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How do I go about fixing a Badge Blunder?

In January I attended my first furcon with some friends and in the spirit of things, I went and treated myself to a traditional badge commission. I paid via credit card, and I was told by the artist that my badge would be done by the end of the following day.
I wasn't attending the convention for the full weekend and let them know, the artist assured me it would be done by the deadline they gave me.

By the end of the day I was leaving the convention, I checked in with the artist, and all they had to show me was a sketch of my badge. It turns out they took on more commissions than they had anticipated, it happens! I approved it and they told me to leave my address so they could mail it to me, they also offered to text me to keep in touch with the progress of the work.

(Note: My character reference was not a physical one, but digital and they asked me to send it to them via text message)

In the weeks following the convention, trying to communicate with them was hassle. They didn't have any cards with their page info, I had to go through the convention's table page to find them, their website listed there is unfinished and when I finally find their art pages & social media, they're all largely abandoned and infrequently updated. While I did have their phone number, having that bit of information makes me a bit uncomfortable? So I sought out alternative means to keep in touch after an initial update request via text. I was told to note them on FA, which I did, and they told me they would send me a WIP when they got home that day.
I never recieved a follow-up text with a WIP and my note remains unread as of the typing of this post.

Last night (the 16th) , after seeing their twitter page is becoming active, while other sites are ignored, I go ahead and send a message expressing my exasperation with the lack of communication and request progress yet again. Today (the 17th), I see they have responded, they are apologizing and state my badge has been finished and ask where I would like to see the finished product.

In being shown the finished product I'm honestly very unsatisfied? And I feel as if the work may have been rushed. My reference sheet for my character has their species listed and on multiple occasions I reiterated the species because, well, they're a distinct canine species, so features of theirs tend to be exaggerated a bit. But the finished work does not read the species of my character, and it feels a bit... generic? Many of their examples show a variety of different muzzled characters and its easy to tell 'oh, that's a crux!' or 'that's a cute goat!', but my domesticated dog ends up looking like more of a wolf. To my knowledge, with the initial sketch I was shown, the badge was shaping up to look a lot different? However I did not take a snapshot of the WIP out of courtesy to the artist so I cannot say with certainty that it was redone.

To add to this, a friend of mine who attended the convention with me also commissioned this artist, and have been in the same boat as me in trying to talk to them. When they finally got shown their badge, they noticed some character details for theirs were depicted incorrectly, and also feel as if they were rushed to get them out of the way.

Overall, my experience with this artist was negative, and I have yet to respond to the image of the finished product because I really don't know how to proceed. The artist HAS been courteous, but they're really lacking some sort of means of consistent communication and keeping a solitary art page updated.

Since the work was done, I don't think I should be entitled to a refund, but I do not know if I'm within my rights to ask for a do-over or some sort of compensation?

The artists portfolio/'professional' website is unfinished and they don't have any form of TOS listed for me to reference for this predicament.

Should I chalk this up as a loss? Or is there a tactful way to relay my dissatisfaction for an amicable resolution? I'd rather not post them up here if I have to, so I'd like to be able to give them a good chance in resolving this before resorting to a full-on beware.

Edit: The artist in question became aware of this post and contacted me not long after it went up. We hashed things out and everything is essentially square between us. I don't believe I'll be commissioning them again, but they were willing to talk it out at least.

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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 18th, 2016 07:24 pm (UTC)
I would just let it go, as asking for a do-over/revisions might end up taking even longer.

Although, at this point you should ask, do you want the artwork asap despite the errors, or do you want to risk waiting longer? You could offer some compensation for the trouble of re-doing it (because the finished result did not look like the initial sketch which you did approve), or if you feel the artist has an obligation to fulfill(see below)**, it wouldn't hurt to ask just an honest opinion: "Hi, some features of the character didn't quite turn out how I expected according to my ref sheet, do you think something could be done to address it?". That way the ball is in their court, you've expressed your dissatisfaction but in a polite way, and now we see how they react and if they're up for a conversation.

