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Beware: Yolk

WHO: Yolk @ FA/Weasyl, andcetera @ dA, yiq/ginsengandhoney @ tumblr
WHERE: Weasyl
WHAT: Icon Commission
WHEN: August 11th, Commission journal was made, and both slots were purchased by me.
August 19th was indirectly told they would be done. August 23rd, icons were received.


http://gyazo.com/f6f133809a77679609f9a11cd2657bf7 - initial journal opening 2 commission slots
http://gyazo.com/8e02d9512518bf1defdb4f466f3f893b - request for both slots, and character references.
http://gyazo.com/82cae77f9c11629bd22862efc0e6f73c - commission agreed to, request for paypal
http://i.imgur.com/RBRsOMW.png - proof of payment via invoice
http://gyazo.com/a612eefcf5e3a99fa70a791dbb062a68 - request for revisions
http://gyazo.com/9c8d3b45918d217dbba54a5f61e474c2 - post of theirs regarding an inability to reply to messages.
http://gyazo.com/05bb1df24882f7af7857a6337e62b873 - second request for revisions. their contact e-mail is publicly listed.
EXPLAIN: On the 11th of August, Yolk opened 2 slots for icon commissions and I excitedly asked for both of them. I waited around 2 weeks for them after my references are sent, they make no further communication after pleasantries and payment has been made for them. Their journal stated that they had some other things to deal with, so I could understand a delay with them. In this time, they are actively posting to both their personal and art blog. I don't usually mind this sort of thing, but the lack of communication from them was something that concerned me from the get-go, but I didn't let it bother me too much as I was the only commissioner in their queue.

August 19th they posted a second commimssion journal, with over 10 slots and the header of the  journal states that they will have the commissions in their queue (mine) done that day. I was not messaged or updated in any way on the 19th.
On the 23rd, after not hearing a peep from them, I receive my icons. The gift for my friend meets my expectations and I am quite happy with it. The icon based off of my fursona just seems to be a bit off. In short, what I saw was lacking or incorrect was the following: The accessory I asked for is not present, they have been given a snout (and they are a flat-faced character), a defining mark on their face is missing, and the hairstyle just doesn't look quite right to me. Unfortunately, I do not see my fursona in this icon, it doesn't click with me like I thought it would. I reflect for a few hours and after asking for advice on how to handle feeling unsatisfied with this part of my commission, I message them requesting revisions, and/or for permission to make the revisions for myself.
Yolk has no TOS to speak of, I looked everywhere on every single one of their accounts, but found nothing resembling one. I figured that asking nicely enough for a mutual resolution would go over just fine. It has been ten days since the follow-up message has been sent, and I have gotten 0 acknowledgement that they have received it.

Prior to the drafting of this post, on the 26th, I'm about to message their tumblr to see if they even got my message or not, as someone brings one of their other blogs to my attention. This post was made the day that I sent out my message to them asking for revisions, the 23rd: http://powerwild.tumblr.com/post/95613936787/ CAP: http://gyazo.com/dbd9ecd32856449c1f057fbf80796cc1.
This blog is a personal blog not directly linked to their main art and personal, but it is claimed by them quite clearly and they link-out to their art blog. This blog is not a secret, as far as I know. Several mutual friends who follow this artist are aware of this blog's existence, I personally do not follow their work on tumblr.
To be honest, I was devastated that this is how I was being viewed as a commissioner for simply asking them for help on how to resolve the issue I had with my commission. This is someone I admire greatly and for this to be my first experience with them is highly discouraging. After seeking some advice by the other members of the community, I sent a follow-up message via e-mail on the 30th regarding my requests for revisions and have still heard nothing. They continue to post to their personal blogs and are presumably working away at their current batch 20 odd commssions. I do not know if I will get a response, any revisions or even a refund, seeing as there is no TOS to protect themselves and their commissioners.
If they eventually come to contact me, the most I would like to ask for is an apology. And as much as this hurts to bring to the attention of others, I would not be commissioning them again after this experience.

edit: fixed up to replace a broken link.

edit 2: I have received a response from Yolk at last, via Weasyl. My email remains ignored and my other questions were not addressed. However, they did grant me permission to make the edits myself.

