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Advice, please?

Hello, I would like some advice on working with a potential client. I feel that this experience has soured and I want to know if I should move forward and continue waiting, or back out.

This may get long so I'm putting it under a cut.

Please note that I am also quite new to this type of situation... if I have done anything wrong, or you have advice for me, please feel free to let me know.

Two weeks ago from today a potential client contacted me via e-mail asking me to do paid work for them. This isn't the average client, as they work with a group of artists for paid work behind a paywall. We talked back and forth and I asked all the questions I could come up with to cover my bases and get all the information I needed. I found out that this group does a pay-on-completion policy, which I was willing to do because I was excited and grateful for the opportunity, and was willing to trust them because of the group's reputation/prominence with skilled artists. Right off the bat they said they would pay me.

We did some discussion and came out to an agreement of me doing three full color images for a flat rate. They first wanted to see a sketch of my work, and I obliged. I did one and sent them the sketch. They approved it without any corrections or changes, and gave me the OK to finish the work completely. I did this, and sent them the image... And much to my mistake I sent them a full-resolution without payment. I should have watermarked it and shrank it. I'm aware of this mistake and I've already beaten myself up over it many times.

I waited about three days and got no response, then sent a polite follow-up email asking if they got my first e-mail with the file and if I needed to resend it just in case a day after that. I finally got a response, stating that they had corrections, wanted to review them with me, and redline my work.

I was very caught off guard and confused. I expected them to have no issues with the work as I tried to stay as close to the sketch as possible; they did not ask for any changes like this with the sketch, which would have been ideal if they wanted the image to be fixed and done better. I didn't think I would be receiving a redline or corrections after giving a full, completed image before being paid; then again, I've never worked with a client like this before. This wasn't told to me in advance or anything, just that I would be doing work. I still haven't received the corrections/redline, and I'm getting very nervous on waiting for a response, because again- I haven't been paid for my work, and I spent several hours doing it.

Is this the professional way to go about things? Where should I go from here? Should I wait for the corrections, or back out? If I back out I would like to recycle the sketch as art is my only form of income. I even provided my paypal e-mail to this client in advance regarding payment. I just don't know what to do and I'm very anxious about the whole situation. I have trouble approaching people individually for advice so I figure I would post it here.

EDIT: I got this in response.

"To answer your question about why I didn't point out problems with the file in its sketch form, when you originally submitted the sketch I considered it as you presenting a concept/idea that you wanted to do, but given the art quality in your gallery I was expecting that the small construction issues I saw would get revised before completion. Rough sketches often go through revisions or changes in the process of becoming a finished piece, and especially when considering artists for more permanent slots, what I'm looking for is someone who can be his/her own source of critique and corrections. It's much easier to receive a finished pic and I can send out the money than it is to have someone set time aside and figure out how to diagram problems in a pic."

I really don't know how to feel about this, to be honest. I need to let it sink in, maybe sleep on it.

EDIT 2: I sent a polite e-mail backing out without compensation. I thought about it long and hard and that was the most beneficial decision for me. Thank you to everyone who gave me input. I appreciate it so much.

Edit 3: I got another e-mail, and there was an explanation and it seems we're discussing out what happened. I want to reach a better solution (I apologize if I come off as flip-flopping in the situation) so there's that. Another update to come soon, hopefully there will be a resolution to this.

Thank you for your time.

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( 58 comments — Leave a comment )
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Aug. 27th, 2014 10:43 pm (UTC)
Before going any further, I'd ask straight up why they didn't ask for changes during the sketch stage.
Aug. 27th, 2014 10:48 pm (UTC)
That's exactly how I felt... Maybe that should be my next reply because I haven't responded to the last e-mail with mention of the corrections. I was really thrown off guard.
(no subject) - kayla_la - Aug. 27th, 2014 10:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sacch - Aug. 27th, 2014 10:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kayla_la - Aug. 27th, 2014 11:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sacch - Aug. 27th, 2014 11:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sacch - Aug. 28th, 2014 05:45 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kayla_la - Aug. 28th, 2014 08:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sacch - Aug. 28th, 2014 08:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 27th, 2014 10:47 pm (UTC)
I don't have experience with this, but I always find it really annoying when clients don't point things out when I send several WIPS. Doing changes after all the work is done makes for...more work, especially when it was something that should have been caught in the sketching/inking stage.

