Commissioning a portrait is an exciting opportunity to have an original fine art portrait created just for you.
Drawn from your photographs
Commissioned portraits are always drawn from photographs, most typically provided by the client. Digital photographs can be emailed to me. If you have physical photographs they can either be scanned or photographed and then emailed across. Alternatively you can post the photographs to me and I will safely return them with the finished portrait.
The best photographs are in focus and capture something of the subject’s personality. As I work to a high level of realism, the more detail that can be seen in the reference image, the more I can put into the portrait. I appreciate that sometimes recent or sharp photographs are not available. I will always work closely with a client to achieve the best I can from what they have.
The most popular size of commissioned portrait is 21 x 30cm (A4) though I will work larger smaller as desired. Due to the highly detailed nature of my work, there is a limit to how many subjects I can place on one page. Multiple subjects can be drawn together from separate photographs in one portrait.
The composition of the artwork will be discussed and agreed in advance, and if required, sketches provided to help with planning the layout.
Choosing a medium
The medium is what the portrait is drawn in. I work with pencil, coloured pencil and pastel for my fine art portraits, and charcoal for commissioned sketches. You may have a preference for one medium or another, and if not then I will happily advise and discuss the different qualities of each with you.
It can be helpful to browse my gallery. There you can click on any image and learn which medium it is drawn in. Further information about my charcoal sketches can be found in the Charcoal Dog Sketches for Charity post.
Also worth noting is that there are different colours of paper available, so you could have a white pencil drawing on black paper, or coloured pencil on a toned paper. The same goes for pastel, with more choices of background paper colours. Alternatively I can include a drawn background if desired, and this will be quoted for in addition to the standard price for the portrait size.
The process itself is straight forward. Once the composition, medium etc is decided upon I will start drawing the picture and scan the artwork at regular intervals. I like to email these to the client so that they can see the picture develop, and also give any feedback along the way. As they know the subject best of all, it is of course imperative that they see them in what I am drawing.
How long does is take to draw a portrait? This is the most commonly asked question of all. There is no easy answer as every picture differs depending on the medium and its complexity. I would say that typically I will spend anywhere between 20 and 60 hours on one artwork.
Timescales for commissions are also dependant on my workload, so I highly recommend starting the process well in advance of any special date you have in mind, if it is to be a gift.
Fine art prints or cards of your portrait
Once a portrait is completed I have it professionally scanned, and I keep a print and digital file for my records. With this high resolution scan you have the option to have prints or greetings cards made of your portrait. These can be a great way to share the portrait with family and friends.
Protecting and framing your portrait
My commissioned portraits are mounted and then wrapped with biodegradable cellophane so that they are presentation ready. I recommend having your portait professionally framed, though you can purchase frames off the shelf in many high street stores. I offer a framing service if you would rather receive your portrait ready to hang.
Deposit and payment
To confirm a commission, and to hold your place in the waiting list, a non-refundable deposit of 20% of the quoted price is required. Upon completion of the portrait and once final approval is given by the client, the balance is due. Once payment received the artwork will be dispatched.
Delivery of artwork.
Portraits are securely packaged and sent by a fully tracked courier service, requiring a signature on receipt. Within the UK this is next day delivery.
Previously commissioned portraits
You can read more about three very different commissions in these Sketchbook posts: Mikey, a Poodle drawn in pastel, Murad, a very special portrait in coloured pencil, and Thinle, a Tibetan mountain guide.