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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
Add a Comment:
 
: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.
Reply
: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  Professional Traditional Artist
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.
Reply
: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?
Reply
: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...
Reply
: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...
Reply
: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.
Reply
: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.
Reply
: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.
Reply
: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.
Reply
:iconredrodent:
RedRodent Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2007   Digital Artist
You did a great job here. It's really sad that they didn't stick to their bargain! Shameful. Sorry you didn't get your money's worth!
Reply
:iconookani-kun:
Ookani-Kun Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
This is why I will never be a professional artist. I'm so sorry that happened to you! You're such a brilliant artist too! And, a CHURCH for goodness sake!

Still, what wonderful lil' dudes these are. Go you for not letting them get ya down! <3
Reply
:iconphilho:
philho Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Superb characters, would fit well (slightly simplified) in a cartoon.
I am not a professional artist, but I have the same kind of naivety, so I would loose lot of money over such deals!
Beside you giving away these designs, the positive side of the story is that you learned a lot on the client relation side and how to make a solid deal... =)
Reply
:iconleotheyardiechick:
leotheyardiechick Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2007  Professional Traditional Artist
It's folks like those who give both Christianity and humanity a bad name. I haven't been ripped on on such a large scale, but being taken advantage of still bites. Sorry that you got such a raw deal. :hug:
Reply
:iconnick-logic:
Nick-Logic Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2007   Photographer
Been there, done that. The whole contract thing is something i do with EVERYONE now cause of getting screwed like this.

Sorry man, it happens.
Reply
:iconmarklungo:
marklungo Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2007
I forgot to mention: as others have said, these are indeed wonderful designs! I hope you can do something with them.
Reply
:iconshingworks:
shingworks Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
Well I guess with a name like "no shame" you should have seen it coming! haha, anyways, they're awesome characters nonetheless.
Reply
:iconverdokai:
Verdokai Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2007
I love these designs, and i want to try colour them... so I'll notify you when I've done it.

Stupid church... they shouldn't be allowed to do that. And not because they're the church, but because that's no way to treat people >.<
Reply
:iconkozispoon:
kozispoon Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2007  Student General Artist
Ah human fallibility. It's people like this that make churches look bad :( Jerks. I know how much it sucks to work on a commision with someone you think you can trust and they totally shaft you.

For what its worth, I think these characters are really great. They don't look too ';preachy' and have a nice appealing edge to them. A far cry from the cookie cutter church goer. ;)
Reply
:iconwaydre:
waydre Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2007  Professional Filmographer
tania, wow, these are great designs!
i'm really sorry to hear about this horror story! i too have suffered the same, and i have basically sworn off freelancing as well. i only take small requests, from known sources, and according to MY terms! i'm mainly focusing on my own projects, and i work a regular, NON-atristic job, to save my energy for my art...i wish you well on your own stuff, and know that you're not alone!!!
:floating: (BTW- not all Christians are bad!)
Reply
:iconteri-dehvis:
teri-dehvis Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2007
Okay, I'm not sure if it's been said yet or not, but... it need be said...

"Have they No-Shame."
Reply
:iconmadamenanas:
madamenanas Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007  Professional General Artist
I've been through this before...'cept I've never been paid...so hopefully the people that these deals have fallen through with aren't selling my crap!

But these characters aren't only great...they're adorable!!
Reply
:iconlordenrique:
LordEnrique Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007
Well, that's the church for you!

How about you make a story about them... like They're a group of hip, young, urban, vampyre slayers that have to ballance their lives with fighting the foces of the undead.
Reply
:iconcooley:
cooley Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
These are great character designs. Everyone matches but exhibits a unique personality.
Reply
:iconrif-:
rif- Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007
Unfortunately, I have no doubt that a Church could do something like that. One of my friends' dad is a Clergyman and...I wouldn't put it past even him. It's shameful and sad to see happen to people such as yourself :heart:
Reply
:iconmarybellamy:
MaryBellamy Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007  Professional General Artist
You know I'm not surprised. Most churches or charity type places like to try to get stuff for far cheaper than it's going rate. I'd done one gig where I charge 1/12 th the market value for stuff and the guy messed me over like you. But live and learn. In my case the guy pisses everyone around him off so much the project got killed anyway. ;) But regardless your art is nicely done anyway.
Reply
:iconcaribbeanmouse:
CaribbeanMouse Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
I am .so. sorry. A church for pity's sake! Its not a wonder people hate Christians so much.

