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Step by Step Guide to Commissioning a Portrait

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Why choose us?

As a charity dedicated to portraiture, our aim is to make commissioning portraits easy and enjoyable for you.

Our 50 Member portrait artists are outstanding artists who produce a consistent quality of work. Their fees range from about £750 to £75,000 and more.

Our service

Our expert Commissions Consultants work on behalf of our Members to advise and to help you to choose the right portrait painter for your commission. The Consultant supports you throughout the portrait commissions process. We offer face-to-face consultations or consultations by email and telephone without obligation.

Finding a portrait painter

Alternatively, you can use our Online Artist-Finder  to choose and contact a portrait painter yourself.



The Parameters

The first stage is to establish the parameters of the work; who is to be in it, whether a background is to be included, how large the work is to be, which medium and an idea of how much you would be prepared to spend. (Please be aware that, when discussing size, artists think about the canvas or paper size whereas you will be thinking about the overall size which includes the frame).

Choosing an artist

Armed with this information you can then embark in choosing an artist. This decision is key to the success of the portrait so it is important that you get it right so research is essential. The research element should educate you as to your aesthetic taste, what choice of artist would be within your budget, their style,  location and availability. You will soon develop an instinct for the art that appeals to you, and it is this instinct that should guide you to your artist right up to the final stage.

Meeting the artist

Quality is hard to assess online so a short-list of no more than three artists should be made with a view to meeting your preferred artist. If you try to visit all of the artists, you will find the process so time-consuming that you are likely to be daunted by it.  The other two artists are there as a back-up just in case your first choice does not work out.

When you meet the artist it is important to explore both the practical aspects of the portrait such as the number, length and location of sittings, as well as the aesthetic decisions such as the content and style of the painting.

Booking the first sitting

Once you are sure about the artist it is time to book the first sitting, and it is only at this point that you become committed and that a deposit is often paid.

Sittings are relaxing and enjoyable experiences and many friendships have been formed between artist and sitter.