WHAT: Digital character sheet.
WHEN: Started December 22, officially terminated via full refund March 23.
- Complete exchange of notes in a text file. There's 11 pages, I'll write summary below. Also the links are borked because A. cut&paste from FA and B. I removed the sketches from my server because Xinnova need not access them anymore.
- [NSFW, feral bits] Thumbnail of sketched character sheet. To provide proof that I did draw the commission and go to this point of near-completion. Forgive the size and watermark, I do not wish to provide this person with further images for his perusal.
- Screenshot of full refund.
SUMMARY: Customer doesn't know what he wants, or at the very least does not communicate this to the artist. Despite claiming that he is a writer and that this character sheet will "define me spiritually" he does not write a conclusive description of what he wants, hemming and hawing over what he wants and then becoming increasingly abusive when the artist indicates her boundaries in accordance with the TOS they agreed to. Upon a full refund the customer posts a harassing journal and he and his friends make libelous statements and insults, suggesting customer sue the artist and wishing physical harm on the artist.
Upon completing another character sheet commission, Xinnova contacted me about getting a similar commission from me. I showed him my TOS which he said, and I quote "That's actually very reasonable" and "I will try not to make too many changes, if I do though I will pay the fee". We agreed on $100 for the sheet, half paid up front with a deadline of 6 months.
The transaction started out pleasantly, though early on I realized I had to drag a description of the character I was supposed to draw out of this guy. I thought that he was just a little enthusiastic and disorganized and that I could work with him; I've worked with customers before who sort of knew what they wanted and helped them along to come to a satisfactory end result. No biggie. I thought.
I told him to take a day to make a list of things he wanted instead of sending lots of separate notes, and when he sent notes asking me to add things after I had started (and shown him) sketches I didn't make a fuss and did.
The trouble started when I showed him the third sketch; the first was a side view, he asked for changes (rounded the muzzle/added bandana/number of teats/placement of teats/size of paws/shape of tail-mouth) which I applied.
Upon being shown the second sketch he approved the changes, asking if I could curve the horns back a bit more, which I did. He specifically complimented me on the revised tail-mouth; initially described as being shaped like a rose-bud that opens into a worm-like maw with teeth. I drew the closed tail mouth as a rose bud, with a bulb below the bud and the little green outer leaves.
I told him I was checking off the side-view as approved and listed the remaining work, thinking we had a decent jump off point for the character design. He told me he was looking forward to the results.
He asks if he can still add a necklace. I added the necklace in the fourth sketch.
Upon being presented with the third sketch, he tells me the previously changed and approved muzzle "doesn't feel right at all". He also asks me to change the previously changed and approved closed tail-mouth design. I apply both of these changes.
He asks me to match the size of the paws in the turn-around, which are already matched in size; I put the sketches side to side to ensure that they were, before I presented him with the sketch. So, I can't change it because the paws are already matched up.
He asks me to change the teats/pouch, I apply this change.
He tells me the cock has a knot; the cock is not shown, just the sheath. He did not ask for a cock, so I just drew the sheath. He says he has a sheath, which is great, because I drew a sheath. Again, can't change that.
He tells me he wants the anus included from the view from below, except you wouldn't be able to see the anus from that angle, especially with the vagina mound in the way. So I can't change that because quite frankly, it would make it look like I don't know the proper placement of the anus, which he seems to believe. He "helpfully" tells me the anus "is located in the common area of the tail base".
He tells me to mind the shape of the serpent heads, which is fine. It was a messy sketch but I'm quite familiar with ancient Egyptian art, that's not a problem.
Current count of changes is 11 changes applied spread over 3 opportunities for Xinnova to provide feedback. On the 3 items I couldn't change I explained why I could not.
I send him the fourth sketch, which includes close-ups of the genitalia, including a close-up of the anus in it's proper place. At this point, his unclear waffling on the muzzle and tail is some cause for concern for me and I tell him that this is his last batch of free revisions. I tell him to take his time in deciding what he wants to see changed and that if he wants more changes, he'll have to pay extra for the additional labor, as stated in my TOS which he agreed to.
I had a feeling that otherwise, I was going to go back and forth on the muzzle and tail for a long time, if not on other parts as well if he suddenly disapproved of his previously approved changes. Keep in mind that he has currently paid $6,25 per element of the character sheet. As a professional, I can only spend so much time on a $6,25 sketch.
