HOW TO COMMISSION A PORTRAIT
As an experienced pet portrait artist I know how simple and enjoyable the commissioning process is, however I also know that it can seem daunting to a potential client! Below you'll find an overview of the process of ordering a pet portrait of your own, from our initial contact to it's arrival at your home.
If you have any questions, you can contact me at any time at , or leave me a message on the contact page and I'll be in touch with you soon! I also have a dedicated FAQ page for some quick answers to commonly asked questions.
THE COMMISSIONING PROCESS
1. Get in Touch
To start things off, get in touch via email () or by using the contact form. It's nice to have a bit of a chat and hear all about you and the portrait subject(s)! Each pet is uniquely loved and has a unique story that their portrait will symbolize. I love hearing all about what they mean to you.
2. We'll discuss the details
We'll then start sorting out the details of the commission- we'll talk about your ideas, the photo reference, the size, any special requests, whether the portrait is needed by a specific date, as well as the time-frame and approximate start date of the commission (based on the length of my commissions list). *Should you need your portrait by a certain date, please mention it when ordering so that I can let you know if it would be possible.
3. We'll choose the photo reference
Good photo reference is crucial to a successful portrait. I'll look at your photos and and select those that I will be able to use. I always ask for them to be sent via email. I work from a single sharp, digital photograph, but like to have a few more to reference if necessary. When emailing photographs, please send the photos at their original size. I unfortunately won't be able to work from photos that aren't sharp, as I can only draw the details that I can see and need to be able to zoom in on these. Photos taken outdoors in natural light with no harsh shadows (not in direct sunlight), work best.
4. We'll establish the design
For portraits of more than one pet, or montages, we'll establish the design together before any work starts. I use your photos to create a mock-up on Photoshop to the same aspect ratio as the paper size you chose. It's worthwhile spending the time to make sure everything is just right. I'll ask you to look at different design options for you to decide on the placement/ order of the pets, as well as check details like their relative size, etc.
3. 50% Deposit
A 50% deposit confirms the commission and saves your space on my list. The balance is payable once you've approved the photos of the completed portrait. I will send you a secure payment link via Paypal. (You do not need to hold a Paypal account).
Once I'm able to start, I will get in touch to let you know the good news! The time it takes to complete a portrait differs according to the size and the number of subjects, but I will be able to give you a good estimate at this stage.
I start by cutting the portrait's paper size from large sheets of fine Italian paper from Fabriano, which is extemely high quality, heavyweight, acid-free paper, ensuring your portrait will never fade or discolour and will last a lifetime. I pair it with Faber-Castell's 9000 range of pencils, in grades 2B-8B. Using professional-grade materials really does make a big difference and I wouldn't be without them.
Before putting pencil to paper I also like to first spend some time studying your pet(s) from the photo reference you've provided, paying close attention to the little things that makes your pet(s) unique. No two from the same breed are ever alike- there are endless variations. An absolute accurate likeness is very important to me, so I ensure that I study the reference well before starting.
6. Approval/ Adjustment stage
Once completed, I will ask you to look at a few photographs of the completed portrait in order to let me know whether you would like any alterations to be made. I see this as an important step in the creation process as you know your pet so well, and it always results in a better portrait!
7. Balance payable
Once you've approved of the portrait, you will receive a secure link via Paypal to pay the remaining balance.
Your drawing is mounted/ matted for it's protection and for a nice presentation when you receive it. This is only temporary, but means that you can handle the drawing without fear of damage until it can be handed to a framer. This service is included in the cost of the portrait. I order the mount(s) to be made in advance, so there is no time delay.
9. Your portrait goes home!
Your portrait is packaged securely for its journey home. Shipping costs are included in the cost of the portrait. I'm currently using FedEx for international orders and portraits typically arrive within a week, if not within a few days. You will be supplied with a link to track your portrait's delivery.
I follow the tracking updates of your package closely until it arrives. I love it when my clients send me photos of themselves or their pets (or both!) with the portrait, or of it framed in-situ. It always makes my day! If the portrait was commissioned as a gift, I also love hearing how the recipient reacted!
I hope that you now have a good idea of how the commissioning works. If you are interested in a pet portrait, or if you have any questions, you can contact me at any time at . You can also leave me a message on the contact page and I'll be in touch with you soon!.