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This is something I've been wondering for a bit now and was just curious on what other commissioners and artists think about this. There have been a few times where I've waited almost a year for a simple commission to get done and lately I've been thinking about how long a commissioner should wait before say following up on progress of their commission or asking for a refund. For me, unless and artist states in their commission info or in commission journals that there is a long wait on commissions, I usually anticipate a 2 month wait tops. Now granted, artists have outside lives too such as school, family, friends, work, etc. Yet when you're doing commissions, you have to be able to find a balance between your art life and your real life right? I don't know, there are several other factors that can cause me to request a refund after a short period. If I see the artist doing tons of personal pics and such and neglecting commissions, jumping around the commission order list, etc. Again, just curious. Any feedback would be great!
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( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 13th, 2014 06:07 am (UTC)
I generally say that if it can't get finished before the Paypal dispute option is up, it's not a commission I should risk money on.

Obviously this doesn't work for some things, but few commissions (should) take longer than 44 days to reach you.
Mar. 13th, 2014 06:15 am (UTC)
We had a similar post about this same topic before, and I feel like some of the comments in it are still valid now: http://artists-beware.livejournal.com/685491.html

It all depends on the category of commission, their queue, your position IN said queue and their work ethic.

If you commission someone who does nothing but chibis, sketched and lineart; it shouldn't take longer than two weeks at the most, with a decent queue.

A full out painting with background, detailing and more? Expect a longer turn around.

If you require a deadline, shop around for an artist who can accommodate such a deadline. Never feel bad contacting your artist about the status of your commission in a polite and tactful manner every so often.

If its getting close to the deadline for a refimd and you have nothing to show, nor any communication with the artist (either at all, or it doesn't go anywhere period) feel free to make a claim.
Mar. 13th, 2014 08:02 am (UTC)
If you do not agree on a time period, then what is an "acceptable" wait time is very hard to determine. Arguably, as long as the artist honestly intends to do your work at some point, they have not abandoned it - and I fully appreciate that art block exists for some artists.

That said, it's unprofessional to take someone's money if you have any uncertainty about being able to start work on it; likewise, to take on additional work (paid or otherwise) with the knowledge that it will delay your prior commitments. Evidence of either of these might cause you to question the artist's intentions, but be careful - there may be facts you are not aware of.

Many furry artists are unprofessional, of course, and that's part of why the price is so low. Caveat emptor. But it's best to set your own conditions on timing before you seal the deal by making payment. Otherwise, you're changing the conditions of the implied contract. (Artists may also consider it in their benefits to set such limits, both to avoid uncertainty and as motivation for themselves.)

There are situations where a lead time is acceptable (often accompanied by a deposit), but they mostly relate to high materials costs, e.g. ordering custom fur. If a work is big enough to take a long time by itself, the payment should be big enough to be made in instalments upon completion of phases, which may include design sketches, inks, etc.
Mar. 13th, 2014 08:37 am (UTC)
Personally, I'd say that that is generally a good window to allow for most fluctuations in workload/time to draw/etc, but I would encourage anyone who is concerned in the least to always bring it up with the artist if they don't know what to expect. Ask what the wait time would be - they might legitimately really have a very long queue and take a long time even with continuous work - and express that even if you don't have a deadline two months or less is your comfort range for a wait (minus extenuating circumstances where you are in advance fully prepared to wait for longer). That way, they KNOW what you expect even if it isn't a hard/short term deadline, and hopefully, they will then tell you if they think they can't manage that.

What someone said up thread is also really true - if they tend to do highly detailed, completed work or traditional media painterly stuff - two months is probably not realistic to expect (but I am also assuming that in addition to them producing more technically complex works they have more than you in their queue) in many situations.

Edited at 2014-03-13 08:40 am (UTC)
Mar. 13th, 2014 09:45 am (UTC)
I think it depends a great deal on the artist's queue when they agree to take your commission. I know that for my part, the wait of getting to Commissioner X's slot is by far the longest part of the process, due to other commissioners in the queue and also work/life balance. Generally speaking once I've actually started work on the piece, the turnaround is under a month.

