Do's and Don'ts When Ordering an Illustrated Family Portrait!

Updated: May 26, 2021

So lets say, you're in need of a gift.

Whether its for a partner, a parent or maybe you're off to a wedding and need to buy something amazing for the happy couple.

There are many artist, like myself, that can help create a unique portrait that captures a special moment. If you head over to Etsy and type in 'illustrated family portrait' you will see pages and pages of artists all offering different styles of artwork.

So lets say you've looked through the pages and you find the perfect style for your gift. You send a message to the artist to ask some questions and you decide to go ahead.

First of all, let me say, as an Etsy seller, receiving a message like this is wonderful and brightens our day so please take the time to get in touch! We are happy to answer any questions you have!

Right you are ready to go, here are some Do's and Don'ts to make sure you are 100% satisfied with your special gift!

1. Gather photographs that will be helpful.

The first thing I need to start are photographs. Whether its a photograph you want me to recreate exactly, or if you want me to be creative, I still need a handful (at least) of photos. I want to make sure the person identifies with themself in the portrait. I need to see unique markings, tattoos, jewellery. Photographs of people in the outfits you would like me to dress them in is the most useful.

*Remember - I don't know the personality of the person I'm drawing. I have never met them. I need you to give me an idea of their

character so that I can accurately draw them*

Thanks to Aaron for sending me lots of photos of his family, it really helped capture their personalities!

2. Take the time to write a brief for the artist.

The hardest thing for me, is receiving a message saying, please can you draw me and my husband and I am sent a small cropped picture of their upper body with no other details. Its usually these people that are slightly disappointed at the end. If you take the time to send me great pictures but to also write out a description for the characters and their likes, it gives me lots of details that I can incorporate into the drawing and that way it is truly unique to you!

Here Tarryn gave me a list of her son's favourite things aswell as clothing she wanted them in!

3. Be honest when the artist asks for feedback.

I can tell you now, I have done over a hundred of these and I have a very thick skin for criticism! Ive learnt over the years that by sending over the drawing at multiple stages it helps not only me make changes easily, but it also takes the pressure off you when telling me what you don't like. I explain to everyone that orders from me that I will send the drawing at 3 stages and changes can be made at each.

- I send over the initial sketch, here we can make changes to the clothing, the hair, the positioning etc.

- Then I send it over at the line art stage. Here we can make final changes to the positioning and the details.

- Finally, I send the full colour version over. We cant make changes to the details as this should have been sorted but I can change colours.

Some people still feel too nervous to tell me that they arent happy and then tell me everything at the end, by which time its just too late!

Here are the 3 stages mentioned above for a commission done for Courtnee.

4. Please leave the artist a review!

There is nothing more important for us as artists to know that you are happy with your portrait. We love to get thank you emails from you, however the best thing you can do to help us is to leave a few words in our online shops. Not only does it help other people when they are looking to purchase a drawing, it helps us to improve!

On my Etsy shop I have nearly 120 sales of portraits, however only 15 people have left feedback. If I had a review for every purchase that had been made, it would really boost the brand I am trying to build.

So please take the time to leave a short review for any purchase you make from an artist!

To get started on your portrait, head to

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