How to Commission Art

Anyone could easily be overwhelmed by the amount of choices available when commissioning a painting.


Part of my responsibility as an artist is to guide my clients through this process, see my guide below for a detailed walkthrough of the process.

A guide to commissioning art

I have found that the best way to start is to work backwards through 3 sections, what is desired for the finished work, the image itself and the budget.


These 3 sections combine to form the major part of the brief.

1. The Finished Artwork

  • Where will the painting be displayed and positioned?

  • What size should the painting be?

  • Will the painting be mounted and framed?

2. The Painting

  • What angle of the subject should the work portray?

  • What should the composition of the work be?

  • Should the subject be placed within its landscape?

  • How vibrant should the painting be in terms of colour intensity?

  • Which medium would best achieve the vibrancy and style desired?

  • Which ground or base surface is best suited to the chosen medium?

3. The Budget

Having made choices in stage 1 and 2, we can then discuss budgets. The pricing of the work will depend on the amount of time taken. A pencil sketch will take less time than a watercolour, mixed media or an oil. The mounting, framing and shipping will also need to be factored in. I will work with you to get an agreed position, balancing what you want from the work and the budget available.

The Brief

I would normally visit* a client at their property or their yacht so that I can understand the subject in context and gain some insight into the background of the subject, and the client or owner. If possible, I will also take a number of photographs of the subject. 


A commissioned painting is a very personal thing.  It is easy to underestimate the importance of the briefing element of the commissioning process. I will want to get a good understanding of how you imagine the completed painting.


This process starts at the first meeting, and continues through conversation with you, as I develop the work.

In these challenging times, we can’t meet face-to-face, so Zoom or Skype is an alternative. I will ultimately work from photographs of the subject which can be supplied by the client.

*COVID 19 Process

The Contract

I always provide a contract for my commissions. The contract details what has been agreed and includes these basic terms:

  • Visual references required (e.g. photos, plans, drawings)

  • Dates when a compositional preview will be available

  • Dates for receiving materials from the client

  • Agreement on the approval process

  • A date when the work will be completed

  • Shipping options/costs

  • Reproduction and exhibition rights

  • Payment terms and schedule

Review of the Brief

I always make detailed notes and sketches on the minutiae of the brief after the meeting. I develop a list of the source images I need and sketch out test compositions. I work up details so that the client and I are both happy with the approach before the main painting is started. I rely on a number of photographs that are supplied by the client or taken by me. On some occasions a drone may be required to obtain a high angle or if a speed image is desired.

I can provide samples or images to help you with your decisions.​

The following details will be agreed as part of sections 1 and 2 of the brief:


  • Landscape

  • Portrait


We always use the best available materials in our work. Acid free papers and boards, “Artist” quality water and oil paints and pencils so our paintings last and stay as vibrant or subtle, to ensure their longevity.


  • Pencil

  • Pen and wash

  • Watercolour

  • Mixed media

  • Oil


  • Paper

  • Board

  • Canvas

  • Panel


  • A3

  • A2

  • A1

  • Bespoke


Single Mount - Colour & Style

In-Creation Process

During the creation process I share visual updates with the client and keep them abreast of when they can expect updates and how they will be sent.


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