Decided to Quit Commissions from Artists…
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63 posts in this topic

Has anyone else had this difficulty?

Ive been trying to get on the list for a Daniel Warren Johnson commission for years now, but every time something opens up, it’s exclusive to convention visitors.

I live in Canada, and there isn’t any way DWJ is making his way all the way up here. 
 

Anyway, his art dealer, Felix is a good chap, communicates on a timely manner and is upfront enough, but I can’t help but just get frustrated with the whole ordeal. 
 

At some point, it’s just not worth the effort and the anxiousness of waiting by your email to be the first in line to get a commission, to not only (potentially) miss out, but then also realize you don’t qualify to begin with. 
 

Anyway, thanks for reading my rant. Just frustrated and an avid supporter of the artist, but will most likely sell all my junk of his and move on. 
 

Are there other artists you just can’t seem to ever get a commission of?

My list is pretty long of artists I’ve tried to get drawings from and this is just the last one I’m going to try. 

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There are three artists I can't get on their list and just have given up. I just give up and just wait to pick up on the secondary market.

With DWJ, I have always wanted a piece from him and really enjoy the Inktober art he does ever day at the tale end of the month every year. One year it was Wrestling and the next was Musicians. I contacted him and he was kind enough to reply and tell me these will be auctioned off in a few months. There was one piece I really, REALLY wanted.

So when the sale date was announced, I made sure I was ready to refresh.

When site went live, reserved my piece within seconds. I tried to reserve two others but were told right away they weren't  available. At least I had the piece I really wanted reserved.

What a great way to begin the year (it was January 1st), but SIX HOURS LATER, I was told by e-mail that it was not available and in so many words "better luck next time". 

I was so disappointed and essentially gave up. I am now content in not owning a DWJ piece because that was the perfect piece. 😞

That's my rant.

 

 

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I've been in your exact shoes, and I too live in Canada.  If the commission is only open to convention visitors, ask Felix if you can have someone pick it up your behalf at the con.  If DWJ allows it, reach out to a trusted facilitator that will be attending that con, and arrange for them to pick it up on your behalf.  There are lots of threads that mention trusted facilitators on these boards, so finding one shouldn't be that difficult.  My go-to facilitator are the guys at www.comicsketchart.com.  They attend a lot of cons in the US, have a team of guys, and since they are a vendor, they can run around and get to artists' tables before the doors open to regular folk.  I deal with Mike Haslem there.  I've used them many times and have been very happy with their service.  They may not be able to get you a con commission, if you don't already have something pre-arranged with the artist, but they would have the best shot of any facilitator.  My backup go-to facilitator is Rich Henn (but he is a one man show, so he's very busy).  Here is the info from the CSA website:

https://comicsketchart.com/services/sketches/

The price is very reasonable for the service delivered.  For those of us in Canada, they'll just tack on a bit more for shipping.

I wanted to directly address your issue with DWJ dilemma, but if you have any other concerns around getting commissions, please don't hesitate to reach out to me directly.  Good luck!

P.S.  Sorry in advance if Felix won't allow it, or if you have already tried this route without success.

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Posted (edited)

@modelmakergives some good advice.

 

Adam Hughes commissions were the big thing when I started collecting. I would get to SDComic-Con early on preview night and immediately rush directly to his table when the doors opened, and you know what? I never made the list.

There were always people who, dare I say "wanted it more."  They would buy their $500 plane tickets to fly in from out-of-state, then spend $200+/night on a hotel room, then throw money at a dealer to get an exhibitor access pass and then get there early before doors opened and spend the whole day lurking around the booth so that the moment someone (Adam or Alison) made eye contact with them they could hit 'em up about the line. If all else failed they would stalk and pay off others to buy their slot.

An artist like DWJ has literally hundreds of thousands of fans. Are you willing to scratch and claw your way to the top of the list to get a commission? 

