Detailed commission FAQ, dos and don'ts and rules
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By FoxInShadow   |   Watch
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Published: October 26, 2015
Taking into account a few years of my experience, some recent events, few endlessly returning questions and tiresome explaining, I felt that this FAQ is much needed.

I sure as hell hope that this doesn't sound rude or anything, please remember I'm not trying to scare you away, I'm trying to fix both the issues that some of you had with me, and the issues I had with some of you. I'm taking most of the blame here, because even if only 1% of you isn't satisfied with my services, that's still too many unhappy customers. Sometimes I wasn't acting professional and I am not afraid to admit that, sometimes I was too overwhelmed to handle everything so this gotta change. Fair and square.*

*needless to say, by reading this journal you agree to the terms and conditions yadda yadda blah blah blah let's not be dicks to each other, I respect your rights you respect mine.

And keep in mind that I am aiming at making the process more enjoyable for you and me, and what sounds like a soulless treating is important to keeping the communication fluent and should be a no-brainer really. I love my customers, so I think that you guys deserve to have all this info upfront.

I'm also sorry for the gigantic wall of text. But this was long time coming.

Okay, let's proceed to the :iconcbfontfplz::iconcbfontaplz::iconcbfontqplz:

:bulletred:What payment methods do you accept?

PayPal and Western Union, with paypal being the main option. Western Union is for these rare cases when you can't use paypal for whatever reason.

:bulletred: Why do I need to fill this paperwork for you? -----> (PLEASE READ)

As I said many times, I am fully professional and I do my taxes AND my government is shit and they force this stupid paperwork on me. If you were to hire any other self-employed freelance artist to make art assets for your cool-ass game, you'd be probably facing the same conditions. It secures both parties and I even made it one-time formality to make it easier for you guys if you were planning to make multiple orders. Read up on the details :above:

:bulletred: What exactly do you need from me in terms of details of my request?

Some of these are obvious, some are not.

Obviously, I need each reference that you deem essential and important. (Description will do just fine if the character was not depicted before.)

Less obviously, this leads to another question: Granting me artistic freedom. Yay or Nay?

Basically, I love artistic freedom as a rule. I really prefer the orders where the only description is to depict character X doing something.

To put it simply, don't be overly specific. This is not meant to discourage you, I'm guiding you to a better outcome. Because looking back at it, the commissions with more freedom granted to me were simply better.

-good description example: "Please make me a drawing of Shadow the Edgy Hedgehog running away from zombies while he's shooting at them in the abandoned school."

-bad description example: "The drawing is in the frog perspective and Shadow the Edgy Hedgehog is running from left to the right side while being chased by 35276523 zombies, they all look like an American middle class families with two kids, their skin colour ranges from honeydew to moss green, also the light is dim and maroon red like if during the blood moon, also here are 23784367 reference photos of the abandoned school I want this piece to be taking place in."

PLEASE, remember I am not discouraging you to be creative. But all in all, it is important to nail down important details and essentials, nothing else. I know my stuff (I think). You can always request a WIP sketch if you wanna review my vision, or we can hammer out the finer details together. Artistic freedom, man, don't be afraid of it! Being super-specific isn't always helping ^^;

:bulletred: What applies, and what does not apply for the extra NSFW fee mentioned in your price list?

Rule of thumb: if it can be uploaded to deviantart and not get banned, it does not require extra fee. So for example, a character which is naked in the bathtub can be considered a mature work but it does not necessarily get charged extra because there is nothing sexual going on in the drawing. Only porn and artwork clearly sexual in the nature gets charged extra. If you're unsure, please feel free to run by me the details of your order for my review.

:bulletred: Additionally, what counts as a complex background? I really need my commission to have some sort of background, but I don't wanna pay the extra fee

I have a new separate guide just for that. Under plenty of circumstances your request doesn't necessarily apply for complex background fee, so please read up on the detailed explanation over there. I can always help you alter your order in such a way where the background isn't complex anymore:  what is and isn't a complex background for meSince I am opening commissions again and there have been some changes related to the price list, I thought I'd clarify something that's been bugging some of my clients for a while, and also something that my new clients might find useful.
Simply put, where I draw the line on what is a complex background, and how you can get around this. Sometimes you don't even need a complex background without realizing it, so this guide might save you some money, and me plenty of time required to complete your order. 
The simplest definition I can give on a complex background, at least for me, is that it's an intricate scene crowded with plenty of different elements. Complex background is a background that takes me more time to complete than the characters themselves.
HOWEVER, on the other hand I am going to point out the types of scenery that are NOT going to be charged extra for the complexity, these types of backgrounds might be more than simple flat colo

:bulletred: When would you like me to pay you? Upfont or after the work is done? Do you accept partial payments?

