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Advice: Commissions and Pre-Mades

I feel I might be posting this a bit early, but I'm starting to get very anxious. I commissioned a builder for a full suit back in February of this year and paid it off entirely in March. Communication was absolutely great until around May. That was the last update I saw of my suit. All I have seen of it thus far have been my hand-hooves and some mask foam-work.

Getting any response from them lately has been exceedingly difficult. I don't like to be a bother, so I tried to make contact every month or so. I didn't hear anything from them for about four or five months, and I was FINALLY able to get a response last week. No real updates, but at least a response.

I was okay with this but a few days ago, they uploaded a pre-made that they have for sale. I assume it was recently finished, as there hadn't been pictures posted of it before now.
This isn't the first time this has happened either. Around the time when I was getting my commission, they were working on one as well. Granted, work could've begun prior to my commission, but it's still a little disheartening.

They've also completed a couple other projects as well between this time. They don't have a public queue as far as I'm aware, but since one was based off of the first pre-made that was uploaded about a month after my commission began, I would assume that this was purchased after mine.

So here are my questions:
1. Is it common for makers to create pre-made suits for sale while they have commissioned work?
2. Is it common for makers to switch things up in a queue, for example if a partial can get done quicker than a fullsuit.
3. I was promised photos a week ago as well as better communication. I don't want to keep hounding them, but how often is appropriate to try to contact someone in this situation?

Thank you for any help you can give.
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( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 26th, 2014 07:47 pm (UTC)
yes it is common for makers to do premades while they have commissioned work, some use them as emergency sources of funding for bills, sometimes they are used as a "break" from regular projects in the same way that artists will do warm up sketches before working on commissioned pieces to "get the creative juices flowing" (work on premade for a bit to get the day started, then work on commission projects), most commonly around here we use premades as a way to test new ideas or patterning or construction techniques.
As far as queues go, that is entirely maker dependent, some adhere rigidly to the list in the order they were paid off, others sometimes shuffle around a bit to fit customer deadlines [such as working on a suit that is needed for a upcoming convention or event over a suit with no set deadline]
in the case of the commissioned project based off the premade, the premade could have been a test bed for that commissioned project.
For communication, that's a tough one, there is a very fine line between a poke every so often and becoming a nuisance [which for some will lead to them not wanting to work on your project] generally no more than once a week if they are not responding.

in the end though, this is just my point of view
Oct. 26th, 2014 07:56 pm (UTC)
1. yes. Premades tend to be completed faster and require less because they often are a way to use up materials that are lying around. They also make sure the bills get paid while larger projects are being done.

2. Things get switched around depending on the process of the artist. If they have two similar projects they might just pick those up at the same time. For instancce they may make a few heads one day and handpaws the next. Also if two projects have similar materials they can be done together. Again depends on the artist but it wouldn't be too shocking unless it's like 5 wildly different fullsuits put before your partial.

3. this again depends on you and the artist. there's a difference between a poke and being a huge bother. If it's been a week with no contact after something is promised it may be worth asking about.
Oct. 26th, 2014 10:00 pm (UTC)
1-2. It is common, yes. (And from a maker's perspective, people who get angry at me for working on things other than their things can be a frustrating experience.)

3. If they're making promises, and not keeping them, that's a big red flag, as is the lack of communication.

I personally would suggest agreeing to a specific deadline, and to specific results (a full or partial refund, for example) if the deadline isn't met. Then both you and the maker know exactly where you stand, and there won't be any confusion, miscommunication, or misunderstanding.

I don't suggest being confrontational about it, just tell them that you'd like to know when to expect it, and that you'd like to agree on what will happen if something comes up and they have to miss the deadline.
Oct. 27th, 2014 12:39 am (UTC)
Like everyone else said, most artistic people I know will work on premade items in between or during commission work, and yes, commission queues can change. But if you're being ignored and deadlines are being missed, you definitely need to speak up. Make sure you have actual dates (not just a general 'in a week' or whatever), what will happen by those dates, and what will happen if those dates are not met.
Oct. 27th, 2014 09:19 am (UTC)
I know that for regular artists it's normal to have several irons in the fire at a time. I get the impression that the same goes for most creative freelancers, for projects to overlap to try and ensure a consistent income.

