I'd like to be anonymous if any of these are used. Names/companies will not be shared.
Hired as an emergency artist for TCG art promos for their new set. They were paying $700 per card, but with their new straight to dvd movie they had reduced card prices to $300/pc. I was hired to do 3 promo cards. I read the contract ( it was finally given to me when the art was nearly complete), and they failed to reduce the original kill fee ..They paid that kill fee to the original artist, which supposedly ate their budget.. The ad paid me for the rest plus a tip out of their own pocket, which I did not expect. But even worse, because it was so far into production they FAILED to put my name on the cards, supposedly the card borders had already been done up and no one cared to look at them when a new artist was brought on..so the original artist that failed and got paid a good amount for nothing, and got credit on the cards(I completely redid the cards, their work was not used, nor had they come close to finishing) . This was for a big company.. This was a decade ago and really hurt my career, I didn't get to use them as folio pieces, and so had no big companies under my belt to look for more big work.. wtf. I also haven't had a company like that to work for since.
Same company, I did concept art for their movie, designed the main characters mounts, did coloring for the characters, clothing, etc. My name was supposed to be in the credits, it was not.
Different company. Mid size. Horrid scope creep with threat of no pay. Hard to fight when it is a foreign company. When 5 kids are agreed on for a page, and they demand 10-20 more and it kills the look of the page, it's horrible. Same company, over directing each page when the AD has no design skills, and now the pages aren't portfolio worthy but they're as happy as can be.
Different company. Did an art test for a game, they said they LOVED it, "if we were to redo the art this would be absolutely perfect!!". Jump ahead a year, they come back to me and want me to do the art for that game. All new art, they hated the style of the artist that failed. so I resubmitted the art they loved, with a slew of new designs. They were beyond rude and smashed it down saying it is nothing like the art they were firing the original artist over, even thought they said they hated that art and wanted a new style, I sent them the e-mail where they fawned over the art, and they stopped responding. They never paid for the art test. This is also a company with multiple people having to approve art, and everyone has their own idea of what it should be. Multiple ADs fighting over a look can make it a nightmare for everyone.
Client comes to me wanting a large memorial pet portrait. They give a down payment, they LOVE the art, I send them a low res finished scan, then they never pay. Months later I get an excuse that they are in jail, but I don't think you can e-mail from jail. I don't know, I kept the original, but it was a waste of time.
A long time ago I was hired for stamp art, they made me do a phone call, pressured me into doing the simple outlines for a few dollars each, I was in need and they were easy, so I did it. Then they say after the first ten, "I feel like you aren't putting any effort into these" which was insulting considering the price, and I was spending too much time on them, and they were far nicer than their other work, and each were of the same quality as the last. I requested that we re-negotiate the price to allow for more time to be spent on each, and I get a nasty phone call "I'm spending $500 on each of these to have a die made, my husband is a police officer, so you better not try anything on me".. Uh, without the art you would have nothing, someone can pay $500 a piece for die cuts, but no more than $3 a piece for the art? (I did not say that). So I dumped the whole project, and immediately picked up a far better job. Don't let people pressure you into doing something you don't want to do, I'm much better at saying NO now, even over the phone.
Another good one, game concept art. We agreed on style, poses, and character designs. I finish them, they love it, but they want all the poses changed as they changed their mind last minute. They threatened not to pay, and only gave an extra $100 to redraw everything, and they were pissed about that. I did it just to get it done and get the money I was owed, which was much more than $100. They did pay in the end, but man were they rude. They also said they hated the style after they paid me, when they were over the top excited about it for the couple months I was working on it, using the words "perfect, splendid, beautiful" over and over. They also forced me to do voice meetings when it was never agreed upon, and did not pay me for that time, they wasted a lot of time in the meetings talking about random things..Something that should have taken 5-10 minutes would take 2-3 hours and I would have to keep asking them to get back on subject. I hate voice meetings and phone calls, as there is no record of what was said. I can take notes, but can't hold things against them when there isn't literal proof.
How about when the art goes well, get paid well, but the client has 0 concept of marketing and tanks their kickstarter and everything else. So it's not a good portfolio piece.. They refused to build a website, or general page dedicated to the project (I built one for them for free, and they refused to use it). They had 0 following and did not pay for any ads, did not make any announcements, it was a book, being a new author they refused to share an excerpt from the book.. How are people supposed to judge how you write?! What if they backed it, get the book, and it's like a 6 year old wrote it? Kickstarter isn't a charity, people back what they want, you have to give them a true reason to want it. Not say "It's the best thing ever!" and share nothing about it..Also no discount for KS supporters, they wanted full price for everything, they were using it as a store.. I've stopped working with most indy authors, unless they have a decent size following to begin with, and some sort of track record. I've worked with several startups that never launched.. Many pieces in my past never got to see the light of day and are still under NDA, which is sad because some were pretty dang neat..Also If the piece isn't under NDA, and the project isn't even searchable why share? I feel like it makes me look bad. "Here is an awesome cd cover... For a band you can't even find.".
I could list more, that that is already a wall of text.
Stand up for yourselves people! Know when to say no, and when to back out if you've already said yes. Get everything in writing, use contracts, be weary of small indy projects, be weary of foreign projects as it's very hard to fight any issues.
Even big companies can screw you, but it seems to be less likely because they want to stay in business.
I honestly gave up looking for big work because of these things, I haven't submitted anything in about a decade..... I've only now started to build a portfolio to start looking for big work, it wrecked my confidence. I've been getting by with a couple long time good clients. One I've been working for, for 9 years. Just been living a simple life.