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What will it cost?

Oils:

My prices start at £250 for just a simple head and shoulders i.e. a plain background and simple clothes. We would negotiate the price from then on depending on what extra elements you would like to appear in the painting. Hands for example are notoriously difficult to paint and are therefore very time consuming, so that would bump up the price. Other elements which would effect the price would be, background, elaborate clothing, wording, animals or objects. Sometimes clients want special items or motifs which represent the sitter.

 

Digital:

For private commissions prices start at £85 for a single floating head only. The cost then goes up the more detailed you want the illustration to be. If you request a print, the size of the print also effects the final price.

Commercial usage/licence fees will be negotiated per project.

 

Pencil Sketch:

These prices start at £75 for a head and shoulders on A4 size paper. The final price will depend on size and complexity of the sketch

 

To get a better idea, have look at the images in the gallery, most of them indicate what the cost of a similar commission might be. All prices are for unframed artwork.

Special delivery is added on later.

How long will it take?

Each commission has a unique timescale. It depends on the complexity of the portrait and whether you want oil or digital.

Other factors can also affect this. If I have a query of you, I will need a fairly quick response so that there are no delays in completing the commission. Let me know your prefered means of communication. This can be phone, text, email, WhatsApp, Facebook etc.

N.B. If you have difficulty providing me with usuable images, too much tooing and froing with photos can stretch out the timescale by weeks. If the deadline is too tight, this may prevent me from meeting it.

 

Oil:

I need at least 2 months for an oil portrait. It could take less time, but this is to allow for discussion, the physical painting process, time to make any changes, adequate drying time of paint and varnish, and delivery.

Make sure you initially contact me in plenty of time if it needs to arrive for a special occasion.  Err on the side of caution; Make it months instead of weeks if possible.

 

Digital:

Depending on the complexity of your commission, a digital portrait can be completed within two weeks of receiving usable photos. However, I can often produce a piece in less time, so it's always worth checking.

N.B. The print and delivery process is out of my control and has been known to take in excess of 2 weeks. I do request a little patience at this stage. Should any delays occur, I will keep you informed.

 

 

What materials do you use?

I paint in oil on wood panel.

The tools I use for digital illustration are pencil, scanner, and Photoshop.

Do I sit for the portrait?

No, I prefer to work from photos as this is more convenient for both myself and the sitter, especially if you are on the other side of the country or in a different one completely.

Where possible, I prefer to take the photos myself to guarantee that they are good quality and fit my requirements, I am more than happy to travel to you for a photo session if you are content to pay the extra cost. But I realise that most budgets do not stretch to this, so I have included a list of pointers to hopefully assist you in supplying me with only the best quality photos. 

See 'What sort of photos do you need' below.

 

 

What sort of photos do you need?

It is preferable if you can take the photos especially for the portrait, paying close attention to the specifications below in order for the pose and the lighting to be just right. I know it isn’t always possible to take photos to a high standard with limited resources. You may not have access to a good camera, or your photography skills may not be good enough to produce the best results. Let me know if this will be a problem.

It may be that the portrait is to be a surprise for the sitter. If this is the case please be aware that I have rarely had a successful photograph taken ’secretly’! It is often better to actually let the sitter in on the secret in order to get decent photographs of them. That way the sitter can be assured of satisfaction with the final portrait as they have had control over how they look in the photos; they can do their hair or make-up, and choose their own clothing. But if this is not an option and it absolutely has to be a surprise or it is a posthumous portrait send me whatever photos you posess, and I will let you know if the images you send are usable.

Unfortunately, I have had to turn down commissions in the past when photos were not usable. That was a huge dissapointment for both myself and the clients. So please make sure you follow the below criteria list as closely as possible.

N.B. If the deadline is too tight, I may not be able to meet it if there is too much tooing and froing with photos as this can stretch out the timescale by weeks.

Essentials I need to create the portrait are:

1] Photos in digital form sent via email - If you are not able to send them digitally, please send copies of photos not originals as I can not guarantee their safe passage in the post or during the painting process.

2] Non smiling photos (although a twinkle in the eye is always welcome). No teeth showing please. Photos of the subject grinning can not be used for an oil portrait. (However, this is not so strict for a digital portrait if that is actually what you prefer!).

3] Images must be clear and in focus - This is vital for me to recreate an accurate likeness, especially around the eyes.  A tripod is essential for taking non blurry photos. No grainy photos either please.

4] Include close-ups of the face - Even if I am being asked to paint a full body portrait, it is essential that I have close-ups of the face as I need the details of the features to be clear.

5] High resolution images - If the actual photo is too small I won’t be able to enlarge it enough to see the detail. Please do not compress images in the email, they need to be as big as possible. If you are scanning a small photo please adjust the settings to scan at 300MB or higher.

6] Non flash photography - Photos taken with a flash will not translate well in a portrait. Flash flattens the features and this just doesn’t give the correct effect. Similarly, try and avoid photos in bright sun as this can cause harsh shadows.

