How do I go about commissioning an artwork?

The first step is to contact me to discuss what you have in mind, and I will then suggest the best way to proceed. There is an input form at the bottom of this list which you can use to contact me, or click here for my contact page.

Do you work from photographs?

Almost entirely, yes. That includes both gallery pieces and commissions. Because I can work very accurately to a photograph this makes the commission process much easier, particularly in terms of you knowing what the final drawing will look like.

If I provide a photograph, can you create a drawing of it for me?

Yes! I love the challenge of working from other people's photographs, and it's the usual way a commission works. Send me your photograph by email and I will adjust it to look like I envisage the final drawing to look until we are both happy with it and then we can set the commission process in motion.

How much do you charge for a commission?

Each project is unique and it will depend on how long I expect it to take, which is usually based on the required size and the amount of detail needed to look photorealistic. Most often the cost is somewhere between $300 and $3000. I can provide an exact price for you once I have seen the reference photograph and discussed the size of the artwork.

How long will a commission take?

That depends on my workload at the time, as there is only one of me :-). Assuming I can begin it straight away, the actual drawing can take anything from 15 to 100 hours, but as I am often working on more than one piece in the studio I usually require a minimum of three weeks, and then about a 5-10 day delivery time (worldwide). Before the commission gets underway we discuss the urgency and decide on a timeframe that suits the project.

I live on another continent. Does that complicate the commission?

No, not at all. I frequently work on commissions where all the communication is done by email, payment by PayPal, and delivery by courier (usually DHL), anywhere in the world.

Where is your studio?

I work in a home studio in Wellington, New Zealand. Apart from the undeniable grandeur of the country, we are fortunate here to have an excellent postal and courier system and a very high degree of online trust which has definitely helped me to work easily with clients from all over the world despite our seemingly remote location!

How do you take payment for a commission?

Usually in two parts, one to get it underway and the balance when you receive the drawing. I use PayPal (you can pay by credit card without having your own PayPal account) or by direct bank deposit to my New Zealand account.

How do commissioned drawings compare to your gallery pieces?

The process is identical. My drawing style is the same, and I use the same archival materials. The paper is the most critical component, and I currently use a cotton-based acid-free Fabriano Artistico hot press extra white 300g paper imported from Italy.

Can you frame the commissioned drawing for me?

Yes, although for international commissions delivery is much simpler if I can send you a drawing rolled into a mailing tube. If you still prefer it framed then I use acrylic in place of glass and package it appropriately to reach you safely and undamaged.

How do you deliver the finished drawing to me?

If you are based outside of New Zealand, then I use an international courier (usually DHL), and usually PBT Couriers or CourierPost within New Zealand. If the drawing is unframed then I use a double layered document tube (a tube inside a tube with a layer of bubble wrap between) to prevent damage from crushing, and I seal the tube to be water-resistant. Framed work is sent with appropriate packaging and is glazed with acrylic which is unbreakable.

Can I touch the surface of the drawing?

No, although an accidental light touch shouldn't cause any smudging. It is important to handle it very carefully until it is framed (which is by far the best way to protect it). I do spray the finished drawing with a fixative to give resistance to light scuffing and to ensure that it doesn't deteriorate in transit. I wrap it inside the mailing tube in such a way to prevent it moving during package handling.

If I have something in mind but no photograph, would that work?

I have a large collection of reference photographs having been a landscape photographer for many years, so I might have something suitable already. Otherwise I can create something conceptually from a number of images either of my own or from another legitimate source, or even travel to obtain reference photographs if the project is large enough.

What does it mean to commission a drawing?

It is a process by which you ask me to draw something specifically for you, perhaps a portrait of someone close to you, or maybe the view from your house or anything else that has value to you.

Is a commission risky? How do I know I will like it?

Since I work closely to reference photographs you will actually have a very good indication of the final drawing even before I have started. I guarantee likeness to the photograph we decide to use, which is particularly important in terms of people's expressions in portraiture.

How much input do I have on the commission?

Since it is usually based on a photograph that you supply, that's a major part. I can provide progress reports including photographs of the work, so there are opportunities during the project to make suggestions and changes.

Do you only do portrait commissions, or other subjects too?

I draw all sorts of subjects on commission. These have included houses, views from houses, landscapes in general, Mack trucks, helicopters, and animals. Let me know what you are after and we can take it from there.

© 2021 by mort'mer/mortmer/Bruce Mortimer