Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Disappearing Artists

edited December 2011 in The Toolbox

The flip side of the “page rate” discussion is what happens when a writer / producer commissions an artist and he / she just disappears. I can attest this happens a lot. I’ll find an artist I like, negotiate a page rate, write a script (often tailored for that specific artist’s style), send it along and then… nothing.

I’m currently going through this with two different artists. With one, I’ve sent 6 emails in the last month with no reply. He’s a recognizable industry name, a professional artist who (so he said) really liked my script and who told me he had already roughed out a few pages. So being the gullible guy I am I thought we would be working together. Luckily, I didn’t send him any money yet (although that’s happened too), and it's a small commission that I can easily switch to another artist. 

Most likely the situation is that the artist agreed to a rate below what he ideally wanted because it seemed like a fun project, and
then he got busy and regretted his decision. I understand that, but can't understand why he can’t be upfront about it. Refusing to answer emails is just unprofessional.

So… if you’re an artist in this position, please do us writer / producers a favor and let us know what's going on. If you tell me that you got busy, or other things came up I can understand. But just blowing someone off without the courtesy of a reply is rude and unprofessional.

The other repercussion is that these experiences affect my attitude towards other artists. If I find a new artist I’m always thinking in the back of my mind “Is this guy really serious, or is he just jerking me around?” For that reason I tend to give new artists small commissions that won’t hurt me financially if they fall through. So one artist blowing off a project affects other artists too.

Luckily most of my experiences with artists have been really great. But the few bad seeds can make it harder for everyone else. 

«13

Comments

  • The industry is pretty small, so if a writer or artist is a flake, word will get around.
  • ... and of course within 10 minutes of posting this I get a very nice email from this same artist (the first in 6 weeks) apologizing profusely and telling me he'd still like to do the work. 

  • Should we rename this the Reappearing Artists thread? :)


  • Well, there's a reason Jenny Strange has had four artists. Although only two actually disappeared.
  • This is why I won't work with a guy unless he's as fully invested in the project as I am, creatively speaking. I would never hire a guy (or gal) just to draw a book unless he was turned on by the concept and truly excited about molding it with me.

    Not to say I haven't had artists vanish for months at a time. HAWAIIAN DICK co-creator Steven Griffin is currently AWOL, which isn't all that unusual. But I trust that he'll show up again to help me put the new book together. Mainly I just hope he's doing well. 

  • @BClayMoore: That's the frustrating thing; these are artists that expressed a great deal of enthusiasm up front. In fact, it almost seems like the more excited they are the more likely they are to disappear. 
  • I had a artist run off with $600 that I paid upfront, which was 1/2 of the fee to produce five pages and a cover for a pitch. 

    It took several months for me to realize that I'd been swindled, as he'd apologize for missing deadlines due to family emergencies or claim that emailed character sketches and layouts have disappeared somehow into the aether. 

    Then, the more I pestered him, the less frequent the responses. I ultimately contacted Discover -- with which I'd paid, via PayPal -- and they issued me a refund. (PayPal will investigate a fraud claim, but CC companies, in my experience, do not mess around.)

    About a year later, I discovered I was not the only writer who'd been duped by this artist, who was and is a known entity in the industry, although he's not really known as an artist these days. 
  • @EricPalicki I know you're trying to be discreet, but I think you'd be doing a public service to the rest of us by naming that dude, especially if he's known to have screwed over other writers too.

    I worry about this all the time. Even right now, I'm in a vaguely similar situation with my Eastsiders artist. Once his schedule freed up, he jumped on doing great character sketches, thumbnail layouts, etc., and all was good for a few weeks, with about 1 new page of pencils coming each week ... until the well seems to have run dry a few weeks ago. While I'm not in a huge rush to get this done, I do fear that he got distracted by either a better paying gig or who knows what, and he's already been paid a deposit up front, so ... yeah. I'm not too concerned about it right now, with the holidays and everything, but it's still a minor annoyance (for now).

