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.