I think it's a bit strange that they waited until you sent the final image to do fixes.
Aug. 27th, 2014 10:48 pm (UTC)
I agree. I'll send a polite inquiry asking why. I'm glad I don't feel alone in this. Thank you for your input, it's very appreciated.
(no subject) - kitsumi - Aug. 28th, 2014 05:25 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - adzuki - Aug. 27th, 2014 10:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sacch - Aug. 27th, 2014 10:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - adzuki - Aug. 27th, 2014 10:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gatekat - Aug. 27th, 2014 10:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sacch - Aug. 27th, 2014 11:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - gatekat - Aug. 27th, 2014 11:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 27th, 2014 10:55 pm (UTC)
Redline is way out of line IMO. That's a sketch level thing.

Wanting changes is less so, because that can mean simple color edits and similar couple-minute fixes, or that the coloring wasn't to the ref.

The delay I can understand too. It can take me several days to work myself up to ask for corrections on the rare occasions I feel they're needed, even ones that are along the lines of "Please include her stripes as per the ref sheet".

I'd give them a bit more time to talk to you about the current image, but I'd be very leery of doing the next two unless the changes they want are either minor or because you missed something in coloring it.

All that said, I wouldn't let 'pros' get away with anything a regular commissioner wouldn't. They shouldn't be allowed to get away with more just because they're pros.
Aug. 27th, 2014 11:00 pm (UTC)
A change I can understand, as they didn't really specify what type of corrections they wanted- such as lighting, coloring, or anatomy. Still, I do agree with you, the redline thing really threw me for a loop.

I should clarify I wasn't asked to draw a specific character or given a reference. This inquiry was for folio work and I was asked to come up with something on my own, so I did. Generic random character made up on the spot, full color with a simplistic background.

I'm definitely not doing any more work after this until I get some answers. I'm extremely nervous and wary. Thanks so much for your input.
(no subject) - gatekat - Aug. 27th, 2014 11:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 27th, 2014 11:01 pm (UTC)
I'd definitely ask why they didn't request these changes at the sketch stage. If it was an honest mistake or communication mix up with whoever is handling the images, then it'd be fine to do the next ones in the series.

If this is how they operate, I'd see if its worth it for you, because that seems seriously frustrating to have to deal with.
Aug. 27th, 2014 11:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I am looking into it and sent them a politely worded email. I stated that I was confused then said the same thing Kayla-La recommended me to say. It's been 4 days since the last email and I also apologized for the time lapse between responses.
Aug. 28th, 2014 12:51 am (UTC)
All I can really say is that when I worked with a paysite, I was required to make changes at any stage, no matter what the change was. Usually the response to "Why didn't you point this out earlier when it was easier to change?" was "Because the issues are more apparent now that it's colored."

I know you already replied, but I would definitely see what changes they're wanting made before you make your next move. Worst case scenario, you can ask for more compensation for the trouble. Worst they could say is 'no' and then you either complete it for the same price or decide to back out instead.
Aug. 28th, 2014 12:53 am (UTC)
I see.

I definitely was planning on waiting for the changes to be brought forward before moving ahead, just to see what they wanted. I'm just really nervous about the entire thing.
(no subject) - ljmydayaway - Aug. 28th, 2014 02:18 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 28th, 2014 04:32 am (UTC)

Was there any kind of contract, even any terms sent from their end to you, OP?
I'm wondering if maybe the paysite rep worded some kind of 'quality standard', as in all art must be up the 'quality expected of the site' before being paid for, to excuse making changes past the inking stage?

Not supporting that as a good way to do things, I'm just thinking that's a way they could write in a(n ambiguous) term on their end to allow them to request edits at any stage along the way, even if the artist in their own TOS doesn't usually offer edits after a certain point.