    But it's part of doing business the way we do these days. Collaborating with people we've never met. Putting trust into situations with people you hope hold the same ethical standards as you.
  • I don't, as I've mentioned before, generally pay artists upfront, which is partly down to the fact that I can't. But I definitely wouldn't pay before getting any art unless I have a pre existing relationship with the artist.


  • @JustinJordan in the case of this particular artist, I've known him for a few years and this just happened to be the first time our schedules (and my budget) met to get a project going, so I'm not worried about him "disappearing" (with or without $).

    However, I have had an inker who is actually a personal acquaintance "disappear" for a month on a hard deadline project, forcing me to hire someone last minute. So I guess "who you know" isn't a great indicator of reliability either.
  • On the few occasions when I've hired someone to produce art for me, I've paid at least some money up front to demonstrate that I won't disappear on them.  Artists have a right to be distrustful of strangers claiming to have money that will be paid upon delivery.
  • On the few occasions when I've hired someone to produce art for me, I've paid at least some money up front to demonstrate that I won't disappear on them.  Artists have a right to be distrustful of strangers claiming to have money that will be paid upon delivery.
    These days, I stagger payments, and not until I see some proof of life -- i.e after delivery of 3 pages of 5, or after seeing pencils but not inks, or after seeing 72 dpi files but not print quality, etc. -- but you're right. It is a two-way street.

    That said, most jobs in the real world don't issue a paycheck until after you've been there for a week or two.
  • edited December 2011

    I don't pay anyone anything, aside from the occasional letterer or colorist, but I have killed projects or let them languish eternally when artists have gotten too busy or too psychologically twisted in knots (which happens with talented folks) to produce steady work.

    There's always another idea around the corner.

     

     

  • @EricPalicki @JasonAQuest trust is a two-way street. And that's why I like to do a deposit upon proof of commitment (sketches, thumbs, etc.), for reasons Jason stated (especially when dealing with talent you KNOW normally gets paid much more to work for the big boys), but also to show YOUR seriousness and belief in a project.
  • edited December 2011
    @Eric: Yes, but most jobs have a place nearby where you can go punch someone if they fail to pay you for two weeks' work. :) Or at in the same court jurisdiction if you prefer to go the legal route.

    As I remember, the way I handled it with Ozzy on Captain Miracle (29-page one-shot) was a small advance (I think it was $100) to get started, so he had my PayPal info and knew I really had money.  Then he'd mail me roughs/pencils which I'd approve (sometimes with notes), he'd mail me medium-res inked pages a few at a time which I'd pay him for, repeat until done, when he snail-mailed me a CD with clean full-res scans and I sent him his completion bonus (again not huge).  Not iron-clad from either perspective, but enough to give each other reassurance along the way.
  • Currently * I AM* that disappearing artist for one project I'm working on.  Trust me, I am trying... but with my deadlines on Bomb Queen being SO far behind (and facing cancellation) I had no choice but to pull a full out triage just to get any book out.  This has affected not only book production, but also future books, commissions and selling original art (all of which I could very much use right now). 

    The only saving grace I have is that the book that I'm lagging on isn't out until next year.  But... the creators need it sooner not later since they also need to color and letter the pages.
  • This is why I won't work with a guy unless he's as fully invested in the project as I am, creatively speaking. I would never hire a guy (or gal) just to draw a book unless he was turned on by the concept and truly excited about molding it with me.


    Quoted for *truth*.
  • ... and of course within 10 minutes of posting this I get a very nice email from this same artist (the first in 6 weeks) apologizing profusely and telling me he'd still like to do the work. 
    Many years ago, a young artist expressed interest in drawing one of my characters, so I wrote him up a short script. He told me it might take him a while to finish, since he was just starting college. I told him to take his time -- this was just a fanzine thing, no deadline or money changing hands. I didn't hear from him again, and gradually forgot about it.

    Three or four years passed. Another artist acquaintance was looking for short stories to practice on, and I remembered the script I had done way back when. Waste not, want not, am I right? I sent off the old script to the new artist, and patted myself on the back for my cleverness. You can see where this is going...

