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  1. #1
    Senior sassySloth's Avatar
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    Question for Commission Takers

    Hey gang, sassy here. I had a vexing experience recently and I'd like your feedback about some things

    When you are given a commission
    - Do you like to be told exactly what to draw and how it is to be drawn or
    - Do you like a fairly open guideline that you can work within?

    When I make commissions I'm very not-picky because I like to leave room for the artist to put themselves into the piece. I realize that I'm just kind of asking the creator to bend their creativity my way and I want them to have some fun too. I think it's best because that way the artist isn't 'bending over backwards' or going out of their comfort zone. But what do you think?

    Side question, and this might seem like a dumb one: Do you like for a commissioner to be genial and friendly? Or would you rather keep it to business?

    Recently I commissioned an artist and as usual I tried to be as personable and open as possible. I wrote out exactly what was looking for provided refs and formatted everything. It looked good and I was looking forward to striking up an a workable artist-fan relationship. Then he replies with a terse 'Sounds good.' no price quote, no comments. It kind of pissed me off.
    I realize that not everyone is looking for friends all the time, but I want to hear what you artists think.
    Watch me swooce right in.

  2. #2
    I like when someone gives me guidelines, but I have a problem with many requesters being too open. I've gotten a lot of "draw me" or "draw my OC" without any sort of link to references of what they look like, what they want themselves or their character to be doing, anything else they want included in the picture...

    Side complaint: I've told potential customers that a finished, colored drawing will cost $20. If they get back to me at all, they don't send the payment, or their request, or anything. So I don't end up drawing them anything. I suspect it's because non-artists generally don't understand how commissions work.

  3. #3
    That's me! Hewge's Avatar

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    I'm pretty sure if you be friendly or straight to the point is entirely your choice.
    I mean; everyone enjoys friendliness - but it's still business, so as long as you're not an ass, WHO CARES?!

    I feel like providing loads of information about exactly what you want is best, but if you are letting an artist have ~creative freedom~, then you should probably be prepared for just about anything!

    I don't really dig why this person you're commissioning was like that though. I suppose it's kind of like buying something in a regular store! The store owner could be nice and personable, or they could simply take your money, give you the change, and that's that.

    Personally, I'd like it if the person provided at least things like basic ref, preferred pose(s), expressions, mood, and what the situation is (if any). Any more info is a sexy BONUS.
    It would make things faster to work on too, going into a draw knowing -exactly- what to do with it. Instead of kinda delving into the unknown with pure "creative freedom".
    ...Not that artists don't enjoy freedom and creativity. xP

    In my opinion, as fanciful and magical as art is - commissions are still business, and business is... business! ETIQUETTE AND PROFESSIONALISM, DAMMIT. That applies to both the artists and the commissioners.

    EVEN MORE PERSONAL, YO. Sounds like you do oh-so-fine, and the artist was just lazy and forgot the power of ETIQUETTE AND PROFRESSIONALISM.

  4. #4
    I prefer I get told exactly what is wanted, just for the sake of time and the concept process. The few times I specify I have creative control is for requests or trades. I've never had issues with creative freedom in regards to paid commissions, though I worry that there will come a time that what I draw winds up turning into 'oh no I wanted this instead'. If it's outside a comfort zone an artist shouldn't accept it unless they are willing to go outside that zone. I like commissioners to keep things professional and I try to do the same - some convo is ok, though.

    I don't think the response was awful, maybe not as convo-friendly (and as Hewge put it certainly not the most professional) or anything like that. Did they just say 'sounds good', and complete it?

    Sometimes if a commissioner gives me everything needed and leaves no questions unanswered, a short response is usually understandable (I guess IMO short would be 'awesome! here's the deadline, and i'll send you x many wips, i'll let you know if i have more questions', along those lines). If everything turned out good in the end, don't worry and just don't commission them again. Not every artist and commissioner have personalities that work together flawlessly, and some artists just keep communication to a minimum or just barely what's needed.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by sassySloth View Post
    Hey gang, sassy here. I had a vexing experience recently and I'd like your feedback about some things

    When you are given a commission
    - Do you like to be told exactly what to draw and how it is to be drawn or
    - Do you like a fairly open guideline that you can work within?

    When I make commissions I'm very not-picky because I like to leave room for the artist to put themselves into the piece. I realize that I'm just kind of asking the creator to bend their creativity my way and I want them to have some fun too. I think it's best because that way the artist isn't 'bending over backwards' or going out of their comfort zone. But what do you think?

    Side question, and this might seem like a dumb one: Do you like for a commissioner to be genial and friendly? Or would you rather keep it to business?

    Recently I commissioned an artist and as usual I tried to be as personable and open as possible. I wrote out exactly what was looking for provided refs and formatted everything. It looked good and I was looking forward to striking up an a workable artist-fan relationship. Then he replies with a terse 'Sounds good.' no price quote, no comments. It kind of pissed me off.
    I realize that not everyone is looking for friends all the time, but I want to hear what you artists think.
    I like fairly open guidelines. When the commissioners are too picky it begins to wear on my patients and will to continue the picture as time goes on. x____x However-- this depends on the artist tbh. Some LOVE being told what to draw down to the very last detail, but I personally hate it. As long as I get the necessary things in the picture there or the picture just flat out looks good-- I think that's fair enough.

    Same thing kinda goes for when I do an art-trade or have someone draw something for me. I tell them the big picture and the little things that are a must and then let them figure out the details. I like some of it to be a surprise!

    As for the whole friendly vs business question-- I LOVE friendly light hearted commissioners. However the extreme of this is when they keep trying to strike up conversation constantly when they CLEARLY don't have anything to say and are terrible at holding conversation.

