- Flowcharts - The Meat Of This Page
- What's Actually Okay
- Commission etiquette
- Edits You Make Yourself
- They said they'd do me some art!
- Not all Criticism is Bad!
- On Criticism: an explanation
- On Giftart & Requests: an explanation
I wanna tell an artist a thing!
But criticism is good!
It's a commission!
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PostivityPlease feel free to say these in this section absolutely anytime! Postivitiy does so much more help than being negative! Imagine how good you'd feel if you got told someone enjoyed a specific thing or that you inspired them!
Don't let this section stop you from saying things at all; this is to reassure you that yes, you indeed could, and should, say these things!
"I just said I like their art and that I appreciate a certain aspect of how they did something!
That's a great thing to say! artists love getting that! Thanks for being thoughtful.
"I told them they inspire me and that they convinced me to try drawing, not that I want to quit!
I'm sure they're very glad to hear that thy inspired somebody to start drawing, or to keep going!
"I told them I was going to quit... but then I saw their old art and how they improved and that it made me decide not to.
That's wonderful that they could save you from giving up on art!
"I asked about their process/brushes/programs because I'm really curious!
Great! That's never really harmful; some people might not want to answer or are tired of this, but that's not really anything you can do about. Most artists really like to talk about their process or be asked about it though, it's a lot of fun to talk and explain it for most of them, so try not to worry!
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Closed or open?First off, if you're unsure if they take commissions, ask something like "Hey, I was curious if you're open for commissions at the present moment?".
If they say they're closed, you may inquire as to when they might open or their plans, but if they remain closed, don't harass them.
Here's my references for an design or character!You've gotta have an idea, obviously, to commission someone! And a lot of the time, it's pretty straightforward with an reference or just an picture of an character from some sort of media or such.
But, what if you don't have an reference like an sheet or an picture ready, and have to make up/explain it on the spot? Well...
Can you draw at all, even stick figurines? If the answer is yes, then you can do that and show them. I promise they're not going to get put off by how "bad" it is, because you're not trying to make it look good, that's their job, you're just trying to convey it so they can understand it.
you can put together an moodboard of things to put together into an design for them, or even- preferably - use clip art or doodles to do an sort of picture that they can understand and go off of. (source from twitter; if it's down let me know. It's a thread with a lot of good stuff.)
If you have trouble doodling up some markings or clothes or such, you can find pictures of things similar and try and explain "this dog's coat, only with black spots instead of white spots".
But I've no references!If nothing else works, and you have to go with words alone...
Please, please, don't do paragraph after paragraph over-explaining things or getting too specific or too purple-prose.
Example of what's fine:
"german shepherd dog anthro with one floppy ear, one straight, with this kind of coat and markings [reference provided] but with blue instead of white. I'd like digitgrade legs, and four toes on each paw and five fingers on each hand.
Pawpads and nose are black, and the eyes are heterochromatic; one is yellow and one is purple. He should be wearing an bandanna (pattern and color are up to you), and his tail should be like an Shiba Inu's curled one. He would have a very shaggy, fluffy torso. He's sort of buff, so if you could work in that, that'd be great!
His personality is he's sort of cocky, so perhaps he could be smirking in the image. He's a pit fighter, so he might have some sort of scars or such; that's up to you to decide how to illustrate.
-Accentuating it with references of certain things is very much welcome, and if you can describe specific shapes that you can't find references for (go look for these first! even other art can help here), that's great. But don't get super specific or very wordy, and especially don't do paragraph after paragraph explaining the personality or backstory or such if one or two sentences suffices.
Try to be not vague as well; being more specific with an posture ("He could loom over the table" versus "maybe he's leaning over the table, sorta with an odd expression?". The first is better; the second is too vague. With things like this, it's better to focus on how to succinctly explain the pose rather than the expression; expressions are a lot easier to adjust than poses are, so prioritize explaining the pose.)
