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from start to finish

Are you wondering how to go about commissioning a portrait?

This page describes each step in the process.

How to commission a work of art that captures the beauty of your loved one.

Use this list to jump to the step you want.
Or scroll down to read all the steps in order.
Then get started on the exciting journey of your own unique portrait.


of commissioning a portrait

Step 1

Visit the “Types of Portraits” page

The "Types of Portraits" page describes each of the 5 types of portrait I do, with links to a gallery of examples and the prices. There are 5 different types of portraits with different price ranges. I try to have something that works for every budget. Explore that page and see if the style and price of a Roeckl portrait is a good fit for you. If you have any questions, just ask!


Full body portrait, man, woman, and black Lab
Head study portrai, Pit bull
Fully detailed portrait, Doberman in garden scene



miles - hi-res.jpg
Little Jewel portrait, head study of Malamute



Step 2

Contact me to let me know you want to commission a portrait.

If there are other clients ahead of you I’ll tell you how long the wait may be, and will add you to my waiting list. I don't require a deposit to get on my waiting list. If you need the portrait by a specific date, such as for a birthday or holiday gift, I’ll try to accommodate that. I can also provide a custom Gift Certificate for you to give as the gift. 


Confirm your place on my waiting list.

To get on my waiting list I’ll ask you to email me a photo of your loved one. It doesn’t have to be the photo we will use for the portrait, just something I can use as a “placeholder” to start a folder with your name on it. That puts you into the line-up on my waiting list. 


You are welcome to send as many photos as you like. Send any photos that speak to your heart, don’t worry about whether a photo "looks like a portrait" or not. I’ll keep everything you send in your folder, along with our conversation. When it gets closer to your turn on the waiting list, I’ll be in touch and we can start rounding up all the photos you want me to see, and talk about the best way to capture the essence of your loved one.


While you’re on the waiting list I’ll be emailing you pics of each portrait I finish so you can see what I’m working on.


Your photos

Your reference photos (photos of the Subject/person or pet) are the most important element of us working together to create a beautiful work of art. 

Don’t worry if your photos are not “professional quality”. I've created beautiful portraits for people who only had a handful of poor-quality photos of their loved one. The more photos you have, the more “raw material” we have to work from. 


I’ll give you instructions for how to send your photos. For digital photos, I will need the highest resolution version of your photo. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to do that, I’ll help you.


If the Subject (person or pet) is available for photos, I can give you tips for taking the best photos for me to use as reference for your portrait. 


We develop the concept for your portrait, and agree on the price. 

Many people are surprised at the amount of prep work that goes into a portrait, before I even step foot in my art studio or put a pencil to paper. 


Depending on what you have, we may spend several days rounding up and discussing your photos. I will make suggestions on which photos I think will work the best, guided by your wishes. If you don’t have any idea what you want, that’s OK too. I’m very good at making suggestions for the best way to capture your loved one, and guiding you in the creative decisions. That’s part of what I do. You don’t need to have any expertise at all. On the other hand, you may know exactly what you want. One of my greatest gifts, whether you have a specific idea in mind or not, is developing an artistic vision from the loving way you see your Subject. 


Creating a portrait is truly a collaboration between you and me.

Your heart…and my skilled eye and talented hand. 

I will guide you through every step in the process.


As I develop the concept and layout for the portrait, I’ll send you a rough layout. You give me feedback, and if necessary, I’ll continue modifying it and send you more rough layouts…until we get zeroed in on the design we are both happy with. I may ask you for additional photos of your loved one to help me do that as we work together on it. 


We may not decide on the size and price until we reach this stage. Working out the concept and layout, we make decisions (together) about the background: a plain color, or a background scene - and what is to be included in the portrait. If you have a budget limit, I stay within that as I design the layout and we make the decisions. Once you approve the rough layout you’re happy with, and we decide on the size, I will be able to quote an exact price for your portrait. 


Don’t worry, I’m good at working with you to recommend the most beautiful work of art, always staying within your budget, as we reach this final decision point. Some people design what they want, and price doesn’t matter. Others start with the price they want, and we design the portrait around that. 


How we communicate 

All of our communication throughout this process is done via email, or we can talk by phone. The photos and layouts that we trade back and forth will be sent by email. 


We sign a Portrait Agreement

When we’ve made the final decision about the layout, and agree on the price, I send you a Portrait Contract which spells out what we both can expect. I ask for 50% down to get started on the portrait. The balance is due when you receive and approve the finished portrait. (Shipping costs are not included. I will pay the shipping costs and you reimburse me when you send your final payment.)


After you sign the Portrait Contract and send it to me with your 50% down payment, I get started on your portrait.


See a sample Portrait Contract (PDF)

Payment methods:

My preferred method is a personal check or money order. I can also accept credit cards through PayPal or arrange a direct bank transfer.


Creating the original work of art

At this point I go into my art studio and create your unique portrait, an original work of art from the hand of the artist. In our Portrait Contract I specify a completion date. The time frame for completing a portrait varies. A small, simple Head Study might take a week to complete. A large, elaborate portrait may take a couple of months. 


In-progress pictures

While I’m working on your portrait I’ll send you “in progress” pictures so you can see the work as it unfolds. I enjoy sharing my process with you. I write descriptions of the steps and techniques I’m doing in the studio to create your portrait. 


With your permission I’ll share “in progress” posts of your portrait on my social media pages (Facebook and Instagram). I can tag you or Share each post to your FB page if you’d like. Friends and family can watch your portrait taking shape on my FB page, even if they don’t have a Facebook account.


I send pictures of the finished portrait for your approval

When the portrait is finished I send you a high-resolution jpg (digital photo) of it for your approval. That is a large image so you can zoom in and check all the details for accuracy. If there is anything that you want adjusted, I’ll make the changes and send you another high-resolution jpg. Usually I get the portrait just perfect on the first try, but it’s not unusual for a client to request a minor adjustment, like darken under the chin, or fix some small detail that bothers them. I’ll make changes until you are 100% satisfied with your Roeckl portrait. 


Mounting and varnishing


After you give your final approval of the finished portrait, I start the mounting and varnishing process. Once the artwork is varnished, I can’t make any more changes to it. The mounting and varnishing process has several steps that have to dry in between, before the artwork can be wrapped up for shipping. 


I will also be producing your custom notecards, if those are included with your portrait type. The cards will have your portrait on the front, and whatever you want printed on the back. They will be shipped in the same box with your portrait. 


Shipping your loved one to you!


The finished portrait will be professionally packed, and shipped to you by U.S. Postal Service (Priority Mail), insured for the full value. You pay for the packing materials (not labor), the Priority Mail postage, and the cost of USPS insurance. These shipping costs are estimated in our Portrait Contract so you know what to expect. It will be shipped with a tracking number and require a signature when it’s delivered.


My advice to you about this process...

There is nothing magical or scary about commissioning an artist to create an original work of art. 


In a sense, it’s no different from hiring a skilled craftsman to build a set of custom cabinets, or paint your prized car with that beautiful metal-flake paint you’ve always wanted. You go to the best craftsman you can find, and trust him to carry you through the process…even if you know nothing about what’s involved. Sadly, the “powers that be” in the art world (dealers and gallery owners) have created a mystique around purchasing art that has made many people feel intimidated by art; afraid you may look ignorant if you say anything about art. Here’s what I want you to know: All you need to know about art is what you, personally, like or don't like


I'm a professional with many years of experience. During those years I’ve become very good at guiding my valued client through the process of expressing your heart’s desire in a work of art. You are in control, but I will point your vision in the right direction as we work together to create a great work of art.

Let's get started with the journey!

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