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I've seen so much drama lately, so much that I've seen dozens of well written journals explaining the same things I'm about to go over now. Regardless of the expansive discussion already out there, I want to throw my hat in the ring and go over some simple things that newer artists or commissioners don't seem to fully have a grasp on. It's really quite simple to avoid these pitfalls if both the artist and the client are reasonable people.

If you're an artist:

  • Please don't accept work if you already know you will strongly have no desire to complete it, especially if it's just for the sake of making more money. You probably won't love working on every commission you get, but if you're already dreading one based solely on the description, maybe it would be better for you to politely tell your prospective client that it seems out of your comfort zone. Whether it's because the content makes you uncomfortable, the end product seems out of your talent range, or you just don't like the idea you're given, you have a right to decline any commission you don't want to take.
  • On a similar note, be polite when declining a commission. There is no need to shame a potential client because their interests are unappealing to you. All you have to say is that you're not comfortable with their request; there's no need to point out why they're "wrong" for liking certain things.
  • Keep your client updated. If they asked for their commission to be done by a set time and you agreed, try your best to have it done by that time, if not earlier. If delays happen, keep your client(s) in the loop. No one will blame you if something comes up as long as you're informative and communicative. Waiting for your clients to message you asking what's going on is not a great idea - take the initiative!
  • If it's possible, try to avoid spending the money you make from commissions until after they're completed. I know this isn't always doable, but it is a wise practice. You never know when a client may ask for a refund, and if you haven't begun working then you are obligated to give the money back. And unfortunately, some people may file chargebacks after receiving the art anyway, so it's always wise to be wary and to make sure you can back up your work in case the client claims they never got what they paid for. 
  • Send progress pictures when you can. Your client can catch small details and mistakes before you've spent too much time on the drawing. I personally usually send a very rough sketch for pose, a clean sketch when detailed, line work, color, and finally shading. That way, I won't be halfway done with shading when I realize I've messed something up.
  • Be accommodating, answer questions your client may have, communicate with them! If you don't want to be friends that's fine, but there's no reason not to be friendly
  • If your client is very rude to you, or just makes you uncomfortable, you have a right to refund their money and refuse to work with them any further. 
  • You do not have a right to keep the money they gave you if you're not going to complete their commission. If you have a "policy" about not refunding under any circumstances, you should really reconsider how you're running your business. For example: if a client has approved of all your progress, gets the final picture, and decides they want a refund, it's fine to say no. You put in the work, they saw the progress and deemed it acceptable. There is no reason they should get a refund unless there is something seriously off in the final picture. Even then, they should have to pay for everything they approved. Not catching mistakes is not the artist's fault. But if you haven't even begun on their commission and they request a refund, you should have no reason to say no to their request.
  • If you have a problem with a client, discuss it with them or your very close friends in a private setting. Mudslinging and public shaming when you haven't even tried to talk things out will just make everything worse for everyone.

If you're a client:

  • If an artist refuses to take your commission, don't take it personally. Everyone has their own set of comfort limits and interests. Just because this artist wasn't okay with drawing one of your interests doesn't make them a bad person. Nor does it make your interest inherently bad.
  • Don't haggle or try to negotiate the price of your commission. If you can't afford the price that's quoted to you, either see about downgrading what you want for a lower price or look elsewhere. Artists are already generally underpaid, and if you can't afford one person's work, there will surely be others that are in your price range.
  • Be polite. You're talking to another human being, not an art machine. You're hiring this person to work for you, but that doesn't give you the right to be demanding, rude, or pushy. Being courteous and unassuming will get you much further than rudeness and entitlement will.
  • Understand that delays can happen and that this human on the other end of your deal probably has a lot of other things going on in their lives. As long as the artist is keeping you in the loop about how things are progressing, try your best to be patient and understanding. Look deeply into their policies and read about any potential delays that may occur. Don't commission someone expecting your work to be done in a week unless they've said that would be the case. Art takes time, and finding several hours to draw amidst their daily lives may take a while. Feel free to ask for updates if time has passed with no word.
  • Ask for progress pictures so that you can approve of each stage. And if you DO approve of each stage, you have no right to demand things be changed later on (for free, at least). 
  • Scams happen. Don't let one scummy person ruin the art industry as a whole for you. Most well-known artists are good, hard-working people.
  • If you have a problem with an artist, discuss it with them or your very close friends in a private setting. Mudslinging and public shaming when you haven't even tried to talk things out will just make everything worse for everyone.

In general, just try to be kind and patient with one another, and end the transaction as cleanly as possible if a peaceful resolution is not doable. Things don't need to escalate the way they often do.
I have a public server again, so feel free to join and discuss art and other stupid nerd stuff with myself and my friends! I might even do giveaways for members there when I have the time.
I'm about $125 away from buying the new PC that I have pretty desperately needed for a while, so I'm thinking of opening up a few slots to close that gap. There might be a bit of a wait compared to usual since I'm still getting used to my new setup/tablet. If anyone's interested and not bothered by a potential wait, then send me a note or, preferably, add me on Discord (Sea#3841) to discuss things. 

