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Submitted on
June 25, 2007
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Free characters for all by animator Free characters for all by animator
Characters (c) Tania Walker 2007. Distribute freely!

There's a sad tale of woe behind these ones! I'd been working as a freelance illustrator for some time when I did these, and this particular job - unfinished, as you can see - was what eventually made me decide I didn't want to freelance forever. At least not full-time.

The client was a Christian church starting up a website called "No Shame Online". They wanted a cast of urban Christian characters designed for the front of a line of t-shirts they intended to offer for sale through the site. I offered my services at my usual price and they were very excited by my portfolio, but said that as a church they didn't have the funds to afford me. As they were a charity, I offered them a large discount - almost half my going rate.

All went well for a while and I got approval to take the first four designs (seen above) to cleanup point, after which I would have begun coloring. At that point the fellow I'd been communicating with brought his business partners into the process and suddenly they declared that the work I was doing wasn't good enough, wasn't in the right style (note that they'd all seen my portfolio before they hired me) and that they wanted the characters with full backgrounds interacting with other characters and elements.

I let them know that the price I'd quoted was for the job they'd originally laid out - which had no backgrounds, for example - and also that if they'd approved the designs and had me take them to cleanup point, but then changed their minds later, there'd be a surcharge because I had to start from scratch. That scenario is what written approvals are supposed to prevent.

The client decided to drop me from the project. Fool that I was, I hadn't used a contract in this particular case (I hadn't felt it was necessary with a church - more fool me!), and worse yet, I hadn't taken any payment up-front whatsoever.

I asked a half-payment per character for the work I'd done. After stalling for a month, they sent me half the total amount I'd requested, and more stalling when I politely asked after the rest. Finally I demanded the second half of my payment and the client told me, in short, to get stuffed and that I had no power to threaten him.

And again - idiot me - he was right. I had no lawyer. I didn't have a leg to stand on. I never got the second half of my payment for the time I spent designing these characters and I most assuredly never will.

So this is me working that little bit of bitterness out of my system once and for all. My clients did not pay for copyright over these designs, therefore I can do with them what I like. I'd like to give them to anyone who'd like to use them. Crop 'em up, use 'em as forum avatars, do what you will. And should the disorganised con-artists over at No-Shame Online ever get their act into gear and actually release some shirts: please don't give them any money. You never know who else might have been buggered over for the designs on those shirts.

Booyah. I may not have my money but the karmic balance is restored. :D
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:iconpesterthefly:
Pesterthefly Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2010
Good job on the characters. It would be cool to see them in a animated movie and\or series.
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:iconsodano:
Sodano Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2009
Nice characters, the poses are great :)
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:iconblackroseangel:
BlackRoseAngel Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2009
lol, You ALWAYS draw up a contract with a church!!!! The committees are ruthless! I've done some stuff for my church before, but I do it for free so I don't have to worry about it. Most non- profit organizations are difficult to work with though. Very tight accountants.
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:iconchaucolai:
chaucolai Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Is it just me, or do those characters remind you of Class of 3000 (or something like that) on Disney Channel New Zealand? Random thought :D


But, yes. A church. Hahah, have "faith", shall we?
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:iconshadowangel712:
Shadowangel712 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2008
Rule Number One:

Neva Eva Eve Eva commission for a church. I learned my lesson for this too, and lucky for you, you didn't have to paint three backdrops that covered up the entire floor of your living room. I learned my lesson, and the fact that even though a relative asked me to do this, I still won't do it again unless I have a contract for them to sign.

Some churches feel that if you are a 'member' of their community, that you should offer up your services for free, because you are 'doing the lord's work' and that 'God will bless you...'

A bunch up waste bullcrap and the fact that they can get away with this because their a church infuriates me. Sorry for the long rant, but my heart hurts for others when they have to endure this same issue of being taken advantage of...
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:icongoblinqueeen:
GoblinQueeen Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2007
Lol, sounds like this was very therapeutic for you ;) They are great designs and I'm glad you're finding use for them. Oddly enough, I got semi-burned by a church group on a project, too...
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:iconseraiden:
Seraiden Featured By Owner Nov 16, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Sorry if this offends anybody.. but from what I've seen in my life, many church goers are jerks (I know a guy who's grandpa was a well respected member of a church, but when he brought some black kids to go to the church they basically kicked him out)
Then again.. worshiping a book that treats women as property, has the rape thereof, and has god telling his people when invading places to kill any pregnant women, male children and non virgins, only to keep the female virgins as spoils for the men.. yeah <.<
Sorry, rant over.
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:iconjanus-hero-of-winds:
Janus-Hero-of-Winds Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2007   Writer
Looks like these guys could be a bunch of street/ghetto vampire hunters too.
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:iconjaymanney4life:
JayManney4Life Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
Heh, one wouldn't think it, but church folk, especially the ones in charge, can really jerk you around, especially when it comes to the politics involved. I oughta know, I spent nearly twelve years of my life in a church school, and let me tell you, they can be quite difficult to work with. So kudos to you for sticking it to them in the karma department, and my condolences for having the deal go sour on you.
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:iconchemicalalia:
ChemicalAlia Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
These guys look great. I especially like how well their poses and gestures give a sense of their personalities. Though I kind of wish the background of the second guy matched the others, it confused me a little at first.
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