This one is simple. You either pay me upfront, grant me full artistic freedom and I surprise you with the final outcome. Or you can pay me after accepting the Work In Progress sketch I provide for your review (most people choose the second option).

As for the partial payments, I can't accept them for the same reason I need the paperwork from you: taxes. The amount that is mentioned in the contract must be the same as the single payment I'm gonna have in my paypal history. Because taxes.

:bulletred: Can I determine the medium you will be using for my picture?

I very much prefer digital art and it is used by default, unless you have a very specific request (for example if you want to receive the original art for some reason). For traditional art I use Copic markers, pencils and watercolours. I am not gonna lie though, digital art is my forté, so it will most likely look better than traditional.

:bulletred: Could my commission ever be turned into a poster?

Well, to put it simple, I always provide high resolution files to my clients, and you can do with them whatever you want. You own that piece so you can even resell the prints if you wish.

My high res files usually have 4000 pixels in the longer dimension so that should be enough for you to make posters on your own by using your local printing services.

I myself don't offer poster shipping other than the posters that you can order in my deviantart shop:…

:bulletred: WHEN is my order going to get finished? (this is probably the ultimate question number one)

Okay, so... this is a very vague matter, so the answer is as much vague.

Mostly it depends on how busy I am at the moment. People make this assumption that when I take their commission, I am working exclusively and only on this one drawing. Well, it does not work like that. At any given moment I am working on at least five different orders simultaneously. It has to be like that, in order to maintain a steady workflow. There were some cases where I had to take too many commissions which caused a major delay, but we're not here to talk about wonders of freelance life. We're here to talk about facts.

And the fact is that if you're unsure whether you'll receive it within two days or two months, and if it is super important for you to receive it ASAP, then you're absolutely entitled to force a specific deadline on me and you have a full legal right to do so, because yes, I have a wonderful commission policy. It will be mentioned in the contract you'll receive from me.
Kyubey icon [free to use] by pinkbunnii

Deadline is optional. If you opt out of it, you lose your right to brag about lazy artists being lazy. I can officially take as long time to finish your order as I find necessary, because I am pretty damn busy over here and usually working on multiple orders all at once.  

I try to please everyone (hehe) and I understand that waiting is frustrating, so slap a deadline on me if you want. I'm perfectly fine with that.

Moreso, the WIP sketch you're going to receive from me ensures that the work will be completed. However, if you received a WIP sketch already and you did not give me a deadline when you could, then I will not reply to messages asking about update, unless it is very important to the process/I personally request contact. BELIEVE me, I remember about every order, and it will be done when it will be done. IT WILL :la::la::la:

Once again, I am SORRY if this sounds cold as fuck but that's the way it has to be. War, war never changes ;)


And now  :iconcbfontdplz::iconcbfontoplz::iconcbfontsplz::icontransparentplz::iconcbfontaplz::iconcbfontnplz::iconcbfontdplz:

First things first, there are obviously the topics that artists personally prefer because we're all human and we're not drawing machines, am I right? :iconderpyshrugplz:
So keeping that in mind, the best advice I can give regarding what you actually should consider ordering (if you need that kind of advice) is to browse through my gallery and maybe my Personal Favourites folder to actually find out what I am feeling the best at:…

I said this already that picking the best topic for the best artist suitable for this topic is essential to getting a satisfying commission. I'm not saying you should be extra careful while picking the topics for me, I'm saying that you can literally see the outcomes and better pick up the appropriate theme for the appropriate artist :nod: Maybe there are some artists out there better than me at portraying your ideas? It might be a good idea to run by me few of your projects for my review, so I am allowed to pick the one that I am feeling the best at.

Now that this is sorted out here is the actual LIST:

:bulletred:I am very good at: Ponies, obviously, do I have to list that? I am also more than fine with all sorts of anthro and furry stuff, be it safe or porn. I am very passionate about digital painting so I'd love to see an influx of more scenery-oriented commissions, and also humans. People tend to overlook and actually have to ask me if I draw humans at all. Yes, I do draw humans! And their style can range from anime-ish to semi-realistic. I am also not discriminating any fandom at all, while I am mostly brony-oriented I see no problem working with something I might be not familiar with. I can draw all sorts of stuff, ranging from your anime waifu to spaceship concept art. Again, don't be afraid to ask.

:bulletred:Things I might be willing to draw: This is where it gets tricky. Basically, the "maybe" topics are mostly judged case by case. And it's mostly about fetishes, let's be honest. Some of these might stay private, at my request.

