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Hey, guys!

I need advice.

A few days ago, I came across an artist in the tags on Tumblr and decided to commission them. I sent them a message, we discussed the details, and they said they would supply a sample sketch before accepting payment. I still haven't received the sketch; therefore, I haven't paid, either. All's well, right?

Last night, someone I follow reblogged a piece from the artist, then removed it an hour later. Moments later, a notice went up that they removed the reblog because the artist in question also drew underage characters in explicit, sexual situations. I wasn't aware of this at all, but I checked their blog and, sure enough, there it was.

Now, underage porn is against the average person's morals - but, it's also illegal in the United States.

Obviously, I don't want my extremely recognizable character shown on a blog where underage porn is also drawn and hosted - and I also don't want to support an artist who willingly draws it. It's both illegal and against my own moral code. Needless to say, I'm extremely uncomfortable with this commission now - but, I'm not sure how to cancel it.

Am I obligated to continue the commission, even though money hasn't been exchanged, because details have been discussed and agreed to? If not, is it better for me to be honest with the artist and tell them I'm uncomfortable and want to cancel? The main issue here is that I have very severe anxiety and, based on behavior from their blog, I'm fearful that the artist will lash out at me angrily. Ordinarily, I would never cancel a commission I had already agreed to, but this is one situation in which I feel it's very, very necessary to do so.

Also, I am aware I should have looked into the artist more before I commissioned them. Hindsight is always twenty-twenty, unfortunately.

Edit: Fixed the link.

Edit: Thank you to everyone who commented here with advice for how to proceed! I have messaged the artist and told them that something came up and I'm no longer able to continue with the commission, but offered to compensate them for any progress made on the rough sketch. We'll see how it goes. :)

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( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 26th, 2016 07:09 pm (UTC)
I would message the artist and say that you are no longer comfortable working with them and leave it short and sweet, and do not respond to any other contact from them, especially if they lash out.

Easier said than done with anxiety, but it's better than dragging everything out.
May. 26th, 2016 07:11 pm (UTC)
You have two options to cancel IMO.
1. send them a note saying that you're sorry, but you need to cancel. You don't have to say why if you're afraid to, though it's polite to do so. Then block them.

2. ignore/block them - no contact, no responses, no payment. It's rude, passive aggressive and rates a beware, but it'll get the job done.
May. 26th, 2016 07:21 pm (UTC)
Speaking as someone else with anxiety--I'd go with #1 and just not say why I'm cancelling.
May. 26th, 2016 07:26 pm (UTC)
I'll definitely let them know that I need to cancel the commission. I would feel terrible if I left an artist, even one whose doing something questionable, in the dark by blocking them suddenly.
May. 26th, 2016 07:12 pm (UTC)
Since no work has been completed you do not owe the artist any money—and you are not obligated to stay in the commission agreement, either. You also don't have to tell them why you're cancelling; if you're anxious that they'll lash out, you can just say that something came up and you're unable to continue with the commission at this time. Telling them that you're uncomfortable with the subject matter of their other art isn't necessary and might provoke them if they have a history of lashing out at people. Kind of the middle road between "staying silent and going through with the commission" and "being totally honest with the artist about your moral stances".
May. 26th, 2016 07:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I feel like this is a sound suggestion.
May. 26th, 2016 07:30 pm (UTC)
There's always a possibility that a sketch will be done before you cancel (or it's been working on), as they could be working on it right now.

In that case, there isn't much you can do to avoid association with them. Tell them you'd like to cancel, but pay for the sketch. Sadly this means the art may be posted. You could ask if they could keep it private, but many won't if it wasn't discussed before hand, or they have a fee for it. You could also ask if it could remain anonymous instead so you aren't associated with it.
May. 26th, 2016 07:43 pm (UTC)
Well, even if that happens and OP cancels without any payment (which makes sense to me, in this kind of situation), the artist could always just rework the sketch for someone else's character.
May. 26th, 2016 07:50 pm (UTC)
The artist should be paid for their time. This isn't a free sketch, they're just allowing their clients to pay at a different time. We have many bewares here of people not paying for sketches. It's recommend to them to have clients pay first to avoid this problem, but that doesn't mean clients don't owe them.

They could, but they can't always. Sometimes an idea is too specific or the sketch is detailed enough with that character that it'd require a full redo to make it someone else.
May. 26th, 2016 07:54 pm (UTC)
Fortunately, I doubt the sketch has been started; the artist has posted multiple times about an art block over the past few days. If a sketch has been started, I will compensate the artist for it and request it remain private.

Unfortunately, if the artist posts the sketch at all, I can't avoid association; my character is very recognizable in the community, even without a username attached. :/
May. 26th, 2016 07:55 pm (UTC)
Hopefully if that comes up they'll be ok with keeping it private. Since it's just a sketch they may be more then fine with it.

May. 26th, 2016 10:42 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, if the artist posts the sketch at all, I can't avoid association; my character is very recognizable in the community, even without a username attached. :/

I've found that even our sparkliest, most detailed characters are not as unique as we might think, especially in sketch form where many details, such as color schemes, won't be present. :) But if you're really worried about any of the art making its way online, I would do two things:

--Request the commissioner, that is, you, to remain anonymous. Which you're already doing! Personally, I'd also ask for the character's identity to be anonymous.

--Ask the artist to mention in the description that it was commissioned as a gift. This way, even if someone recognizes the character, they won't associate the artist with you, because they won't know that you were the commissioner. And for all the artist knows, you DID commission the art of your character as a gift. The artist may believe that you want the details kept anonymous because you don't want the fictitious recipient of the art to find it before it's completed. It's a little lie that doesn't hurt anyone and, actually, helps your situation for both sides.
May. 26th, 2016 11:34 pm (UTC)
This is a good idea, thank you!
Hunty Belmnt
May. 26th, 2016 09:23 pm (UTC)
Because there was no work done or any money paid, just let the artist know that you are no longer comfortable commissioning them. Simple. Ignore any further responses. If they get rude, block them.
May. 26th, 2016 10:58 pm (UTC)
I would the first thing is to act soon so the artist doesn't do any work under the impression that there is still an intended commission (like starting the sketch if they haven't already)

First, with no work done and no payment given you're under no obligation to continue. A good polite way to end things is to just say something like "I'm sorry, circumstances have changed and i'll no longer be able to purchase the commission" you don't need to really explain why.

You should see how much they have done, if they have the sketch started or completed pay for the sketch to compensate for the artist's time. You could politely ask that the image not be posted.

Depending on how well you communicate with the artist, maybe you can talk to them about reusing the sketch so that it doesn't look like your character, but that's something that can be more nuanced and difficult to talk about without explaining why you want to stop.
May. 27th, 2016 01:00 am (UTC)
This is all sound advice, thank you! I'm planning on telling them something came up and I can no longer continue with the commission, but will compensate them for whatever work was already done and apologize for wasting their time.
May. 27th, 2016 03:10 am (UTC)
that sounds like a great message. Short, professional, and still respecting the artist even though you disagree morally with their content.
May. 27th, 2016 04:15 am (UTC)
Everything went done smoothly and without conflict, thanks for your help! :)
May. 31st, 2016 03:31 am (UTC)
In addition to the rest of the comments, let the artist know asap that you canceled. You do not want the artist holding you responsible for unpaid work that they may have started. goodluck!
May. 31st, 2016 04:19 am (UTC)
It was handled and resolved on the same day this was posted. :)
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )


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