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Helpful hints!

Things I've learned by watching others getting screwed:

Never, EVER start work for a client unless you have received at least some money from them. Either require payment in full up front, or else 50% up front, send the pencil/ink scans, then the other 50% before coloring. Unless you like giving away free art.

Make sure the check clears before shipping anything.

Sign your work, and use a CONSISTENT signature. There's nothing more annoying then trying to track down an artist whose changed her pseudonym 20 times.

Ask before making prints of a commission. Your client might not appreciate having their private commission publicly available.

PO Boxes are nice if you don't want to give out your home address over teh Intarweb. You can get a small one for about $35 a year. Beware, though, the helpful folks at the Posthole Service will make sure they put all your mail into that 3x5 inch box, even if it measures 9x12. Ask the Postmaster to put a note on the box to hold oversized mail behind the counter.

If you send mail in an envelope than you can bend, the Post Office will. A lot. Use a Priority Mail box, which you can order online for free. It costs the same as a Priority Mail envelope, but you REALLY have to work at it to fold it. ^_^
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( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 22nd, 2006 12:20 am (UTC)
We have a nice postman who, once he even rang our doorbell to tell us postage went up and that we should put another stamp on our envelopes! He hasn't bent any artwork so far, no matter how it's packaged.
Mar. 22nd, 2006 12:28 am (UTC)
Considering how many horror stories I've heard (and experienced) about artists running off with prepayments, vanishing never to be heard from again, offering excuse after excuse for literally years, or simply refusing to answer emails, I will not prepay unless I know the artist very well and they have a spotless reputation.

I will, however, agree about not sending a scan until you have the money in hand.
Mar. 22nd, 2006 12:59 am (UTC)
I've always followed a policy of, "Once burned, twice shy." But that is a seperat tally for every artist. If I'm burned, then I don't refuse to prepay, I jut refuse to prepay for that artist.

If the artist gets screwed, they lose a lot of effort, and chances are decent that they can't easily resell the commission to someone else. If you, the customer, gets screwed by an artist that won't actually draw the art, you only lose money. And if you can't afford to lose the money, you shouldn't be buying art.
Mar. 22nd, 2006 03:01 am (UTC)
And if you can't afford to lose the money, you shouldn't be buying art.

If artists expects people to pay them as professionals, they'd better damned well act like professionals. That includes, say, not stealing. For some people, even though it may "only" be $20.00, that can actually constitute the entirety of their budgets for luxuries in a year. It is significant- the $20.00 example is more than most furries make in an hour, and what they do make often has to go to living expenses with little to spare. A struggling artist can work hard for their money, but that doesn't mean that the commissioner somehow doesn't, or that their own efforts to get the cash are somehow less noble because it doesn't involve drawing anthro herm pit bulls with nippledicks. After all, it's not like someone who gets ripped off can just give the money to someone else for a commission, seeing as it was stolen.

Seriously, though, most artists aren't thieves; if every time I commissioned someone, I considered it a realistic possibility that I would be ripped off, I just wouldn't buy art, period.
Mar. 22nd, 2006 02:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, I agree, for the most part. Artists who take a commission and don't deliver are just as guilty of theft as the commissioner who gets art and somehow forgets to mail out the check. And I'd be right pissed if I lost $100 that I expected to get some art for. I worked for that money!

My point is twofold, though, and I'm not sure you got it. One, if I couldn't afford to lose that $100 - if I needed it for food or rent or car repairs - then I shouldn't have been spending it on art in the first place. The very fact that I did implicitly means I can afford to lose it. And two, if a particular artist screws me over, then I'm going to rethink any future dealings with that artist; I'm not going to rethink my future dealings with all artists. Like criminals, artists are innocent until proven otherwise, and so I will prepay for art, or at least pay as soon as I can get a check in the mail, until the artist shows he won't deliver.
Mar. 26th, 2006 12:57 am (UTC)
I agree that I must have missed your point. The part about how the commissioner only loses the money is what got me going, mainly because I've heard that argument time and again as some sort of justification for theft.
Mar. 22nd, 2006 11:54 am (UTC)

Artists stand to lose a lot more if they screw customers than if it's the other way around, customers can just change their names to escape their bad history, artists tend to be readily identified by their style of artwork.

Look at starfinder for instance, great artist, flaky at being professional, she's totally screwed her reputation to the point where most people would not hire her to do work.
Mar. 22nd, 2006 12:46 am (UTC)
You make a lot of very good points.

I usually do generic concept sketches that way the client can pull out if they think I'm not quite what they're looking for. Once they choose a concept, I don't start until I've recieved at least half the money; half before I work, and half after they recieve the image.

For shipping I have several boxes of these wonderful envelopes from the Canadian Department of Defense that have cardboard support inserts in each of them. Perfect for sending images.
Mar. 22nd, 2006 01:12 am (UTC)
If you send mail in an envelope than you can bend, the Post Office will. A lot. Use a Priority Mail box, which you can order online for free. It costs the same as a Priority Mail envelope, but you REALLY have to work at it to fold it.

I buy bubble padded enelopes in bulk at Staples and then sandwitch the tissue paper wrapped artwork between two pieces of thick cardboard. It's gone all the way to North Korea and farther that way without any problems.
Mar. 22nd, 2006 01:20 am (UTC)
I'd actually just add "Know your post office/letter handlers REALLY WELL". I've had some very minimally packaged artwork get to me just fine (a flat manila envelope that had "please don't bend me!" written on it). Thing is, this was delivered to my dorm's mail box, where the mail is handled by desk assistants we all know on a first-name basis. Had this been sent to my house? Pfft. It would have been a goner.

There's a lot of processing and other dangerous stuff that happens in between, but if you can trust your departure and arrival points well, there's a little less to worry about in the long run.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


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