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Big difficulties with a seller during a gig, I need an advice

The situation is - I needed a illustrator for my webpage - it was a rather specific art-style, so I picked the illustrator carefully looking at the portfolio and pricing.
The seller I found was rather cheap and had pretty good art-works to show.
I needed two versions of one illustration with differences in character placement and lighting.

Initial pricing was 200$ for both, stating that we can do revisions at early line art and coloring. I provided a very detailed art-direction file and we started the gig. The first results been very high quality, so I said that the seller will get a large tip top - I thought it was a good to keep things fair and the seller motivated.
When it came down to composition - 3 revision been required since the seller didnt follow initial art-direction notes. To settle on colors and placement of objects we needed several updates. After following my art direction and abandoning some of his own seller delivered a sketch that was up to my expectations.
After that seller asked for extension - 3 days. After this 3 days seller failed to deliver and asked for additional extensions asking for more money to finish the gig. We doubled the initial pay to 400$ stating that the price includes more polish and possible art-direction. After a week first half was mostly finished (some missed art-direction notes again, some sloppy work that needed to be revisited and some coloring errors. In the end two revisions with very detailed art directions note have been needed).
After the second week are eady to move to the second recolored scene.
I ask the seller for bit time to see which colorways look the best - the seller doesnt wait and provide me with two colorways examples that are simply not working. I provide him a very detailed example of a colorway we will have to go with with few details about how we set up the composition.
The seller ask for another 200$ to finish the project - because it takes more time and he is working hard some usual talk about how low the pay is some blatant lies about that we planned only two revisions initially and so on.

At this point I feel like the seller is trying to milk me out of money, since he knows that the project was a big time investment at this point for both of us and I will not want to back off. We settled on finilizing the project first and talking about additional pay as a tip after we see how things turn out. He is obviously not satisfied with the outcome of the negotiation but promised to give another update later this day with the new colorway I proposed - he didnt gave the update.

The communication was bad, many missed deadlines and false promises, asking for more money for the second time now trying to tripple the initial pay justifying it with large amout of art direction, despite of us settling on undifined amount of revisions at the early stages of each illustration. And so on, I only kept working with the seller because of the quality of his work - he is indeed talented.
at this point I am not sure how to finilize the project with him though, it was very time consuming for me, I still dont have the source files for the first part of the gig and he insists to give me the files at the end of the gig, despite of the first part being finished for days now.

I really dont know if I am not running into a classic blackmail scenario and really would appreciate some advice. At this point I payed 420$ for a gig that was initially priced at 200$ as a custom offer and seller keeps asking for more money, subtlely saying that otherwise the quality of endresult may suffer. I dont want to abort the gig since big amount of work has been finished and I invested a lot of time in art direction - its like 10 pages of text if not more at this point, with my own sketches & ideas that he followed and executed.

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Firstly, you should never have paid him for more than the original price of the order. How many revisions did you order?

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We havent settled on amount revisions. All we said that there will be lots of room for revisions in initial coloring and line art stages. It was made clear that we will have to work on composition together before we can finilize it. The initial art- direction file (4 pages) had the composition in it - the seller didnt manage to follow the first art direction completly, that was bsically the reason for additional art-direction that was needed.
That been 4 “revisions” (1 on characters, 2 on the composition, 1 on coloring) in the first week and another 3 “revisions” with minor changes to details and recycled elements in the second week.

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On the order page, it should show the amount of revisions you ordered. Like this:

Depending on how many you ordered, the seller is entitled to charge you extra.

It was a custom offer. The amount of revisions isnt stated anywhere but in the offer description - "Possibility to have revisions during the lineart stage and early coloring. "

Even so, it will still shows the amount of revisions. If you want me to help, you’ll have to tell me how many it says.

Sorry, I dont see it stated in our custom offer. If you buy something directly from his gig - it costs 120$ for highest package with two revisions. We are at 420$ with a custom offer with no specified amount of revisions at this point. It was stated from the very beginning that we will require a fair amount of coloborative work to get to the final stage. Even if we had a specified amount of revisions we agreed upon I dont see why the buyer has to pay on top for needed revisions if the seller doesnt follow the initial art-direction.

If there aren’t any revisions shown, it’s likely there aren’t any. Whilst I completely understand your point that the seller stated that they would give you revisions, without actually ordering them, you won’t be protected by Fiverr’s revision policy. Therefore – in theory – the seller can charge you more, should he decide to.

But by no means, does that make it ethical or fair. The trouble is, if you haven’t ordered revisions you have no right to demand them, even if the seller has spoken of delivering them. It’s up to you whether you keep pouring money into it, but if the seller isn’t delivering to your requirements, it is eligible to cancel. And – should you decide – you are able to cancel it seeing as the order is late.

Ye well this seem to be a good learning expierience. The problem is I dont want to abandon this work, and I am not sure about legal status - since in the end its my intellectual property with my ideas, sketches he used and so on. I dont want it to show up in his portfolio or used elsewhere. Guess Il end up paying more just to get out of this. Thanks for your expertise.

This was the moment when red flags should appear around your head and made you rethink about this.

If you asked something that was talked prior order and included in order he has no right to ask for more money.

Yeah but if you see talented work on a very specific art-style you tend to negotiate it - its not that easy to find a good illustrator, especially if large amount of work is already finished.

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I know it’s been a few days, but you said that those revisions were about already-stated requirements you placed that weren’t followed? I’ll admit ‘revisions’ is a… tricky term.

Personal opinion: If it’s an error that the Seller made, contrary to your guidelines, then there should be no extra charge. If it’s a change order, then yes, the Seller has the right to charge extra. If it’s a step that didn’t have clear instructions, then you need to be clear that you do not want the Seller to proceed without them. Sellers are put under a huge amount of pressure by the countdown deadline clock, which is one of the reasons we’re told not to start orders until we have everything we need to continue, but if we want to meet the deadline, sometimes we have to continue without instructions or we’re punished by the system.

I get that the Seller wants to be paid for his time. I get that you don’t want to pay for work that wasn’t what you requested. There seems to have been some miscommunication on both sides. No one is a mind-reader, especially in written communication. If you don’t state outright ‘please do not proceed with the next step, I will extend the deadline’ then I can see why the Seller continued without instructions.

As an option (prior to initial ordering), you can break down a large order into smaller steps. It does incur the small per-transaction fee, but it might also save you literal hundreds.

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