If you haven’t already done so, please read the page on how to commission your portrait, which will tell you all about the process of ordering your portrait and what I will need from you.
Below you’ll find answers to other commonly asked questions, but if your question isn’t covered please don’t hesitate to contact me and I’ll be happy to have a chat. The pencil portraits, oil portraits and watercolour portraits pages also contain more specific information about ordering a portrait in these various mediums, and what makes a good portrait in each case.
commissioning your portrait
What is your waiting time?
This varies a lot depending on the time of year and on my commitments – the contact page will give you current estimates. It’s always a good idea to get in touch as soon as possible so that we can start discussing which photos I will work from, and please bear in mind that paintings will take longer than pencil drawings to complete and so may require extra time. Christmas is always the busiest period, so don’t leave a commission until December – ideally, contact me by October.
Do you take commissions from outside of the UK?
Yes, as I work from photos I can mail portraits out to just about anywhere. International commissions are sent by insured airmail, although if you prefer you can choose a UPS courier delivery instead.
I'm not sure which photo to choose - can you help?
Absolutely, send me through your photo options and we can talk about them. It often takes quite a while to sort out which photo I will work from so please don’t worry about this – it’s all part of the job and I’m happy to advise. Selecting the right photo is really important to the final outcome, so it’s always worthwhile taking the time to get it right.
Can you make a composite portrait of two (or more) people or animals, from different photos?
I don’t advise this, because the tones and lighting in each photo is likely to be very different (unless the photos were taken at the same time and in the same place) and so they are likely to look unnatural when placed together on a page. If you aren’t able to take a photo of the subjects together then I’d suggest getting separate smaller portraits insteadI don’t advise this, because the tones and lighting in each photo is likely to be very different (unless the photos were taken at the same time and in the same place) and so they are likely to look unnatural when placed together on a page. If you aren’t able to take a photo of the subjects together then I’d suggest getting separate smaller portraits instead
I only have hard copies and not digital photos - can you work from these?
It’s not always possible to work from a printed photograph, especially an old one. If your original is at least 5″ x 7″ and fairly close up (for example an old school photo will often work well provided it’s a fairly large size) then I may be able to do so. You could either have a copy made and post it to me in a card-backed envelope, or you could ask a printing shop to make me a high resolution (minimum 300 dpi) scan and give it to you on a CD to email or send to me.
I want to order a portrait for someone else but can't supply you with photographs
A gift certificate might be a solution in this instance. You can read about them here.
Do you offer pastels or coloured pencil portraits, or charcoal sketches?
Not at the moment – only graphite pencil on paper, watercolour or oils
I'd like to get a partially clothed or nude portrait done, would you consider that?
I first learned to draw in ‘life drawing’ classes from the naked model, so I have no problem with a tasteful nude drawing – as long as it’s not too ‘X’ rated! I’d obviously treat the reference photographs with great discretion and delete them fully afterwards. You can find an example of a nude study in the pencil gallery. Please note though that this type of life drawing doesn’t really work at a small scale. The minimum size would be 14″ x 16″ (35.5cm x 40.5cm) for a head-to-waist portrait, or 16″ x 23″ (40.5cm x 58.5cm) for a full body drawing (even reclining)
Will I be able to see the portrait before you send it to me?
Yes, I always provide this opportunity. When we’ve spoken about what you would like your portrait to be like I will start work on it, and when it’s almost finished I’ll send you a photo of it by email, or mail. You can give me suggestions and I’ll make any amendments that you’d like and then send you another scan to see if they’ve been successful. It’s valuable to have input from the person who knows the subject best, and I really consider the portrait to be a collaboration – I don’t consider it to be finished until you are completely happy with it.
Do you offer a discount if I order multiple portraits?
Unfortunately I can’t give discounts for orders of more than one portrait. The reason is that I price my portraits based on how long they will take me to complete, and there is nothing I can do to speed up the process without compromising the quality of the work.
When do I pay, and what are the guarantees?
Pencil portraits: I don’t usually require any deposit for a pencil portrait, unless the order is very large. When the portrait is nearly finished you will received a scan of it by email, giving you the opportunity to let me know what you think and if there’s anything you’d like me to alter. Once you have decided you are completely happy with it, you then send through your payment, and once this is received and cleared I will send your portrait out to you. This way you only need to pay when you know exactly what you are getting! It hasn’t happened yet, but if you are not completely happy with the scan of your portrait and I can’t fix it for you, you don’t have to buy it. Likewise if you receive your portrait and are not happy you can return it for a full refund.
Oil and watercolour: For oil and watercolour paintings, a deposit of 35% is required, to be cleared before I start work on your portrait. However if you really aren’t happy with your finished portrait and wish to return it, then your deposit will be refunded.
For further terms and conditions please click here.
What are the payment methods?
The easiest way to pay (if you are in the UK) is by internet transfer/online banking. I also accept cheques or postal orders. You can also pay by Paypal or credit card, though a processing fee will apply – more detail is available on the prices page.
Can I buy an extra copy of my portrait?
I can get a giclée printed copy made for you from your portrait, or more than one copy if you’d like. This is a high quality print on archival quality cotton rag paper, which looks indistinguishable from the original drawing or painting. You’ll find more information on giclée prints here, including prices. I keep a high resolution scan of every portrait so that customers can come back and request an extra print at any point.
receiving your portrait
Do portraits come framed?
I don’t offer framing as I prefer to concentrate on the portraits themselves, and also because shipping glass frames safely in the post is expensive and adds unecessary cost to the customer – it’s much cheaper for you to take your portrait to your local framing shop which can usually offer excellent advice on what type of frame will suit it. If you’ve ordered an A4 or A3 size portrait, you can also easily buy a ready-made frame for it if you wish.
How are portraits packaged and will mine be safe in the mail?
This is a very common and understandable concern amongst my customers! However I am very confident that my packaging is fairly indestructable. Portraits are first placed in cellophane sleeves (in the case of pencil drawings or watercolours) which you can keep on right up until they go into their frames – this will protect them from dirt and grease from fingers. Then they are sandwiched flat between two sheets of custom-cut MDF board, before being double wrapped in polythene.
Can I collect my portrait in person?
Yes, if you live in the London area and want to do this then we can arrange for you to collect your portrait in person.
Will the portrait appear on the website?
I’m very grateful when customers allow me to display their portraits, however I understand that some people prefer not to. For portraits of people, I will always ask permission first – when you commission your portrait I’ll ask you to let me know if you’d rather that your portrait didn’t appear on the website (I don’t have to display the name of the subject – sometimes people are happy for their portrait to appear but like to have an alias)
Can you supply me with a high-res scan of my portrait?
If you want a high resolution digital image of your portrait to get your own printed copy made or to send to a relative for example, I can supply you with a copy. A £10-20 charge will apply depending on the size of the portrait to cover the work involved in splicing and blending together the scans using Photoshop.
I’m happy for you to reproduce a scan of your portrait however you want – you can read the terms and conditions page for full details.