If this was me, if a customer was unhappy (and it was my fault that I missed an important feature) I would re-do it. But the customer needs to speak up. I had a very upset customer once who I didn't even know felt this way until his friend came over and let me know. **However, unless a customer specifies that a particular feature on a character is very important and has to be done a certain way, you might have to chalk it up to artistic interpretation. I always advise folks that if there are *must-have* features on a character (whiskers, specific patterning (e.g. exactly 7 stripes), hair style, body shape, glasses in a certain shape) they need to point them out as must haves on a ref sheet , or else the artist will interpret non-specifics in their own way/styles. Otherwise all artwork will look exactly like the reference sheet's artwork style, and that's not the point of asking different artists to draw your character. :\

I'm not blaming the victim here, just an fyi for the future. However, the lack of communication is probably the bigger problem here. It's up to them to get your email and reach out to you, or at least exchange contact info. However you decide to go, it would be best to agree on a deadline if they decide to re-do it.
Feb. 19th, 2016 03:20 am (UTC)
In terms of key details missed, everything on my reference is very clearly stated so its not hard to miss. It's mostly that for the level of skill they displayed, I didn't expect a Chihuahua character to end up looking like your 'run of the mill' Wolf fursona, and that's what throws me?

I ran over their examples again just to be sure this wasn't me being nitpicky over style, but for what my character is, I definitely feel as if this artist missed the mark, and I thought they were more than capable of handling the character, as simple as she is.

I'll take this in mind and give it another day to mull over before I decide if I'd pay again to have it redone or just accept it.
Feb. 19th, 2016 09:49 am (UTC)
Do you ahve picture of the reference sheet?
I as artist usually look at ref and draw the character as its on the reference, so if it doesnt look like chihuahua i wouldnt draw it as one unless its clearly mentioned in the sheet what species it is, and not littered across small background text
I usually ask if they want it to be drawn as on ref or as the species if im unsure
Feb. 19th, 2016 07:22 pm (UTC)
It's stated on the reference sheet what her species is along with other specific details of her character.
Whenever I contacted the artist, I made sure to make reference that I was the owner of the Chihuahua character.

If you want me to link it here, I will not be doing so, since it would negate the point of this being an anonymous advice post when I don't wish to make a full-on beware on the artist at this time.
Feb. 18th, 2016 11:39 pm (UTC)
I think for me, personally, this would depend a bit on the cost. If it were your average, typically fairly cheap badge, I'd just chalk it up to a loss and not commission them for something traditional (and thus hard to fix) again.

If it were an expensive badge from an artist otherwise hard to get work from, I may handle it differently. But an unfortunate downside to commissioning is that sometimes, you'll get something you don't like, and you'll need to figure out how to choose what's worth pursuing and what isn't.

None of that is to say you couldn't pursue this if you didn't want to, but only you can really decide if it's worth it to you.
Feb. 19th, 2016 03:23 am (UTC)
The cost wasn't extravagant, that's for sure and I believe that ended up being this artist's undoing. They got swamped with orders and on top of this they run a fursuit business, and with how disorganized they are it's not surprising that they were overwhelmed.

But these were all facts that came to light AFTER the convention and I went sleuthing around to get in touch with them for progress.

Overall it really doesn't seem worth it for me to push it forward, I'm just let down because it was my first badge and I got a Wolf, not a Chihuahua hahaha;
Feb. 19th, 2016 04:48 am (UTC)
I would personally let it go too. I've received some pretty questionable commissions and they were all fairly cheap or part of a big charity auction with many volunteers offering work, so I just decided to not buy anything from the artists in question again.
Feb. 20th, 2016 12:14 am (UTC)
I think it would depend on how badly you wanted a badge to be done by the artist. While recomissioning them for a fixed version seems like a valid plan, the artist has already shown they are difficult to work with and take too long to produce something that doesn't look how you expected. Is another run of this something you want to sit through? If not, the best thing you can do is move on and don't commission the artist again.
Feb. 20th, 2016 05:21 pm (UTC)
Personally if I gave them a Chihuahua to draw and they drew me a wolf I would say I think they mixed my character up with someone else's as the picture they gave would not be my character.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )


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