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" ). Since 1999, I've been professionally creating custom pet and people portraits from photos for individuals around the world. If you want to learn more about me, you can check out my About the Artist page)
My primary goal is to imbue a lifelike and artistic quality into every artwork I create, regardless of the artistic techniques I employ. In response to the increasing demand for my custom painted portraits and to enhance the experience for my global clients, I've introduced digitally painted portraits as an option, which not only maintains quality but also reduces the hassles of customs and shipping fees.
In 2019, I embarked on a creative journey by venturing into the world of miniature dioramas. I was immediately captivated by this unique art form, finding it to be a delightful and exceptionally distinctive gifting idea. The pricing for commissioned miniatures can vary significantly, depending on their size and intricacy. Feel free to get in touch and specify your preferences so that I can provide you with a personalized quote tailored to your needs.
Now let's answer some frequently asked questions:
Q: WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN OIL PORTRAIT AND A DIGITAL PORTRAIT?
OIL PORTRAITSEvery painting starts with a hand painted digital sketch to show you the placement of the figure(s) on the canvas. Once you approve the mock up the image is transferred onto a canvas and the oil painting process begins.
Oil portraits are hand painted by me using professional grade oil paints for rich long lasting color. I 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 and painting styles 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 printed on stretched canvas and further enhanced with Acrylic mediums to enhance the brush strokes. 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: Click ORDER PORTRAITS and upload your reference photos. Check out and let me know what you like to have done in the Note to Seller section. I will get back to you within 24 hrs to review your order and to discuss the project.
Q: I WOULD LIKE TO COMMISSION A MINIATURE . WHAT SHOULD I DO FIRST?
A: Please email me via the Contact form. Feel free to include photos and share your preferences for the project. Providing information about your budget is highly beneficial for me. Unlike traditional paintings that primarily use canvas and paint, creating a miniature diorama involves the use of various materials such as clay, cardstock, and wood, each impacting the cost. Miniature dioramas can range from simple, featuring a single custom-made object, to intricate, recreating entire indoor or outdoor scenes. For intricate scenes, there is a $25 fee associated with the assembly of a comprehensive price sheet. This fee is credited back to you when you place an order for the artwork.
Q: CAN I COMMISSION A MINIATURE OF MY PET?
A: Should I locate a model of the same breed as your pet for the scene, I can accurately match the coloration to resemble your pet. Tiny portraits can also be created.
Q: DO YOU CHARGE EXTRA FOR EXTRA FIGURES IN A PAINTING?
A: Yes I charge $16 per extra figure in a painting, which will be billed separately. 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 too 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 PORTRAITS?
A: Photos work best if they are taken at eye level. Make sure that limbs are not cropped off and that the photo is in focus and not too dark. If you have an old or poor quality photo email me the photo first so I can see if it can be used for a portrait.
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, email me the photo first so I can evaluate the work to be done. Black & white photos can also be colorized.
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.
Q: DO YOU CHARGE EXTRA FOR MODIFICATIONS?
A: In the initial phases of every project, I present you with the initial mock-up, which must receive approval before the project commences. Any significant alterations should be addressed at this point. Throughout the creative process, numerous images are shared via online video, and minor adjustments can be requested without incurring additional charges. When you approve each of these work-in-progress images, it is assumed that you are satisfied with the overall appearance as the work advances. Should you wish to introduce major changes after endorsing the mock-up and subsequent in-progress images, additional fees will be assessed based on the complexity of the modifications. Artwork will only be dispatched once you have given your approval. Effective communication is essential for achieving the perfect commissioned artwork, and your complete satisfaction with your order is of utmost importance to me.
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: WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT BACKGROUND SELECTIONS?
A: Some reference photos look perfect and can be reproduced as a painting as is. Other photos have undesired elements in them that are not really suited for a painting, which can be either cropped out or even replaced with a brand new back drop.
Semi-Solid Backgrounds A semi-solid background is a background painted in colors that are blended to make create a soft looking backdrop. These types of backgrounds are perfect for portraits since the entire focus is on the figure.
Paint As Is If you love how your reference photo looks I will create a painterly version of it. Some undesired elements can be removed prior to painting.
Brand New Background Some reference photos just do not have a nice backdrop and those are often the ones that get a brand new background painted in. I can paint pretty much any type of background you like. Just send me some screenshots of what you would like to have for the background or browse through the portrait galleries to get ideas.
