The artist isn't listening

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divalei
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The artist isn't listening

#1 Post by divalei » Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:15 am

I'm working with demo of my game and one of my friends asked can she draw the characters. I said, yes. She drew nice pictures for me but when I asked her to change thing or two (some minor details), she refused. I, of course, asked why. The answer was pretty much something like "it looks better this way." Needless to say, I was quite angry. It my game, not hers and if I want something to be changed, then I want to. I tried to talk to her, but no. She still refused to change. She also wanted to do backgrounds and other stuff, but I refused. I don't want to go through this again.

What to do? Should I try again, find another artist or draw myself? Has anyone worked with an artist who doesn't want to listen/co-operate? Or was it because, she is my friend. Friends can do whatever they want, no.

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Re: The artist isn't listening

#2 Post by Reikun » Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:30 am

It may partially be the fact that you're friends that she refuses to change. Usually it's better not to work with friends or family on personal projects because you'll likely get behavior exactly like this or similar.

Before letting her draw for your project, did you let her know what the job entails and your expectations of her? Another thing to consider is that you can't expect to have 100% creative control over your visuals if you are not paying your artist, friend or otherwise. Are these "minor" changes really so critical that you can't use the characters she drew without them? One option might be to ask another artist to make these changes for you, or edit them in (or out) yourself, but make sure your artist is OK with this if she refuses to make the changes herself.

If you /really/ must have strict creative control over the visuals, do the art yourself or search for another artist who is willing to adhere to your vision more (can be difficult to find, especially if you're unable to pay them). Or, you could be a bit more lax and give your artist some creative license since they're working for you for free.

I'm pretty sure there have been past threads about similar topics. Have you tried searching the forum for your issue?
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Re: The artist isn't listening

#3 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:47 am

Generally, if an artist is working for free, you have to allow them to have creative control over the art. It just doesn't make sense that someone else should have to abide by your 'vision' if they disagree and you aren't giving them any incentive to do otherwise. Of course there is a lot of give and take in this area, but in this type of partnership an artist should have some right to put their foot down.

I would put money on the fact you won't find a free artist who will make all the changes you want without letting them have a say on the matter. It gets old fast and from personal experience I wouldn't even touch that type of project. I do make changes to my art for my writers, but only if I agree/feel indifferent/have no reason not, when it's minor and they let me have a similar say over the story. Basically I trust them to not interfere unless they have a good reason. It's the basic way ALL group work functions.

The way round this is to either a) do it yourself, which means you can have all the creative freedom or b) pay, which means you have given them incentive to make those changes. Or, as Reikun mentioned, let go of control a little and let them have some freedom. Personally I think that one leads to happier partnerships.
Last edited by Auro-Cyanide on Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The artist isn't listening

#4 Post by KomiTsuku » Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:50 am

Compromise goes both ways. Can you really not let one or two minor things go by in exchange for the help? If you can't, go hire someone. Even then, you should let artists have some sort of creative control. It'll go a long way towards maintaining a strong relationship with them, and sometimes they do have some pretty good ideas.

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Re: The artist isn't listening

#5 Post by nyaatrap » Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:03 am

It's writer's fault he didn't give ALL DETAILS to her. If he didn't (or doesn't have skill to do), he should compromise. Or he doesn't have both, pay.

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Re: The artist isn't listening

#6 Post by divalei » Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:28 am

I read the comments, and maybe I'm too strict (or that's how I'm feeling right now). I gave her concepts (text and some sketches), told her what I need/want, and I'm paying to her. At least she didn't disappear without saying anything...

At first she did listen but when I was absent for couple of days (some personal stuff), she started not to listen. Those changes she did, I don't like them at all. Maybe I'm acting childish but if I want specif colour for clothes, then it has to be it.

Or maybe I'm just over-reacting since the deadline is too close.

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Re: The artist isn't listening

#7 Post by Taleweaver » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:45 am

divalei wrote:I gave her concepts (text and some sketches), told her what I need/want, and I'm paying to her.
If you're paying her, you can expect her to do what you tell her to do. Period. Tell her she's not getting paid for what she delivered, that you refuse to accept that, and if she still doesn't want to do what you ask for, don't pay her or get your money back. Find another artist if necessary; there are plenty who act much more professional than that.
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Re: The artist isn't listening

#8 Post by SundownKid » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:46 am

It really depends on how much your changes make sense and how much you are paying the artist. If you are paying her fairly, and she still refuses to edit the pics, then she is just not a good employee and you should find a different artist. I tend to give my artists a lot of leeway because I am bad at character design, but a paid artist has the responsibility to edit stuff to your liking.

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Re: The artist isn't listening

#9 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:50 am

divalei wrote:I read the comments, and maybe I'm too strict (or that's how I'm feeling right now). I gave her concepts (text and some sketches), told her what I need/want, and I'm paying to her. At least she didn't disappear without saying anything...

At first she did listen but when I was absent for couple of days (some personal stuff), she started not to listen. Those changes she did, I don't like them at all. Maybe I'm acting childish but if I want specif colour for clothes, then it has to be it.

Or maybe I'm just over-reacting since the deadline is too close.
It's hard to tell what's going on without actually being apart of it/knowing more. The issue/s could be numerous.

Your artist might not be suited to commission work, and isn't ready to accept feedback.
You might not be paying enough to cover changes. If you are paying fairly ($30-$50+ per sprite type price) than a certain number of changes should be included.
The changes might require extra work, especially if it's just an aesthetic thing.
They might disagree on an aesthetic level and think it will reflect badly on them.

There really are many things that can cause this. What are the changes you are asking for and how important are they? Are they important enough to warrant finding another artist and discarding the current work? Maybe you could come to a compromise on the issue?

