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Artist To Do Lists and Contact

If an artist has a list of commissioners, does it affect how frequently you contact them regarding an overdue commission?

An artist my partner and I have commissioned in the past was taking emergency commissions to be completed the following couple of months (early in 2013). We were the last of twelve to sign up in that batch and there were two or three remaining from the artist's previous commission list so a wait was expected and accounted for. The time period in which the emergency commissions were to be completed passed, with only two of the older commissions completed and none of the ones from the emergency batch. Since then the artist has been slowly but steadily completing commissions on the list without public updates as to status.

Normally I would have sent four to six status requests at this point (as I spread them out to once a month or once every six weeks if there is signs of activity from an artist) but the length of the artist's public To Do list has stymied me from making contact. Having seen other artists skip over clients who have waited longer periods of time for their artwork in order to cater to more vocal customers I find myself wary of making much of a fuss.

Do other people take into accounting an artist's To Do list when weighing whether to request updates or WIPS of their work?

(Note: I have no intention of posting a beware on the artist in my example or entertaining speculation about them, this is simply for my own edification and potential community discussion.)
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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 15th, 2013 07:28 am (UTC)
The only time the To Do list of an artist concerns me, is before I purchase a commission. Otherwise I do not let the list length stop me from making wip requests or inquiries as to status - it shouldn't stop any customer, in my opinion. Whatever work is piled on after they accept my payment is truly their problem, being aware of it is fine but doesn't really impact my expectation of Wips.

This artist has not finished the taken work within the original promised date, and has not been publicly keeping updates, to me this is a red flag.

You are absolutely within your rights to contact them and become vocal, as what you have described here would irritate most folks.
Jun. 18th, 2013 04:27 pm (UTC)
I definitely agree with you on every point. Where I've been dithering is the commissions that were accepted at the same time as my own. This was a case of 12 or so commissions accepted in a single batch, of which mine was the final taken. (Actually, the artist overlooked my request in his journal at first, responding to people who had posted after me at one point before confirming my place. >.>'' Which may, in and of itself, be a reason I'm wary of bothering him.)
Jun. 15th, 2013 10:50 am (UTC)
To talk in a general sense and not with the exact situation listed, since you seem to be asking for that as well,

I find queues are a good way for commissioners to know what's up, who's ahead of who and how far along the artist is working. It is a way to get a quick update withought messaging the artist and needing to wait for a reply, but most artists will have visible activity going on showering their working.

Do I think it means a commissioner shouldn't ask for updates? Course not. I always encourage clients to message me if they need an update before I can give them one, or to let me know of any concerns, writhing a reasonable contact frame, like not everyday. But it is of course helpful to check the list to see if your turn is up of not, I list when work has been started and what stage I'm at. But I also personally make my list very public, linking it in commission journals and warning them that others are ahead, so it gives them an idea on wait time.

So all in all, no, lists shouldn't stop you from asking for an update, especially since most artists don't actually write statuses on it and only usernames, but it is a good thing to reference for quick updates.

My personal list is pretty detailed enough. Usernames, date paid, commission type/character amount, status (not yet worked on, sketching, etc) and I also add a "last updated on" date. That way people are really up to date and have an idea how fast I'm working and when ill get to them. But I certainly wouldn't be mad if they messages me and asked.

On my phone so please forgive the typos!
Jun. 18th, 2013 04:32 pm (UTC)
Your type of commission list is probably my favorite to work with, from a commissioner standpoint. Two of the artists I return to most frequently use a similar process and I find that it is very functional and user friendly.

You also make a good point about still asking for updates. I've obviously just been a little gun-shy this time around and shouldn't have let circumstances get to me.
Jun. 15th, 2013 11:07 am (UTC)
I'm with what neo said, it's only a real concern before I actually commission said artist. seeing someone who has a ton for a workload is a red flag in my eyes and should be for everyone. Maybe they work fast. I do know a few but still its a good guideline I think. I can understand showing some leniency but no you shouldn't feel bad for asking within reason.
Jun. 16th, 2013 04:26 am (UTC)
If the artist has a list that's steadily being worked through, regardless of where you are on the list, I see no reason reason to to ask for a status update, unless progress on the list stops entirely. I I don't know what they would tell you other other than to look at the list.
Jun. 16th, 2013 07:12 pm (UTC)
I have a question though. I commissioned an artist for some work, but had no idea she had a backlog prior to commissioning her. She always seemed to pump out work really quickly, but now, she's run into financial trouble among other things and isn't able to work on a lot of things and now has an even BIGGER backlog, I'm sure.

Now, I don't think she is a dishonest person, as I've commissioned her before and been very happy with the products, but I'm worried about how much longer I have to wait to get what I want. I've been wanting to ask her for updates, but would it be considered rude, seeing as how I know she's in a lot of outside life trouble? I've been waiting a year for art that she said would be done in a month... but I've just been trying to be patient and understanding to her situation, but I've also been too preoccupied to feel like I need to contact her.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 18th, 2013 04:35 pm (UTC)
This is a situation where I would probably have given a little bit of leeway, but a year is pretty excessive. At this point I don't think it would be rude or impolite to ask for an update. I agree with mortymaxwell that you've been very patient. You can always acknowledge how you understand things have been hard for her lately, but that you would appreciate some form of acknowledgement of the work she owes you.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


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