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.