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Artist disappeared - what to do?


Chocolate horse delicacy
I'm looking for some advice on how to handle a situation with an artist I have commissioned.

I commissioned the artist several months ago and paid immediately. We had some good communication, and then the artist went silent for a couple of weeks, but then returned and gave me a sketch to approve.

I received the sketch more than three months ago, and since then I have not heard a thing. I sent the artist a message a month and a half ago, but it has not even been read. The artist hasn't uploaded anything either for several months, or shown any kind of activity on FA at all.

I won't try to get the money back through Paypal, or post on Artists Beware, because I don't believe that the artist had any bad intentions when accepting the commission. Instead I think that something unfortunate has happened in their life.

My dilemma comes from selfish reasons. The sketch I received was amazing, and it bothers me to not have it finished. If the artist never comes back to FA, I think it would be acceptable of me to commission someone else to finish it for me. Or do anyone think that this would be disrespectful to the original artist, as we did not have any agreements about such?

And how would I even go about commissioning an artist to finish someone else's sketch? Couldn't it be considered rude to even ask? And would it be okay to commission more than one artist, if I'm not happy with the work done by the first artit to complete it?

I really don't know how to handle this, and I don't want to insult anyone or put them in an awkward position :oops:


Woof? Woof
If there is zero activity/contact for weeks, something most likely have happened, making them unable to get back to you.

My advice would be give it some more time. Half a year at most.

If the artist doesn't show up after half a year, ask someone else to finish the piece for you. It's not that uncommon to have a different artist finish another artist's piece, although for some it could be considered rude. Would have to actually ask the person first if they are okay with it.


Well-Known Member
That's unfortunate :( I hope the artist is okay. I agree with Yakamaru for you to wait more.

However legally speaking you don't own the copyrights of the sketch, the artist do (except if the artist terms of use specify that he let go of his rights which is usually not the case). So you can't ask any update on it without the artist authorization. If you get the authorization, keep a proof of it to show to the new artist you'll ask to finish the piece (a screenshot of the message of the original artist can be a proof). So if the artist don't answer, you can't do anything with the sketch (except using it as a reference for a future arts, saying you want a similar pose, for example. Note that tracing is considered a violation of copyrights too).

Hope that helps clarifying things a little for you!


aka Cutter Cat
Yes. You need to pursue this before it gets any older. I am sure the artist will understand, and if they get angry, they were probably trying to scam you in the first place. I do believe something might have happened to them, or their computer system.


train hopping paint cryptid
I'd request a refund, but if you don't want to do that... I don't know about your money! Maybe something did happen. I know I've fallen off the face of the earth before (though admittedly never mid-comission.) It does sound like something may have happened. Have they updated ANY of their social medias?

As for the sketch.... that answer will kind of depend on each artist you ask. As an artist, I personally would never accept someone else's sketch to finish without the original artist's permission because I didn't create it to begin with. It's someone else's intellectual property and work. If you like the concept though, you could always present the sketch to another artist as inspiration or reference for the type of things you like. I'd say just keep checking back on the original artist, pursue your money if you so desire, and hire another artist to do something else that you might also fall in love with.


Always ill as hell
I would recommend maybe writing at the Artist's Beware site BUT label it as 'Lost Contact,' because I believe there might be a possibility of other clients over there that have commissioned the artist also. And, they might have an idea or know what is going on with them to let you know. Also, is the artist ONLY on FA or is there any other art site that they also use that you could try and contact also?

Honestly, I know you don't want to send in a chargeback but... Well, it wouldn't hurt to just give them a poke and tell them that there is a possibility of you doing a chargeback if you don't hear from them from X amount of days (because you know, 180 days is the max you are allowed to request a refund from them) despite there is no activity. Because it is your money and if you aren't getting the produce delivered on time I would be concerned...

As for your other questions, honestly I would feel a little awkward if I have to finish another artist's work if you wanted it in that EXACT art style and such because sometimes there is a chance the style and feeling of the drawn illustration/character wouldn't match and could change a lot. The most if that happened, I would have to ask if it's okay to REDRAW the whole thing ans use the sketch as a reference point, as well as ask if the original artist is okay with using their drawn concept to draw it out myself.
Hi! Im a bit tardy to the party but I would suggest doing a chargeback but then also sending the price of the sketch back to the artist. Although they did not finish your image they did do some work for you which should be compensated imo.


50% metal, 45% Feathers, 5% Owl
If they dropped off the face of the earth, but have otherwise been quite open to communication and seemed to be a active artist, then its unlikely they scammed, so I agree with your choice, though I would try to get a refund.

As far as the sketch, for ethical reasons, such as copyright, using someone elses sketch without their permission is a no, no. Best thing you could do if you want to use that sketch is ask the next artist you commission to use it as a reference for what you want.


Chocolate horse delicacy
Thank you all for taking the time to respond :)

I will not use the sketch for anything. Reading these responses made me realize how many potential issues there could be. As great as I think the sketch is, I don't want to risk any issues, and it probably wouldn't feel right to me anyway.

I still haven't heard from the artist, and I don't have any other means of contacting them. While a part of me wants to do a chargeback, I'm still not going to do that. I would feel bad, because I seriously think that something unfortunate has happened to the artist. I will instead keep my fingers crossed and hope that they will be well and will return to FA one day, so they can finish my commission.