That said, they should be communicating with you and you've already asked them to improve on that aspect, you might want to try and really bring it home before escalating the issue. Maybe something like "I'm really excited to get my suit from you, but I feel anxious about your lack of communication. This is the sort of thing that would keep me from becoming a repeat customer or recommending someone's services, even if the quality of their work is impeccable."

Maybe they'll realize that bad communication could cost them customers and future income, put it into perspective for them on why they should reserve some time to respond to e-mails.
Oct. 27th, 2014 06:37 pm (UTC)
Speaking as a costumer myself, it's unusual if I'm not working on 3-5 projects simultaneously(And some are much faster than others, even if I start them at the same time, any canines are going to get done at least four times faster than fleecy monsters or something with horns and hooves and scales and that sort of thing).

Contacting them once a week seeks reasonable.
Oct. 27th, 2014 08:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you all so much for your very helpful insight into this situation! It's put my mind at ease at least to some extent knowing now that this is pretty par for the course.

I wouldn't be bothered at all by them doing the extra work, but between the communication issues and lack of updates, it was putting me on edge and I wanted to be sure that it was considered normal before weighing my options on how to proceed.

But if once a week or every other week isn't seen as excessive, I will start to do so! That's been one of my main concerns, to be honest.

Thank you all so much for helping me. Hopefully this will be the last you hear about the situation
Oct. 27th, 2014 09:08 pm (UTC)
I would personally find once a week-two weeks excessive, but I suppose this case is different since communication is difficult to begin with. I stick to once a month myself when poking artists about something they owe me. I think if someone was asking me about their commission once a week under normal circumstances, I'd refund them and cancel, so keep that in mind I suppose.
Oct. 27th, 2014 09:44 pm (UTC)
It's been a bit of a fine line treading between sounding impatient when I'm really just concerned.
I am also partial to agree with you that it might seem like too much; however I would not resort to doing so were they to keep in regular contact. I'll start off by trying every other week; I really don't want to start spamming their inbox or causing them trouble if I don't have to.

Thank you kindly for the information! I'll definitely keep it in mind.

Oct. 28th, 2014 02:56 am (UTC)
Common? Perhaps. Something can be common, but also stink. If the builder is working on pre-mades or cutting someone ahead of you in the queue, you are at least entitled to an explanation.

The full payment up front is a bit of a red flag. You have nothing to hang over the artist's head (except AB) for delaying and not completing the commission.

The big questions are, how long did you *expect* the commission to take, and how long has it actually been? And, is this maker's style worth waiting for?
Oct. 28th, 2014 08:17 am (UTC)
Full payment upfront: this was actually my fault, really. We had a payment plan that spanned out for a few months, but I offered to pay it off in full following the down-payment since that really seemed like a hassle. I really hate the feeling of being "in debt" to someone.
But I know now that it's more of an assurance than just a payment.

As far as waiting goes, I was hoping for it to be done about now give or take a month. My initial "date" was Fall/early Winter of 2014, but there's not been much communication on that front.
I was later told it would be finished come the end of May, and now that I will have it for Christmas.
As far as if they're worth waiting for, I'd rather have a suit than have to take a several hundred dollar hit for cancelling the commission. I'd be out quite a bit of cash with nothing to show for it. A refund is the last thing I want, really.

Oct. 29th, 2014 06:22 am (UTC)
I have so many hours a week that I have dedicated to paid work.

I have free time that I schedule myself to try new techniques on pre-mades so I'm not messing around with paid work.

I take small parts as supplemental income.

My queue list is moved around depending on who pays fastest, who has deadlines, and what materials I have on hand. Maybe I've run out of a fur or something, I don't want to sit around twiddling my thumbs. Sometimes I just feel like working on something. I've got 5 customers worth of stuff.


Did you decide on a deadline? Many times people without deadlines get bumped down on the work list. It doesn't matter if you want it by a specific date or not, hashing out a time frame early on is going to save you a headache later.

Some builders don't take deadlines *at all*. They work on what they want, when they want. It still doesn't excuse a person who took your money to take 5 minutes out of their day to return an e-mail.

If you want a time frame, ask for a time frame. You're not a bother, you're a customer, and you want to know you haven't been forgotten about.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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