    Barely a week later, I got a package in the mail from the original artist, with the finished artwork and a note saying "Hey, remember me? Guess what I finally had time to finish?" I briefly went into panic mode, thinking that no matter what I did, one or both of these people were going to think I'd been jerking them around or wasting their time. But of course, it was no big deal, and everything worked out. The second artist hadn't even begun working on it yet, so I wrote them a new script, which they said they liked better anyway. Both stories turned out great. The moral here? I dunno, other than when you say "there's no deadline", you better mean it...
  • Currently * I AM* that disappearing artist for one project I'm working on.

    Yeah, but Jimmie, are you in communication about your delay?
  • @pjperez I am... sorta. The creators know I'm totally hammered with previous work.  And we're both local to each other so it's not like I'm on the other side of the country.  Plus, I've said that I am working on it (when I can). So yeah, some communication, but it could be better. I bit off more than I could chew and I promised a deadline that got away from me.

    My life has become *very* complicated in the last 4 months - which affected *all* my work.
    I would give up my left arm for a time machine.  Haha!
  • @Jimmie_Robinson Why don't you drop the other project? Is it fair to the other creators to stay on it, when you're so far behind on everything?
  • @BrandonSeifert I guess pride is keeping me on it.  Plus, it's not going to press until spring 2012 (I hope not later because of me).  Technically, I still have time, but they wanted it sooner because of other production concerns (coloring, lettering).

    However... Image was telling me straight out that if I didn't get Bomb Queen done that it would be cancelled.  Period.  And this was the second time that I had a major delay so it was important not just for my book but also for my so-called professional standing with the publisher / industry.

    Y'know but I have a dream.... it's the thing that gets my engine going.  Clearing ALL the current books and moving on to FIVE WEAPONS.
  • Jimmie, that still puts you in better standing than some "disappeared" folks I've had the displeasure of working with. Good luck.
  • The first time I ever tried to make comics? I had a disappearing artist.

    The really awkward thing was that said artist was recommended to me, a friend of a friend. In the end, technical issues on his end as well as his admittance that he was unprepared for drawing since all he'd ever done before were a few random fanart pieces/one-pages, killed the project. We parted somewhat amicably (when I finally got around to hearing back from him).

  • I haven't posted in this thread because I don't know where to begin... but by this point it's already been covered. 

    Also, I've run out of tissues.
  • This past year, I've been in the position of bugging out on a project once - after weeks of submitting designs and whatnot - due to being unexpectedly waylaid by a day-job contract extension that I had absolutely no clue was in the works until it showed up at my inbox waiting to be digitally "signed". And once it was there, I had to accept the extension and hang everything else. Was NOT fun. At all.

    The project was/is a big one, the writer is absolutely committed to it personally. Still, to this day. I'm keeping an eye out for possible candidates who might be a better fit for them, though...

  • I haven't posted in this thread because I don't know where to begin... but by this point it's already been covered. 

    Also, I've run out of tissues.
    Your post can totally be read the wrong way! Ha ha ha
  • @BrandonSeifert I guess pride is keeping me on it.  Plus, it's not going to press until spring 2012 (I hope not later because of me).  Technically, I still have time, but they wanted it sooner because of other production concerns (coloring, lettering).

    However... Image was telling me straight out that if I didn't get Bomb Queen done that it would be cancelled.  Period.  And this was the second time that I had a major delay so it was important not just for my book but also for my so-called professional standing with the publisher / industry.

    Y'know but I have a dream.... it's the thing that gets my engine going.  Clearing ALL the current books and moving on to FIVE WEAPONS.
    I would LOVE to see FIVE WEAPONS from you in this lifetime.
  • @steveHorton Lucky I didn't say 'lube'.
  • Hi, remember me?

    Yup, I'm still alive but let me give you an advise: don't erect (get it?) a new house and expect to have money left in your bank account in the first year. Struggling to pay bills while having a good amount of work is tough and frustrating.