If not you can, like me, just keep rolling the dice on your own with the mailing list in hopes of winning the DWJ lottery. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by J.Sid
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The best trick is (and no, this doesn't help with DWJ) get them before they're in demand. You'll pay less and you'll be one of the first to say I've got [so&so]. This is just a way of saying support the new guys you like, it'll absolutely pay off. I got my AH! that way.

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On 7/5/2022 at 5:19 AM, Nexus said:

A couple of notes on DWJ and art from our site in general...

-- HeroesCon 2022 was the first time we've taken a pre-show sketch list that was open to attendees only. Prior to this, we had taken lists at the show OR taken them pre-show, but also made them available via mail-order.

-- We last opened a proper commission list for Daniel in 2020. We took 50 requests then. We could have taken a LOT more, but took as many as we could within reason. Tried to accommodate as many as possible.

-- His art is simply in high demand. Extremely high demand. I just counted and since 2016, we've dropped 1548 pieces of art for Daniel. All of them have sold. (Everything sold prior to 2016 has been deleted from the site, otherwise that number would be even higher.) You can see for yourself in his gallery: https://www.felixcomicart.com/ArtistGalleryTitles.asp?ArtistId=576

-- Whenever the site receives an order, I'm notified via e-mail. There'd been some wonkiness with this recently, so Bill Cox (who admins my site), bcc'd himself to try to troubleshoot. So whenever there's a drop, he personally experiences the flood of e-mails that arrive. Go to 2:57 of his recent YouTube show:

He notes that he received over 250 requests for our Nick Pitarra/AX-WIELDER JON drop. There were 29 pieces for that drop. So almost 10 requests for every piece. That means most people who requested a piece, did not get one.

I use that as an example because Daniel's drop are even crazier. Hence, more people will not get anything than those who will.

-- Also, although I try to answer all e-mails as fast as possible, sometimes it does take a while. This is not a perfect system, but I do my best. And I believe it is still the fairest system.

-- We know that if we were to auction commission/sketch spots, we'd do a lot better. A con sketch, for example, was just auctioned for $1700 at Heroes. We know of proper commissions that have sold for $10K+. As it stands now, though, we'd still like to make these opportunities available to everyone, and not just the highest bidders.

From my side of the table, for whatever that's worth.

Hi Felix, any chance you'd consider posting the prices in your commission opportunity emails? I feel like I'm being annoying when I email to ask what prices are; that's not based on your responses, you're always very nice and reply every time!

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On 7/5/2022 at 7:19 AM, Hockeyflow33 said:

Hi Felix, any chance you'd consider posting the prices in your commission opportunity emails? I feel like I'm being annoying when I email to ask what prices are; that's not based on your responses, you're always very nice and reply every time!

First off, let me assure you that you are not being annoying. I'm asking people who are interested to write me; they are not obligated in any way to commit. So, zero problems if they don't.

For now, though, I don't think I'm going to change anything in how we've been handling commissions. Mainly because it works, and I'm a "don't fix it if it ain't broke" kind of guy. Maybe there's a better way, and maybe I'll eventually adapt to a different system...but for now this works. Lists always fill up fast...why mess with a proven formula?

Also, to a lesser degree, I'm keenly aware of how many other reps are trying to replicate our model (some to the point of outright plagiarism) and so prefer not to share everything publicly if I don't have to. I realize there are proxies who will inquire and share the information, but I don't have to make it any easier than it already is.

Anyway, keep writing whenever you feel like it, it's no bother at all.

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On 7/5/2022 at 3:39 PM, Nexus said:

First off, let me assure you that you are not being annoying. I'm asking people who are interested to write me; they are not obligated in any way to commit. So, zero problems if they don't.

For now, though, I don't think I'm going to change anything in how we've been handling commissions. Mainly because it works, and I'm a "don't fix it if it ain't broke" kind of guy. Maybe there's a better way, and maybe I'll eventually adapt to a different system...but for now this works. Lists always fill up fast...why mess with a proven formula?