    Also-- The kind of person whose SO friendly and talkative that you get like.........6 paragraphs.....and you have to dig thru an almost NOVEL looking for exactly what they want for the commission is also pretty annoying.

    TL;DR-- Friendly commissioners are great as long as they aren't trying to FORCE a friendship when theirs clearly no sparks there, and they don't blab on for 9 hours with the info on the commission being buried somewhere in the midst.

  6. #6
    Senior sassySloth's Avatar
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    Huh. That's a more varied response than I expected.

    I guess I'll just keep doing it the way I have been. I find I get the best results when I let the artist play around a bit.

    One time I was in a stream of one of my favorite artists. She was just doing sketches. One guy asked of a sketch and it took her like a half hour because this guy was specific about every goddamn detail. Drove me insane.

    I don't want to be that guy.
    Watch me swooce right in.

  7. #7
    Heretic! FlynnCoyote's Avatar


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    I prefer either all in or all out. Give me every detail or give me artistic freedom. The ones who are vague are harder since I end up checking with them over stupid details that they never considered. It just takes longer.
    * * *
    We'll find a reason, or else realize that we don't need one.

  8. #8
    I'm generally happy anywhere on the spectrum of artistic freedom to precise specifications, but there are a few things that can help.

    If it's an artistic freedom commission, it's nice to at least have a basic theme or mood to go off of- "Draw a cute goofy picture of my character" is much easier to come up with ideas for than "draw a picture of my character," and I can be more confident that it will be to the commissioner's taste.

    If the commissioner wants more control over the piece, it helps to have a really clear concise writeup that's separated from any casual conversation that's going on. A note, PM, or email is a good place to do this. I've also had commissioners that want to give lots of input but don't have a strong idea of what they want at the outset, which I've found fun on occasion, but I know really bothers some people. If you're itching to work super closely with the artist like this, make sure it's something they're cool with before they start the piece (and before payment changes hands.) Also, live input is a lot more acceptable on a large piece than on a quick one. I've done dozens of thumbnails on a huge rendering, and it's not that big a deal, it adds maybe 10% to the time. I also plan on it, so that planning time is already accounted for in the price. But on a quick sketch it can easily double the time it takes, and that means the artist's wage is cut in half. Much less appropriate.

    Regarding conversation with the commissioner, I love when we hit it off and are able to chat a fair bit. Generally this leads to me knowing their likes and dislikes a bit better, which means I can do better work for them. It also sometimes means making new friends, which is great when it happens. The more you get to chatting, though, the more important it becomes to separate business and chatter. It can get really frustrating having to sort through a long conversation for little comments about the commission. And as with the other stuff, preferences will vary, so if the artist doesn't seem receptive to conversation, let it drop.

    Also, regarding the terse "'sounds good," that just sounds like kinda poor communication. Even if they don't feel like conversing, it's good to follow up with next steps- "Here's the quote, here's how to pay, here's the next step in the process."

  9. #9
    Senior JackalTeeth's Avatar
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    I honestly have no preference. Being told exactly what's wanted is useful and allows me to give the commissioner exactly what they want, and being given freedoms makes the work more fun for me to do. However, I really don't mind either one. The art will still get done and I do everything to the best of my ability, so the outcome will be good either way.

    I do enjoy friendliness but I understand that this is a business transaction. If a commissioner would prefer to be straight and to the point, that's fine by me. Being polite no matter what is what matters, imo. I'll see how the commissioner acts toward me and then respond accordingly (more chit-chatty if they are, more to the point if they are).

    Overall, I have no real preference. As long as the transaction goes smoothly and everyone is kind and polite during the process.

  10. #10
    The commissioner is a client who is paying me to make art they want to see and have, done by me specifically, so I am perfectly fine with them asking for things to be a certain way. Even in great detail if they so please (though naturally there is a line between reasonable and 'wait, have I become a forensic artist for some strange magical and tedious version of the NYPD?'), but in these situations the commissioner should have all their ducks in a row as neatly as possible by the time they come to me (in other words, I don't want to have to change half the piece towards the end because suddenly the commissioner remembers that 'oh, right, this character had these many stripes on their tail and by the way they have only one eye and no I will not pay extra for changes - you should have somehow known these things!').

    If I don't like the sound of the piece description I can always decline (since this most of this talk happens before I commit or accept payment). But in general I think that even if you have specific ideas, it'd be good for the commissioning person to be open for some creative input from the artist as well, and to listen if they share their opinions - this is a person you hired for their ability and expertise after all. That's not to say you should go with their every whim. Artists have bad ideas too, sometimes astoundingly so. Be clear on what you really want, both to yourself and to the artist.

    My personal favorite is when the person commissioning me has some ideas about what they want, and explain it well, but is clearly very open for my own creative input and feels like someone I can talk to about my ideas. Sometimes I also like nearly complete freedom if I can get an idea of what kinds of things the person would like in what style. For example, something with a gothic feel to it, with something flowery and oh look they like these birds, maybe a bird too then. But this is, naturally, considerably harder with people I don't know at all.

    And yes, I do like for the commissioner to be pleasant and open for a chat mostly relating to the work. But I usually also like to keep my distance since this is often a person I do not already know and we are dealing with matters relating to money. When someone commissions me, I do not think of it as a friend-making scenario, but pleasant interaction matters. If the commissioner acts rude, I will hesitate continuing with the client relationship, I may even suspect the legitimacy and trustworthiness of the individual and it will color the whole experience unpleasant. On the other hand, like others have expressed, overly chummy attitude also makes me uncomfortable when coming from a person I do not know and need to deal with on a professional level.

    As for your experience, after sending them what sounds like a rather detailed description it does sound strange they did not even give you a price quote, or a comment about getting around to it later.
    Last edited by sterlingy; 09-21-2014 at 04:42 AM.

 

 

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