tips & tricks to ensure that the artist does not hate your guts after you commission them
Now, I've been taking commissions for years. I started small, doing them for pixel currency on Gaia Online, and worked my way up to rl commissions. Regardless of what currency you're working for, most artists *work hard* on what they produce for you as the commissioner.
Let's be realistic, artists. We've all had that one time commissioner who complained about something or did something rude that made you resent their existence and you prayed their computer exploded and their dog get hit by a car. I get it, I've been there, too. I still have a user name floating around in my head of a commissioner I found very annoying, years ago, and to this day I'm keeping my promise that I'll never do another commission for them ever again.
Lately, I've been seeing problems arising once again, from myself to my friends, and I figured. Hey. I'm going to rant them out. Maybe you're a first time buyer? Maybe just getting into it? Maybe reading these to make sure you're not one of these people???
I'm not going to name any names, and in fact this is not intended to be aimed at any one person. These are my feelings that have welled up inside me over the years as I experienced them or watched my friends experienced them. So if you feel that I am specifically attacking you, I only have two things to say to you: you are incredibly conceited and you better shape up because this is the sort of crap artists don't like to put up with.
While I'm not saying that artists who also commission others are totally innocent, I'm going to be honest and say the people who generally commit these commission crimes are non-artist people. However not one side is worse than the other.
CRIME #1: THE ARTIST HAS A LIFE. Believe it or not. Quite frankly, real life>the online world. If you believe your commission should be done within a day, then you're probably not going to make friends with any decent artist that respects themselves.
I'm not saying PREPARE TO WAIT 2 YEARS LOL, but you know. Have some respect. School is tough, many of my friends these days including myself are in college and have jobs. Frankly, your commission comes after these things. On top of that, let's not forget social lives, as well as the ever troublesome art block! Unless you want some shitty piece that they did in half an hour because you didn't shut your face, okay? Be patient.
CRIME #2: YOU ARE OBLIGATED TO NOTHING BUT MY FOOT UP YOUR ASS. No artist is your slave, and you're not obligated or entitled to anything. Don't act superior. Congratulations, you paid the artist. Badgering them is not going to make them go any faster, and in fact they may never work for you again.
AND EVEN MORE SO. GASP. They'll let their other artist friends know, and those artists will be weary of you. All in all, don't act superior. I hate to tell you this, because it may come as a surprise. But your commission is not the final say in a life or death situation. There will be many others willing to fill your spot in the commissioner's list. So no, no artist has to kiss your ass.
CRIME #3: TELL THE ARTIST WHAT YOU DO OR DON'T WANT. In terms of poses, or little things. Not just 'don't forget my oc's kawaii uguu tail kthx.' I'm talking "I like the way you do eyes, so please have them open!" or "I really would rather not have a side view, please show their face!" Things like that.
It's frustrating because when an artist hears they did it wrong, *they've already done the sketch.* Meaning now they gotta go back, erase, even sometimes delete the whole draft and do it again. This one I see *a lot*. I get it all the time. Please guys, realize, you are not the only person that the artist has ever drawn. Sometimes an artist is exhausted for ideas. Perhaps the pose you see your OC in, the artist has drawn 6 or 7 times in the past 3 months and don't want to do it again. Sometimes the artist thinks "oh a back pose would be cool with this outfit!" And you end up hating it. Okay? Work with your artist. They want to make you as happy with the piece as they are.
CRIME #4: WHEN AN ARTIST STARTS YOUR ART, DON'T. FUCKING. CANCEL. There's this frame of time I think it should be acceptable to cancel a trade on the commissioner's end. Like, when the artist hasn't started. But when the artist has sketched your art? Lined it? Actually was working on it? That's. Really. Irritating.
I have three friends who come to mind. Two do many pixel currency commissions. Do you know how pissed off I get hearing that they finished the art, go to send it off, and find out only because the trade is canceled that the commissioner decided to cancel the art?
I have one friend in mind whose plight was just as irritating. She was doing a rl commission, when the commissioner decided to cancel... after she was halfway done linearting.
Point in case: don't cancel a commission while the artist is working on it, *unless* it's understood on both sides it's canceled. Only in special cases like something went horribly wrong or whatever, should it be canceled during. Manage your money before you go asking for commissions. Make sure you can pay for it.
CRIME #5: WHEN AN ARTIST HAS SOMETHING ON THEIR "WILL NOT DRAW" LIST, DON'T ORDER IT. Like seriously. There's a reason. If I say I do not do armor, and you go ordering a knight from me, you will be sorely disappointed. So what if I end up sketching it okay? What about lining it?