This is as good as it's going to get, unfortunately. With how this situation has played out, I don't think edits could turn this commission around for me, so I'll chalk it up as a loss for the time being. Their communication will continue to come off as abysmal, and I hope others who still wish to commission them have a better experience than I did.

I want to thank every one who has offered me helpful advice on how to avoid this sort of situation in the future. - 9/7

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( 140 comments — Leave a comment )
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Sep. 3rd, 2014 10:34 pm (UTC)
This is one of those situations where it's important to keep communication open and have a ToS that clearly states what will happen in instances like this. Even if Yolk said "sorry, these are one-shot deals, and I don't want others editing my work" it'd be better than radio silence.

With that said, OP, when requesting changes it's important to outline what is wrong from the get go. Being vague can really make it harder for communication to stay open.

Personally speaking, I don't think someone venting about clients in a personal space is a bad thing. I think most of us have vented about clients before. It is her personal blog, but it's important to remember that things that aren't friendslocked in some fashion can come back to bite you in the butt. IDK I guess having an LJ that is visible to friends only has left me spoiled, lol.
Sep. 3rd, 2014 10:50 pm (UTC)
I had never been in a situation where I was ultimately unsatisfied with with something I paid for, and with a lack of guidelines, I didn't want to come off as abrasive or rude for seeing things that were off with the commissioned product.

And with just asking for some idea on how to fix this, I got a rather sour response. I would hate to see what they might have said if I dove into specifics ):

While I don't see anything wrong with venting in a personal space, this is a blog that could be seen by any of their commissioners, it's not friend locked or anything, and this is the last thing a commissioner wants to discover after thinking things were alright with the artist.
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Sep. 3rd, 2014 10:42 pm (UTC)
Yeah I can see why you needed to ask for advice. Just wow...
Sep. 4th, 2014 12:00 am (UTC)
As bad as I feel for saying this, I almost knew they'd end up on here one day. I used to follow their work in the TF2 fandom but when they moved over to tumblr their attitude soured *horribly* and I had to stop watching them.

So sorry this happened to you.
Sep. 4th, 2014 01:50 am (UTC)
It seems like a lot of the artists I admired who wondered over to tumblr during the 'Zaush' thing started to have really hostile attitudes. It must be the atmosphere over there. Such a shame. :C
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Sep. 4th, 2014 12:15 am (UTC)
Wow that literally looks NOTHING like your character, I can see why you'd ask for some minor changes! But wow I'm actually surprised Yolk ended up on here, I thought they pretty much always completed work.
Sep. 4th, 2014 12:18 am (UTC)
How disappointing. I admired their work so much, even commissioned them for a pixel icon and had no issue with them whatsoever.

'tis a shame. :(

edit: from what I read on Sleetfury's comment, I had no idea Yolk had such a terrible attitude. Guess I won't be working with them anymore.

Edited at 2014-09-04 12:21 am (UTC)
Sep. 4th, 2014 12:34 am (UTC)
Not devil's advocating here but I can actually see how she got what she made from the refs you linked. It looks almost nothing like the first three refs, but it looks exactly like this last one: http://38.media.tumblr.com/cbfde187dc74f8f41dc3760da9079ea5/tumblr_mna8j0USsM1qc44mbo1_500.png

It has the same clothes, the same curly bang hairstyle and it looks like she color-picked the colors from it as well. The angle she drew your character from ends up making her look a lot different and there are the muzzle/marking/accessory issues also, but she did follow that ref pretty well, tbh.

Still, her attitude is abysmal. Sorry you had to deal with that.
Sep. 4th, 2014 01:16 am (UTC)

They added a slight muzzle and the face marking is still there (it's pixel art so it's tiny and kind of hides next to the hair, but it is present!).

