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Robert Burke - Portraits in Pencil

Commissioning A Portrait

We hope you have liked what you have seen on this website and are considering a portrait of your own. It is important to us that you are happy with any work we do and therefore in most cases we don't ask for any deposit or payment until you have seen a proof of the finished portrait and are completely satisfied. The process of commissioning a portrait has been made as straight forward as possible for you, and we have put together the following guidance that we hope will help you make the best choices along the way.

By following the five simple steps below you will gather all the information needed to complete the Commission Request Form.

  1. Reference Photographs - choose, take or commission a reference photo,
  2. How Many Subjects - how many heads, whether the body and a background is required,
  3. The Portrait Size - one of the standard A5 to A2 paper sizes, or a special size to suit your hanging space,
  4. Framing Options - do you want us to to supply the portrait only, or to mount and frame it for you,
  5. Delivery - do you want us to post the portrait out to you, or can you collect it or arrange your own collection.

If you are unsure on any part of this please feel free to call us. We would be very happy to talk with you on any aspect of our work, or the commissioning process. Details of how to get in touch are on the Contact page.

Choosing a Reference Photograph

The first choice is whether you already have a favourite photograph you wish to use, are looking for information on the best way to take the reference photographs, or do you live local to me (near Tamworth, Staffordshire, England) and would like me to come and take the photograph for you. Not all photographs are suitable, and what can be a great photograph, may not translate into a great portrait. My Taking a Suitable Photo page will guide you through some of the do's and don'ts of whats needed when choosing, taking or commissioning a reference photo.

.............Taking a Suitable Photo

How Many Subjects you would like in the Portrait

Drawing with pencil is extremely flexible and allows for many options with the finished portrait. Multiple people, pets, or combinations of people with their pets can be accommodated, and the different subjects don't necessarily have to be on the same photograph. However when combining references from different photos, consistency of lighting becomes important as highlights and shadow ideally need to be on the same sides of each subject. See my Taking a Suitable Photo page for more information on this.

The number of subjects in the portrait will also dictate the minimum size the portrait will be. As a rule of thumb, an A5 paper size will only accommodate a head and shoulders portrait, an A4 size will accommodate a head and shoulders or full body portrait. An A3 or larger sheets can accommodate more subjects

Portrait Size Options

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I tend to work with the ISO Standard A Series Paper Sizes which are readily available in the UK. My standard portrait size options ranging from A5 (148mm x 210mm) to A2 (420mm x 594). The size of one side of the paper may be reduced by around 15mm dependent on whether the paper block is supplied with a gummed edge or a spiral bound edge.

As mentioned above, the chosen paper size will have limitations on how many subjects can be included within the portrait. A5 paper will only accommodate a single head and shoulders portrait, an A4 paper size will accommodate a head and shoulders or full body portrait. A3 paper has more flexibility and can can accommodate either a single large head and shoulders portrait, two separate head and shoulder or full body portraits or a tight group or montage of four to five subjects. A2 paper offers the same options as A3 but with a greater number of subjects in the montages and groups.

Larger or non standard sizes can also be made available, however I may need to source materials specifically for the portrait. Information on non standard sized drawings will be provided on request.

ISO Paper Size A2 to A5

Mounts & Frames

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Whilst I am happy to provide portraits as the portrait only, without any mount or frame, I would encourage you to at least consider the mounts and framing options below. Each portrait is individually based on the provided reference images, which means the area of paper covered by the portrait will differ slightly for each drawing. Standard A5, A4, and A3 mounts are readily available from craft suppliers in most areas of most countries. The standard cutouts however for these paper sizes may not necessarily provide the most aesthetic results given the variation of height and width ratios of the portrait and amount of white space surrounding the image.

Mounts

If you choose to take your portrait with a mount only, we can provide both standard and custom mounts. The portrait will be dispatched taped centrally within the mount. Standard mounts are available in ivory colour as single or double mounts in the following sizes:

Size in mm and approximate only - may vary with different suppliers
Frame Size Picture Size Paper Size
203 x 152 152 x 102 A5
229 x 152 178 x 127 A5
254 x 203 203 x 152 Oversize A5
356 x 279 292 x 203 A4
406 x 305 305 x 204 Super A4
508 x 406 406 x 305 Extra A3

Standard Mount

Standard Mount

Double Mount

Double Mount

Custom mounts can be cut in varying sizes to suit your paper and frame size choices. A number of colour options are available, the following are ideally suited to graphite on paper portraits.

