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Too much work for one sketch?

Hello everybody! :)

I'd like to know your views on one thing that recently happened to me.
I accepted a commission from certain person (let's call him Mr. X, I wouldn't like to mention his name because he actually made nothing bad), we agreed on the price, the way it should be done. He wanted to have his own character redesigned and gave me some info on it, lots of descriptions. He told me he wants to have the character done precisely this way. The result of all this had to be a simple pencil drawing - some sort of character reference sheet. I told him if this is going to be complex then it'll be expensive because of many sketches which have to be made. He replied that I should pay full attention to what he's sending me. He said the bigger attention I'm paying to him, the less sketches I'd have to do.
I started working on the character design. Every time I made a sketch he send me a massive comment on it (2 pages of text) which made me terribly depressed. O.@ One time he didn't like the length of hair, second time it was the body... I had to refuse the commission because it wasn't worth the time. I advised him to ask one other artist, the one to whose art he was refering all the time.

What do you think about it? What would you do in this situation?
I'm really not happy with having to refuse it but I saw no other way. :P I lost a lot of time by carefully reading those tons of text and thinking of how to draw it so Mr. X would be actually satisfied.
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( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 5th, 2006 11:01 am (UTC)
I advised him to ask one other artist, the one to whose art he was refering all the time.
- I think that's the best response. Was he constantly talking about some other artist? That's really rude, and I imagine my reaction would be the same - if you want it how artist A does it, fer Chrissakes, ask artist A!

I personally would not work with a person who acts in such a way, and I think the option you chose is likely the best one. if something seems like more trouble than it's worth, it probably is.
Jan. 5th, 2006 11:04 am (UTC)
I give people three free revisions, after that they pay for any additional revisions, its their fault for not being more specific if its not right after three. That is the way it works in the real world as well, you dont get to nitpick and nitpick with freelance work, expect to pay for significant changes.
Jan. 5th, 2006 11:27 am (UTC)
I think it's perfectly normal for commissioners to only do a limited number of revisions. Too many and becomes unprofitable and a waste of time and resources for the artist. If you have a site or a terms and conditions sections anywhere, I'd settle on a maximum number of revisions and put it in there, just to save yourself grief next time ^^ Though obviously you can't predict what kind of buyer you're going to get XD
Jan. 5th, 2006 07:33 pm (UTC)
Kacey Miyagami has a revisions policy on her website. You should check it out and perhaps ask if you could adopt some of it. Halfway down this page:

Also, note the policy on minor pose changes versus starting a whole new sketch.

I actually had one person change his character's appearance while I was working on the sketches! From one to three heads. Then three eyes on each head. Then a series of five drawings telling a story! He just kept "coming up with great ideas." Of course, every time he did that I'd charge him more until I asked him that we make an agreement that there be no more changes. Then, he had a change that was so cool and great he just had to tell me about it. What if his character had two pairs of arms instead of just one!

I terminated the commission and sold him the sketches I'd made for $175.
Jan. 5th, 2006 12:17 pm (UTC)
Uh, that's quite rude from the artist's view. Some people seem to think we'll do anything for money and no life at all, heh.
I've never had a commissioner like that [whew!], but I'm prepared. I'd be re-sketching the drawing for twice [or thrice] for free if the customer sounded very disappointed, but then I would had to ask for a little fee for every re-sketch. In case the customer wants it to be re-sketched and not changes made to the first sketch instead.
Jan. 5th, 2006 12:19 pm (UTC)
If a person wants you to draw something like another artist, they should ask that artist. Not you. You have your own style and when you do commissions you shouldn't be forced to draw in another person's style.

And I don't see how you put up with that amout of pickiness about a pic. No artistic leeway = pic that ain't too fun to draw.
Jan. 5th, 2006 04:29 pm (UTC)
wtf your icon DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD::::::::::
Jan. 5th, 2006 12:28 pm (UTC)
I think that is kind of rude that he wanted it just so and made hundreds of comments about every sketch you did. At the end of the day however you draw it it will never look like he imagines it to look, because you're not a mind reader

And the work will still look like yours because you're doing it in your own style. He must have liked your style to want to comission you in the first place, so why he's being ansy and comparing you to other artists is beyond me...and very anal
Jan. 5th, 2006 03:45 pm (UTC)
Yes, that's it. When someone wants to commission you, it's because he likes your style...
Jan. 5th, 2006 12:52 pm (UTC)
Hm, Mr. X sure sounds familiar, anyone else?
Jan. 5th, 2006 01:10 pm (UTC)
Sure does :/
Jan. 5th, 2006 01:37 pm (UTC)
Jan. 5th, 2006 02:49 pm (UTC)
Jan. 5th, 2006 04:06 pm (UTC)
If I didn't know any better...
I would say that was Clax
Jan. 5th, 2006 01:39 pm (UTC)
Yeah, after a certain amount of work, it becomes clear that the person just isn't going to be satisfied with anything you do. A few tweaks is one thing, but repeatedly tearing the piece to shreds is another thing all together.

