This page follows a live dog portraits commission. We created this page to give our clients a better idea of how the pet portraits process all works. Once you have read this page and looked at the photos, if you have any questions you are more than welcome to email us at any time.
The first step when commissioning a portrait is to decide which photo you like best of your pet. If you are able to take photos of your pet, take as many as you possibly can in preparation for your portrait. Ideally take your photos outside in natural daylight with a good quality camera. Have a read of our Taking photos for a dog portrait page as it might give you some tips and hints on taking photos for a portrait. If you pet has sadly passed away, you are more than welcome to email us as many photos as you have. We can help you work out which would be the best for a portrait.
Kilo, pictured below, was commissioned by James Witt in the USA. He specifically liked the photo on the left for a pencil drawing, however the emailed us lots of photos of Kilo for us to see. We agreed with James' favourite photo and the portrait was based on the photo below left using others for detail. We quite often create a mock up of what the portrait would be like using the clients photos on our iMac. This is particularly helpful if there are more than two dogs within a scene or if the background needs to be changed. In this instance not much would be changing about the photo so there was no real need. Plus the photo was supplied in greyscale, already giving an impression of how it could look as a pencil drawing.
Once the mock up has been agreed and the size and price confirmed, we email our clients a secure payment link which is personal and private to them. Pencils drawings require a £200 deposit and oil paintings require a £500 deposit. Once the payment has been made, the mock-up will be placed into our Client List. As soon as our clients are nearing the top of the list, we drop them a line with the good news that we are about to start. We then email a final payment link. Full payment must be made prior to starting any artwork. We use Worldpay as our payment provider and accept all forms of payment including debit and credit card along with American Express. We also accept Paypal and bank transfers.
Once the drawing or painting is started we post photos of our progress on our 'On the Easel' blog. This is more common for the oil paintings as there are more stages to be seen. Once the artwork is complete we email our clients a final scan to see whether they require anything changed. The final scan will also be added to our 'On the Easel' blog too. If the artwork is for a surprise and clients would prefer it not to be published online until after the special date, just let us know.
As soon as the portrait is completed you have the choice wheather to have us frame the portrait for you, or take the portrait to your local framer. We don't mind either way! We are happy to make all of the arrangements for you if this is what you would prefer.
We work with two lovely framing companies who supply us with very different frames. Our framer Amanda frames all of our pencil drawings and we have access to thousands of mouldings. All you need to do is let us know the style, colour, type you would like and we can send you photographs of moudlings to see which would work with your home décor. Amanda can provide deep rebate frames for the canvases too in gold, silver, bronze black and distressed. These can all be paired with an inner slip if required - we very much like using inner slips.
We then use another family run framing company who supply is with all of our big gold, silver, and painted swept, moulded and ornate frames. These are solid strong - yet delicate frames which are mainly suited to our oil paintings. These are beautiful if you are having a large oil painting and work equality as well with the smaller oils.
Each frame is made bespoke and we obtain quote for clients individually. Kilos portrait was framed by Amanda using our Windsor Wash frame. This is one of our favourites for our pencils drawings as it works beautifully with the graphite, we have added some photos below. The inner mount colours can vary depending on your requirements. With Kilos we opted for a mind grey blue colour to bring out Kilos eyes. In other portraits we have used a lighter pale grey and a warm brown tone. Everything and anything is possible - just let us know your ideas.
Once the portrait has been framed, the next stage is packing. We take a great deal of time and care over the packing stage. Our portraits travel far and wide around the globe so it is imperative to pack them well to keep them safe. Whether the portrait is an oil painting or a pencil drawing, we start by protecting the portrait by wrapping it in artists cellophane as you can see in the photo below.
We then use specialist packaging to protect the edges of the framed painting or drawing. This is really important as if the portrait is knocked while in transit, this sturdy yet spongy edging will keep the painting or drawing safe. We use two different types and sizes of corner protector, the first which you can see below for the pencils and a deeper one for larger mouldings. This one usually fits around the entire circumference of the frame.
Next we add a layer of foam wrap just to keep everything protected and this is taped in place as you can see in the photo below.
The hardboard is the next layer and this is the most important layer. We purchase the hardboard from our local builders merchant in 8'x4' sheets and they cut it in half for us in their workshop and deliver it to our door. We can then store this in our toolshed and bring sheets to the studio for cutting to size for each portrait. As each painting and drawing is a different size, we need to cut the board bespoke for each packaging. Once the hardboard has been cut to size, we keep in in place using our stretchy cellophane handy wrap.
The next stage is wrap the entire portrait in the foam wrap. It's really good protection for the painting or drawing at this stage of the process. We purchase the foam in 3 foot tall rolls and store it in the workshop as its too bulky to live in the studio. A little does really go a long way.
The final stage is to cover everything with a waterproof outer packaging. We have used these red mailing sacks for years as they are so bright and cheery. They remind us of a Red English postbox! It is completed by our fragine tape running horizontally around the portrait top and bottom so it can be seen both sides. Our portraits are usually sent UPS and we book a courier to collect them from the studio. The portraits are tracked and clients can follow their progress online.
We hope that you have enjoyed this page of information on our dog portraits process. If you have any questions you are more than welcome to email or telephone us in the studio at any time.We look forward to seeing your photos and working with you soon.