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Clients from Hell

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Sometimes you can just tell when a client is going to be a pain. I’m an illustrator who also does...

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Sometimes you can just tell when a client is going to be a pain. I’m an illustrator who also does some photo work. This combination of skills got me in trouble with a client recently.

Client: Can you send me a sample of your work?

Me:  Well, you got this email from my portfolio website. That’s usually where I send clients to see my work.

Client: Oh! Okay. Well, I want an illustration.

Me: Great. Let me send you a contract and I’ll get started.

 I sent a first sketch and he turned it down. Based on his feedback, I sent a second sketch and he approved it as the basis for a finished version. I went ahead and started the illustration based on that sketch. I kept up communication, showing him the process and getting approval every step of the way.

Finally, I sent the first finish. They asked me for some slight changes in colouration, and I obliged happily. I sent the new version with changes, and didn’t hear back for days.

Me: I haven’t heard from you about the latest changes. Let me know if you approve the finished copy.

A day later:

Client: Um… is this really finished? I thought you weren’t done. Your other work is so realistic.

Me: My other work? You mean, on my portfolio?

Client: Yeah.

Me: You do know that some of my portfolio are manipulated photos, right?

Client: Oh! Oh.

Me: I’m sorry about the confusion. If you want a photo, then I can do that, but I will have to insist that you pay me for services already rendered before I do anything new.

Client: (angry) Well, I guess I’m just stuck with whatever you do, then!

Me: You are in no way obligated to use the illustration I provided you, but you do have to pay me for the work I’ve already done. I’m sorry there was a misunderstanding.

Client: WELL. Since I’m STUCK in this contract I guess I guess I have some CHANGES.

He proceeds to give me a laundry list of changes.

Me: I am happy to make the changes though, as per our contract any major changes that result in more work than we had previously discussed will be subject to extra charges. What you’re asking for will mean 10 more hours. I if you had told me about these major redraws before the sketch had been painted we could have avoided this situation. 

I haven’t heard back, and am looking into legal action. Although I’m honestly shocked that he would be angry at me because he doesn’t know the difference between an illustration and a photo.

Source: Clients from Hell

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