**Please limit to 2 characters per slot, unless otherwise agreed upon.

1. :iconadog0718:
2. :iconemberslament:

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compare by ThePossumface
Trace by ThePossumface
In case they remove it:
Chrome 2018-02-15 07-03-26 by ThePossumface
OC Sharkbooty MLP plushie by adamar44

Slightly belated birthday surprise for :iconsharkbooty: is finished! Big thanks to adamar44 for another great plush. <3
OC Seachell MLP plushie by adamar44

Ponyfied Lapis Lazuli Plushie by haselwoelfchen

A very talented plushie maker turned my silly Lapis pone design into a plush! I love it! Go throw them some favorites and watches!
So my mom noticed my membership was running out and offered to renew it for a year as a gift and to help me stay motivated with drawing. I also want to thank KreyKreyArts again for the additional month they got for me. In all, I have 13 more months. Yay!

I don't want to beat around the bush with this next part, so I'll be blunt. The people who are on my current commission list have waited a LONG TIME. Usually I try to be super punctual with commissions because I know how it feels to sink money and never see results. There have been times I've chosen to make art for friends or myself instead of working, which I do apologize for. Sometimes, making something for myself or my close friends is the difference between having something I'm happy with or spending the day staring at my wall and feeling terrible. A lot of the time, drawing is a form of therapy for me; my family has some money troubles (student loans, medical bills, normal bills... you get the idea), I tend to get sick a lot - I don't have an immune system problem, I'm just always sick/hurt because the world hates me I GUESS - which stresses me out and causes more money problems sometimes. I'm on meds for anxiety/depression but they don't always work and small things can leave me really afraid. Like, is this pain in my leg cancer or did I just pull a muscle? Better google it and be told I have 5 cancers and will die tomorrow!

I've also been having this huge, ongoing, pointlessly dramatic on and off again fight with someone I love a lot. It's worn us both down and emotionally left me a bit of a wreck, which I'm trying to fix right now.

The point is, part of my coping method right now is escapism. I love games, cartoons, movies, whatever gets my mind off of things. Commissions have been a source of stress for a while because I accepted too many at once to help pay off bills and now I have way more to do that I would normally like. You'd think that would make me want to power through them faster, but for some reason it falls into the "ignore it and you'll feel better" category, which again makes me feel like crap because I hate that these generous and patient people are probably worried I'll never get their work done.

I'm really going to try to push through some of my list at a more reasonable pace, but I do want people to know that I'm sorry things have been so slow. I know everyone has been patient and kind and it means a lot. The fact of the matter is that I just took on too much at once and let it overload me. When I get caught up with everything, I want to try taking two or three smaller projects at once instead of ten at once or projects that require 10+ fully completed works. I love drawing for others and I love making people happy when they see a completed work, but when it gets to be too much I get demotivated fast.

As a small way of saying thanks, anyone who's on my current list will get upgraded to full shading (not just my old way of cell-shading) if it interests them. Hopefully the long wait means you get more finely tuned art, at least? Aha... If you're on my list and what you want from me has changed, shoot me a note. Otherwise, I'll start on what you've already told me soon. I'm knocking out the smaller commissions first so I can tackle the bigger ones with less on my plate.

Thanks again to everyone for being so patient and supportive. I mean it when I say that you guys are some of the nicest people I've met and you make drawing worthwhile.
Edit: Resolved, thanks so much for your help everyone.
I've made some journal entries before but I don't think you all have read them since I'm still getting notes. I am in the middle of a flare up and I can't sit to draw, I haven't been able to for easily a month now. Also having wisdom tooth aches, I'm trying to scrape up some money to get the worst of them removed and for the moment it definitely is annoying to say the least. I'm sorry that I haven't been able to get anything substantial done, and I don't blame you guys for asking so don't worry about being pushy. I haven't really been checking here all that often lately, seeing as I have nothing to upload, so if you need to reach me about something, you should try my Skype. Feel free to send a note if you want my Skype name, though as I said I may not see it right away. I really can't do anything to get things done faster (or at all) right now, so I apologize for the wait times.
So instead, I browsed around online a while. Found a few things that made me laugh, sent out a couple messages to catch up with friends I'd be neglecting, and just relaxed by myself for the first time in a while. My life has been so full of chaos and obligation and stress, and having time completely to myself hasn't really been a thing in a long time.