Also, to a lesser degree, I'm keenly aware of how many other reps are trying to replicate our model (some to the point of outright plagiarism) and so prefer not to share everything publicly if I don't have to. I realize there are proxies who will inquire and share the information, but I don't have to make it any easier than it already is.

Anyway, keep writing whenever you feel like it, it's no bother at all.

Thanks for replying and that was kind of my assumption. I'm always priced out anyways but every now and then I hold out hope haha. I do enjoy the art drops with the under $300 pieces though! 

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On 7/5/2022 at 12:18 AM, Monstertruck97 said:

There are three artists I can't get on their list and just have given up. I just give up and just wait to pick up on the secondary market.

With DWJ, I have always wanted a piece from him and really enjoy the Inktober art he does ever day at the tale end of the month every year. One year it was Wrestling and the next was Musicians. I contacted him and he was kind enough to reply and tell me these will be auctioned off in a few months. There was one piece I really, REALLY wanted.

So when the sale date was announced, I made sure I was ready to refresh.

When site went live, reserved my piece within seconds. I tried to reserve two others but were told right away they weren't  available. At least I had the piece I really wanted reserved.

What a great way to begin the year (it was January 1st), but SIX HOURS LATER, I was told by e-mail that it was not available and in so many words "better luck next time". 

I was so disappointed and essentially gave up. I am now content in not owning a DWJ piece because that was the perfect piece. 😞

That's my rant.

 

 

Thanks for sharing. This is kind of the issue. And to your point, you’re flushed down the ‘better luck next time’ channel where you know as well as anyone that it doesn’t mean anything. I know it doesn’t equate for anything, and will be my point on with Felix, that I know that nothing will change and there will just be hundreds in line behind me. 

On 7/5/2022 at 12:23 AM, modelmaker said:

I've been in your exact shoes, and I too live in Canada.  If the commission is only open to convention visitors, ask Felix if you can have someone pick it up your behalf at the con.  If DWJ allows it, reach out to a trusted facilitator that will be attending that con, and arrange for them to pick it up on your behalf.  There are lots of threads that mention trusted facilitators on these boards, so finding one shouldn't be that difficult.  My go-to facilitator are the guys at www.comicsketchart.com.  They attend a lot of cons in the US, have a team of guys, and since they are a vendor, they can run around and get to artists' tables before the doors open to regular folk.  I deal with Mike Haslem there.  I've used them many times and have been very happy with their service.  They may not be able to get you a con commission, if you don't already have something pre-arranged with the artist, but they would have the best shot of any facilitator.  My backup go-to facilitator is Rich Henn (but he is a one man show, so he's very busy).  Here is the info from the CSA website:

https://comicsketchart.com/services/sketches/

The price is very reasonable for the service delivered.  For those of us in Canada, they'll just tack on a bit more for shipping.

I wanted to directly address your issue with DWJ dilemma, but if you have any other concerns around getting commissions, please don't hesitate to reach out to me directly.  Good luck!

P.S.  Sorry in advance if Felix won't allow it, or if you have already tried this route without success.

I’ve reached out to CSA previously and they were a bit unsure if they wanted to commit. I think simply put that the con seasons are intense and the big 2 are really overloading for them. A sound suggestion though and I may continue to go that route if I have a change of heart in the future. True sound advice though. I don’t think Felix allows for this either though. I may have asked him already but I could be wrong. 

On 7/5/2022 at 1:59 AM, J.Sid said:

@modelmakergives some good advice.

 

Adam Hughes commissions were the big thing when I started collecting. I would get to SDComic-Con early on preview night and immediately rush directly to his table when the doors opened, and you know what? I never made the list.

There were always people who, dare I say "wanted it more."  They would buy their $500 plane tickets to fly in from out-of-state, then spend $200+/night on a hotel room, then throw money at a dealer to get an exhibitor access pass and then get there early before doors opened and spend the whole day lurking around the booth so that the moment someone (Adam or Alison) made eye contact with them they could hit 'em up about the line. If all else failed they would stalk and pay off others to buy their slot.