If you really aren't treating the artist as if they should act as your drawing hand and simply produce what you see in your mind, then it might be worth looking at some of the other things I mentioned and see if it could be one of those. It you diagnose the problem, you can usually come up with a solution, whether it be a compromise, explaining, finding a new artist, etc.

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Re: The artist isn't listening

#10 Post by EroBotan » Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:48 am

When working as a team, you can't be too strict, especially if it's about something that you don't have much experience at. Feel free to give suggestion but let the expert has the final say.
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Re: The artist isn't listening

#11 Post by Greeny » Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:14 am

Ultimately, if you're not yourself an artist, you should have some faith in the vision and artistic knowledge of the atrists you hire, and give them the leeway to act within it.
The problem is that it's very unlikely you'll get what you had in mind - you have to learn to let go of the notion that it has to be that, and you'll see that what you got from your artist might actually be better.

However.

You are paying your artist, so that does mean that she's obliged to listen to you if you want changes, unless those changes are very frequent and increase the workload beyond the price level.
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Re: The artist isn't listening

#12 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Thu Apr 18, 2013 11:27 am

Reikun wrote:It may partially be the fact that you're friends that she refuses to change. Usually it's better not to work with friends or family on personal projects because you'll likely get behavior exactly like this or similar.
This. I know it seems like an amazing idea to people just starting out in a creative field - "I'll work together with friends! It'll be great!" - but in truth, you really shouldn't ever work with friends or family. The one exception is if you BECOME friends with someone by working with them - but you shouldn't start out as best buddies. There are a myriad of real world and psychological reasons for this, but must of them boil down to the fact that you'll take advantage of each other, and any kind of work or project that involves a lot of money, passion, or both will cause bad blood and broken friendships when things go wrong. Since you have a personal relationship, you'll both take everything personally, whether it is intended that way or not.

That said, I don't think you can expect too much creative control if an artist is working for free. On the other hand, if you are paying an artist, you should have a lot more input. But the big thing to consider is this: If you know what the best design is for a character, why do you need an artist? Are you trained in design theory, color theory, visual archetypes, silhouette readability, and symbology? I'm not saying your friend is trained in all these thing either, but a lot of artists are. They've practiced and trained for years, and when you give them strict guidelines of what you want that they can't deviate from, you are essentially disregarding all their expertise. As Auro-Cyanide said, you are then treating them like just a drawing hand or machine that puts the lines where you want them on paper.

Professional writers don't dictate to their artists. Read up on comic book writer and artist relationships, or how authors talk to book cover illustrators. These people trust the artist to do what is best using their expert knowledge. The writers give vague generalities and suggestions for the images - i.e. "he's a rough, hard-boiled detective type who likes to think of himself as Humphery Bogart, but his face is really kind of ugly. (Don't go overboard here, we still want him to have character appeal, but he definitely shouldn't be handsome.)" - and then they let the artist do their thing. Many of the comic writers talk about how much of a newcomer's mistake it is to try and perfectly dictate what the art should look like - a lot of them have been very specific in what look they want for a character, only to have the artist ignore that and come back with something the writer likes even better. Again, part of this is artist expertise, interpreting what the writer seems to want the visuals of a character to show, and then using their knowledge to present a better design that puts the same traits on display.

It sounds like you what you REALLY want is to be your own artist - you just aren't good at drawing. That's why you are super detailed and use sketches to give to the artist, and want exactly what you see in your mind. You need to decide whether or not you are a WRITER, or an ARTIST first, and put all your effort there and trust the other person you are working with to bring their skills to the table. If you want to do both, just practice your drawing skills, and stop expecting artists to read your mind in the meantime.

EDIT: It's worth mentioning that if you read some comic book scripts, even a writer that IS a professional artist will not dictate how the art should look to the artist drawing the book. They know how disrespectful that is. The bottom line is that you either trust the artist to be good on their own, or you don't, in which case you simply don't work with them.

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Re: The artist isn't listening

#13 Post by fioricca » Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:04 am

divalei wrote:It my game, not hers and if I want something to be changed, then I want to.
You would probably have figured out by now that this is not the best way to work in a team. I understand how it is to feel protective over your ideas and wanting to realise your creative vision, but this isn't a healthy way to work, as you're basically treating the rest of your teammates like machines and thinking that none of their opinions matter. Everyone works better when they are invested in something, when they feel as though they're a part of the team. If you give your teammates a higher stake in the project, they are likely to work harder and better than if they felt completely removed from it. Don't be afraid to give them 'partial ownership' of the game. Let them contribute opinions, feedback, let them inject a piece of their soul into your work, regardless of how much you're paying them. Kojima Hideo once mentioned that when he developed the MGS series, he had to work with a senior member (I can't remember his name whoops) whose opinions clashed with him a lot. But it was great as the person caught problems and issues Kojima himself didn't catch, and with that they were able to further refine the game.
LateWhiteRabbit wrote: The bottom line is that you either trust the artist to be good on their own, or you don't, in which case you simply don't work with them.
Good luck. :D

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Re: The artist isn't listening

#14 Post by Samu-kun » Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:13 am

If the artist thinks it looks better that way, it probably looks better that way. Remember, you probably hired her because she was better at art than you. No point in hiring an artist to get better art, then to mess it back up by micromanaging everything.

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Re: The artist isn't listening

#15 Post by Blue Lemma » Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:59 am

"A friendship founded on business is better than a business founded on friendship."

- John D. Rockefeller

That said, it's hard to tell what's fair without knowing the artist's fee, quality, and details in question. In general, Auro's numbers are about right:
You might not be paying enough to cover changes. If you are paying fairly ($30-$50+ per sprite type price) than a certain number of changes should be included.
The changes might require extra work, especially if it's just an aesthetic thing.
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