Commissioning a Portrait


portraiture is so much more than the faithful representation of a likeness; it's ultimate success lies in the artist's ability to capture the essence of the individual and make it speak to the viewer.

i create paintings and drawings of people, usually from candid snapshots taken as a mere record of a moment in time, and transform them into a timeless visible entity realised in paint or pencil, that can be enjoyed everyday.

although i largely work from photo references, i aim to create something that transcends photo-realism and is not an absolute facsimile of the supplied photo. i employ a good amount of artistic licence to all my compositions and will work with the person's facial features to enhance their characteristics, producing something that portrays them in the most positive light and how they may wish to be presented.




please view the samples of some of my portraiture work below, shown alongside the reference material I used as a guide.


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below are some of the most common questions about the process of commissioning a portrait. if you have a specific question you cannot find an answer for here, please don't hesitate to call or drop me a line on email via the links above.

Q: how long will my portrait take?

A: It really depends on what you want, however, even the smallest pencil drawings can take a minimum of 20 hours +, so if you need it for a specific date, please make your request as early as possible.  Paintings inevitably take longer as they are 'built' in layers and command a lot of fine detail to achieve a good likeness and they also need to be completely dry before being released, which can take up to 6 months for a work in oil.

Q: how much does it cost and why?

A: Again, it can vary depending on your requirements.

Pencil drawings start at £125.00 for an A4 (210x297cm) work based on one 'subject' ranging up to £1000 + for a large scale painting.  The best way to get a price is to make contact with me to discuss your specific requirements e.g. number of subjects, size of the work and level of detail, and from there i will be able to provide a comprehensive quote.

however, a full price guide can be downloaded here (PDF)

A: . Remember, painting and drawing to a high standard is a specialist skill that is also very labour intensive. It is also worth considering the cost of artist's materials and equipment as well as overheads e.g. rent, heat, light etc.  Like any other business and skilled trade, the cost of the work reflects the time, materials and running costs it takes to fulfill the brief. . 


A: Commissioned work, once completed and released, has no intrinsic commercial value to me as I am unable to sell it on or create reproduction prints for sale.

Q: Why do i have to pay a deposit and why is it non-refundable?

A: The 30% deposit has 3 main functions;

1. to allow me to buy any essential materials i will need to fulfill the brief. 

2. It essentially acts as proof of agreement for me to undertake the work.

3.  It also acts as payment in advance for the preliminary work i am required to do before starting work on the painting.

e..g. sketches, composition layout planning, which is also why it is non-refundable.

Q: What if I don't like the finished Work?

A: Rest assured, I want my clients to be nothing short of absolutely thrilled with the outcome of any commission I undertake, in fact my reputation and future success depends on it!. However, in the extremely unhappy event that you are less than satisfied with my work, then you can legitimately decline to pay the balance and the painting remains with me to, sadly, destroy. 

Happily, so far, I have always managed to establish an open exchange of communication with all my clients, which allows me to keep them up to date with progress via regular email updates or visits to the studio, so that on completion there should be no unpleasant surprises or embarrassing and difficult conversations.

Q: What if I change my mind during the process?

A: Should you wish withdraw the commission during the process, it is crucial that you  notify me

straight away so that I can halt work. 

Changes of mind about the agreed composition, colour schemes and elements within the work during the process depends on extent and the technical implications to the outcome and need to be discussed before any modifications can be undertaken. This may effect the overall outstanding balance.

Q: Can I request changes to the finished work?

A: Unfortunately, once the work is complete, requests for modifications are not permitted and will not be undertaken. 

Q: Can I make reproduction prints of the work?

A: Copywright with regard to commissioned work is a tricky issue. 

Although ownership of the resource material e.g. photo references, remains with you, the artist retains all rights to the finished work which prevents reproductions of the image being made without prior permission.  Should you require reproduction prints of the finished work, please request them from me and i will arrange for them to be made and sent to you for an agreed fee.