When you've reached the "it's become more work than it's worth" you have two choices: renegotiate the price, or just chalk it up to experience and drop the project.

-The Gneech
Jan. 5th, 2006 02:05 pm (UTC)
As a picky-comissioner myself, I have to say that Mr. X is going WAY too far. It IS rude of him to be THAT picky. Each artist has their own style- Go by that for your desires in the commission, rather than what some OTHER artist does... And the better the initial desc, the less revisions are required. :)

If I go to an artist for a commission (or a conbook-sketch, for that matter), I assume they'll put their own stamp on things, within the parameters of what is requested. Its THEIR work, even if ite my character.
Jan. 5th, 2006 02:23 pm (UTC)
The trouble with people like this is that they 'see' the character in their head - and are perfectly willing to kill you to try and get it. You have provided him with some value - but you are right to let him go.
Jan. 5th, 2006 02:58 pm (UTC)
Yes, I had a commissioner like that once at a convention; he kept coming back and was real polite about revisions, and he tried showing me what he wanted too (though of course he couldn't draw too well himself which was why he was commissioning people during the con) Eventually I finished up the piece but it still wasn't 100% right in his eyes. He was great to work with, though, because he said "I understand, it's okay, and the changes I'd like to make, I can do on the computer." Which was fine with me - I'd finished my art, we were done with the transaction, and I'd given him a "base" drawing to work with, to make it look as much like his character as he could.
Jan. 5th, 2006 02:24 pm (UTC)
I've been there too. :/ it is very depressing, and ended up being one of the worst pieces I ever did. I'd refund him if you can't please him, because sometimes its just not worth it.
Jan. 5th, 2006 04:21 pm (UTC)
Yeah, if he wants a certain artist he needs to commission -that- artist and not put you through hell because you're not him/her.

You did well to refuse, it's one thing to be picky but another to be anal. If I were you I'd use the existing sketches and finish them to sell or auction them off as "finish this sketch" commissions. That way you'll still get some money for your time and effort.
Jan. 5th, 2006 05:00 pm (UTC)
Which reminds me, if you're aware that he has an account on furbid/fureauction, ban it. In case he wants to start drama.
Jan. 5th, 2006 04:59 pm (UTC)
I think an artist always has the right to refuse a commission, especialy if the buyer is making them feel bad about their work or themselves. You did the right thing by not letting the sittuation move along any further, I think you would have probably had some troubles later down the line if you had.
Jan. 5th, 2006 05:52 pm (UTC)
theres only so much any artist can take and this sounds like it was a buttload of stress ... you did what was best.
Jan. 5th, 2006 07:01 pm (UTC)
well.... maybe he should ask someone who either specializes in this or wants to do it for a living. XD you could reccomend me to him. Because hey, it's what I wanna do, character design, and if it's for a job, i can take a ton of critique! :P

If you can't take it, it's alright, you were right to refuse the commission.
Jan. 5th, 2006 07:03 pm (UTC)
hey but if it's clax.. then no way.. oh yeah and the commissioner.. SHOULD by law pay you for the work you have already done for him.
Jan. 5th, 2006 07:55 pm (UTC)
Sounds stressful. I've had two occurences like that before. The first was for a new friend- a local fur- and he was being incredibly nitpicky about the way he wanted his character. Well I got irritated because he was making me feel like crap so I got a little snarky, that's when he said "Forget it, you'll never make it look like how I see it in my head." I responded with "Exactly!" and I haven't talked to the guy since. :\
My second experience was just a few weeks ago. The guy was pretty anal about how he wanted his badge, but I do admit I pulled a few no-no's on it myself. Still, it was a frustrating commission and I doubt I'll work with the guy again. (badge was finished and paid for, tho)

Anyhow, you were right to refuse him after that. You should still be paid for your time and effort, though. But it's good you didn't try and finish the commission because that would have been really stressful and would have had you coming out of the deal feeling like crap about your art.
Jan. 5th, 2006 08:47 pm (UTC)
If I were in your shoes, and after how picky he had gotten, I would have just dumped the commission. It's not fair to you to have to make all these small and minor changes, and on top of that..having to deal with how rude he was being.
It was right of you to tell him to go to someone else, and if he likes them so much..then why not?
Jan. 6th, 2006 01:02 am (UTC)
You did the right thing refusing it.
Picky customers are very difficult to deal with, and if you don't feel that you are up to it, it is definitely better to tell them so before they pay so they don't end up with something they don't like and you don't have to stress yourself out and overwork yourself.
Jan. 6th, 2006 01:17 am (UTC)
I have to say, that I would have been pissed by the
"He said the bigger attention I'm paying to him, the less sketches I'd have to do."
part.. I mean really.. THAT would have been IT for me. I takes me a few sketches to get even MY characters to look right (like when I'm making new ones)
I think it was VERY wise that you turned down the commission, it would NOT have been worth the time or the headache. That and his overall attitude really sends up red flags.
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )


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