An artist like DWJ has literally hundreds of thousands of fans. Are you willing to scratch and claw your way to the top of the list to get a commission? 

If not you can, like me, just keep rolling the dice on your own with the mailing list in hopes of winning the DWJ lottery. 

 

 

 

 

You are right. There are literally hundreds of people that are in line right behind me. That’s kind of my point below too…

On 7/5/2022 at 5:19 AM, Nexus said:

A couple of notes on DWJ and art from our site in general...

-- HeroesCon 2022 was the first time we've taken a pre-show sketch list that was open to attendees only. Prior to this, we had taken lists at the show OR taken them pre-show, but also made them available via mail-order.

-- We last opened a proper commission list for Daniel in 2020. We took 50 requests then. We could have taken a LOT more, but took as many as we could within reason. Tried to accommodate as many as possible.

-- His art is simply in high demand. Extremely high demand. I just counted and since 2016, we've dropped 1548 pieces of art for Daniel. All of them have sold. (Everything sold prior to 2016 has been deleted from the site, otherwise that number would be even higher.) You can see for yourself in his gallery: https://www.felixcomicart.com/ArtistGalleryTitles.asp?ArtistId=576

-- Whenever the site receives an order, I'm notified via e-mail. There'd been some wonkiness with this recently, so Bill Cox (who admins my site), bcc'd himself to try to troubleshoot. So whenever there's a drop, he personally experiences the flood of e-mails that arrive. Go to 2:57 of his recent YouTube show:

He notes that he received over 250 requests for our Nick Pitarra/AX-WIELDER JON drop. There were 29 pieces for that drop. So almost 10 requests for every piece. That means most people who requested a piece, did not get one.

I use that as an example because Daniel's drop are even crazier. Hence, more people will not get anything than those who will.

-- Also, although I try to answer all e-mails as fast as possible, sometimes it does take a while. This is not a perfect system, but I do my best. And I believe it is still the fairest system.

-- We know that if we were to auction commission/sketch spots, we'd do a lot better. A con sketch, for example, was just auctioned for $1700 at Heroes. We know of proper commissions that have sold for $10K+. As it stands now, though, we'd still like to make these opportunities available to everyone, and not just the highest bidders.

From my side of the table, for whatever that's worth.

Thanks for chiming in Felix. Honestly this wasn’t meant to be a personal dig at you, as I expressed that you’ve been very responsive and clear on what the expectations are. 
 

What my point is, much to my notes above, is simply that, I have nothing left BUT to vent, or complain. I have no option. 

The system that is put in place, to your point, had a commission back in 2020. Now since joining on shortly after that, and no availability for commissions, you (politely) advised me to, basically, now wait until 2023.

3 years for a chance is, lol, a long time. With obviously 1 potential crack at the commission if all of Orion’s Belt aligns. So I need to be at the ready, by my email, anxiously hoping for the shot all year long in 2023. Lol, the stress and anxiety isn’t worth my mental health. It encourages me to act and be someone I don’t want to be. And I will say this plainly. You better believe that I was pretty anxious and refreshing my email account multiple times a day for the entire time, to try and make the list.

And you’re absolutely right. There are literally hundreds of people who will be willing and capable to get a commission, and I just don’t cut it. Period. Over and out. 
 

But from my side of the pond, that kind of sucks. So f it. I tried. I’ll just complain about your system, wish I got my commission I wanted to hang on my wall, groan, and probably sell off my DWJ books and ashcans and move on with life. 
 

Because I was given no other choice. 

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Posted (edited)
On 7/5/2022 at 5:52 PM, D2 said:

But from my side of the pond, that kind of sucks. So f it. I tried. I’ll just complain about your system, wish I got my commission I wanted to hang on my wall, groan, and probably sell off my DWJ books and ashcans and move on with life

This is a bizarre reaction. Lmao. If you're a big fan that wants a commission badly, why would not getting one cause you to sell off everything you own by the artist you're a fan of??? 