Q: HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO COMPLETE A COMMISSIONED ARTWORK?
A: Every project presents distinct challenges and fluctuates in terms of both its size and complexity. On average, it takes a certain amount of time to complete:
Digital Portraits Creating Digital Portraits typically involves a painting process that spans 2 to 3 days. The application of acrylic mediums to enhance the artwork introduces a drying period, extending the overall preparation time to around 2 to 3 weeks before the artwork is ready for shipment.
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.
Miniature Dioramas The creation of a diorama or miniature can span a wide range of timeframes, contingent upon the intricacy and size of the project. Once I know what you like to have done I can quote approximately how long it will take to complete the project.
Skip the Line is available for digitally artwork only that does not require Acrylic medium enhancement for an additional $25 dollars. The artwork is painted the same day the order is received and will be sent to the printer for immediate processing. Please contact me for more details.
Q: CAN I SEE MY COMMISSIONED ARTWORK BEFORE YOU SEND IT TO ME?
A: Yes, you will receive periodic work in progress updates via the video uploads on my website 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 creative 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 artwork will not be shipped unless you have approved the final photo of the piece. Only after you are 100% happy with the overall look of the work will it be prepared for shipping.
Q: HOW MUCH WILL A COMMISSIONED PIECE COST?
A: I believe in transparency and offering many options to fit my client's budgets. If you tell me how much you like to spend via email I can make recommendations.
- For Commissioned Portraits click here
- For Commissioned Dioramas click here
- If you would like to discuss your needs for other sizes not listed contact me for a quote.
Q: HOW DO I PAY?
A: This website is set up for secure online ordering. All major credit cards are accepted through the site. There is even an interest free layaway plan via Shop Pay. More info is given on the check out page.
Q: WHAT ARE SHIPPING FEES AND WHO PAYS THEM?
A: Custom Painted 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. If I can find a cheaper shipping rate I will refund the difference so you never overpay for shipping.
Custom Made Dioramas and Miniatures Due to the considerable variations in project size and materials utilized, providing a uniform shipping cost would be unfair. Instead, I can only provide an estimated rate. The weight discrepancy between an item crafted from cardstock and one constructed entirely from wood is significant. Therefore, the shipping cost for each commissioned piece will be determined based on its actual weight and charged accordingly once the item is completed.
Insurance 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 and shipped either via UPS or Federal Express with tracking numbers and might require a signature upon delivery.
Q: CAN YOU HELP WITH FRAMING?
A: I only have access to a limited number of frames for Fine Art Prints or Canvas Prints that ship directly from my supplier. Contact me for more information.
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 and is not refundable. If your artwork gets damaged while in transit make sure to take photos of the exterior of the shipping box and the actual damage of the artwork. Email me those images so I can start on the refund or replacement process.
Q: WILL YOU BE DISPLAYING COMMISSIONED ARTWORK ON YOUR WEBSITE?
A: Certainly, all paintings and miniatures will be showcased on the website, blog, and various social networking platforms (client names will remain confidential). In order to safeguard my clients' anonymity, fictitious titles will be assigned to portraits instead of using their real names. Should clients wish for their artwork to remain private, please inform me at the time of ordering. Sharing the work created for my clients is essential for promoting my services and attracting new clientele. This, along with word-of-mouth referrals, forms the cornerstone of my continued success.
Q: WHO MAKES THE ITEMS IN THE GIFT SHOP?
A: I am the primary designer for the majority of our items, unless otherwise indicated. The gift shop originally started with a selection of Greeting Cards and prints featuring my non-commissioned artwork. Over time, various companies began to express interest in utilizing my artwork on their merchandise. As my clientele grew, they began to request a wider range of customizable products, which led to the expansion of offerings. Presently, I collaborate with companies that specialize in printing my designs on products of my choice.
My store boasts a wide array of customizable items that can be ordered with either my designs or your own photos. Occasionally, if I come across a unique item that I believe my clients will appreciate, I also make it available through the gift shop. When you decide to make a purchase, you will be directed to the vendor responsible for selling my products. Prior to placing an order, please review their shipping and refund policies, as these items are shipped directly by the vendors, and their specific policies will be applicable.
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