Is that how it was worded with you, ljmydayaway? Or were the terms of editing just not discussed in your case, and editing hassle was sprung on you when in progress?
It's really something that should be agreed to before hand.

I guess it comes down for OP if the paysite is offering enough value for the extra time of having to 'fix' drawings even in the finishing stages to be worth it.
Though not even offering a small percent like 5% or 10% of the three pic order price upon accepting the first sketch as good faith is a little shady from the paysite's end.

I hope you get something for that first piece, even if you decide you don't want to make the changes and continue working with them, OP.
Aug. 29th, 2014 02:14 am (UTC)
"Is that how it was worded with you, ljmydayaway?"

Indeed, that was the exact phrase they used. = u= But they at least had a full contract detailing the steps and whatnot, rather than just kind of springing it on ya.
Aug. 28th, 2014 05:46 am (UTC)
I've updated the entry with a response at the bottom.
Aug. 28th, 2014 07:13 pm (UTC)
Their response puts me off, too - it seems like it would've been easier for both parties to point out the issues at the sketch stage when they'd have been quicker to fix, and also pretty unfair to assume you're not going to make any mistakes ever.

I will say though, anecdotally - I've heard from friends that paysites tend to be much, much pickier about quality then private buyers and often demand a lot of changes. The tradeoff is that that they usually pay better and you can draw "what you want" to an extent (instead of sometimes-unappealing personal characters).

I guess it's just up to you whether or not the hassles are worth the benefits?
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Aug. 28th, 2014 07:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sacch - Aug. 28th, 2014 07:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kitsumi - Aug. 28th, 2014 08:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Aug. 28th, 2014 08:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sacch - Aug. 28th, 2014 07:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 28th, 2014 06:30 am (UTC)
I don't like that response at all. If you could magically fix all mistakes you wouldn't need to take years of practice, you wouldn't be at the level you are now, you'd be way, way passed it. Even the pros will have mistakes, you can't be perfect at it.

Most artists can see their own mistakes, which is a good thing, now being able to actually fix them at your (general your)skill level, not always doable, it comes with time.
Aug. 28th, 2014 11:57 am (UTC)
I'm not sure I like the response you got either. They mention how its easier for them to receive a finished piece, yet it would have been so much easier on you (and them, since they red-lined in the end anyway!) had they just pointed out issues when they saw them the first time around.

Trusting an artist to fix their own mistakes may be a practice better left for artists whose process they have become familiar with.

The way the response is worded makes me wonder if they were testing you, potentially at your own expense in terms of time, which isn't something I personally find very becoming. This is coming from someone who is inexperienced as far as how pay sites operate though, and its also entirely possible I'm misreading their intent. It just bugs me that there is admission that they saw things they wanted fixed but didn't tell you until it was more difficult for you to fix them. :/
Aug. 28th, 2014 08:02 pm (UTC)
They mention how its easier for them to receive a finished piece, yet it would have been so much easier on you (and them, since they red-lined in the end anyway!) had they just pointed out issues when they saw them the first time around.

Precisely. I wasn't even aware of these issues. Not all artists can see their own mistakes. That rubbed me very far the wrong way, and I'm upset that I lost out on a potential boost in my name and some money. But I don't want to work with them after this, it was pretty unprofessional and could have been handled way better.
Aug. 28th, 2014 12:09 pm (UTC)
That's an odd response. I'm wondering if they want you to seek out concrit from others while in the sketch stage. Admittedly I've only done one piece for publishing, and the client was critiquing it every step of the way along with my group of friends whom I trust for composition and anatomy critique.