For example, I don't particularly like futa, but drawing it is not that much of a big deal for me. Maybe all I was saying is that I need to hear the details of your order to know if I'll be actually capable of drawing whatever you request.

I am also rather sceptical about extreme realism/exaggerated body fluids/exaggerated body parts.

:bulletred: Things I am definitely not going to draw:

Well, this is still mostly about fetishes, but also the styles and techniques I am operating with.

I am not going to make vector art, at least not for now. I don't have any interest in it, I don't find it appealing. I don't do animation, web design, I do not code, I don't do 3D modeling either.

I am also not the best pick for design work of any sort; I'd rather avoid making logos, logotypes, font works and so on and so on. This is not my field of work, I am a digital painter, not a digital designer.

There are also some fetishes that have been requested in the past/I had some bad experiences with them/I know I'm not gonna draw:

I am not gonna draw inflation, micro/macro, foot fetish, vore, weight gain, pregnancy, babyfurs/diapers, Sonic porn (just... NO), water sports, scat, scalies, extreme muscles (bara), extreme gore, coprophilia, necrophilia etc etc, I think you get the drill.

And so, due to the... sensitive topics listed above, I have a right to reject commission requests for personal reasons.


Phew! So I guess that is all I wanted to cover folks, I believe that those of you that wanted some additional details on commission process got their answers in one giant journal and this will save me some talking later, and that it's gonna help you make it quicker as well. If you have some additional questions I am always here to answer them, to help you get through it with me aaaaaand I hope that you'll enjoy working with me.

I am usually open for commissions, and you can look up the rest of the info in separate submissions:
  Price list by FoxInShadow  Important changes in commission policy PLEASE READ
This annoys me as much as you, but this is forced on me rather than chosen, so let's overcome these obstacles together, shall we?
The changes are as follows:
:bulletred:The prices are going to be increased slightly in order to fit better to my local tax law. I really don't want to get you into details of that. Check out the current price list: 
:bulletred:First time you place an order you will have to sign "Contract to perform a specific work" with me. This includes sharing personal data with me, shipping information to be exact (but you'll get mine in exchange) and also you'll have to send me a scan of a signed page. Photo will do as well.
This is completely normal among freelancers, imagine you are treated like a company ordering art assets from me. I need a paper for that.
All the personal data is completely safe with me, as I don't have any interest in sharing it. Still, it's required.

I also have a secondary deviantart account for non-furry and non-pornographic material, maybe you'd like to check it out: :iconraphshea:
anonymous's avatar
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Kujiiro's avatar
Reading the "will not draw" like "mhm, okay, yup, this one makes sense too, thi... wait Scalies?"

Scalies? Like... just not a fan of reptiles?
FoxInShadow's avatar
FoxInShadow Digital Artist
I do not feel good enough at them to get paid for drawing them. Plus, obviously, when I say "scalies" I mean dragon porn :I

Just... no :I
Kujiiro's avatar
Oh I just mean like cute dragon ladies. I think sharks count as scalies too. Idk, but I understand actual dragons yeh.
FoxInShadow's avatar
FoxInShadow Digital Artist
All in all, those are all touchy subjects, and they have to be judged case by case.
FoxInShadow's avatar
FoxInShadow Digital Artist
I think I would draw the line similarly. I'm rather skeptical about the actual animal-like dragons, but shark girls will do =P
Ginitsune's avatar
After reading the good and bad descriptions I feel like I made one of the bad ones. I got too precise on a lot of things, went into too much detail - it's probably not fun for you to do.
FoxInShadow's avatar
FoxInShadow Digital Artist
Not really. I've got some real annoying deals before, you are not nit-picking me about my coloring or shading ;P
Ginitsune's avatar
I tend to worry about things too much - sorry to bring up my concerns like that.
TheDamnedScribe's avatar
Clear and understood. All good in the hood.
Kit-Bash's avatar
Kit-BashHobbyist General Artist
The "Is My Description Too Detailed" thing I something I'm terrified of doing myself as someone who wants to get pieces done. Because just by my nature (I'm in an engineering field) I have a very very detail oriented mind; my ideas just form in my head with lots of specifics. I know that I drive the friend of mine that does my references crazy because I nit-pick every little thing on them, but I certainly try to tone down my requests for people I don't already know and even then I'm always really self conscious about if they're too detailed descriptions or not. I don't want to stifle the artist's creativity, but I find it hard to kinda get into the mindset of leaving out details when in my head I have this nearly fully formed idea.
FoxInShadow's avatar
FoxInShadow Digital Artist
Maybe I wasn't clear enough. This boils down to... nit-picking not the technical details (which are essential if they are justified), but being picky about composition, character placement and such, things that sometimes, no offence, artists themselves are better at most of the time.