Specific for poses and such is good! .... Right?Not really. Most of the time it can muddle things; if you're super particular about "i'd like his head inclined on the hip that way, and her head tilted this way, and they're laying on each others' laps, and one hand is sprawled over the couch from the girl, but the boy's hands hang down," with just a small sample....
...Then it melts together and doesn't really form a very cohesive image because there's a lot of information to parse through and try and pick apart and decipher sort of. It's better to get less specific here with certain finger or arm or such positions, and try and just use an stick figurine pic (or even an rig doll program or such) or even your stuffed toys, or whatnot.
If you must only use words to describe an pose, try to do it with as little words as possible, only sparing details when you must have something specific that is essential and doesn't really fit in the general pose you've described (outside of references provided).
Something like "I'd like them kind of both reclining on the couch, the girl being spooned by him, and the dude with an controller in one hand off of the couch, is that doable?" works a lot better than the one above.
What about styles?
First off, absolutely do not commission someone at all if you don't like your style and are going to tell them as much. That's not something they can fix and shouldn't fix just to fit with you.
be absolutely, 100% certain, that you look at their examples. Don't pay them something only to get something back and go "oh that's not what I expected" when that's how they always do things.
Some people offer several styles; be certain to state which one if so. You can also ask if they can do an certain style you have in mind (such as realism or more toony or such) but you should be very clear and know what you want.
If you ask "for an toony pug picture," and get exactly that, and go "oh huh that's not what I meant," then that's on you, because you didn't think about what you wanted, nor were you clear with examples.
Even with examples, sometimes people will still do this, and it's frustrating. Basically, just straight up don't okay something and then go "oh, that's not what I expected". Be aware of what you want and are asking for.
Don't force artists to change their style for you either.
How about specific poses I have examples for or I want something changed?Most artists have an "edit" limit because a lot of people get edit-happy and keep asking and asking for things trying to skirt the limit. Some people are okay with smaller edits (slight color changes) as long asi t's not too much.
Respect these edit limits. Don't keep pushing them.
Generally, if a color is very off - like they used red or purple instead of blue when you meant blue - that's okay, but if you consistently ask them to change the exact shade of blue again and again, you are pushing it.
If you are asking for something to continually be adjusted in a small way again and again (like the positioning of an jaw), that is going to push the patience button a lot as well.
Be mindful of asking for edits; think about if it's really necessary.
On that note; a lot of artists struggle with perspective or certain poses or certain features, so be mindful of that as well. And, sometimes - a perspective just will not work without looking wonky. Keep that in mind. If you force them to redo an entire pose and end up not liking it, that's on you.
Even if you paid for it, you're not entitled to boss around or yell at an artist; most artists have limits, and all of them are still real people, and they're entitled being able to to refund you for what part of the work they didn't do and just stop.
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This means things like photo edits of guns or whatnot into pictures to make them seem edgy, or whatever; ask first, always, even if you got an okay before. Even if they were okay with a particular subject before, they might not be now; moods and how interactions go are very fickle.
Color edits also should be asked about.
This does not apply to designs they gift you, as a kind of jumping-off point. But it's still good to ask if you can change up the design or that you might do things differently or such.
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They usually do a picture for my birthday/anniversary!
Or they said they'd draw me something!
They said they'd do my request!
they said they'd draw me something and gave me an wip!
etc.You're still not entitled to free art; a lot of people have lives or forget or tend to just get busy. Sometimes depression gets in teh way, or anxiety, or they just plain don't feel up for it.
Moreover, they're doing art in exchange for absolutely nothing at all. You are not entitled to it, no matter how good of a friend you are with them, nor how much you pay into getting commissions.
So, to that note, don't badger them or hassle them or poke them repeatedly and repeatedly for free art; in fact, don't even dfo that at all. even raffles and whatnot aren't entitled, because these are still free art that they get nothing in exchange for.
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The reason this page focuses so much on criticism is because unsolicited criticism is very bad - they didn't consent to receiving it. In the case of asking, they consent to it, so they're ready for it. People are "who always okay with it" also consent to it, but there's reasons why I'd still prioritize asking, even if things are like that.
