Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

How many?

I have a question about commissions. I'm not sure if this kind of thing is allowed here, if not then I'll remove it. My question is, how many sketches are you willing to do before you say enough id enough. Like before you draw the final piece, the Work in progress sketches. If someone wants you to change something about the image, so you do another one, and they dont approve of that one either, so you do another one, and another and another and so on. I have a commission, and im not saying in any way that this is what she is doing. Shes a great commissioner, and very nice. I'm basically just asking this out of curiosity, or to hear some stories from other artists. I dont really do commissions but am starting to and want to hear some experiences from others. I've seen some artists do almost ten sketches before the commission was finally done because the person was not satisfied with the image till the tenth sketch. Id think there would be a limit or atleast more money to be owed before continuing to do so many sketches. Especially if the commissioner didnt elaborate on what they wanted the first time, or keeps changing their minds.
Artist's beware has moved!
Do NOT repost your old bewares. They are being archived.


( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 9th, 2006 11:14 pm (UTC)
If I feel like I need multiple sketches I usually make a few small ones on one sheet so the commissioner can pick which pose/lay-out they like. Then they get a finalized sketch for approval before inking, I'll tweak a few small things at that point but they had an idea of what they were getting so I'll be reluctant to make large changes or redo the entire sketch.
Personally I find a lot of customers aren't exactly sure what they do want, they just know what they don't want. If they don't know what they want and you present them with a few options they can always say "Something like that, only with..." The thumbnails don't have to be detailed, just a rough idea of what the pose/lay-out will look like.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - thaily - Jul. 9th, 2006 11:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 9th, 2006 11:26 pm (UTC)
You will discover your own "happy medium" on this, on how many sketches you will do. The answer is: However many you are willing on doing. Of course, you want to keep your commissioner happy and give them a product that matches the idea in your head. But you will have to learn through experience when to say, "enough is enough."

A good way to start a commission is by having your client fill out a survey. I've found that just "asking" doesn't work, people tend to read every other line in e-mails. A survey should look like this:

Please fill out this survey so my end result can best suit your desires.

Your Full (real life) name:
Your street address (for mailing and payment purposes):
Your desired method of payment:

Full Name of Character:

Character species:

Character description (fur color, clothing, ect- If you have a MUCK description, this would be the place to put it!):

Distinguishing Characteristics (scars? tattos? wings? a unique pattern?)

Eye, hair, claw, paw-pad colors:

Please describe in detail the "pose" you would like your character to be in:

Is your character using any props? Describe them here:


Demeanor? (is he/she forlorn? Happy? Determined? What is the "mood" of this picture?):

The purpose of this survey is also to make the person commissioning you actually /think/ about what they are looking for in a picture. This will lessen the chances of them changing their minds about what they want later on. After absorbing their input, be sure to ask them about anything they might have forgotten.

Once you have drawn an initial sketch which should be a rough outline with few heavy characteristics to give the client a feel of the shape of his/her character, the pose and possibly background of the picture they should then "OK" this sketch.

Once they have OK'ed it there is no going back. Draw to the end of the sketch- That is, right before you would start the inking or coloring process and show it to them again to make sure you have everything correct. Any "changes" you make at this stage should only be because you screwed something up- Not because they changed their mind.

After that we move to the inking or coloring process which you can't really change so don't worry about it. At this point its your job to just... Finish the job.

That's about it, at least, as far as I'm concerned.
Jul. 9th, 2006 11:38 pm (UTC)
I used to have one of those forms on my old homepage for free requests, when people filled them out and sent them to me they kinda looked like this:

Your Full (real life) name: Blackbloodfeathergriffon Ponyhumpersoulraventreeclimbertheninth
Your street address (for mailing and payment purposes): My mom's basement
Your desired method of payment: None! LOL

Full Name of Character: Snarlyfangsoulsucker Purplekudukillerthemightiestofall

Character species: wolf/fox/lion/dragon/horse cross

Character description (fur color, clothing, ect- If you have a MUCK description, this would be the place to put it!): Before you stand a 11 foot wolf/fox/lion/dragon/horse cross with silky fur and bulging muscles and a 7 foot cock. You get wet.

Distinguishing Characteristics (scars? tattos? wings? a unique pattern?) 6 bat wings, 2 black angelwings, 5 tails and a tattoo of a heart that says "mom" on his left asscheek

Eye, hair, claw, paw-pad colors:
Soulpiercing, purple, yes, piano

Please describe in detail the "pose" you would like your character to be in: looking all cool

Is your character using any props? Describe them here: a 90 foot bastard sword from FF and an M5

Background?: something cool!

