Thursday, June 14, 2007

5 Tips for Commissioning a Pet Portrait

Here are my top 5 Tips For commissioning a Pet Portrait

#1 Remember that in most cases you do not pay an artist by the hour.
Faster does not equal better.

What this means to you is that while it might seem super cool to place a rush on your project or beg and plead to have the artist create you portrait in a day or an hour (Uncle Benny's birthday is next week), when it comes to custom artwork faster is not always better. Plan your project ahead of time and allow your artist the time they need to create a masterpiece for you. This does not mean that desired delivery dates should not be discussed as most artists are usually willing to try to hit target dates on request. Here at Art Paw we do our very best to never miss a deadline, and I know several other talented artists that provide the same level of service to their clients.

#2 A question of decor, will it match the sofa?

Most artists are more than happy to work with a little color direction on your part. I am always tickled when folks send paint chips, however a simple shot of the room where the artwork will be placed can really clue me in on tastes and style. The best way to give your artist some creative elbow room is to just suggest either a "warm" palette (reds & oranges) or a "cool" palette (blues & greens).

#3 A good photograph makes all the difference ...shoot, shoot and shoot again

In the old days film and processing cost money, today the majority of my clients have digital cameras which should allow them to take a hundred or more shots if that is what it takes to get one great shot. My biggest tip on shooting digital is set that camera at your highest quality setting. High resolution files are the best. Also get up close to your pet, they should fill the frame.

#4 Choosing an artist

When I started my business back in 1998 there were very few artists on the web offering their talents. Today it seems like 100 more new names appear on-line each day. The best way to find an artist on-line is to just google around and look at portfolios. Find someone working in a style you like, and then check out their working terms. Do they offer a money back guarantee or proofing. Here at Art Paw we do both and yet I will be the first to admit that there are tons of great artists that do neither. If an artist does not offer you safety net terms and yet you love their style, I suggest you check out their length of time on-line, or customer testimonials. Do they have a professional looking site with their own domain name? If for any reason you are not comfortable dealing with someone via the web try to find an artist in your own city that you can meet with in person.

#5 Order your holiday gift giving pet portraits in the summer

Pet portraits have grown in popularity over the years and every portrait artist I know is totally swamped from November to Christmas Eve. Most artists have strict deadlines that they adhere to during the holidays. Order early and get your favorite artist's best unhurried work.

Next week I will post my top 5 tips for artists on managing their commissions.


Abby Creek Art said...

Since I haven't commented in awhile...I have to blab now...

1) Great five tips for commissioning a portrait.
2) Rusty and Tupelo are beautiful...nice work, Becca!
3) The Yoko Ono thing...what can I say but "ick". Extreme would be the word. Never really had a thing for performance artists anyway.
4) Dr. Seuss is da bomb! I love his books...but I haven't read this one so must get it.

Hope all is well. I'll be back in touch after San Francisco.:)

cowbelly said...

Great tips Rebecca! I would especially 'second' #5. It's equally heartbreaking for the pet artist as it is for the customer to say/hear "sorry we're all booked up" the day after Thanksgiving when contacting the pet artist for the first time to commission a holiday portrait.

Start in the summer, or even September, and you not only will you have time to get a really terrific piece, but a happy, relaxed artist who can do their best work. :-)


Kathy Weller said...

I love you!!!!! And I love this list!!!

This is GREAT!!!

I'm linking to this on my blog, Rebecca...