I recently took a job with a friend of a friend. I was guaranteed to work for the guy for one year after signing the contract with him. As a sign of good faith, he asked me to pick out a drawing tablet to use, stating he would reimburse me for the charges. I bought a tablet and worked on some of the concept art for the comic he wanted me to draw while we ironed out the contract. This was the agreement for me to begin work one month before the contract started.
Then, a few days short of a month later, the client came to my apartment unannounced at 9PM to check on my work. I wasn’t happy with his abrupt arrival, but I did agree to show him the concept art I had drawn for him.
Me: This is my first drawing of the dragon you wanted. I have never drawn something like this before, so I assume that you’ll have some critiques for me.
Client: Phew! We have a ways to go!
Me: Well, this’ll be a good start for the revisions. What don’t you like about it?
He proceeds to tell me that the dragon isn’t skinny enough, but besides that, it’s fine. The next day, I called my friend that set this whole thing up, and asked when we were signing the contract.
Friend: Well, I don’t think you should sign it.
Me: I just spent $400 on a tablet, and a whole month creating designs for him. Why shouldn’t I sign it?
Friend: Because he decided he doesn’t want to work with someone who is unprofessional.
Friend: He said that you didn’t got very offended when he said your dragon wasn’t right.
Me: I buy a $400 tablet that he said he would reimburse me for. I spent a month of my own time drawing concept art for him. He shows up announced at my home after dark demanding to see my work, and I’m the unprofessional one? Can I at least get my receipt back for the tablet? Maybe I can get my money back by returning the tablet.
Friend: Oh, he lost the receipt. Sorry, man.
Editor’s Note: Not to rub salt in the wound, but professionals rarely work without a contract.