I don't know. I've waited a long time to get work from artists I admire. I'm content to wait as long as there's evidence that the artist is working through their queue and will eventually get to my piece, and if any checkups from me to the artist are answered promptly.
Mar. 13th, 2014 11:07 am (UTC)
I think it's perfectly okay to ask an artist for an estimate beforehand and to ask for a deadline if you're willing to maybe pay an extra fee. It's also expected that the artist will make a reasonable effort to stay in contact with you about progress on the piece.

But how long is too long? That really varies per artist. Aside from work load and other demands on an artist's time, the method of working differs from artist to artist in a million little ways and comparing artists is like herding cats.

If you're tired of waiting, just tell the artist; "It's been X amount of time and I hadn't anticipated that the commission would take this long. I can appreciate that you might have limited time to work on my commission, but maybe we can work out a partial refund if you can't finish it in the near future."
Mar. 13th, 2014 02:41 pm (UTC)
There are a lot of factors at play in terms of length of commission wait. Some things you want to consider would be...

-What kind of commission is it? A sketch? A badge? A big, complex illustration? Is it digital or traditional? (While it might not seem to matter, it could if someone counts stock improperly and realizes midway through they need to order more supplies to finish their work!)

- Does the artist have any non-business related obligations or any situation that may take their time away from work? This could be vacations, or health issues. While you really shouldn't ask about health issues, I think an artist should offer up "just so you know, I have a surgery coming up", or anything that is relevant to the commissioner's wait time if it is a concern.

- Do they have a full time job? I've worked freelance while both employed and unemployed. While employed, I only had the energy to work on freelance on days I wasn't working. This isn't the case for everyone, but it could be the case with anyone at all!

Your best bet is to ask the artist how long they feel they will take. I've taken months on commissions, and I've also had ones finished in a week- it depends on my life situation, my health, and what sort of thing I'm working on. It also depends on how many people are ahead of the person asking! I think it goes without saying that you should also do your research on an artist, through sites like artists_beware- if your artist tells you it'll be done in a week, and you see someone on artist_beware saying "they said it would be done next week, now it's a year later and they aren't responding to emails", you probably don't want to continue business with that individual.

Also, you should never take the words of other people who say "I could have finished that in (timeframe)!" I see it posted here all the time when someone is taking too long on a commission, or what is perceived as too long, and inevitably some artist will chime in and say "pff, I'd have been done that by now!" Some people work slower, some people have simpler styles or pipelines than others. Everyone works differently and at different paces- if wait time is a concern for you, always ask your artist first, before they start work. :)
Mar. 13th, 2014 03:48 pm (UTC)
"Also, you should never take the words of other people who say "I could have finished that in (timeframe)!" I see it posted here all the time when someone is taking too long on a commission"

Hear hear, I always think it's kind of tacky, like they're fishing for business :/
Mar. 13th, 2014 03:55 pm (UTC)
I don't necessarily think it's so much tacky/business fishing... as much as it is that they expect others to be able to meet their... let's say... standards for work.

I find it to be kind of insulting when someone pipes in with "I could have finished this in a week"... it implies that the person has no work ethic, to me. When really, it could be that the person has an hour a day to work on art, or two... it could be that the person has issues they are in and out of the hospital for. It could be that the person is such a perfectionist they take much longer to do things so that they are SURE it's just right! It could very well be that the person saying they can finish something in a day, week, etc. are producing sloppy work! (Note: I'm not suggesting folks in this community who comment with this are, just that hey, maybe a faster turnaround means sloppy work for some folks!)
Mar. 13th, 2014 03:58 pm (UTC)
There is that too.
Mar. 13th, 2014 03:33 pm (UTC)
IMO the rule of thumb is two months.

For following up with the artist, at least once a month. If they don't keep a public commissioners list then once a week unless they give an estimated time of completion sounds reasonable to me.

For asking for a refund or deadline, if paypal was used, about two weeks before the dispute deadline. If the artist doesn't respond to the inquiry within a couple of weeks, just dispute the charge and move on with life. IME it's much, much easier than trying to get a refund out of them months later.

That said, if an artist is communicating and I can see where they are in their commission list, I wouldn't consider asking for a deadline until two months had passed after my order came to be at the top of the list.
Mar. 14th, 2014 03:20 am (UTC)
Maybe I'm a weird case but-

I tend to not commission people until I've watched them for a while. For example, I have a commission that's going on a year long- but I knew when I commissioned the artist that a)they had a long queue already and b) they were already kind of "slow" when it came to commissions.