He sends a short note, telling me he has 6 months? I set a 6 month deadline for my work, and we're already 3 months into it. But I didn't tell him he only had a day, just to take a day to think about it, since his other replies asking for changes were sent fairly quickly and then promptly disapproved of again next time 'round, I thought maybe he thought I was trying to rush things and that he didn't have time to think about it.
I tell him he can take his time and give him some hints on how to put together clear reference material. I figured that, even if he could not find good images or couldn't "redline" the sketch, that he could write out something more detailed, as he lists himself as being a writer.
This is where the transaction sours, in retrospect, pretty much beyond repair.
I try and remain civil despite the fact he calls my experience and professionalism into question, tells me I should have done the research(?), that he only asked for a few small changes, that I refused to change things (but when prompted, doesn't tell me what I refused), that I'm not giving him opinions or options etc.
I give him a play-by-play response telling him that he needs to tell me what he wants or else I can't draw it. I restate that I want him to take his time and tell me exactly what he wants so that I can change it and hopefully bring the transaction to a satisfactory conclusion.
He goes on about how this commission is unique and he can't just describe it despite the fact that he is A. a writer, or says he is and B. he claims this character sheet will "define me spiritually". Despite the fact he is not an artist he tells me sketching is the easiest part of a commission and something about experience, which he doesn't have as an artist, so I don't even know where he was going with that; at this point I'm just confused and uncertain where this hostility is coming from. Stress and illness can only account for so much, I've never had a customer get angry before when I ask them what they want. But he feels like I'm cutting his head off by asking him what he wants so I can draw it for him.
I initially read the note but don't reply, assuming that with time he'd send me the info I needed and we could get this business sorted. I try to go on with my day and do unrelated art, but I'm distracted and irritable and I realize that I was just waiting for the other passive aggressive shoe to drop.
I wanted to bring the commission to a good conclusion, despite the brouhaha, but realized that in order to do so, I'd have to let him bully me into, essentially, work for peanuts. Well, smaller peanuts. Or the burnt, shriveled and stale bits of peanuts left in the bottom of the bag of peanuts.
And that I would hate myself for it.
So I terminated the transaction, as stated I am able to do in the TOS he agreed to. I even gave him a full refund. Then I told him that he could make no claim to the sketches, could not use them for anything and that I desired no further contact.
I saw that he had read the note and he did not reply.
I thought that would be the end of it and I was quite happy to leave it at that.
That said, I still had a half-finished character sheet, which I own fully and was out about $50 of labor. Trying to recoup some of my losses I changed the design around to no longer resemble Xinnova's design (which according to him, I had failed to approximate anyway) and put it up as a pre-sketched character sheet/adoptable. AFTER I had removed all mention of Xinnova from my account, which was just in my commission list in my journals anyway. I did in no way refer, link or name him anywhere.
To which [possibly NSFW, tame but feral bits]he promptly outed himself as the uncooperative and abusive customer in the very first comment.
Notice his friends also joining in.
I blocked them all.
He then posts a harassing journal linking directly to my submission, breaking the Terms of Service of FurAffinity.
When a moderator deletes his post and gives him a warning, he complains about how he was just defending his good name which would have never been jeopardized if he had dropped the matter when he was refunded.
You'll notice the blatant discrepancies between his communication with me and what he tells his friends: That I was insulting and attacking him, that he only asked for 4-5 small changes and that I didn't do half, that I have "butchered" his name publicly, that he wasn't initially prepared to pay extra for additional labor in case he needed numerous changes and so forth.
Interestingly, there's apparently 3-4 of his friends who filed Trouble Tickets about me/my pre-sketched commission, despite they were never even peripherally involved with this transaction. Harassment, name-calling, insults and the like ensue, all based on what little skewed information they had.
Which brings us to this post.
In conclusion: Do not work with this person.
He doesn't know what he wants and gets angry when you don't either and refuse to do endless revisions until he makes up his mind, which might be never; he wants other people to define him spiritually, which is just never going to happen. It's not worth it and neither is the resulting abuse and libel he uses to whip his friends into an ignorant frenzy. Friends, whom I should add, who would also probably be best avoided if these statements are indicative of their true nature.
I'll probably get more abuse and harassment for this post, but I honestly think it's worth it if I can save at least one other artist from this frustration and aggravation; You are better than this, do not work with him.