So Gargon created this little thing that helps facilitate artists picking up commissions from people looking to commission. I used the “job posting” feature to post an ad for some work for 059Pro, and this is kind of the open feedback for that process after a successful transaction.
I guess first of all, a little about my background regarding art commissions. I’m pretty n00b at it, in that I have done it before and talked to artists about it to get their takes, but never in a very high-engagement kind of way. I’ve browsed DeviantArt’s forums a few times looking at want ads and slots. I’ve bought commission sketches at cons from AA-types. I’ve bought commission sketches from Mangagamer artists, LOL. And the list goes on. So while it seems like I’ve done a lot of this kind of thing, this is the first time I put down real money to have someone draw out something to spec. It’s for a specific project, and not just to hang on a wall somewhere (well, it might end up happening anyway).
So here is the thing, if you have a very clear idea of what you want to draw, and can express clearly how to do so, then the whole commission process should go smoothly, assuming both artist and client are professional at their interaction or whatever that is conducive to a good exchange of info and money.
In that sense, Artist & Client, the platform, takes care of the money part. That’s the number one add. For clients, you have to pre-pay A&C and it holds the money in escrow. Then the artist begins the work. It provides this chat-like interface (a little like SMS-type chat mobile apps in fact) where you message the artist and the artist messages you. There’s a file attachment ability so you can send images this way. During the commission process. any images the artist uploads, the artist will have the option to watermark it so it has these hex-shape lines in the foreground.
I originally was going to just detail a list of bugs and user interface issues and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org but I figured I should just put it all in a blog post.
First of all, the chat boxes is kind of too limited. I am TL;DR, as you may know, so too often it causes situations where I have to juggle multiple vertical scroll bars. I’m not sure what the best solution to this problem is. Of course, I was also doing a commission that is quite complex, so I do need that extra word count.
Second, the way it handle URLs is just lame. A&C uses a list of codes that people who mark up wikis and forum codes may be familiar with it. But it is a little clunky for people who are not. At the least, it should auto-parse plainly pasted URL as is. It also doesn’t handle single lines very well, and given the horizontal UI where on the left is user name, timestamp, and text and on the right is the input text box, you can exceed the horizontal lengths on image links very easily both in the text box and in the user text. So the tech solution to this is auto-recognize http links, reformat into shortened embed links (shortened in terms of text, not like URL shortening).
Third, the URL color is too close to plain text color. I think my artist missed at least one link because of this. Well, this is also partly because that person may not have used A&C much and encountered people who post links by embedding it with single-word text representation (eg., click here).
Those to me are important issues. If we’re going to use A&C as the primary channel to communicate it needs to not have these bugs. Maybe a tutorial could help, I don’t know.
There are then the asks, enhancements, I would recommend.
First, a tutorial would go a long way before putting in my money in a job, LOL. I mean, maybe there is something to that extent for job postings but I didn’t see any.
Second, the interface where you work with the artist need to be better… I guess if link handling is better then it would go a long way. Not sure what you would do in that case though.
In general, I have a positive impression of the overall service. There are some patches where it feels rough and could be A-B tested better, but it gets the job done. I can’t speak much about the community, since it’s kind of hard to tap into that besides looking at all the slots posted. I remember contacting one artist and didn’t get a response, and it generally is kind of a hassle to go through all the listing as unguided search is tough for someone like me. It’s not like I always know what I want from an artist nor do all listing are tagged with the right words. So posting a job seems like the way to go if you are looking for something specific.