Many of us are thinking carefully about how to reduce the amount of random 'stuff' we give others. One great way to do that is to commission an original piece of art, which makes a unique, meaningful gift (or, indeed, a treat for yourself) and you have the pleasure of supporting an independent artist at the same time!
Watercolour and ink painting © Suzanne Pink
As I open up my diary for Christmas commissions (diary closes on 1st November for pre-Christmas delivery), I thought it might be useful to chat through the process of commissioning me to create a bespoke painting or drawing, as well as some FAQs.
Watercolour and ink painting © Suzanne Pink
'Parin loves his heron - thank you so much - it is proudly displayed in his study facing him so he can look at it whenever he is working. I know it puts a big smile on his face to see it there!'
– Sadie (birthday gift commission)
1. The first step is to get in touch, by text / phonecall (07779 108 563) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org), whichever suits you best. Some clients have a very clear idea of what they would like and others prefer me to make some suggestions. Either way works.
Graphite pencil drawing © Suzanne Pink
2. I'll reply and arrange to either have a no obligation call to discuss, or continue the dialogue by email. A very important thing to check from the start is when you need the artwork by, so that I can ensure it can realistically be scheduled in.
'I am lucky enough to already own a couple of pieces of Suzanne’s work which I adore so when I was asked to be God Mother to Arianna, I knew I wanted to commission Suzanne to create something unique to celebrate such a special little girl.
I thoroughly enjoyed the process of working with Suzanne and the result was a stunning illustration that Arianna has on her wall and is proud to show it off to her friends. I can’t wait to commission Suzanne again.'
– Sinéad (christening commission)
3. To find out more about your needs, I'll ask you some questions about the subject matter and your preferred size / medium (pencil / fineliner / watercolour / digitally coloured) as well as whether you require framing. I will show you examples of previous commissions which demonstrate particular styles and materials and you may have some references to show me. It all helps to build a picture of exactly what you're looking for. If you have a particular budget, it's useful to know at this stage, so that I can make suggestions within this.
Digitally coloured illustration © Suzanne Pink
'Suzanne made a beautiful print for our boys' bedroom. I wanted a marine theme and Suzanne suggested one of her creations – a big friendly whale! I could have just bought the print but Suzanne offered to personalise it for us, adding a little boat and 3 little characters in it representing our 3 boys!
The art work is exquisite and the framing flawless. All delivered beautifully wrapped in white tissue paper. I am so thrilled with our print – it is unique!'
– Valerie (children's bedroom interior commission)
4. Once I have a clear idea of the requirements of the commission, I'll prepare and send you a formal quote. Of course, you are not obliged to go ahead at this stage! If there are budget constraints, we can adjust details such as size or level of intricacy to make it work for both of us.
Watercolour and ink illustration (detail) © Suzanne Pink
'Suzanne makes incredible custom illustrations!
– Sophie (Father's Day commission)
5. Once the quote has been agreed, I'll provide you with an overview schedule and I'll ask for a deposit (50% of the total). I'll then get going with a preliminary (rough) sketch, which I'll send over for your approval of the layout. For local buildings / landmarks / landscapes, I'll go and take some notes and reference photographs or I may work from reference imagery you have provided.
When you've approved the preliminary sketch, it's full steam ahead, so this is the chance to make any amends before the final artwork gets underway.
Examples of preliminary sketches © Suzanne Pink
6. I'll update you on progress throughout the process, as communication is key! If I have any questions, I'll get in touch via your preferred method.
'Suzanne was brilliant to work with - quick to respond to messages and great communication.'
– Sadie (birthday gift commission)
7. When your commission is almost ready, I'll get in contact to arrange collection, drop-off or delivery, depending on location. All commissions are signed and presented with an information card which includes date and details of the materials used. Gift wrapping / boxing is also available.
Watercolour and ink illustration © Suzanne Pink
'I was lucky enough to have a new niece and nephew arriving within a few weeks of each other and I wanted something special to mark their arrival. I am huge fan of Suzanne’s art and got in touch with her about a commission. She was great; understanding just what I was after and how personal it was for me. The result was two amazing and very special pieces of bespoke artwork, which I know my niece and nephew will treasure for ever.'
– Sarah (new baby commissions)
8. Enjoy your one-of-a-kind, original artwork!
Polychromos pencil drawing © Suzanne Pink
What can you draw?
Previous commissions include houses and other special buildings (such as wedding venues), landscapes, illustrated poems and quotes, favourite animals / pets, flowers and even special soft toys! I am more than happy to chat through any ideas you may have. If the subject matter or style you require isn't within my area of expertise, I'll point you in the direction of other artists who may be able to help.
What materials do you use?
I paint and draw commissions in a variety of styles and media. I usually work by hand in graphite pencil, Polychromos (oil-based) pencil, fineliner or watercolour but I can also add digital colouring if preferred. I have many samples of each style / medium for reference, so you can see what you prefer.
How much does a commission cost?
As every piece of artwork is created by hand and is completely unique, it depends on the size, complexity (subject matter and level of detail) and style of the piece. Prices start from around £60 for a small, simple illustration, up to several hundred pounds for a large, intricate, framed piece.
If you have an idea in mind, I'm always happy to have a no obligation chat about how we can work within your budget.
How long will my commission take?
As a general rule, I require around 4 weeks from the approval of the initial sketch, although if the piece is needed sooner, I will always aim to fit it in. I will never overpromise, though, so if your deadline is too tight for me to realistically manage, I'll let you know before accepting the commission.
I close my diary for Christmas commissions on 1st November, so please do get in touch soon if you are considering a Christmas gift for someone special!
Please note that framed commissions usually require an additional two weeks lead time.
Can you frame my commission?
Yes. I work with a brilliant local framer who can offer a range of frame styles and colours to complement your artwork. We can chat about your frame and mount preferences during the process or I can supply the commission unframed if you prefer.
Please note that framed commissions are only available for local hand delivery (SE19 and surrounding areas) or collection from SE19 as unfortunately I've previously experienced breakages in the post that I never want to repeat!
I don't live near Crystal Palace...can I still commission a piece?
Of course! We can chat by email or phone throughout the process and your completed (unframed) artwork will be posted via Special Delivery in a hardbacked envelope.
Please note that delivery is charged additionally if required.
What if I change my mind?
All initial chats and the creation of tailored quotes are provided without any obligation to go ahead. Due to the nature of creating bespoke, one-of-a-kind artwork, however, once the quote is agreed and the project has begun, the full balance is payable upon completion.
It is my priority to ensure that clients are happy throughout the process and delighted with their final piece of art. With clear communication, discussion of the details, style examples and the approval of an initial sketch, you will have a very good idea of how the finished artwork will look – no nasty surprises!
Fineliner drawing © Suzanne Pink
'I was looking for a special birthday present for my partner and Suzanne did a drawing of our house. I couldn't have been happier with the result. Suzanne captured our house so well. My partner was speechless!'
– Esther (birthday gift commission)
Please do get in touch if you'd like to chat through a commission idea. I'd love to hear from you!
Tel: 07779 108 563