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Lots of revisions - help!

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I'm new at being commissioned for illustrations. My first experience went really well, but I currently have a client who is much harder to please. They already have the image in mind of what they want each illustration to look like which has resulted in 3 or 4 revisions of a piece (so far -- there might be more); sometimes I can't salvage anything from the sketch and have to start fresh. We didn't include anything about the number of revisions in the contract. :(  We're already past the deadline, but the client doesn't mind, but I have other projects coming up.  Anything I can do/say to speed this process along? I haven't been paid for anything yet.

Thanks!

Samantha
#1 - September 04, 2013, 03:59 AM

I’m not an illustrator so I don’t have specific advice, but I do have the general sort. Without an agreement regarding the number of revisions, you’re not in the strongest position. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t both listen to the client and push back when you think it’s appropriate. The client is more likely to have confidence in you if you show confidence in your own judgment and abilities.
#2 - September 04, 2013, 04:52 AM

I draw stuff for chocolates.
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I never work without a retainer. And I limit the number of revisions included in the contract with additional changes being charge additional fees. You have a live and learn situation here, since you don't have the number of revisions or a pre-payment agreement built into your contract.

If the client is more amenable about the time frame, perhaps you can adjust your schedule of delivery of his job around the other deadlines. Honesty is the best policy. Tell the client you based you delivery deadline on X number of sketches and X number of revisions being done at X time and since it is taking longer, you have to adjust your schedule accordingly.

If the client is not amenable and refuses to work within your time constraints, you may have to walk away from the job all together and chalk it up to experience. You are well within your rights to "fire" a client who isn't working out. This is the course of last resort and I would be very certain you can't come up with another solution before burning bridges.

In my 30+ year career I have only ever fired 2 clients. Working with both of them left me in tears and pulling out my hair, and I don't regret walking away.

Sorry you've put so much work into what seems like a thankless job. Good luck working things out for the best. :hug
#3 - September 04, 2013, 06:02 AM
patreon.com/wendymartin
Animal Totem Mandala 2016
The Story Circle 2016 (Piñata)
Color and Conjure 2017 (Llewellyn)

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Thanks so much for your input! It definitely has been a live and learn experience, but I'll know better for next time. The client seemed to be in a hurry at first, but has since said "no rush" -- I think to make sure I don't say "I don't have time to revise again".  I'll contact them today re: our time frame. Thanks again!

Samantha
#4 - September 04, 2013, 06:17 AM

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