You have entered the world of a creative mind. I always tell anyone who asks what I do that I am a portrait artist during the day and a designer and miniature artist in the evenings and weekends. I hope that the FAQ section will answer some of the questions you might have. If not feel free to email me via the Contact tab and I promise I get back to you asap. So let's dive in ....
Q: WHO IS PORTRAITS BY NC?
Welcome to Portraits-by-NC!
My name is Enzie (pronounced just like the initial "NC" ). I have been painting custom pet and people portraits from photos for people around the world (check out my About the Artist page) professionally since 1999. My aim is to make all my portraits look as realistic and painterly looking as possible, regardless of the mediums I use. To keep up with the high demand for my custom painted portraits and to better cater to my International clientele I have introduced digitally painted portraits as another option to save of duty and shipping fees.
In 2019 I created my first miniature from a kit and fell in love with that art form. It allows me to express my creativity in new ways and to my surprise has led to commissioned work as well. Miniatures are in the Gift Shop section of the website. Pricing for commissioned miniatures depends greatly on size and complexity. Please contact me and let me know what you like to have done so that I can give you a quote.
Now let's answer some frequently asked questions:
Q: WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN OIL PORTRAIT AND A DIGITAL PORTRAIT?
Oil portraits are hand painted by me on a stretched canvas using traditional painting tools. I use professional grade oil paint for pure color and build up paint gradually to create a tactile paint texture on the canvas. This texture allows the light to bounce off the paint, creating interesting highlights and more details in color variation in the dark and light areas of the painting. This effect, in turn, allows for an extremely lifelike look of your custom painted portrait. In general, it takes anywhere from 3-6 weeks to paint an oil portrait, depending on the size of the canvas size ordered.
GICLEE - CANVAS PRINT OF CUSTOM PAINTED DIGITAL PORTRAITS
Painting portraits digitally has been a way to get paintings done much faster than it would take to complete a painting with traditional methods. By using a stylus and computer I still hand paint each work and can combine many more techniques than it would be possible with traditional oil mediums to create interesting effects in a painting. Once the painting is approved by you it is send it to my printer for printing on stretched canvas. Your canvas print is printed with high quality inks for longevity and ships directly from my printer. Since it takes less time to create a hand painted digital artwork it is also less expensive and that makes it a great gifting option.
Q: I WOULD LIKE TO COMMISSION A PORTRAIT. WHAT SHOULD I DO FIRST?
A: You can select the desired size and medium from the drop-down menu on any of the listings or click ORDER PORTRAITS . Then let me know what you like to have done and upload your reference photo through this Order Form. I will get back to you within 24 hrs to review your order and go over your preferences.
Q: I WOULD LIKE TO COMMISSION A MINIATURE. WHAT SHOULD I DO FIRST?
A: Please email me via the Contact form. You can include photos there as well and tell me what you like to have done. It helps me greatly if you can give me an idea of what your budget is. Unlike a painting a Miniature diorama can be very simple like one custom made object or very complex like an entire indoor or outdoor setting.
Q: DO YOU CHARGE EXTRA FOR EXTRA FIGURES IN A PAINTING?
A: No. You can combine different people or pets from different photos in one painting. However, keep in mind that on a small canvas that is full of figures the details of their faces will get lost. You might not want to cram to many loved ones into one small canvas :)
Q: WHAT TYPE OF IMAGES SHOULD I SEND FOR PORTRAITS?
A: In a perfect world I would request the best quality photo you have, nothing blurry or too dark. However, I do realize that sometimes that is not possible. Email me what you have so I can evaluate if I can use the photo reference. If there are any undesired elements in the photo, I can often remove them. However, there has to be enough detail for me to see what I need to paint. The more photographs you can send the better. One main photograph is used for the painting and the rest as reference photos to better see details. Please indicate which photograph best represents your loved one, and which you would like to have for the portrait. Let me know which photo best depicts his/her true coloring. The better the quality of the photograph, the better the finished painting will be. Photographs should be clear, in focus with the subject occupying the majority of the frame. Photographs showing subjects in the distance aren't usually good enough to work from.
Q: WHAT TYPE OF IMAGES SHOULD I SEND FOR PETS IN COSTUME PORTRAITS?
A: Photos work best if they are taken at eye level with your pet. Best is if yo can have your pet sit in front of a solid background. Make sure that the ears are not cropped off and that the photo is in focus and not too dark.
Q: CAN YOU COMBINE MULTIPLE REFERENCE PHOTOS?
A: Yes. Submit your photos for review. If the reference photos are suitable I can combine them to paint one painting. Just leave a detailed description at time of check out what you like to have done. What I can't do is take a profile shot and turn it into a frontal view. You will be send a mock-up for approval before the painting process starts.
Q: CAN YOU RESTORE OLD PHOTOS OR COLORIZE BLACK & WHITE PHOTOS? IF SO WHAT IS THE PRICE?
A: If a photo requires restoration, it will be done after you approve the mock-up for your painting. If you have a black & white photo and you want me to paint or print it in color, please mention it in the comments text box that appears during the order process underneath the area where you upload your photo(s).
Please mention any details that can help me to colorize it correctly and send screen shots of similar likenesses.The hair should be blond and the eyes should be blue is often not enough, since there are many shades of blond hair and even blue eyes can be light or darker. The more specific you can be the better the artwork will turn out. I will send you the colorized photo for approval before continuing. By the way this service is free to you and is included in the price.
Q: DO YOU CHARGE EXTRA FOR MODIFICATIONS?
A: No. In the initial stages of the painting, I show you several work in progress images for figure placement on the canvas and suggested coloration. Any requests can be made during that process. As you approve each of these work in progress images it is assumed that you are happy with the overall look and work progresses. Major changes can be made in the early stages of the painting and minor changes towards the end. Paintings only ship ones you approve the work. Key to a perfect painting is good communication and it is important to me that you are 100% happy with your custom made painting.