It's pretty obvious to me the artist tried to follow OP's requests, since they even went so far as to include a shark and fishing pole. They left out the crown, but sometimes people leave things out or overlook things, it's easy to fix.

OP, Hopefully you won't end up in a situation where you need edits again, but if you do, I would recommend including what changes you'd like to see made. It can seem scary when a customer says "This looks nothing like my character, I need changes" without referencing what they'd like changed or how they'd like it changed, especially after being given artistic freedom.

For all they know, you could be asking them to redo the whole thing for free, when really all you may need is the hair to be a little straighter, the marking to be more prominent, and the muzzle line to be erased. :D Much less scary than possibly redoing the whole thing!

I hope the artist will reply to your messages, and get the edits made for you into something you like.

Edited at 2014-09-04 01:17 am (UTC)
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Sep. 4th, 2014 01:32 am (UTC)
Their post on their personal blog may come off rude and all, but it is their right to vent on their, they werent going out of their way to attack the commissioner and they didnt name-drop. If they have a past of great work and always met a deadline, then I honestly dont see any problem here. They completed the work and they made it very similar to one of the refs(which all refs looked very different from each other). I still dont feel that there is anything the artist can do to 'resolve' this, there really isnt anything to resolve unless the commissioner is looking for an apology for not responding. We all have our bad days, and like I said, the artist never attacked the commissioner directly or name-dropped, so they didnt actually do anything wrong.

Edited at 2014-09-04 01:34 am (UTC)
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Sep. 4th, 2014 01:42 am (UTC)
Maybe I missed it but there were a few things that popped up

1) You never stated WHAT the revisions were. I read through and expected in your message to her, you'd give her an outline as to what makes it not 'click' or what you want to see changed.

2) Refs you gave bounce in a variety of style -- If you wanted one in particular, always denote this and give the artist one for style/body --use others for color. I noticed the hair varied too.
Too much information leaves for a lot of guess work. Artists aren't mind readers.

It seems a lot of this is due to a lack or poor communication - in terms of the art.
Her venting post, I'd almost agree to. I'd be upset too if someone gave me vague descriptions, references, and told me have at it -- only then to come back and expect it to have been X. If you want X, state X, otherwise you may get Y or Z.

Sorry this has been a bad commission event for you, but I'd definitely look at being clear in your wants and needs as a client. It'll prevent things on all sides if you are up front and very clear in what you want and expect.

Good luck! :)
Sep. 4th, 2014 02:13 am (UTC)
I couldnt have explained it better myself, this is EXACTLY what I wanted to say, but I was poorly writing it out. Don't give an artist complete freedom, only to tell them it doesn't look right after its all said and done. The venting may come off as rude, but there is nothing wrong with doing it, they have every right to vent on their personal blog.
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Sep. 4th, 2014 04:00 am (UTC)
I actually had a rather similar situation happen to me with a client who was not the best with their communication set. I ended up refunding them as they could not tell me what route they wanted me to go about changing their commission. I offered recoloring, partial refund or even making a new item of a different character for them. They couldnt tell me what exactly what they wanted and were more vocal about their disappointment than anything more helpful, i just wanted to get the exchange over with asap :/ Hoping to end things positively, I sent them the art as they stated they had a problem seeing colors and maybe seeing the item in person would be better. Lol i was wrong and they ended up 'venting' about me on their public journal. Truly bewildering experience.
Try shooting them a note with the specific changes you'd like made - if they continue to ignore you that's on them. Heck, they could even horizontal - flip it so the cheek marking would be nice n prominent and just omit that lil muzzle mark. Saying things like 'it's just not my character' is incredibly vague and would knock any artist off their game - I'm sure they didn't mean misinterpret your character :/
Sep. 4th, 2014 09:50 am (UTC)
I have to agree with other artists who have posted. For me looking at the icon and the refs provided, I see your character. One big issue you state is that your character is flat-faced, but you did not tell the artist this, and I sure wouldn't have assumed it given the 1st and last references.