My PC died - left it off the charger for too long - so I plugged it back in for some reason had an urge to go outside. The sun was just rising above the rooftops of the houses across the street and birds were chirping like crazy. I sat for a long while. Watched some neighbors leaving for work, a woman telling her husband she loved him and to drive safe, a bunch of kids piling into a truck with their dad. I watched birds hop around under the tree in the front yard. They really love to swing from the willow branches! It was pretty silly seeing a bunch of birds swoop down and hang on to the branches sideways, nearly touching the ground. I've never really liked birds or paid much attention to them but it was a nice change. There was also a tiny spider chilling in a little web on the porch railings. Looked like he'd just caught some breakfast too. Spiders are so neat when they're not indoors. The neighborhood was turning from gray-blue to a bright orange while the sun rose over the roofs and the air was hot, super humid, and smelled like grass and flowers. It was a really simple thing, but I'm always so glued to my technology these days. To step away from it, and from everything, for a while brought me some peace. It was so beautiful.

This journal doesn't really have a point. I went outside and saw some birds. I felt a little less sad and stressed. I would recommend it if you're feeling overwhelmed, too. Nights are also really beautiful and peaceful! Nature is so cool.

Thanks for reading.
First of all, I've been dealing with some personal stuff, can read about that here:

Second, I've been abnormally busy lately, lots of house work, like... LOTS. Chores, babysitting, watching animals. The works. Also been spending the weekends with my fiance since he works so much, so I haven't had a whole ton of time to sit around and draw since it takes me several hours and at most I usually have one or two hours free at a time. So please forgive me if things are slow for a while. I'll be trying to fit in a commission next week. I have a doctor's appointment Friday and then a busy weekend but next week looks free so far.

Also finally got a new mattress and sheets and everything, cleaned out under my bed. I hadn't done that since about 2012 since it didn't get dirty fast, and I found a TON of cool stuff I'd been missing, like my class ring from my old K-8th grade school, a ton of old GBA games (sadly only one worked after being filled with dust for 4 years, but that's to be expected), pictures, and various little things I hadn't seen since I was very young (like some Neopets toys, lol. I haven't been into Neopets since I was reeeeally young, but I still cleaned one of them off and put it on my Shelf of Cool Stuff in memory). We unfortunately weren't allowed to use the mattress for 48 hours since it has to expand from being in the box, so me and George spent the night camping in the living room. And as a result, I slept like shit, of course with today being a super busy day. George has been pulling some crazy tips from work (like a $75 one recently) so we're gonna go out to a mall and then have lunch. Plus grocery shopping and haircuts. So much to do! But I don't mind the distractions.

And thankfully, my friends are getting out of school for summer break. Having practically all your friends in school when you're just doing odd jobs can be super boring and leaves you with a lot of time to do nothing.

But my PC is dying and I need to start getting ready for my adventures today soon, so I'll be heading out. I hope everyone is doing well and you're always welcome to drop me a line here or on Skype or Steam or wherever.

Happy... Wednesday. Hump day! Yay!
  • Watching: MURDER PORN aka Investigation Discovery
Recently had a Windows update queued, fairly normal stuff. You know, those auto-updates that force you to restart your PC in the middle of whatever you might be doing at the time. I let the PC restart, and when it came back it wouldn't load correctly and kept hitting the blue screen of death giving me the INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE error. Tried system restore, no effect. Reset the boot order in BIOS to default which got the PC to boot correctly. Thought that would be it.

Since it's come back, it's been making a moderately loud whirring/humming noise seemingly randomly during use. It's coming from around the fan area. I'm really not sure if it is the fan or the hard drive, although the hard drive was just replaced under warranty around five months ago so I don't think it would be that again... The fan is hard to access and isn't cleanable without removing the back paneling from the laptop so I'm hoping that's the issue. Going to be taking it in somewhere soon to have it looked at. For now it's hooked up to an external cooling system and is working fine in all other regards, so that's a good sign.

Really I'm just disappointed with how this laptop has performed overall since I purchased it. The PC is only a little over a year old and has been riddled with issues since about six months ago. It wasn't a cheap laptop either, though nothing ridiculously expensive (was around $600). I take really good care of it and am sure not to overwork it (really it's just a YouTube, drawing, and occasional light gaming machine) and I don't really understand why it keeps having issues. My previous laptop (now belonging to my fiance) was $450 and is still running as well as it always did at 4 years old, plus it sees considerably more heavy use.

Until we figure out what's wrong, I'm not going to start in on any big projects as I may very well need a new PC and I don't want to end up losing all my files like the last time the hard drive fried. I also can't really afford to drop another few hundred on a laptop so if I do need to have it replaced I'll probably be opening commissions again to pay for one, and completing them on my fiance's laptop (he works during the day so I'll have plenty of time) until the new one arrives.

Still no response from one of my commissioners so I'll be moving on down the list and sending out notes to the next(s) in line soon. Hopefully I should be able to push out three or four a week so it won't take too long to finish off the current list.

