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First of all, I am a long time lurker of this site, but just now decided to post. I've never used LiveJournal before so I sincerely apologize if I make a mess of things.

This is a problem that happens to me a lot. I pride myself in being a pretty flexible artist, having good comunication with the client and overall getting a good picture with as much accuracy as possible. However this has lent itself to several clients going a little overboard with changes to the point of being a headache, especially when they want something changed "but they don't quite know why/what" or "this line looks out of place, please change it"

I know there are several ways of dealing with this problem, such as charging after a certain amount of changes, but it leaves me a bit sour in the mouth since it can suggest to potential clients that you might purposely mess up in order to charge them extra. Other options include charging these nit-picky individuals extra just for being them or refusing business from them outright.

My TOS is due an update and I would love to address this issue. If you could share with me your methods or suggestions it'd be much appreciated!

Thank you very much everyone! I'm really glad my concerns were unfounded. I think I will go as many of you suggested with a numbered free changes before charging, especially on sketch phase. Again thank you very much!

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( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 11th, 2014 08:09 pm (UTC)
since it can suggest to potential clients that you might purposely mess up in order to charge them extra

I have honestly never seen or heard of this being a concern. It's just not a thing. The vast majority of artists want to get the piece done and move on, they aren't going to intentionally drag it out to make a couple of dollars. Really, don't worry about that.

The standard is to make one big change (redrawing) and a couple of small changes for free, before you start charging for the extra time. The idea of a fee tends to make people be more decisive, and if they aren't, you're still getting paid for that time, so it's fairly win-win. Of course, if it's in your TOS and a client tries to complain about being charged, that's not your fault. That's not you being a 'bad' artist, or having bad customer service.

Unfortunately, if you continue to allow unlimited free changes, people will take advantage of you, as you've found.
May. 11th, 2014 08:12 pm (UTC)
i worried about the 'what if they think i'm messing up on purpose' too, but i think it's just artist paranoia.

what i have done though (and it has helped both to cut down on this and to keep my time worth the final pay) is that i say the first three changes are for free. you could make yours more or less, but i say that after that any edits are 5$ per edit.

people are usually able to get what they want across by the first or second edit, but in the extremely rare event that they use up their third and still want changes, i feel like this really makes it less of a headache.
May. 11th, 2014 08:19 pm (UTC)
It depends on what it is.

If it's something small like a sketch? I will absolutely not fix anything unless it's a major flub on my end. I've had clients have me sit there and tweak their character's clothes by mere inches, only to be unhappy with it and want it tweaked again. Honestly, for things like a sketch, if they want a refined image they'll have to pay for a refined image.

For larger items imposing a fee on revisions after X amount of time really gets folks to sit down and take a look at their image. I encourage them to take their time and sit on the sketch a few days before approving it for inking.

Your concern doesn't seem like it'd be that big of an issue, because charging a small fee to spend more minutes to fix something really isn't a good way to make more money. The artist is just spending more time and making less by the hour.
May. 15th, 2014 11:55 am (UTC)
Could I ask for an example of a Major flub? What would be acceptable for the client to ask to have changed?

I find my self going to far with offering changes and just wonder where other stop them selves.
May. 15th, 2014 12:08 pm (UTC)
Sure! Like if a character has wings or horns and you forgot them. Or if the pupils are slits, and you drew them as circular. Or a major one would be if you misread the pose, and you drew the wrong one.

But like if a loin cloth isn't slightly longer, or if a jacket isn't square enough, that's not a major flub; that's a refinement.
May. 15th, 2014 12:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
Can I ask what about things like hoof shape or length of hair? What do you feel they would fall under?
Sorry for more questions!
May. 15th, 2014 02:31 pm (UTC)
Unless you get it totally off, I would consider it minor.
May. 11th, 2014 08:50 pm (UTC)
I just altered my ToS to say ANY alterations to what is currently in front of me- I had too many people submit like, a highly stylized reference and then would pull the "BUT ITS LIKE THAT ON THE REF SHEEEEEEET ;_;" when something subjective came up and they wanted it different than how I percieved it to be. So I got tired of saying "Oh okay i guess you're right" and just changed it so if they ask for ANY alterations it counts towards their 3 freebie limit.
May. 11th, 2014 09:51 pm (UTC)
If someone wants something changed but they're not sure what, ask them to sleep on it. If someone repeatedly asks for changes, you need to set a limit on the amount of free revisions you offer with your commission and then charge extra for the extra time you'll spend on these changes. So that would be a good thing to include in your TOS update, if it's not in there already.