Edited by jaykza
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On 7/5/2022 at 11:14 PM, jaykza said:

This is a bizarre reaction. Lmao. If you're a big fan that wants a commission badly, why would not getting one cause you to sell off everything you own by the artist you're a fan of??? 

No connection to the artist 

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On 7/5/2022 at 9:24 PM, Nexus said:

First off, if it's not fun, then don't participate. It's not worth the stress as you describe. I totally understand if people decide to stop following. But...as I said re: the Dueling Dealer show, it's impossible to make everyone happy. I just have to make ENOUGH people happy. So far, enough people are happy.

Still, please tell me how you would do it differently. You're not the first one to grouse about how this is done. But I get the feeling that unless the person complaining gets the art they want, at a price they want to pay, any system will suck.

I've been in your shoes, btw. For lots of artists. Including Adam Hughes. The situation was exactly as J.Sid describes. Another guy was Art Adams. I really wanted an Art Adams commission or sketch. The commission list was "full until he's dead" as his former rep informed me. So that left sketch lists at shows. And I always ended up getting beat out by others. They simply out-hustled me and wanted it more. Frankly, I could only make shows very infrequently, and had no interest chasing him around the country for a shot at his list. So I decided to live without an Art Adams sketch.

I didn't then go home and sell off all my Art Adams comics or whatever. I was still a fan. I didn't need a sketch to remain a fan. I really don't get that at all.

To each their own, I guess.

Open lottery. 

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On 7/6/2022 at 1:42 AM, Nexus said:

Regardless, you're still selling all of an artist's work...because you haven't been able to get a sketch. (shrug)

So if you had gotten a sketch, you'd presumably still remain a fan.

Still don't get it.

Right. You say that now, and it *sounds* good...until we actually do implement a lottery. And you don't win. And as we run more lotteries with other people winning, we're then back to square one here with the agita.

It's never a "good" system until you get the art. So there is no good system, because there's no system that guarantees you'll win. And until you win, there's just going to be this building resentment.

Or to put it another way: I'll always be the bad guy to someone, until everyone gets what they want. Which is impossible. It's never going to happen. There's only so much art, there can only be so many commissions. Don't know what else to say.

(I'm going to add as an aside that I don't take this as a personal dig, and that I consider D2 to be reasonable and polite relative to some others who have a beef with not getting art they want. That I deal with on a near-daily basis. Some people take it personally, for whatever reason, when none of this is personal at all.)

Well I appreciate that. And I don’t take it personally. I never did, it’s just the harsh reality of a system that I cannot win. It’s okay, but at the same time, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t angry and disappointed about it and as much as you may not like to hear about me groaning on and complaining about it, that’s how I feel when I come to the reality that I’ll never get a commission. That’s what happens when someone gets to a conclusion where they are forced to quit and turn in a different direction. 

Felix, I said this to you before and I meant it, you’re in a great position and I wish you nothing but prosperity. 

So rather than resent you, all I have left is, complain about it, clear my plate, and walk away angry and annoyed. I don’t hate you or swear at you or ever talk poorly of you, but I certainly won’t be talking highly of how I can’t get connected to an artist I admired.

After 3 years, pft, I’m just a fool for not moving on. I can now stop anxiously looking at my emails, and collect something, someone else. 

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On 7/5/2022 at 10:42 PM, Nexus said:

Regardless, you're still selling all of an artist's work...because you haven't been able to get a sketch. (shrug)

So if you had gotten a sketch, you'd presumably still remain a fan.

Still don't get it.

Right. You say that now, and it *sounds* good...until we actually do implement a lottery. And you don't win. And as we run more lotteries with other people winning, we're then back to square one here with the agita.

It's never a "good" system until you get the art. So there is no good system, because there's no system that guarantees you'll win. And until you win, there's just going to be this building resentment.