In the meantime, if you want a commission, get your ideas ready and keep an eye on my page. Once I'm down to two people on my waiting list, I might be opening things up again.
The artist in question took the traced work down.

This guy has traced over my work and hidden my comments when I asked if he used it as a reference.

Original by me, trace from him/her.

Since dA's reporting system is garbage, I can't really do anything about it, but I advise you not to support Squipy-Cheetah without checking around, because there's a likelihood that any of their work may be stolen from other artists.
While it's still a pain and will be very slow, I think I'll be able to start on commissions again soon. Come February, I'll send notes to three people on my list to clarify what they want done. Hoping to go slow and fit in time for my own art, so aiming for three completed pictures a month. Might do more if I'm feeling better on a given month. If I get a bad infection, I might have to pause again. I want to thank you all for being so patient and understanding about everything. I know waiting for art stinks, especially art that you paid for! So it means a lot that you have all been so nice throughout this ordeal.

Haven't really made much of a dent in the savings for surgery, however I've discovered a few ways to temporarily take care of the issue so it's not as catastrophic when I have flare ups. Yay!

Again, around the first of February I'll be sending out notes to three people on my commission list to check what they want done. As long as it's still the same price level as the thing you commissioned before, you can change it to anything (ex: you paid for a picture of two characters but want two completely different characters now). I'm giving myself the rest of the month to relax and doodle things for myself, as well as get back into the swing of things. I haven't drawn in a long time so I'm a bit shaky.

Thanks again for your patience. I hope you all had an awesome holiday season!
To those of you waiting on commissions - I'm really sorry for the extended wait. I can assure you I haven't forgotten, nor am I trying to avoid doing them.

There's a lot to be said so bear with me here.

First of all, my fiance has been working for a couple months now. He doesn't make a TON of money, but it definitely helps with bills and things. His health/dental insurance coverage kicked in yesterday, which means we're going to be getting married soon (just via courthouse for now) and sharing his health plan. It's not top tier so it will still take some saving up for us to be able to afford the massive surgery I'm going to need, but it's going to be a massive help. In the meantime, sitting has been rendered near impossible thanks to regular flare ups of the cyst. Any games, activities, hobbies, or car trips that involve sitting for over 30 minutes will leave me with swelling and bleeding, so I haven't really be able to do much of anything, including art. Hopefully once I'm covered by the insurance I can at least make trips to the doctor if things get worse. Otherwise, the only thing that can really help is surgery.

I also had some PC troubles with both of my computers recently. My old art PC (the one my fiance uses primarily now) fell off our bed and the screen broke. It's not covered by warranty so we'll have to fix that out of pocket when we can afford it. My main PC also had some issues in the form of a corrupted hard drive, but luckily it was covered by my warranty and was fixed. I lost some files but most things were not affected.

One of my best friends since very early childhood has been struggling with depression and recently attempted suicide. He was put in a psych ward for a while, but after a month or so his parents brought him back home. They let me visit, but they had very strict rules set for him. He decided he didn't like their new rules and ran away. He's been missing for over a week and the police are looking, but so far we haven't heard anything. I've been pretty shaken up by that.

We ALSO had to buy a new car a few weeks back due to our old one breaking down in the middle of a shopping trip. That made our insurance rates go up which is a setback, not to mention car payments.

Also my cat either ran away or got stolen/killed. He has horrible flea allergies and our dogs had fleas, so we set up an area on our porch for him to live until we'd treated the house. It was safe, and he didn't wander much, but he's been gone for over a week and it's not like him to never come home (or even leave for that matter).

All in all, life has been slowly improving but many many setbacks keep me from progressing as quickly as I'd like. I've mostly been focusing on keeping myself happy and, admittedly, trying not to think about some of my problems as there is nothing I can currently do that will solve them. But, again, that doesn't mean I am not going to work on my current commissions list when I am able! It might still be a while, so when I am able to sit and draw again, I'll make an announcement so the people who have commissioned me can sort out what they asked for and if that's still what they want me to do for them. If you get restless before the announcement and want to poke me for updates, you are more than welcome to do so! I'll try to post here when anything major happens.
I know a lot of you guys out there are fans of MLP plushies, so check out this awesome giveaway from an amazing plush artist! She's been through a lot lately and still manages to offer things like this to her followers, so I feel it's definitely worth giving her a watch!
I have created a Patreon account, which can be found here.

I'm shaky on ideas for Patron rewards at the moment so any help is appreciated! All other information can be found on the Patreon page itself.
Details here:

She's gorgeous by the way. *v*
Thanks to one of my lovely repeat commissioners, I will now be able to afford a new heating/AC unit! Thank you so much to everyone who spread around my previous journal and offered to help. I never expected something like this and my entire family is so grateful. Cheers!

In other news, my left wrist (luckily not on my drawing arm) has been hurting pretty badly for a couple days now, so I'm resting up to see (and hope) if it gets better. Ouch!