So I polled some of my artist friends on Facebook a couple of weeks ago in preparation for this post. My question for them: what do you wish customers knew before placing a custom order?
Not surprisingly, the number 1 answer was:
I’M NOT A MIND READER!
Realize we, as artists, cannot read your mind or see what you envision…. the customer must be very specific or be willing to allow a little artistic freedom. The latter is prefered!
UNDERSTAND THAT I’M ONLY HUMAN!
I cannot make an exact replica of another piece… there WILL be slight differences. I’m human, not a machine.
I HAVE A LIFE AND A FAMILY TO TAKE CARE OF. I MIGHT EVEN HAVE ANOTHER JOB.
Give me lead time… please don’t order something and expect it yesterday! Also, if you see a listing on Etsy or similar venue and it is reserved for someone else, don’t buy it. It wasn’t meant for you and it won’t move you up on the schedule! And, on the same note, read our delivery notes. Most of us have waiting lists and it will tell you when to expect your order to be shipped if you order it today and other policies.
I’M NOT DOING THIS AS A HOBBY.
This is my job and I expect to be paid for services rendered, and in a timely manner.
DON’T CHANGE YOUR MIND IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PROCESS.
You liked my style when you commissioned the piece, don’t change your mind in the middle of the process and decide you want it to look more like so-and-so’s art. You will be disappointed, and I will be frustrated.
NO ONE IS DOING ME A FAVOR BY GIVING ME EXPOSURE.
Free work means less money for food, shelter and the necessities in life. We don’t mind doing a piece for charity auctions every once in a while, but please, don’t expect it every year or every time you ask.
DON’T USE THE ECONOMY AS AN EXCUSE TO JUSTIFY HAGGLING.
We are living in this economy too, and art is usually one of the first things people stop spending money on when things are tight.
ONCE THE DESIGN IS APPROVED, A DEPOSIT MUST BE MADE BEFORE I START WORKING ON THE PROJECT.
As stated in #4, we are not doing this as a hobby. We will not work on your project until a deposit is made. The deposit tells us you are serious and will follow through with your end of the bargain.
LEAVE ME SOME ARTISTIC WIGGLE ROOM.
Even though we like to have a really good feel for what you are looking for, it is great if you can leave artists with a little room to use their own imagination. If we feel too constricted artistically, we won’t want to make it for you.
For instance the instructions you give us are : I want a bright pink troll, with yellow fangs, red hair, a blue bow on her tail and a purple nappy. I want a set of striped pajamas too. Give her green eyes (the color of limes) and a 3/4″ wooden ball for her nose, and name her….etc—
Those directions leave no room for us to follow our color muse, or any other muse for that matter. When our hearts aren’t in the work it shows. And with no room to be creative, our hearts aren’t happy to do the work.
IT ISN’T OUR FAULT IF YOU NEGLECT TO READ OUR ANNOUNCEMENTS ABOUT SHIPMENT DATES.
We put those announcements out so that you can make a decision about ordering and when to place your order. If you order something without reading the expected delivery dates please don’t expect us to create and ship your order special just because you need it by little Susie’s birthday. There are people who have been on the custom order list for months, sometimes many months and it just isn’t right to expect your order first.