How to Commission a Portrait

I specialist in portraits of pets and people that capture how the person (or pet) is as well as what they look like. A great portrait is about emotion and that comes from good communication.

With that in mind, here are the steps to commissioning a portrait from me.

Step One – questions

Please get in touch to ask any initial questions you have. It’s worth spending some time discussing what you’d like from the portrait, and gaining some clarity about cost and about timescales. (Further details about prices are below. You will usually need to allow several weeks for me to complete your portrait but if you have a deadline it’s worth checking with me to see what I can do.)

Step Two – selecting the reference photograph

Email me some photos of the subject. If you’re able to send me several photos that really helps me get a good idea of the subject and thereby produce a better drawing. We will have a discussion by email about which photo will produce the best portrait.

I need good quality, high resolution and close-up photographs. They need to be the original photos (e.g. not taken from Instagram) and, of course, they either need to be yours or you need to have permission to use them.

The process of selecting the best reference photo can sometimes take some time but it’s worth it.

Once we’ve agreed on the photo I’ll use, we’ll agree a price (see below) and a timeframe. If you’re happy with all that, you pay a 20% deposit.

Step Three – drawing

I don’t usually share progress pictures when I’m working on a commission as with most drawings there tends to be a period when, frankly, they look worryingly poor and I wouldn’t want you to start to panic. It all comes together at the end!

When I’m reasonably happy with the drawing I’ll send you a picture of it so you can give me your feedback. You know the subject much better than me and so I welcome any comments you have about the drawing. I’ll make any adjustments you suggest and we’ll work together until you’re completely happy with it.

Step Four – shipping

I’ll then send you an invoice for the balance and once that’s paid, ship your portrait to you. Before shipping, portraits are treated with a fixative to reduce the risk of the graphite smudging. The picture is then put in a cellophane wrapper and protected by stiff cardboard from and back.

Framing

Even though the graphite has been fixed, pencil drawings are still delicate and should be framed, ideally with a mount so that the picture does not touch the glass. I can give you advice about this.

It is best if you frame the picture yourself because the additional postage cost is generally not worth it – I have to charge you to have a frame delivered to me, and then charge you a significant amount more (compared to sending an unframed picture) to ship the framed picture to you. However, if you would like me to frame the picture for you please discuss this with me in step one so we can be clear about cost.

Prices

Base prices

A4 single subject (one person or pet) £150
A4 double subject £225
A3 single subject £200
A3 double subject £300
A3 triple subject £350

The base price includes shipping to the UK. Shipping overseas is an additional £10 (A4) or £20 (A3).

These prices assume a simple or blank background. A detailed background usually counts as an extra ‘subject’ but we can discuss when deciding on the photo I will use.

If you have any questions or would like to begin discussing commissioning a portrait please get in touch with me.