The reason why unsolicited criticism is very bad is it's pretty comparable to backseat gaming. Chances are, if you've gone onto twitch, you've seen a lot of things about backseat gamers get banned, or warned, on people's channels.
Some people don't mind it, but other times it annoys them a lot, and that's kind of the same thing here.
Respect people and don't give unsolicited criticism-- in the least, ask first before you do. And, if they say "no", respect them.
Chances are pretty high that, if you ask to give criticism first, people will generally accept it anyway.
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"but criticism is good"
yes, but only when specifically wanted for/asked for, otherwise it's unwanted and makes them feel like shit.
"they should take it better!"
you should be less of an asshole
"but why, I'm trying to help"
you're doing more harm by giving unwanted criticism, frankly. You could make them feel anxious because they feel people think their art is bad no matter how well they think they did, and whatnot.
Or perhaps they're used to people nitpicking them for no end, and you're just another person being an asshole to them like that.
"more artists should be okay with criticisms"
mixed bag. Some should be okay with it yeah, but a large amount of these who "aren't okay with it" are used to getting unwanted criticism and you're contributing to that. What do you mean when you say "more artists should be okay with criticism"? do you mean you want artists to be not mad at you when you point out something on their art that they explicitly, literally, did not ask for?
"Buut but commissions"
This doesn't matter. You only get to criticize it **IF YOU ARE THE COMMISSIONER YOURSELF** because yes, in that case you get a say in it, but if you ARE! NOT! THE! FUCKING! COMMISSIONER! Keep your trap shut about criticism unless they're clearly open to it.
I have seen SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MANY PEOPLE have to do more fucking work on commissions because some fucking dumbass went "hey wait this looks off," when the commissioner was fine, and it was a small thing, and they made the artist, after it was done, fix it, in public, after they'd posted it.
That is not okay. DM/PM (Private/Direct Message) the Commissioneer in PRIVATE and THEY'll decide if it's a problem, not YOU.
Unwanted criticism is NOT OKAY IN ANY FORM, PERIOD.
"but the artist said they wants criticism"
then you're good. But careful of being super pointed or nitpicking everything. Them being open to criticisms does NOT mean they want to be told everything off about their style.
also, if your "criticism" on them is "they charge too much" go put your head up an cactus' ass, straight up, even if they want criticism.
or if this "criticism" is something about "i don't like your style," or whatever. If you don't like it just go elsewhere and find artists you like the style of.
"But I'm okay with criticism! I think people should be more okay with it!"
Well, great for you, I'm glad you're comfortable with it! but Don't force your ideals and whatnot onto other people. You don't fucking know their lives. You don't fucking know their mental state.
Maybe they're tired. Maybe they're tired of people using criticism as a way to shit on them. Maybe they just want to have fun drawing. Maybe they already know what they have to improve on; an artist is their worst critic, after all.
"But artists should take criticism in general! it's worse not to!
It's their life. It's bad not to listen to criticism if you specifically ask for it, yes, but that's only when you specifically ask for it.
"but this one person I know doesn't mind it!"
That's just one person. As said, don't force your ideals onto anyone else; and just one person being fine/okay with stuff doesn't mean literally everybody else is.
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This person took their time out of their day and life, regardless of skill level.
Unless they ask, you honestly shouldn't criticize it, or go "hmm that's not what I expected," or criticize that it doesn't "match" your unreasonably high expectations, especially because they took that time out to make you something.
I don't give a singular fudge if you asked for it, that makes it even worse, because you didn't pay for it. You didn't pay for it, you're not giving them any due; you're not entitled to take a crap on their art because it doesn't match your expectations or how unreasonably picky you are.
You're not entitled to ask for edits, or whatnot, because they didn't have to do this and you didn't pay them.
It's incredibly, incredibly rude to nitpick on little things or say it didn't match your expectations when they took the time out of their day.
How the hell would you feel if you put in the time to make something and got told, "hmm that's not what I expected/wanted" without being paid and given due for it?
Being picky with giftart, requests, and free art does no body any favors, so cut it out.
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