This page follows a live cat portraits montage commission from the initial contact right through to the finished artwork. This is a pencil drawing commission, however the oil paintings process is very similar. Hopefully it will give our prospective clients a good idea of how everything works. If you have any questions you are more than welcome to email us at any time.
The first step is to email us your photos. Email is always the best way of sending photos, try not to reduce them in size as we really need the highest resolution, best quality photos you can provide. We are unable to meet your cat so photographs are key in allowing us to know exactly what they were like. Digital camera photos are the best to work with, however mobile phone and tablet photos can work well, if you adhere to a few guidelines when taking them. If you would like to read more about taking photos for a portrait, have a look at our pet portraits photography tips page for more details. My client Vivian emailed me some very high resolution photos of her friends cat Gilli taken using a digital camera. You can see three of them below.
Vivian and myself spent some time creating a design for a montage pencil portrait and I came up with three ideas for Vivian to see and comment on. Vivian chose to have her montage at 16 x 12 inches in size. Designing the mock-up is another important part of the process, especially if you are having a montage or multiple studies in your portrait. At this stage my favourite was number three mock-up and Vivian agreed. We did a few final tweaks and we were there!
At this stage, once the client is happy with the mock-up and we have agreed on size, I then email a secure payment =link via email. Our payment provider is Worldpay. We accept all major debit and credit cards including American Express. We also accept PayPal and can arrange instalments for payment too. If clients prefer they can call our studio on +44 (0)1559 384628 to place their order over the telephone.Once the deposit has been made, we add you to our client list. Clients can then watch their portraits mock-up rise in the list as the weeks go by.
Two weeks prior to us starting your portrait will will be in touch with the final payment button. Payment in full must be made before any work starts.
Once the portrait is complete, a final scan will be emailed to the client. If you have commissioned an oil painting you will see the stages on our 'On The Easel Blog'. For the pencil drawings, the finished scan will be shown. We ask clients at this stage if any changes need to be made.
Once the drawing has been okayed by the client, I take a range of photos of the portrait with my pencils on to show scale for the website and our blog. You can see one of the photos of Gilli's portrait I took below. I often have my hand drawing on the portrait at the later stages too which again helps clients see the scale of the piece and are added to our in Detail Gallery page.
Vivian decided that she wanted our framer Amanda to frame Gilli's portrait and asked about the different kinds of dark coloured mouldings and mounts Amanda had in her frame shop. Amanda took photos of the different variations of dark coloured frames which you can see below right. Vivian liked the smooth black frame pictured on the right and felt it would work really well with the portrait.
Vivian asked about the different dark coloured mounts that were available to work with the black frame. Amanda has an extremely wide range of mounts as you can see form the photos below. Amanda chose some dark variants of grey and black and photographed them with the black moulding to see what Vivian thought. We all immediately agreed that the very dark smoke matt with the slighter grey under the mount was our favourite.
Here is a photo of Gilli with her mount / matt. If you would like your portrait with only the mount / matt and no frame, we can provide this service for you. Just let us know when ordering.
These are the photos of the completed portrait all framed in the Albany Onyx moulding with the dark grey and smoke mount / matt. We think the portrait looks fabulous and we are always thankful to our framer Amanda for her professionalism and guidance.
Whether we are packing up our oil paintings or our pencil drawings, we always pack them exceedingly well. Our artwork is sent far and wide and so many paintings and drawings have very long journeys. Vivian’s portrait of Gilli here travelled all the way from our studio in the UK to Hong Kong. We take lots of time to make sure they are safe and secure using professional packaging materials, most of which can be reused or recycled.
All of our portraits are wrapped in cellophane and taped securely. This stops any particles and dust getting on to the portrait while being packed. The photo below shows Gillies portrait all wrapped and taped ready for the next stage.
We then use blue foam edging on the corners of the portrait for the pencil drawings and all the way around for the oil paintings. This really protects the frame well. We then wrap the entire portrait in our white foam on a roll to protect the front of the portrait.
The next stages is to cut out two sheets of hardboard and place it either side of the portrait. We then use our plastic wrap on a roll to keep the hardboard in place. We also wrap the plastic around the circumference of the portrait to make sure everything stays in place.
Another 3 to 5 layers of the white foam roll cover the entire portrait and this is taped securely. This really helps to give a good overall protection to the portrait.
Finally the portrait packed in a double walled cardboard box all safe and secure. All in all it can take between 40 minutes and 2 hours to pack the portraits, depending on size and complexity. The majority of our portraits are sent via UPS on an express, fully tracked service. Most portraits arrive between 2 to 3 days worldwide, sometimes incredibly the next day to Europe. Gilli's portrait took 3 days from the UK to Hong Kong and it all arrived safely.
Gilli's portrait was commissioned as a birthday present for her freind. While I was working on the portrait, Vivian commissioned an artisan in Hong Kong to create wooden stand for the portrait too. Vivian took some fabulous photos for us to see and we absolutely love it! Its so unusual, unique and perfect for our work to stand on - that is unique in itself.
We hope that you have enjoyed our cat portraits process page. If you have any questions about the commissioning process you are more than welcome to email us at any time.