EVEN WORSE, WHAT ABOUT COLORING? Do you know how hard metal can be to color? It's not just about drawing the subject, it's coloring, too. Don't you forget that. And if you're willing to take that risk, don't go complaining when it looks like crap, okay?
CRIME #6: CLOSED/FULL MEANS "NOT. TAKING. ANY. MORE. ORDERS." Now it's understandable when an artist doesn't state when they're open or closed. But when they have a commission journal with CLOSED or FULL in the title or in their status, that means they aren't taking any more orders.
Asking them to take more orders is just rude. No, it's not "just one more order." That's another two, three, four and even sometimes more hours of the artist's life down the drain. I'll say it again. Be patient.
CRIME #7: "I DIDN'T KNOW I HAD TO PAY IN RL MONEY." Okay idk how anybody can get this mixed up, but they do. This is an experience I have had, and it sucks. $5 is $5, guys. It's not 5k on Gaia or 500 points on dA. Be sure that not only can you afford the price of the commission, but that you got it in the right currency and a way to send it.
As a note to my fellow artists who take commissions (or even art trades!)- always send a WATERMARKED final version if you haven't received your payment, be it in art or currency.
CRIME #8: THERE'S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "THE CHIN IS A LITTLE OFF" AND "THIS IS SO UGLY IT'S NOT WORTH WHAT I PAID." Okay, let's admit it. Sometimes we get a piece where you're like "t-that really doesn't look right." But there is a right way to go about it and a wrong way to go about it.
Just because your precious characters were "slaughtered" doesn't give you a right to rip the artist a new asshole. As a precaution, you should always ask for WIPs. Always read the entire journal, small text and all. In my own journal, I have listed in the legalities section that art is sometimes subject to slight experimentation. Other times, artists state that they're going through a style change. Others also say check their gallery for recent samples to get an idea of what you're getting~!
All in all, just be careful of your words. Believe it or not, it just takes one commissioner to make an artist feel like their art is worthless.
CRIME #9: NO MATTER THE OUTCOME, ALWAYS SAY 'THANK YOU.' I just can't see the logic of somebody taking their time to do something for you and you not saying thank you. No, giving money or pixel currency is not the same as saying thank you. That is a payment. Thanks is gratitude. A response is a clear way of an artist knowing you as the commissioner received the piece. As well as letting them know how you felt about it.
The way I see it, a lack of response or thanks is the same as saying you didn't like the piece. And it makes you as the commissioner look rude and ungrateful. It's just tragic on both ends of the spectrum.
CRIME #10: "WHY WASN'T I ACCEPTED?" THEN GETTING MAD IS NOT THE ANSWER. This is more a pixel currency related problem than a rl one. I've turned down many, many pixel commissions but so far, have not turned down any rl commissions. Okay, nobody is singling you out when they say 'no thank you.' Perhaps you're not offering enough gold for their services. Perhaps your OC/avatar isn't appealing at the moment- or at all! Maybe they don't like the color scheme. Maybe they just found other more appealing orders.
The "why wasn't I accepted?" question is a tender one because generally if the artist decides to bite and explain why, THE COMMISSIONER GETS UPSET? As a commissioner, you're going to have to realize that, YET AGAIN, the artist is not your slave. They have things they like to draw, prefer to draw, dislike and avoid. Just accept that in that moment in time, your order wasn't appealing. And if the artist does answer your question, don't get upset at the answer. Put on your big kid undies and accept it.
CRIME #11: A FORM IS THERE FOR A REASON OTHER THAN INCONVENIENCING YOU, MASTER. This happens between pixel currency and rl commissions alike. I, myself, am quite anal about forms. I have them there because I'm asking for specific information that'll help *ME* as the artist create a piece that *YOU* as the commissioner will enjoy.
I also feel that the use of the form shows you actually read. Or at the least, skimmed. Please. Please take time to use the form. It's there for a reason, not just to be in your way.
Again, this isn't aimed at anybody. And I apologize for the harsh language, however if I'm going to try to leave an impact on those who are commissioning people, I'm willing to make myself out to be a bad guy if it means you'll remember my words.
These are nowhere near all the problems I've faced, but these are the ones I've seen in the most recent years. I only hope that you as commissioners- be you artists or not- remember these.
Always be polite guys, always. You are making a business transaction, trading currency or art for, well, art. Be cordial about it! It just takes one bad trade to ruin an artist's or commissioner's trust.
So, commissioners, artists. I hope you take something with you from this journal, and if you already knew all this, then I hope you have only the best of transactions~! :>
Thanks for reading, everybody. I just needed to get years of annoyances off my chest.
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