Q: PAINTING ROTATION?If you send a vertical photo, it will be vertical (Portrait style). If you prefer your vertical photo to be horizontally (Landscape style) let me know about it in the comment section during the order process.
Q: HOW ARE BACKGROUNDS SELECTED?
A: After I receive your photo reference, I usually make background suggestions and can paint pretty much any type of background you like. If the background you like is different from that of the photo, I request that you take screenshots of colors and setting you like and that you email them to me. Computer resolutions differ and that ensures that I get the exact colors that you are requesting. Clients often browse through my Galleries to get ideas. If you see a background you like send me the link to that page.
Q: HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO COMPLETE A PAINTING?
A: Digital Portraits take about three days after you have approved the initial layout of the painting. Then they are send to the printer and that can take 4-5 days for processing.
Oil Portraits take anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 weeks depending on the size of the canvas. If the portrait is intended for a special occasion, please let me know as soon as possible. Around holidays orders pour in and there might be a backlog. In that case, I will let you know when you can expect to receive your portrait. Expedited processing is available for a fee please ask.
Q: CAN I SEE MY PORTRAIT BEFORE YOU SEND IT TO ME?
A: Yes, you will receive periodic painting updates and can view the painting in progress under the New Work section on my website or via the new Slide Show on the home page. I recommend that you sign up for the weekly email updates, so you do not miss any of the updates. I also post what I am working on Facebook and Instagram which makes it fun if you like to share the painting progress with friends and relatives.
Please let me know right away if any changes need to be made and be as specific as possible. Your painting will not be shipped unless you have approved the final photo of your painting. Only after you are 100% happy with the look of your portrait will it be varnished and prepared for shipping.
Q: HOW MUCH WILL MY PORTRAIT COST?
A: This website is set up for secure online ordering. All major credit cards are accepted through the site. I have also set up a monthly payment plan. More info is given on the check out page.
Q: WHAT ARE SHIPPING FEES AND WHO PAYS THEM?
A: Oil portraits ship free in the mainland USA. For all other destinations, you can place an item in your basket and go through the check out to see what the shipping cost would be for your item before you make a purchase. However for an exact quote contact me and I will check to see based on the size if I can find a lesser priced shipping option. Sometimes in transit accidents can happen, therefore all artwork is shipped insured.
Q: WHICH COUNTRIES DO YOU SHIP TO?
A: Everything in my store can be shipped worldwide. You can click the shipping calculator to see the available shipping rates based on the items in your cart. If a rate does not show let me know and I will send you a quote.
Q: HOW IS THE ARTWORK SENT?
A: Artwork is securely packaged and wrapped - gallery standard packaging. Paintings are shipped either via UPS or Federal Express. All are sent with tracking numbers and require a signature upon delivery.
Q: CAN YOU HELP WITH FRAMING?
A: I can only make recommendations for frames. Many of the framers I used to use have sadly gone out of business in my area.
Q: CAN I BUY A GIFT CARD?
A: Yes! The recipient will receive a beautifully designed email with a unique gift code that will enable him / her to order any of my products including Custom painted paintings/portraits or gift items from my shop. You may also choose to have a hard copy gift certificate mailed to yourself or your recipient. Order a gift certificate here
Q: CAN I ORDER PRINTS OF MY PAINTING FOR FAMILY AND FRIENDS?
A: Every painting can be ordered through my store as a reproduction print to be shared with family and friends. Just let me know and I will upload your finished painting. Now you can even have your painting printed on a Keepsake Boxes or any other product in my store that offers customization (see here ).
Q: WHAT IS YOUR RETURN/REFUND POLICY FOR CUSTOM MADE ITEMS?
A: I work with you every step of the way throughout the creative process to make sure that you are 100% happy with the look. Custom made artwork only ships once you have approved the final version. If your artwork gets damaged while in transit send it back and get a full refund or a replacement. Otherwise only store credit is given ones the item has been returned in it's original condition and packaging within 7 days of receipt.
Q: WILL YOU BE DISPLAYING COMMISSIONED ARTWORK ON YOUR WEBSITE?
A: Yes, all paintings and miniatures will be displayed on the website, blog and social networking sites (names are withheld). To further protect a client's identity fictitious titles other than real names are used for portraits. If clients prefer that their artwork not to be displayed must let me know upon ordering. By showing what I make for clients it helps me to advertise what I do and attract new business. That and word of mouth recommendations are how I stay in business.
Q: WHO MAKES THE ITEMS IN THE GIFT SHOP?
A: Most items are designed by me unless otherwise stated. Originally the gift shop started with just Greeting Cards and prints of my non commissioned artwork. Then companies started to reach out and wanted to print my artwork on their products. After clients also started asking for different customizable products it kind of grew from there. I now work with companies that will print my designs on products of my choosing. Most items in the store are customizable and can be ordered with either my design or your photo on them. Sometimes if I find an item that I think my clients will like I offer it through the gift shop as well. You will be redirected to the vendor who sells my products. Please check the shipping and refund policies before placing your order, since these items ship directly from those vendors and their policies apply.
A: Portraits By NC retains the reproduction rights to all of the original artwork. Just as you retain the copyright to your photos, the artist retains the copyright to the artwork that is created from your photo reference. If you are looking to commission a piece of artwork for business use, please contact me to discuss your options.
Below are some great tips, courtesy of Marathon Press what to consider when choosing clothing and backgrounds for your portrait. Many of the photography tips provided here apply to choose the right photo for your custom painted portrait as well.
Creating a Timeless Portrait - About clothing and color choices for portraits
Nothing Is More Precious Than The Story of a Child