I would recommend that perhaps you re-assess your communication. Tell the artist what exactly is wrong and suggest changes. It's rather overwhelming and difficult when a commissioner says "I don't see my character in it" which to me implies "this is all wrong". Ranting about you in a non-locked space is stupid, but at the same time I don't feel too put off the artist because what they said was quite mild and didn't namedrop or hint at your identity in the least. Hopefully a lesson learned for Yolk.

For yourself, I really do not recommend being so open-ended in future with a character you stated above is terribly terribly important and special to you. Be specific in what must be there and what the artist can feel free to experiment with - e.g. "character must have a flat face, but feel free to come up with your own hairstyle!" or such.
Sep. 4th, 2014 10:23 am (UTC)
Not gonna lie, aside from a pixel or two that looks like a muzzle, that looks like you character.
The hairstyle changes on your references and has no specifics other than color on the refs provided (no "must be x length, x strands must curl etc" and even on your first reference (http://i.imgur.com/1rGJ3.png) it changes dramatically to choppy bangs, straight bangs, side swept bangs, long, short or choppy.
The cheek marking is there. It's beside the eye. It's a side view so you won't see it in detail but it is there. If you wanted it prominent you should have requested the character be facing that way.

You need a consistent reference sheet IMO. If you are going to be so picky and insistent on specific aspects, providing art where nothing is consistent is of no use to an artist, expecially when also informing of artistic freedom and choosing a pixel icon which already limits details.
As others have said and in my opinion, the art provided looks like you character given what the artist had to work with.

Now for the lack of communication. I agree it's unacceptable. Even a note to say they would get back to you once they had thought about it would have been polite.
To play devils advocate, I can see why they hesitated. A small pixel icon produced to as near the references as you can manage only to get a message back that states "I don't see my fursona in this icon" and "I just don't click with it" can be quite unnerving. This doesn't excuse not getting back to you but in future, I'd perhaps approach edits with specific things like you told us; you informed us your issue was with hair, muzzle and marking but you pretty much flat out told the artist you didn't like any of it.
If these things had been pointed out, the artist likely simply had to flip the image and draw the marking, erase the pixels of the muzzle and do whatever it is you want done with the hair (which I still don't see the issue with? It pretty much resembles the 4th hairstyle in the link I posted above) and would not have been as apprehensive about replying.

Her personal blog entries say it all, especially the one about 5 days to reply. They sound nervous about doing so. It doesn't excuse it in the slightest but I believe nerves/apprehension are an issue for the artist to overcome with time and educating that they are a professional; many people taking commissions seem to believe it continues to be just a hobby rather than a business and treat it as such.

I'm in two minds about the blog entries. On one hand, it is their personal blog and they were vague enough that unless it was directed at you or were told who it was about, they were referring to a nameless anonymous person. On the other, don't link your personal blog with your art blog. If you must keep a personal blog, keep it as far away from your professional blog as possible to avoid situations like so.
Sep. 4th, 2014 11:12 am (UTC)
I've noticed a good number of people saying "I think it looks like your character enough" as some sort of way to excuse the fact the icon needed revisions. While I agree I think it looked enough like the character, that's not really the point in commissioning someone; The point is to create an image that the customer is satisfied with. Regardless if other people agree or disagree on how accurate the icon came out is irrelevant if the customer, the person who paid for it, is unhappy. I'm actually a little startled by how many artists here are missing that vital point.

As an artist myself, I admit that my vision for an image is often different than what the customer wants, but when my actual job is to deliver a custom work based on a commissioners specifications, then I feel I need to swallow my pride and do what I was paid to do, especially since the majority of us aren't selling the image rights along with a commission, the least we can do is deliver something a customer is satisfied with? Maybe I have an old fashioned sense of business or something, but that was always my policy in regards to the hundreds of commissions I've done.