Those people ought to be shot...its amazing how some charity-like businesses try to use the guilt factor and 'not enough funds' blah blah blah...gah.
Reply
:iconultranic-comics:
ultranic-comics Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007
I dont think screwing free lance artists out of their money is why people hate Christians.
Reply
:iconcaribbeanmouse:
CaribbeanMouse Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
No, but stupid things that people who are Christian/claim to be Christian do, and then people generalize...its how most stereotypes happen, I guess. ^.^;
Reply
:iconmarklungo:
marklungo Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007
They should change their name to "Shameless Online"... :-( At least you got to warn the internet about these people before they victimize somebody else. :-)
Reply
:iconmrcontroversial:
mrcontroversial Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
That's some BS right there. Sorry it went down like that. I know I would definitely be pissed.
Reply
:iconultranic-comics:
ultranic-comics Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007
Ill take the black guy
Reply
:iconanimator:
animator Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
That's exactly what your mom said. *runs away fast!*
Reply
:iconultranic-comics:
ultranic-comics Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007
;__;
Reply
:iconcatgir:
catgir Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007  Professional General Artist
I had a problem with a freelance job before. I signed a contract to get paid by them after the job was done. They looked at my example that I wasto draw for them and they loved it. Once they told me to color them, they kept saying the colors weren't right or they should be darker/lighter. Well the deadline was up I sent them what they asked for..and after that...they stopped contacting me. I called them I emailed them asking if it was good or not, but no one told me anything. They didn't pay me the $100 they promised me really. I dunno even if they used the characters since they wouldn't tell me. So I know how you feel. Though I even had a contract..the dang college didn't help.
Reply
:icondoodley:
Doodley Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007
Wow. First time I saw someone got swindled by a church organization.
Wait, so you usually get your clients to sign a contract?
How much do they pay for copyright?
Reply
:iconanimator:
animator Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
Copyright is usually part of the bundle deal - I charge a higher flat rate so that the client has full ownership (as opposed to a system I'm involved in with a current client, where he pays me a lower-than-usual rate and leases the images I create for three years, after which the copyright reverts back to me. I'm also getting royalties in that system.)
Reply
:icondoodley:
Doodley Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007
Neat! That's a cool system.
Too bad I can't do that. I'm not a professional. :(
Reply
:iconben-ben:
ben-ben Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007   Filmographer
tis a horrible time we live in :/

people take other people for granted just because they be little us :/
Reply
:icondark-avenger-001:
Dark-Avenger-001 Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007
:worship:
Reply
:icont-dev:
T-Dev Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007
Oooh just think of the fun you can have now. You own the copyright which means if they use them or even something similar then you can actually have fun if you could get a lawyer. Suing a church sure sounds like a good time to me. :p
Least you have learned an important lesson, never work for a church. They will always try to screw you over.
Reply
:iconthornwolf:
thornwolf Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007
or how about "always get everything in writing not matter who it is"? I think that's a much better lesson than making harsh generalizations.

I agree she should take the designs and run with them though.
Reply
:iconpariahsdream:
pariahsdream Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007
....and what exactly are they going to do with those crosses, whack people upside the head with them? O_o Honestly. >;P I'm sorry things worked out so poorly, especially with people who ought to know better.
Reply
:iconsepsangel:
SepsAngel Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007
That sucks. ¬_¬
(Ehmm.. not the artwork, the story behind it)
But the characters look damn cool. Your works are always so stylish.
I'm your fan. :clap:
Reply
:iconrodrev:
rodrev Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm a Christian, but what I hear here is not what a Christian should be like. I realy feel sad for your case and this church seems to think more of money then anything else.

Great drawings and great work though, I loved them!
Reply
:iconthornwolf:
thornwolf Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007
my god....that just..sickens me that they would do that to you. A church of all people. They're certainly not winning people over with that one.

I hate this whole "labor of love" and "we're a church do everything for us for free" sentiment that seems to be orbiting around these folks. Bullshit!

I cant believe they told you off like that. Shit. I wanna take these pics and plaster em on my own damn shirts just to spite them.

For what its worth they're well drawn. The concept is weird, but you did a damn fine job.
Reply
:iconmarybellamy:
MaryBellamy Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007  Professional General Artist
Actually that happens a lot more than you'd think with the do it for free we're a church/charity deal. >_< I've gone through that before.
Reply
:iconanimator:
animator Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2007  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, Nico. :) Ugh, I was SO MAD about this at the time. Sick-to-the-stomach mad. I hate feeling that powerless; I hate the idea that people look at me and think "oh she's just a cute little girl all the way out in Australia, we can do whatever the hell we want to her". Oh how I long for the day when I can afford my own lawyer.

*grin* They kept telling me to make the crosses bigger... and bigger... and bigger... I had these visions of the characters stumbling along Jesus-style under these massive tree-trunk crosses. Tasteless, I know. ^_^
Reply
:iconjesskat-art:
JessKat-art Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The sad thing is a lot of rappers and gangstas (or people who'd like to believe they are either) carry around crosses that are exactly that huge. Maybe you should have made them bling-bling crosses, then sit back and watch how many people flame the church for stereotyping. ;)
Reply
:iconthornwolf:
thornwolf Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2007
that would be awesome actually, and i bet they would sell.
Reply
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