Personally I state "Every commission includes an opportunity for revisions before the inking stage. Additional revisions will cost extra for the additional labour."

I can always give people more leeway if I think they're nice and polite and any changes beyond the first batch of revisions won't take much time.
May. 11th, 2014 09:59 pm (UTC)
This in regards to the 'I don't know what seems off..' buyers.

I always tell them to take a few days to look at the art and figure out why it's not the way they want it. I state that I'm not going be making multiple back and forth tweaks until they can pin point exactly what they want changed. It's not worth either of our time to do this.

So far everytime I've had to tell someone this they take it well, and DO take a few days and come back with some minor edit they want done and everyone's happy.

May. 11th, 2014 10:28 pm (UTC)
I think most artists have a term in their ToS that states they'll do X number of revisions for free and anything additional will cost extra. It's fairly standard in the industry, and I've never heard a customer complain that artists were purposely messing up just to make more money. If you do come across a customer like that, you're probably better off not dealing with them :p.

I will do up to three sketches (the initial sketch and two edits), and any more will be $5 each. I do not do any changes once the sketch is finalized, unless I have some major brain fart and color something orange instead of green or somesuch (and I'd fix that for free since it was my mistake).

I've never had to charge the extra sketch fees. I've had a few customers who definitely took advantage of the three free sketches, but by the third, everything's magically okay. $5 isn't a huge amount but it seems to be enough to prevent endless edits.
May. 12th, 2014 01:53 am (UTC)
I know a lot of people say that they'll do edits free of charge if they were at fault -- as in, it was on the reference but it was overlooked.
Adding things that aren't on the reference/weren't described should be extra, and made clear that you want the changes done in one go (aka someone can't be like CHANGE THIS, you change it and show them the image again, and they go OH CAN YOU CHANGE THIS TOO??).
(no subject) - fenris_lorsrai - May. 12th, 2014 02:48 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 15th, 2014 12:04 pm (UTC)
What about if the change is something like the head shape is wrong?
Is that my fault or theirs? This is on a species I draw often so I feel like I am drawing it normally thus my confusion.
(no subject) - fenris_lorsrai - May. 15th, 2014 02:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 12th, 2014 04:20 pm (UTC)
I didn't read any comments, so sorry if this has bee said already.

I provide a sketch to customers on 99% of commissions (baring wing its)
They may ask for changes in this stage. If they ask for the entire, or the majority of the image to be redone, I warn them that this takes up/most of their changes, and only very minor things will be changed free of charge.

Once the sketch is done, no more changes can be made, baring mistakes. I do show a line art wip about 75% of the time, depending on what type of commission.
If a customer requests changes in the line art, I charge. (I recently had someone want the body type changed, that they had already OKed in the sketch, twice)
If they asked for say.. A collar and a ponytail, and I forgot them, I would add them in free in the line art.
Or, if they had fluffy around their neck and I forgot it. Errors on my end.

If they decided they wanted a collar and never told me, or, wanted to change a skirt to shorts. I'd charge.
May. 12th, 2014 07:01 pm (UTC)
Instead of giving people a number of edits I lay out in each stage what I'm willing to change for someone (sketch, lineart, flats, shades).
And then I tell people if you need something changed once I have gone past those stage, if it takes more than 10 minutes to do, I will ask for an extra fee.

I also only accept payment once the commissioner is happy so there is a total fee. My rule is also that you CANNOT ask for any changes after they have sent payment. Once the person has sent payment, my TOS states that the transaction is completed and you are 100% happy with your image.
You could split your payment into half now and half later as well with the same rule.

I've also run into extra picky clients who it takes x10 the amount of time to do art for them. I find that saying I can only work on an hourly rate for them works a lot better as well.
May. 13th, 2014 12:36 am (UTC)
+1 to all the sketch stage is for fixing problems only.

I also won't do unpaid revisions for cheap commissions, unless it's something I mess up from their character sheet.

In regards to people who get picky about where you put lines or what hex code color you use... I make sure to include in my TOS a statement that basically says that I know best. I know color theory. I know composition. Unless my customer is an artist, I'm doubting very much they know quite as much as I do, and probably don't understand why midway through the painting, the colors look like they do. If I pay a carpenter to build something for me, I'm doing it because I don't know how to do it myself. They know their trade, and I respect that. I expect the same respect in my line of work.
May. 21st, 2014 02:25 am (UTC)
In this 15 minute video professional illustrator Clint Cearley speaks on the submitted topic of how to handle the revisions and avoid a "revision nightmare". Points covered include a revision clause, notifying client of post contractual work, dropping a project and more.

I found that video to be pretty helpful. :)
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )


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