Over the last week away from home, I’ve had Twitter on my phone, and because I was so bored, I added everyone to a list that I’d peruse every once in a while, about 100 people.
I saw a lot of BS that it’s not worth my going on a pissy tirade about, but there is one 🔥 hot take 🔥 of my own that I want to share.
Last 48 hours I’ve seen several tweets about how awful a commissioner is if they dare contact you within a week to a month (!!) from the date of commission purchase. You know what the thing is though? I almost never, EVER see artists say something like “this is your delivery date/deadline and past that date you will get a refund”. The fact that most artists refuse to do this (something that never would fly in a professional, commercial setting) is part of the reason I rarely commission anyone.
Clients are seemingly expected to fork over money and wait for weeks/months without having any idea of what the artists’ queue is like, and if they do, what is the max deadline for their art. God forbid that, after a week or two or a month of radio silence, they ask for progress! 🙄 A simple question, that probably they are already anxious about asking, and shouldn’t have to be.
You know what? I almost never get asked. You know why? Because I provide deadlines. You HAVE to be able to provide a deadline. There seriously isn’t an excuse. Give an unreasonable deadline, if you have to. Five months. A year. Two years. Whatever. Say a date by which you will provide a refund no matter what. In a community where years-long waits are not at all unheard of, if you gave a commissioner zero inkling of what sort of wait might be in store, there is NOT a wrong time for them to reach out to you, because they just don’t know. That’s 100% on you.
Of course, context and tone matter. An “Is my art done yet??” message 48 hours after payment is obviously uncool. An “I was just wondering if you had an update on my commission” two weeks after payment if you provided absolutely no rough estimate of delivery, is polite and more than reasonable, and it is shitty of you not to have provided an estimated deadline in the first place.
A client deserves an estimated deadline from the get-go. No excuses. If you give one, you won’t have the stress of these messages because your client knows what to expect. Don’t leave them in the dark. They don’t deserve that. You’re doing what you love because of them.
I’m not saying it’s bad to give a long deadline if you must… I certainly do, and most of you know three months is my average. If your client is patient and considerate, they will understand that unexpected health issues might cause you to take up to, say, a year, if that is the deadline you must give (and I’m saying that as a kind of ridiculous deadline. If you can’t promise the art within a year, you shouldn’t be taking commissions, because at that point, that’s more like a donation, or an interest-free loan.)
Maybe it’s because I come from a primarily commercial art background, where a missed deadline is a big BIG deal. It’s also stressful –I do furry art because if I go a little bit past my deadlines my commissioners (often friends) are very understanding. To me, bristling at reasonable requests for updates is unbelievable.
You owe communication. You don’t owe speed beyond what you transparently promised on the onset –if you promised nothing, that’s a problem. Art is a business. Is money or goods changing hands in exchange for your art? It’s a business. Someone worked really hard for the money they gave you to receive a product in a realistic timeframe. It pisses me off to see tweets take traction that will make commissioners feel the process is even more unfriendly to them, when sometimes I don’t know how they keep throwing money at artists after getting continually burned by non-delivery or incredibly late deliveries.
Anyway, shitty takes aside, Twitter sucks ass as always, I don’t know how people manage to use it posting so many unhappy and hateful things every single hour lol, I already deleted the app and the follow list I made.
(Still doing my crossposting thing, nothing is changing from how it was before I left for the trip… I’m just stunned at how toxic it became again, once I made a list to follow people. Just. Holy shit. It’s seeping into FA, too. There is no escape, lol.)