Personally speaking, while the response is odd, it may not be the end of this relationship if you don't want it to be. You know how their art director works now. If you can make it work and get the flow of working for this site it can be a great benefit. If they're expecting it to be polished of any potential issues prior to submission, then you have a circle of friends willing to lend an eyeball.
Aug. 28th, 2014 02:59 pm (UTC)
You know what.. i would do the revisions, get paid, and honestly not do business with them again. The long wait in communication, the redlining of the final piece, and then that last response they gave (which i personally would find a bit insulting) says this is a bit of a red flag client to me. They saw things they had issues with and assumed you would take care of them. You're not a mind reader, and sometimes there are things that slip past us. I actually put six fingers on a character the other week, and no one said a peep, not even the instructor, until one of my friends saw it. That was mortifying. If they like your finished work they wouldn't be bothered by giving you a redline which only helps the both of you. However, I also noticed that you mentioned you stuck to the original sketch as closely as possible because they approved it, were you aware of the construction errors but left things as is to stick to the original line work? If you do want to continue working with this client, perhaps for the next two images try to show some peers to get some feedback. That never hurts.
Aug. 28th, 2014 05:59 pm (UTC)
I wasn't aware of those errors, no. That's why I sent them the sketch, in case they wanted to point them out. I even went to others for feedback and THEY didn't see that error.
Aug. 28th, 2014 03:42 pm (UTC)
I would agree with everyone else here who's saying just to finish up this one when they get to you with their redlines, and not work with them again. I would also strike up an agreement about the last two images, that after a certain point in the image, no more edits will be made. I assume that you probably have a clause like this in your TOS, so I would show that to them as well.

If they're not willing to work with you on that, then they may not be work working with. Though that would also depend on how much they're paying you, and whether their edits end up being a big deal or not.
Aug. 28th, 2014 06:04 pm (UTC)
I do have a clause in my TOS saying that final images don't get edits unless it's a bad mistake on my part, as in a character's markings being off or something like that. I don't know how I would present my TOS to them. At this rate I don't even want to finish the image and back out. It's a loss of money but the unprofessional handling and the red line stuff gets to me.
(no subject) - roxyfur - Aug. 28th, 2014 10:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 28th, 2014 07:18 pm (UTC)
I can only say here what I would do and that is to not continue working with these people. The last email is very patronising and rather insulting, it comes across as unprofessional to me. Just a troublesome client who is not worth the stress.
Aug. 28th, 2014 08:00 pm (UTC)
I have backed out, I also thought the email was pretty off for some reason as well. Thank you for your input.
Aug. 28th, 2014 07:48 pm (UTC)
That is a... rather disgustingly condescending response. Sometimes artists don't know their own mistakes with certain poses or unfamiliar territory. Alternatively, some commissioners will keep in or even request things that would be anatomically incorrect to the artist. The point is, without feedback, no artist has any way of knowing what a new client would prefer. It's rather tacky to say 'well I thought you would regulate yourself but I guess I was wrong'

Honestly, I'd kinda like to know this group because I for one, wouldn't want to work for them if this is their attitude new artists that have no idea how they work or want things done. If you can just get that one image done and over with and re-negotiate without having to do the rest of the order.

(also, how the heck did they hire you for a large project without reading your TOS ugh)
Aug. 28th, 2014 07:59 pm (UTC)
Exactly. I had no idea that I had the issues they pointed out, until they pointed them out to me. Even people I asked for concrit from privately didn't see these issues. Not everyone is going to see them the same, I'm not perfect and by no means am I a professional or perfect artist- in fact I consider myself an amateur.

I'm bummed out because I thought this experience would go better, but I learned a lot from it. Be upfront with my TOS, be less trusting of a client, and know what I'm getting into as well as know the process beforehand.

If you like I can send you a PM with details.
(no subject) - kitsumi - Aug. 28th, 2014 08:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - armaina - Aug. 28th, 2014 08:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - leahtaur - Aug. 29th, 2014 12:39 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ljmydayaway - Aug. 29th, 2014 02:17 am (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 29th, 2014 02:19 am (UTC)
Alright guys, please stop publicly asking the OP to PM you identifying information on an advice post.
Aug. 29th, 2014 02:21 am (UTC)
Thank you, I'd like to note that a solution was worked out. I really don't want to smear the paysite at all.
Re: MOD COMMENT - kayla_la - Aug. 29th, 2014 02:27 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: MOD COMMENT - celestinaketzia - Aug. 29th, 2014 02:30 am (UTC) - Expand
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