7] No glasses if the portrait is to be historical - If the sitter normally wears glasses, these can often obscure part of the eye, as can glare on the lens. So I would need some images without so I can clearly see the eyes. I can incorporate historical style glasses in the portrait but please re-consider the historical theme if the sitter is known for wearing distinctive glasses, as this may not translate well.

8] Provide photos of the sitter in the actual pose which you wish them to be in the portrait. It is difficult for me to paint something I can not see. The photo must have everything I need. So if you wish the sitter to be holding an object in the painting, they need to be holding that object, or some sort of substitute item, in at least some of the photos.

9] More than one photo if possible. Please send a selection of images even if they are from the same sitting.

 

10] All people and object photographed with the same lighting conditions - If you want more than one person or an object in the painting the light source must be from the same direction. I can't just flip the photo of the person as often a mirror image of someone can make them look different.

 

Please do not send photos unless they fit the above criteria. I need to be fussy at this juncture in order to cut down on the overall time it takes to get started on your commission. I once spent a whole month with a client rejecting each and every photo they sent as they were all unusable. This is frustrating for both parties!

 

How do I get my photos to you?

I prefer you to email your photos to me rather than send them in the post. Please make sure they do not compress when you attach them. I need them as big as possible to work from.

If you only have actual photos, please scan these at a high resolution and email them. If you are not able to scan them, then yes pop them in the post with a stamped address envelope if you wish them returned. But please do not send the originals. I know how precious photos are and I can not guarantee their safety in the post.

 

 

Is the digital artwork supplied as a print or a digital file?

Either depending on your requirements.

Prints: I use an online print service and have your artwork printed out to the size you request. The final price of your commission depends on the size and quantity you require. Depending on their size, they will arrive either flat or in a cardboard tube.

I can arrange more prints at any time for you at an extra cost. Your digital image can also be printed onto canvas, mouse mats, t-shirts, cups, tote bags and many other things. Contact me for more information.

Digital Files: You can request the digital file if this is more convenient. This gives you the freedom to arrange your own unlimited prints at any time, or to use for digital projects.

N.B. The print and delivery process is out of my control and has been known to take in excess of 2 weeks. I do request a little patience at this stage. Should any delays occur, I will keep you informed.

What size are your oil portraits?

The standard size of a portrait is approx 12" x 16.5" . The largest size I have ever gone to is 16.5" x 24". I tend to restrict the size as I work on wood panel not canvas and this becomes heavy if too large.

(Yes I know that's a picture of me painting a rather large canvas despite what I've just said! That was just a one off event. I got it as a present and I was experimenting.)

What is the process?

The processes for both oil painting and digital are very similar.

We discuss your requirements for the commission. Communicaton is parmount at this stage. I will not proceed with a commission until I am 100% sure we both reach an agreement on the content of the image and a price you are happy with.

As soon as I am in receipt of photos which I can satisfactorily work with, and we have finalised the details of the portrait, I send an email outlining in full the details of the commission and the full costing.

Once I receive your email confirming, I will then do a preliminary sketch for you to approve. I will do up to 3 amendments so we get it just right. I have to limit it to 3 so that I don't spend the rest of my life perfecting your portrait, I'm sure you understand.

Once you are satisfied with the sketch, I will ask for a 25% deposit. Upon receipt of this, I proceed with the painting/digital illustration.

Once the poirtrait is finished, I email this to you for your approval and make any necessary minor adjustments. Please make sure you mention any amendments in one go, that way, if your commission is an oil painting, I only need to do one more painting session.

A charge will be made for significant changes which were not in the original brief.

Once you are happy with the finished piece, I will ask for the final balance. Upon receipt, I either wax varnish the painting if an oil, package up and send once dry, or order your print if digital. It is not possible to make any changes after this step.

 

How do I pay?

Bank transfer is the prefered methods of payment, or PayPal if that is more convenient for you.

Do you send the artwork framed?

I do not normally frame my artwork. It keeps the delivery cost down and permits the client to have more control over the style of the frame when using a local framer. I am more than happy to offer guidance with frame style selection if requested.

Also, as the oil portraits are painted on wood, they look just as good placed on a piece of furniture, leaning against a wall as they do hung on one, so a frame isn't entirely necessary.

With digital portraits, I do not feel confident sending frames with glass through the post, so I prefer to provide these only as a print.

Alternatively, If you already have a frame which you wish to use, I can create the portrait or print to the size you want.

Can you do me a piece of artwork in the style of...?

I'm often asked to do commissions in different syles. Due to my theatrical propmaking background which required a knack of being a jack of all trades, I can usually put my hand to these requests. But there is a limit to my versatility. I may have to turn down requests if I do not think I can deliver. For example, if you ask for a 10 foot, full length painting in the style of Gainsborough, I may have to pass.

It's probably best to limit your requests to similar styles you can see I have already created in the past. But by all means ask, and I will see if I can do it.

Will you do me a painting/illustration for free? It will look good in your portfolio!

Sorry, no.

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