Or to put it another way: I'll always be the bad guy to someone, until everyone gets what they want. Which is impossible. It's never going to happen. There's only so much art, there can only be so many commissions. Don't know what else to say.

(I'm going to add as an aside that I don't take this as a personal dig, and that I consider D2 to be reasonable and polite relative to some others who have a beef with not getting art they want. That I deal with on a near-daily basis. Some people take it personally, for whatever reason, when none of this is personal at all.)

I never got my Tradd Moore SSB page. I didn't function well with the drop. Even worse I created a thread to try and get people to share what they managed to get over two drops and I wound up fueling the fire for an artist who already was a blaze. When I contacted people who actually had pages they were sitting on 5-10 other offers. Or I'd make a bid that was appealing but it would set off an offer war with prices continually climbing.

But I'm not going to lie. I admire the heck out of Felix's model for representing his artists. The art work flies away and the artists are doing well. If I could draw Felix would be the first guy I would call. In fact, I spoke to Felix a few times about the drop and the reality of what private offers were going for. I had spoken with a collector who had a DPS and I made a sizable offer. The collector was nice but said he was looking for F U money essentially although he wasn't that crude. I stewed a few days and mentioned this situation in passing to Felix. Felix assured me not only was that sky high price resonating with collectors but someone actually paid the ransom. I was cooked. Still,I love Tradd and the way Felix takes care of business.

I have my SSB complete books and I admire the art in the book routinely. Or I go to CAF and look at my pal M L's book 3 and other galleries. I'm not selling off my SSB books. I still love Tradd.

I do empathize with the OP. It sounds like he's had a  rough go of it. I did locate a DWJ commission on ebay and it's currently available. Sometimes you have to go down different untraveled roads to get what you want (in spite of the Rolling Stones song). One day you will get an opportunity. Don't stress out for goodness sakes. It has to stay fun. But this was a valuable thread so thanks for posting D2.

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On 7/4/2022 at 11:00 PM, D2 said:

Has anyone else had this difficulty?

Ive been trying to get on the list for a Daniel Warren Johnson commission for years now, but every time something opens up, it’s exclusive to convention visitors.

I live in Canada, and there isn’t any way DWJ is making his way all the way up here. 
 

Anyway, his art dealer, Felix is a good chap, communicates on a timely manner and is upfront enough, but I can’t help but just get frustrated with the whole ordeal. 
 

At some point, it’s just not worth the effort and the anxiousness of waiting by your email to be the first in line to get a commission, to not only (potentially) miss out, but then also realize you don’t qualify to begin with. 
 

Anyway, thanks for reading my rant. Just frustrated and an avid supporter of the artist, but will most likely sell all my junk of his and move on. 
 

Are there other artists you just can’t seem to ever get a commission of?

My list is pretty long of artists I’ve tried to get drawings from and this is just the last one I’m going to try. 

I think you are stressing too much. While I do have artistic preferences, I usually operate on the theory that if an artist is published by a major publisher, the artist is good. The question then becomes whether the piece is any good, and that can have a lot to do with the affinity the artist has with the subject matter as well as what physical and mental condition the artist is in when he/she sets down to do your piece. Before fighting so hard, is the subject matter that you want within the artist’s past or present wheelhouse? I ordered a commission from a great artist, Howard Chaykin, but he really had no affinity for supernatural type characters. It shows in the product (I do buy his published pages, by the way). If this artist means that much to you, take a plane trip and go. Or, blow $800 and pick up something you can find now on CAT. 

The commissions which have come up the best for me are where I have researched an artist’s styles in advance of a show, or even flipped through their work at a show, and compared their styles (some artists have several) to what I have in mind. Since I have a fairly large pile of Phantom Stranger art, I try to whip up their enthusiasm, or spirit of competitiveness, by showing them some on my cellphone. And please, look at younger artists just getting going. They will be trying hard to please, and you may get a real bargain. 

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