I'm a pretty patient person already, but at around the 6-8 month mark, I asked about it (because 90% finished pictures had been posted two months after commissioning it) and they felt bad for taking so long they offered to upgrade it for free!

Maybe I'm weird (or just lucky!) but I generally have good luck with commissions. I try not to pester the artist I select, I generally don't have any due date set (after all, I want the artist to enjoy doing my commission rather than feeling rushed- and good chances are, if they enjoy the experience, the commission turns out even better!) and I may check in once a month or so just for updates.

The best thing I can recommend-

First, unless there are some outstanding circumstances, watch the artist for a while before commissioning them. That way, you get to see their current quality, you can get updated on current queue, and can kind of see the approximate time between commissions.

Secondly, ASK! I don't think it ever hurts to ask for an approximate wait time. Not all artists might be able to give you one, or it may be a very loose estimate (i.e. "It could be 4-6 months before I'm able to blah blah blah") but at least you have an idea!

Thirdly, have an idea of what you're commissioning. (This was said above, but I feel it's important enough to echo!) Is it traditional? Digital? Badge? Multi-character piece? How complex are the characters?

The biggest thing to keep in mind (at least, the thing that I keep reminding myself while I wait!) is that- how badly do I want a piece by this artist? There's a good chance that, the more I want art by a certain artist, the more I'm willing to wait and the more I may be willing to pay.

I still say, though, that for initial shots (as with mine) two months is a pretty good time frame.
Mar. 15th, 2014 03:29 am (UTC)
I have wondered this myself... I agree that 2 months is about the longest you can expect unless there's extenuating circumstances, but what about in the case of iron artists? Is 2 months still a gold standard for those? In my case, I'm about 60 pieces into a 100-chibi queue and some of the remaining people are standing at 2 months already. I usually post about one IA chibi per day.

For what it's worth they were very cheap and everyone was given the choice to watch in a stream. Does that help to make up for the wait? I made absolutely sure that everyone knew I had a big queue when they got one, but I gave a wrong estimate on the turnaround for some. :x

Sorry if this is considered off topic, but I would love input!
Mar. 15th, 2014 09:39 pm (UTC)
Most artists are totally cool with clients requesting updates and deadlines. I know I am. But I also state in my commission info that I have a really long wait time because art isn't my full time job, its just something I do on the side(for the time being) --it really depends on the artist. But as a general rule most artists are totally okay with you checking in as long as its not excessive. That can put a lot of pressure on the artist.
Mar. 16th, 2014 04:05 pm (UTC)
I usually ask for a turn-around time and if the artist has a queue posted I can check in on when I request a commission. If the artist gives a time frame that I find unsuitable, I might politely opt not to get the commission.

Sometimes I take a couple months to work on fully rendered pieces (colour,background,etc), but I'm perfectly okay with a commissioner asking me personally for status updates (within reason of course, 20 a week would be a bit much!).
Mar. 18th, 2014 02:30 am (UTC)
I'm a particularly slow artist, and sometimes a not very productive one at that,and the longest I've ever took on a commission was about..2? months, mainly cause it was multiple characters and it wasn't something I was used to. so there is also that to take into consideration if its not something the artist is usually drawing it might take longer.
I've always let them know they can contact me and that I would actively give notice if I was going to take longer than I thought.
Apr. 6th, 2014 09:32 pm (UTC)
same topic, just my own question.
I have a similar question really. 2 months is a while. I did contact the artist I'm waiting form after reading this. I first made contact with her on the 3rd of January where all the info was exchanged and I had officially commissioned her. It was about March 24th (two weeks ago) that I re-made contact asking whats up and how long I should expect to wait.
She says she has school full time and and work has just been SO busy. but yet has had time to finish personal work and badges for an upcoming con(BLFC) that she took orders for 2 weeks before the con. I follow her on twitter where she is active and can see all this activity. The con in now over and she said she was in Spring break a week ago and was planning on getting a good chunk of commission work done then. I still have yet to see her post anything from the commissioners before myself.
I can see in her feed that she goes out out for dinner a lot and hangs out with friends when I feel she should be working on some art owed to me and her other commissioners.
How should I approach her and what should I say? I dont want to be rude,sound mean or over demanding. T-T I am just a really impatient wuff.
Also should I make a separate post for this? not sure,I just want some advice. ^^
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )


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