    Also, comics for small kids seem to be not the thing publishers are willing to take a chance on, it seems and I'm fearing that if I want to stay in comics I'm gonna have to work for a more mature audience again. But here's the conundrum: I can't afford to develop something new unless I'll be sure I'll get paid for it. But I'm tired of developing something new. ugh!

Sign In or Register to comment.

Debug Trace

Notice
The addon in /plugins/AboutMe has 1 issue(s).

#0 [internal function]: gdn_ErrorHandler(1024, 'The addon in /p...', '/home/steve55/p...', 795, Array)
#1 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/Addon.php(795): trigger_error('The addon in /p...', 1024)
#2 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/Addon.php(829): Vanilla\Addon->triggerIssues()
#3 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/cache/addon.php(1582): Vanilla\Addon::__set_state(Array)
#4 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(319): require('/home/steve55/p...')
#5 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(740): Vanilla\AddonManager->ensureMultiCache()
#6 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(1094): Vanilla\AddonManager->lookupAddon('stubcontent')
#7 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(1074): Vanilla\AddonManager->lookupByType('stubcontent', 'addon')
#8 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(247): Vanilla\AddonManager->startAddonsByKey(Array, 'addon')
#9 [internal function]: {closure}(Object(Garden\Container\Container), Object(Gdn_Configuration), Object(Vanilla\AddonManager), Object(Garden\EventManager), Object(Gdn_Request))
#10 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/vendor/vanilla/garden-container/src/Container.php(723): call_user_func_array(Object(Closure), Array)
#11 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(308): Garden\Container\Container->call(Object(Closure))
#12 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/index.php(27): require_once('/home/steve55/p...')
#13 {main}
Notice
The addon key must match it's subdirectory name (about me vs. AboutMe).

#0 [internal function]: gdn_ErrorHandler(1024, 'The addon key m...', '/home/steve55/p...', 797, Array)
#1 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/Addon.php(797): trigger_error('The addon key m...', 1024)
#2 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/Addon.php(829): Vanilla\Addon->triggerIssues()
#3 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/cache/addon.php(1582): Vanilla\Addon::__set_state(Array)
#4 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(319): require('/home/steve55/p...')
#5 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(740): Vanilla\AddonManager->ensureMultiCache()
#6 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(1094): Vanilla\AddonManager->lookupAddon('stubcontent')
#7 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(1074): Vanilla\AddonManager->lookupByType('stubcontent', 'addon')
#8 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(247): Vanilla\AddonManager->startAddonsByKey(Array, 'addon')
#9 [internal function]: {closure}(Object(Garden\Container\Container), Object(Gdn_Configuration), Object(Vanilla\AddonManager), Object(Garden\EventManager), Object(Gdn_Request))
#10 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/vendor/vanilla/garden-container/src/Container.php(723): call_user_func_array(Object(Closure), Array)
#11 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(308): Garden\Container\Container->call(Object(Closure))
#12 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/index.php(27): require_once('/home/steve55/p...')
#13 {main}
Notice
The addon in /plugins/Emotify has 1 issue(s).

#0 [internal function]: gdn_ErrorHandler(1024, 'The addon in /p...', '/home/steve55/p...', 795, Array)
#1 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/Addon.php(795): trigger_error('The addon in /p...', 1024)
#2 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/Addon.php(829): Vanilla\Addon->triggerIssues()
#3 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/cache/addon.php(1806): Vanilla\Addon::__set_state(Array)
#4 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(319): require('/home/steve55/p...')
#5 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(740): Vanilla\AddonManager->ensureMultiCache()
#6 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(1094): Vanilla\AddonManager->lookupAddon('stubcontent')
#7 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(1074): Vanilla\AddonManager->lookupByType('stubcontent', 'addon')
#8 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(247): Vanilla\AddonManager->startAddonsByKey(Array, 'addon')
#9 [internal function]: {closure}(Object(Garden\Container\Container), Object(Gdn_Configuration), Object(Vanilla\AddonManager), Object(Garden\EventManager), Object(Gdn_Request))
#10 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/vendor/vanilla/garden-container/src/Container.php(723): call_user_func_array(Object(Closure), Array)
#11 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(308): Garden\Container\Container->call(Object(Closure))
#12 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/index.php(27): require_once('/home/steve55/p...')
#13 {main}
Notice
The addon should have at most one plugin class (EmotifyPlugin, EmotifyPlugin).