Demeanor? (is he/she forlorn? Happy? Determined? What is the "mood" of this picture?): Something cool!

I shit thee not.
Ofcourse forms do help a little, but not with the hard cases likely to demand you redo the sketch 10 times ;P
(no subject) - mix_hyenataur - Jul. 9th, 2006 11:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mix_hyenataur - Jul. 9th, 2006 11:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kitsuken - Aug. 17th, 2006 02:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - filthy_animal - Jul. 10th, 2006 12:31 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sushidragon - Jul. 10th, 2006 01:33 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thaily - Jul. 10th, 2006 06:06 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - neongryphon - Jul. 10th, 2006 10:41 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cesarin - Aug. 7th, 2006 09:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - vulgaris - Jul. 10th, 2006 02:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - joecifur - Jul. 10th, 2006 03:25 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - duraji_synth - Jul. 10th, 2006 08:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 9th, 2006 11:45 pm (UTC)
Depends on the pose/subject I tend to tell em after about 2-3 that we need to settle or drop. IF no pay by then I drop, if theve paid we work out but 10 ... thats nuts.
Jul. 9th, 2006 11:59 pm (UTC)
3. i charge for anything after that.
Jul. 10th, 2006 01:36 am (UTC)
My stopping point is usually 3, and then I start charging by the hour for "Tweaks" and "Changes". 3-4 sketches should be enough to get the general idea. I'm paid to draw not design, if a client comes to me and isn't ready witha design, I offer them my design services but mention it's not cheap. That way they can go figure out what they want without wasting hours of my time.
Jul. 10th, 2006 01:51 am (UTC)
Depends. I just had a real winner try and get me to do a number of total redraws on a conbadge, and then expect me to give them the price I was charging a year ago "because we were friends".

For full commissions (especially potentially complicated ones), I do much like Thaily has said -- a bunch of thumbnails, which get sent to the commissioner. They choose which they like best, or decide they want something totally different. I don't charge extra for these unless the number gets really ridiculous. Thumbnails don't take much time.

Once it is sketched out as approved, I generally don't do anything more than minor fixes/changes without charging extra. Minor fixes don't bother me so much -- full composition / pose adds up.

I've never had problems with inks -- though with color I usually don't have a problem going in and tweaking things (especially on the computer.) -- though at the end, I won't go back and re-ink/color something because you suddenly realized your neon pink character looks really bad in that puke green camo skirt you wanted. Not unless you're paying me. ;)

Jul. 10th, 2006 10:19 am (UTC)
It depends. Generally you should do as many as YOU feel comforatable with, and not as many as they WANT(They always want more than they should have). If they want to see progress, then generally during the sketch phase they should correct it ONCE, during the ink phase they can correct it ONCE(Via photoshop or whiteout) and during the painting phase they're shit out of luck(Unless you're photoshopping). If they randomlyl decide "Oh, my charactre has horns, can you draw those in there?" then your response shoudl be "Is there anything else you want changed? Because I'm moving along here, so I can only change stuff NOW.."
"Oh no, thats it.."
Then, inevitably, after you're done with the painting they'll be like "Why does it have horns? I didn't ask for horns?" Fucking retards need to have their eyes sewn shut.
Jul. 10th, 2006 11:41 am (UTC)
"Then, inevitably, after you're done with the painting they'll be like "Why does it have horns? I didn't ask for horns?" Fucking retards need to have their eyes sewn shut."

Oh I hate it when people go "Oh, I suppose it's too late to change anything now?" after you've inked when you've asked them several times if they wanted to change anything in the final sketch before you started inking.

I hates it.

It makes me want to stab them in the eyes with sharp pencils...

(no subject) - duraji_synth - Jul. 10th, 2006 08:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ellychan - Jul. 11th, 2006 12:38 am (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 10th, 2006 10:40 am (UTC)
I do three for free, after that I may decide to charge extra – which is all clearly stated on my website. That’s normally enough to add/alter the things the buyer forgot to mention. Nothing is worse than a commissioner who states a dramatic detail after the line art is down.

