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 point 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 mockup 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 a mockup has been agreed and the size and price confirmed, we email our clients a payment link which is secure, personal and private to them. Pencils drawings require a £200 deposit and oil paintings require a £500 deposit. Once payment has been processed, the clients mockup will be added to our Commissions List. As clients gradually raise to the top of the list, we email to let the know that we are about to start. We then send a payment link or details for a bank transfer for the final payment. Full payment must be made prior to starting any artwork. We have Worldpay as our payment provider. We accept all kinds of payment including credit and debit card, plus American Express. Paypal and bank transfers as also an option.
As soon as 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 finished scan in case they require anything changed. The final scan will be posted on our blog too. If the artwork is for a surprise, clients can request it not to be published on the blog until its been presented to the recipient, let us know if this is the case.
As soon as we have completed the portrait, you have the choice whether to have us frame the drawing or painting 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 your style, colour, type you would like and we can email 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.
As soon as the portrait has been framed, the next important stage is to pack it safely. We take a great deal of time and care over the packing stage. Our portraits travel worldwide all 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 wrapping the portrait it in cellophane, which you can see in the picture below.
We then use foam corner packaging to protect each edge of the framed painting or drawing. This is really essential, because if the portrait is knocked while in transit, this sturdy, foam edging will keep the painting or drawing safe. We use two sizes of corner protectors, the first which you can see below for the pencils and a deeper one for bigger mouldings. This one usually fits around the entire circumference of the frame.
Next we add a layer of foam wrap just to keep it all protected and this is taped in place as you can see in the photo below.
The next layer is the hardboard 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 two for us in their workshop and deliver it to our door. We can then store this in our toolshed and carry sheets to our 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.
This is a long process, however its such an important one to protect everything. We wrap the 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 very tall rolls and keep it in our workshop as its too bulky to have in the studio. A little does really go far!
The last stage is to cover the portrait with a bright red waterproof outer layer. We have used these mailing bags for years as they are so happy and cheerful. Very reminiscent of an British postbox! It is completed by our fragile tape running horizontally around the portrait top and bottom so it can be seen both sides. Our portraits are sent via a courier, normally UPS and the courier to collects the portraits from our studio. All portraits are sent on an expedited tracked service and clients can follow the tracking online.
We hope that you have enjoyed our page on our dog portraits process. Any questions, please do email or telephone us here n the studio at any time. We look forward to seeing your photographs and working with you on a portrait soon.