When I think about the description you provided me with, I think I have nothing to complain about. You were straight to the point, you told me what the character is supposed to be doing and provided handful of clear refences, what there is not to love.

If the artist is supposed to work on a refence picture, you have full right to be picky about details of your damn character :D
Kit-Bash's avatar
Kit-BashHobbyist General Artist
I'm mostly just voicing a general anxiety I have about requests. Not necessarily about you or anyone in particular. I genuinely want artists to be excited to do pieces as that definitely has an impact on the quality that people output. For me it's trying to find the balance between, what are "Good" details and "Bad" details.

Though speaking of nit-picking my friend's work. I did once have him rotate the cutie mark by increments of 1-3 degrees back and fourth for like 30 minutes :v

Just to put into perspective how picky I can be when I have no consequences for being picky

He's a great friend though, he didn't even know if I wanted to keep that particular cutie mark design all the while he was putting up with my BS, but he still put up with it either way.
Unidad26's avatar
If this don't clear all doubts for new peopel i don't know what will.
FoxInShadow's avatar
FoxInShadow Digital Artist
Thanks! I'm very glad you think so.
Unidad26's avatar
Well for me, been already a commisioner is nothign new, the only new "thing" was finding out your goverment likes to mess up things with taxes for everyone, i mean im gready and cheap in general but really, how are you gona "explote" your people if you limit them like that. but well what can you do.
FoxInShadow's avatar
FoxInShadow Digital Artist
Yeah exactly. I can't do nothing about it and it's not my fault either. I'm very thankful for the people that understand and accept that and support me nonetheless, despite all of this. 
CrutonArt's avatar
CrutonArtStudent Digital Artist
the thing about good and bad descriptions has me screaming at the computer. 
ive turned a few commission down or completely ignored because they wanted to be so precise with every single fucking thing.

thanks for this.
FoxInShadow's avatar
FoxInShadow Digital Artist

also, The Tale of The Perfect Commission

One day, Shadow the Hedgehog was sitting under a tree petting Donkey who was taking a nap. Then, he saw someone on the path. It was Shrek the Ogre. Shadow then saw that he was holding a bundle. Shadow softly said, "Shrek..." He stood up and watched him walk away. He then ran towards him and said to himself, "You can't leave this place!" He ran after him along the path. Shrek stopped and looked up at the sky. He then heard someone say, "Shrek!" He turned around and saw Shadow panting for breath. He said, "Shadow?" Shadow yelled out, "Idiot!" Shrek jumped. Shadow said, "What were you thinking about leaving?! You can't leave us!" His eyes began to fill with tears as he said, "Please Shrek, don't leave. I wouldn't know what to do without you. Shrek, I didn't mean to lie to you. I was only saying those things to protect Fiona and all of the others from dire peril." Shrek looked at Shadow with a sad look on his face as Shadow talked. Shadow continued, "You know I would never lie to you. You're one of my best friends ever since we first met. You can't stay angry at me. I don't want to lose you like I lost Maria." Shrek then began to smile. Tears ran down on Shadow's cheeks as he said, "I don't want to lose you because you're my friend. Because you're always by my side and because...because... Shadow said, "Because you mean alot to me! You're my best buddy ever! But when you went mad and tried to hurt me, it broke my heart. It's like a side of you that I've never seen before. I thought that I'm never going to see the old sweet-hearted Shrek again. But, throughout the years of my life, I never did anything to make you angry. I never lied, Shrek." He fell on his knees as he screamed, "I NEVER LIED!!! YOU GOTTA BELIEVE ME THAT I NEVER LIED!!!" He cried his eyes out. He yelled out, "Please forgive me, Shrek the Ogre! Shadow kept on crying softly. He then felt something wrap around his neck. He looked down and saw a necklace with a medium-sized blue gem in the middle. He stared at the necklace and turned around to see Shrek kneeling on the ground and smiling. Shrek said, "I forgive you, lad...I always have." Shadow gasped and said softly, "Shrek..." He then jumped on Shrek and hugged him, crying his eyes out. Shrek hugged him back and patted the back of his head. Shadow said between sobs, "Shrek, I knew you would always forgive me." Shrek chuckled."

Shadow begs Shrek by cmara  'I never lied, Shrek... by cmara  'I forgive you, lad... by cmara
CrutonArt's avatar
CrutonArtStudent Digital Artist
ive never been so moved in my life.
FoxInShadow's avatar
FoxInShadow Digital Artist
Shrek is love, Shrek is life
anonymous's avatar
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