But to help myself out I email them a Question Sheet rather like the ones listed above, but with additional details like frame/build/height/defining features/personality etc (aura colour not required), plus I really encourage the buyer to send me image references which I can horde like a rabid squirrel on acid. Only when I have the concept clearly conveyed to me will I start the line art.
Jul. 10th, 2006 07:47 pm (UTC)
for me- twice. in the "rules" on my commission page i state that they'll have 1 chance to edit the sketch. but when i'm commissioned i always give them a 2nd time. and sometimes a 3rd. i just never tell them they'll get it.
Jul. 10th, 2006 08:11 pm (UTC)
As a guy who commissions other people... I try my hardest to provide reference pictures to help them with physical appearances. If an artist is drawing a character for the very first time, I write up a concise but specific description, and specifically pick that artist because I think their style will work best for bringing that character to life.

Of course, when you get into complex poses, that's where things can be harder. I like Thaily's idea of drawing simple gesture sketches for getting the pose right, and small sketches for facial shape and expression is also a good idea.

I tend to require no more than a couple sketches or revisions before I approve for the final product. If you're going for color, show the commissioner which hues and shades you plan to use, too, so you don't have to start over when using traditional media.
Jul. 11th, 2006 12:41 am (UTC)
The hues/colors thing is definitly a good idea. When I was in artists's alley doing badge coloring with FauxFaia at AC this year, I'd go through my pencils with the buyer and show them what they looked like on scratch paper together, so they could pick their own colors out of what I had available. The commissioners seemed pleased with this methood. =3
Jul. 11th, 2006 11:08 pm (UTC)
Ten is a wee bit excessive. I put my foot down at 3 and tell them that they have had three tries to communicate what they wanted, anything more then that and their being too picky. If they contiue to want to nit pick, I'll charge them $5 per extra sketch. People tend to be less picky when you charge them for every little change they make.
Jul. 16th, 2006 05:32 am (UTC)
Amen. I do this, too. Except it's 2 for me. Lol, I'm mean. :(
Jul. 21st, 2006 10:34 am (UTC)
I'm a bit late in this discussion, but I actually have a system I use on the rare occasions I do non-convention commissions that helps discourage redraws and attempts at freebies:

I charge per hour.

Rather than put a set fee up front and agree on a price, I supply an estimated range of how much the completed commission should cost, and inform the customer up front that revisions, complicated add-on material, etc, will all contribute to the price raising accordingly. That way, if the person commissioning me likes the initial sketch I do, I know how long I take to finish art, so then I finish it. If changes need to be made, I just add the additional time into the tally and the price goes up. This way I also assure myself that the work I'm doing is not being done at less than acceptable rates.

Also: a buy who commissions me only receives the finished artwork, not the concept sketches. Again in an effort to cut down on people trying to get free stuff out of you, this works pretty nicely. In addition, you can use those concept sketches and make more art, which is also a bonus in increasing your revenue. :)
Jul. 22nd, 2006 09:31 am (UTC)
Thats a good system, thank you for telling me. I have a sketch that i like, but the commissioner didnt approve of. I'd like to use it again on another subject, but im afraid she may see it and think im trying to copy her character just cause it was the same sketch, but traced over with a different head. Im not saying she WILL do that, im just paranoid in thinking people would try to pull that. Even if it is my own sketch after all. But thanks again for this! informed me alot :)
(no subject) - kitsuken - Aug. 17th, 2006 03:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - banka_flavored - Aug. 17th, 2006 06:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
Aug. 9th, 2006 01:09 pm (UTC)
i'm not so much experienced with commissions; i just do them for kicks now and then but i'm generally cool with doing maybe two sketches and letting them pick, and making any minor modifications. however, i've had a couple of commissions where i was told i'd have free reign over the drawing and did about three initial sketches, then got a response for a couple of modifications, to which i replied with three more sketches, and then there were more modifications, and this went on until i'd done over ten sketches and was thinking a little wtf.

while watching me do this at anthrocon a year or so ago, another artist who was watching me stress out over getting this piece perfect basically told me that a commissioner is at the mercy of the artist, and shouldn't expect everything to be incredibly perfect, especially since the commissioner wasn't specific during the time of payment, and the payment wasn't that much to begin with. that kind of opened my eyes a bit :D
Aug. 9th, 2006 07:23 pm (UTC)
Very true, it cant be perfect, no one can read anyones mind. Thats why its always good to be clear on detail the first time around and not change your mind later and keep adding this or that. It can get frustrating. I will keep this in mind, thanks alot :)
( 35 comments — Leave a comment )


A_B icon
Commissioner & Artist, Warning & Kudos Community
Artists Beware

Community Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com