I think what bothers me the most about the tumblr post was not the fact they vented there, but rather the fact they had time to vent about the OP but not give them a reply. It's exceptionally rude, in my opinion. I'm personally against -public- rantings about commissioners, not only because it could be incredibly hurtful to a client should they find it, but it also gives a sour vibe to potential commissioners who may feel unsafe should they give that individual business. It gives a vivid point that the artist isn't really in the business of trying to be professional and if they would treat one client that way, what would stop them from doing that to me? It's incredibly unsavory in my opinion and makes me personally not want to work with someone like that.

To be honest, I had been waiting patiently for Yolk to open those icon commissions again because I've always loved their art style and I really felt those pixel icons would suit my character, but after seeing the way they react to revisions and treat customers, I can't say I'm going to bother logging into Weasyl just to see if they were open anymore.

Edited at 2014-09-04 11:13 am (UTC)
Sep. 4th, 2014 03:45 pm (UTC)
I think the point isn't really that it looks like the character... the point is that the OP gave a series of conflicting references, and said to the artist that they don't really mind how the character is drawn. Not... "aside from *feature* and *feature*, I don't mind how they're drawn".

It's like if someone were to give you 4 different references, and when you give them the final image, they say "no, that's all wrong!" and come to find out the only accurate reference is number 3!
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Sep. 4th, 2014 11:57 am (UTC)
I admit, I sympathize a lot with OP. I'm not a very assertive person, myself -- so I admit a request for changes from me might look a bit like the OP's? The major faults I can find are confusing refs - which, three out if four agree pretty closely - and that they weren't specific as to what changes they wanted at the end.

I don't think either of those things warrants being ignored for a week and a passive-aggressive blog post. If I were in OP's shoes and found that post, I'd be deeply upset.

I've had instaces where artistic freedom has resulted in surprises - probably the most prominent being when I was purchasing a Sailor Scout character design (as in, Sailor Moon) andwas allowed to pick the character's two major colors (like Moon has red and blue.) I specified purple and scarlet. Later, I realized scarlet was not the shade I was thinking of and was in fact kind of eye-smarting, so I told the artist "any other shade of red, please." She misunderstood me, I think, and I ended up with a character whose uniform was in two shades of red. While I now like it better than my original colors, I was kind of unhappy at the time and it took me a while to grow to like it -- but I backed out of requesting changes because I felt it was my fault. I'm glad OP didn't do that. It's much better to request changes when you want them so you're happy with what you get and don't end up disappointed for a long time!

Never mind that totally ignoring a client for a week is just rude, eesh. Even if you think they're gonna ask for a lot of changes, isn't it better to at least reply and ask what they want fixed?
Sep. 4th, 2014 04:00 pm (UTC)
I find myself of two minds on this one.

Buyer, you'd be well-served to delete that last reference from your list in any future requests. The other three agree pretty closely, but that one is noticeably different and including it isn't destined to do much except cause you frustration.

Now, that doesn't excuse the lack of communication or the vent journal from the artist. Venting in public is immature to begin with, but it's even more so when the buyer was only taking you up on something you offered (and this artist did offer alterations).

Either WiP shots (the artist offering them and the buyer insisting on them), or the artist selling her commissions explicitly as "wing its", would've alleviated most, if not all, of the frustrations from both sides here.

Those are just my observations from reading over the situation. Good luck to both parties here.
Sep. 4th, 2014 04:14 pm (UTC)
Yeah, sorry, but I can see were OP is coming from.
Can't really see your character there, either, and even if it 'looks like your character', if you'd like revisions AND the artist was the one offering edits in first place, well, why it's suddenly worthy of a vent post on tumblr? (aside from being highly unprofessional.)

I really don't understand why Yolk would say edits are okay, then suddenly 'get pissed' at you, as it says there.

You were also very polite when requesting if changes were okay, even making sure to ask if there was a TOS to refer to. Mmh. It really seems to me the artist was overreacting.

Good luck with that, OP!
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