :)

Thanx so much for your insight! :D
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 1st, 2005 09:20 pm (UTC)
Very true! I understand that now. I should be asking for their insight. They really should get their money's worth, which means they should have a bigger role in the completion of the piece. I'm definitely going to start doing that! In fact, I just asked my second customer if they'd like to critique as I work on it, and they said that was fine with her. :)

But I have to ask: How do you share the sketches in progress? I mean, do you put a watermark on it, provide a small scale version, etc? :-?
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 1st, 2005 10:40 pm (UTC)
You have a lot of very good points! And I admit I one of those ANGRY people when it came to Getty Images' watermarks. But now I understand where they're coming from, and thanks to you I now know that my customers might not be so cool with it. :P

I'll be sure to share the full sketch, but I'll share it privately from now on. When I posted the sample that I shared in this post, it was posted in my Deviant Art journal, so more than just the customer got access to it. Might even add the WIP's to my scraps...

I guess I'm thankful that I'm not that great of an artist. The people that I've done commissions for have been really young and very accepting of everything I've done for myself or in trades. And I don't charge very much. It would be kinda weird for them to demand a full $3 refund for a little mistake. :P So far no one has asked for a really complex or realistic commission either, so my work load and time spent are fairly minimal. :)

Thanx so much (and yet again) for all your insight! I can definitely tell that you know what you're doing! :D
Nov. 30th, 2005 09:36 pm (UTC)
Personally, speaking from a commissioner's standpoint, if the only thing you were going to show me before payment was a cropped portion of the final image, I wouldn't commission you. I would want to see what I'm giving you money for before I commit.

Now, this doesn't mean I want you to finish the whole image before I send you money. The best way, I've found, is to have you do a sketch for me, and once approved, I send 100% of payment, and then you finish it and mail it to me. But before you got a dime, I would want to see a sketch. I have been burned very badly in the past when having paid 100% up front with no progress image, and four years later, I have yet to see some simple linework.
Nov. 30th, 2005 10:48 pm (UTC)
As a commissions artist, I’d have to disagree with this approach. There are people who will happily dash off with your sketch art, and you won’t see a penny. It’s happened to me before, and I now make sure it never happens again.

Buyers pay either a deposit of half, or the full amount up-front ~before~ I put so much as pen to paper. I then give them a URL, which I regularly update with reduced jpg progress shots of the picture so they can see how things are coming along.

If an artist has got some good feedback at Furbid-SF, or a suitably full commissions gallery full of references, then buyers should feel safe enough that their artist is a reliable one.
Dec. 1st, 2005 04:07 am (UTC)
That's what I was afraid of with the sketch. Which is why I showed that I both sketched and colored the requested animal, but wrote all over it too so no one would run off with it and make it an icon or something. :P

I was commissioned again tonight and I've asked for at least half up front. I think I'll do that and ask for critiques half-way to completion from now on. :)

Thanx so much for your insight! :D
Dec. 1st, 2005 04:55 pm (UTC)
Well, heh, not to be rude, but I personally wouldn't commission you because of this. The artist in question that I'm talking about as far as waiting four years for my artwork is a very, VERY well-known artist, and has a ton of good feedback and a gallery full of art. But I still haven't seen a LINE drawn as far as MY work is concerned. I am not going to name this person in question, as I don't want to start a flame war.

Of course this is only one person. But when I've slapped down $400 (no joke) for a piece of art, and it's been four years with no progress, I tend to get a little skeptical of artists' work ethics. I would have no problem paying up front 100% if I had commissioned the artist before and had a good transaction, but for a brand new artist... I want to see some work on it before you get a dime, to let me know you're serious about completing it.
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Dec. 1st, 2005 08:28 pm (UTC)
Yes, I have to agree. If there's an artist out there giving the rest of us a bad name, you should share that information so someone else doesn't go losing $400. And let me just make myself clear that when I say plenty of positive feedback at Furbid/Ebay, I'm not talking bout a few good ratings, but 15-20 or more. It's not that much for an experienced reliable artist.
Dec. 1st, 2005 04:02 am (UTC)
I see what you're saying. I was worried that people would think that about the cropped image. But I didn't want to show her the sketch because it would look like I hadn't started coloring it. :-/ I suppose if I showed the full sketch and the cropped final image, that would be better...

But it doesn't really matter that much anymore because I'm starting to ask for at least half payment up front. And frankly, I love drawing so much and I charge so little, I wouldn't be too upset if I wasn't paid once or twice. :)

Thanx so much for your insight!
Dec. 1st, 2005 01:01 am (UTC)
I always take half up front, or all in some cases (because it's easier, and I've "proven" myself reliable now). I wouldn't risk starting without payment.
Dec. 1st, 2005 03:57 am (UTC)
Yeah, that sounds like the safe way to go. I've been going all willy-nilly because I'm new to commissions, I'm not the best out there, and I love drawing! Money's just a little bonus. :D I'll start charging at least half of the payment up-front though, because after all, I'm a college student and I thrive on pizza. :->~

Thanx for your comment! :D
Dec. 5th, 2005 09:38 am (UTC)
Charging part up front weeds out those who arn't serious and are just wasting your time.

I also tell folks about how progress will be updated and when scans will be sent. I also limit the amount of times "revisions" can be done. I don't mind folks making edits to what I've done (especially if I've got it wrong), but the folks who want endless tweeks are going to get hit with extra charges. Then again, I'm up front with that so there are no surprises.

Just be honest about the time frame of the piece, keep your customer updated and make sure everything you give them has something like "SAMPLE" plastered over it so they can't run off with the finished product w/o paying the last bit.
Dec. 11th, 2005 06:53 pm (UTC)
Half up front, right there at the beginning.

When they want to see the sketch, I put my pencil and eraser over it, take a really craptastic digitial camera photo of it, and post that.

No way are they going to run off with that, they can crit the sketch, and tell me what they need to be changed.

Then, when I finish it, before I scan it, I say Give me the other %50 before I ship this off to you.

Everyone's happy!
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )


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