#0 [internal function]: gdn_ErrorHandler(1024, 'The addon shoul...', '/home/steve55/p...', 797, Array)
#1 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/Addon.php(797): trigger_error('The addon shoul...', 1024)
#2 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/Addon.php(829): Vanilla\Addon->triggerIssues()
#3 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/cache/addon.php(1806): Vanilla\Addon::__set_state(Array)
#4 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(319): require('/home/steve55/p...')
#5 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(740): Vanilla\AddonManager->ensureMultiCache()
#6 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(1094): Vanilla\AddonManager->lookupAddon('stubcontent')
#7 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(1074): Vanilla\AddonManager->lookupByType('stubcontent', 'addon')
#8 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(247): Vanilla\AddonManager->startAddonsByKey(Array, 'addon')
#9 [internal function]: {closure}(Object(Garden\Container\Container), Object(Gdn_Configuration), Object(Vanilla\AddonManager), Object(Garden\EventManager), Object(Gdn_Request))
#10 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/vendor/vanilla/garden-container/src/Container.php(723): call_user_func_array(Object(Closure), Array)
#11 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(308): Garden\Container\Container->call(Object(Closure))
#12 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/index.php(27): require_once('/home/steve55/p...')
#13 {main}
Notice
The addon with key GoogleSignIn could not be found and will not be started.

#0 [internal function]: gdn_ErrorHandler(1024, 'The addon with ...', '/home/steve55/p...', 1076, Array)
#1 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(1076): trigger_error('The addon with ...')
#2 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(247): Vanilla\AddonManager->startAddonsByKey(Array, 'addon')
#3 [internal function]: {closure}(Object(Garden\Container\Container), Object(Gdn_Configuration), Object(Vanilla\AddonManager), Object(Garden\EventManager), Object(Gdn_Request))
#4 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/vendor/vanilla/garden-container/src/Container.php(723): call_user_func_array(Object(Closure), Array)
#5 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(308): Garden\Container\Container->call(Object(Closure))
#6 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/index.php(27): require_once('/home/steve55/p...')
#7 {main}
Notice
The locale with key SequentialWorkshop could not be found and will not be started.

#0 [internal function]: gdn_ErrorHandler(1024, 'The locale with...', '/home/steve55/p...', 1076, Array)
#1 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(1076): trigger_error('The locale with...')
#2 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(249): Vanilla\AddonManager->startAddonsByKey(Array, 'locale')
#3 [internal function]: {closure}(Object(Garden\Container\Container), Object(Gdn_Configuration), Object(Vanilla\AddonManager), Object(Garden\EventManager), Object(Gdn_Request))
#4 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/vendor/vanilla/garden-container/src/Container.php(723): call_user_func_array(Object(Closure), Array)
#5 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(308): Garden\Container\Container->call(Object(Closure))
#6 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/index.php(27): require_once('/home/steve55/p...')
#7 {main}
Notice
The locale with key SQWSHP could not be found and will not be started.

#0 [internal function]: gdn_ErrorHandler(1024, 'The locale with...', '/home/steve55/p...', 1076, Array)
#1 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/library/Vanilla/AddonManager.php(1076): trigger_error('The locale with...')
#2 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(249): Vanilla\AddonManager->startAddonsByKey(Array, 'locale')
#3 [internal function]: {closure}(Object(Garden\Container\Container), Object(Gdn_Configuration), Object(Vanilla\AddonManager), Object(Garden\EventManager), Object(Gdn_Request))
#4 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/vendor/vanilla/garden-container/src/Container.php(723): call_user_func_array(Object(Closure), Array)
#5 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/bootstrap.php(308): Garden\Container\Container->call(Object(Closure))
#6 /home/steve55/public_html/sequentialworkshop.com/forum/index.php(27): require_once('/home/steve55/p...')
#7 {main}