If you require a different colour custom mount, please contact us to discuss as we would be happy to try and source a colour to suit your requirements.

Mount Colour

Frames

We are happy to provide the portraits with or without a frame. If you require the portrait to be framed we can supply either a standard frame, or can source a local framing service to produce a custom frame to your requirements. The standard frames below are purchased by us from online or local household goods retailers and are provided for the convenience of you receiving a portrait ready to hang. If you are looking to cut down a little on the cost of a portrait it may be more economical for you to purchase your own standard frame locally, saving on handling and delivery costs.
Note, the frame sizes detailed below are for the frame opening (rebate) which locates the glass and mount, the overall frame size will be larger.

A number of standard frame options are available:

Square Profile frames - are available in black, oak effect or white, and for safety are glazed with lightweight clear styrene which has the same light transmission properties as glass.
The Square Profile frames are available in sizes of:

Georgian inspired frame - These are an elegant molded black frame with a silver coloured edge detail. The frames are glazed with a glass rather than clear styrene.
The Georgian inspired frames are available in sizes of:

White Vintage frame - these white moulded plastic frames give a classic vintage look decorated with an elegant baroque moulding. They retain classic features without overpowering the appearance of the portrait. For safety they are glazed with lightweight clear styrene which has the same light transmission properties as glass.
The White Vintage frames are available in sizes of:

Each framed portrait will include a mount cut for the specific portrait size, and be supplied, not only with a certificate of authenticity, but will also include a sticker on the back of the frame repeating the details of the certificate.

Delivery Options

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All portraits are are delivered in the UK using Royal Mail Special Delivery and will need to be signed for on receipt. Delivery to other countries is available via various courier services and prices will be checked and made available before order processing.

Portrait Prices

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I offer portraits in a range of size and detail options. The following is a breakdown of the options with the respective indicative price. Once you have decided what you would like and made a Commission Request, I will return a Commission Proposal which will include a mock-up of the sketch and a firm price quotation.

Portrait Size

Portrait Size
mm / (inches)
1 Subject 2 Subjects
Head / Shoulders Full Body Head / Shoulders Full Body
A5 - 210 x 148 (8.3 x 5.8) £80 x x x
A4 - 297 x 210 (11.7 x 8.3) £120 £160 x X
A3 - 420 x 279 (16.5 x 11) £200 £280 £240 £320
A2 - 594 x 420 (23.4 x 16.5) £320 £380 £400 £560
The above price indications are for the portraits on a white background. If a detailed
background is required please indicate so on the Commission Request, I will then assess
the reference photo's, and include the background as part of my Commission Proposal.
More than 2 subjects or montages can be accommodated on A3 and larger sized paper and
I would be happy to talk with you about the layout and costs, again simply indicate on the
Commission Request and I will include your requirements in the Commission Proposal.

Mounts and Frames

Standard Mount only - Ivory Colour
Portrait Size Frame Size
mm / (inches)
Single Mount Double Mount
A5 254 x 203
(10 x 8)
£4 £5
A4 304 x 254
(12 x 10)
£8 £10
A4 406 x 305
(16 x 12)
£10 £12
A3 508 x 406
(20 x 16)
£15 £20
If you require a custom mount to suit your own frame, please add the external
dimensions of the mount you require to the Commission Request.

Standard Frame - Includes standard mount
Portrait Size Frame Size
mm / (inches)
Square Profile frame Georgian inspired frame White Vintage frame
A5 254 x 203
(10 x 8)
£15 £15 £15
A4 304 x 254
(12 x 10)
x x £20
A4 356 x 279
(14 x 11)
£20 x x
A4 406 x 305
(16 x 12)
£25 £25 X
A3 508 x 406
(20 x 16)
£35 £35 £35
The standard frames above are purchased by us from online or local household goods retailers
and the price stated includes a contribution towards the collection of the frame, mounting the
picture and extra packaging requirements to protect the picture during delivery.
If you require a custom made frame or mount, please either contact us for more details
or add information about your requirements to the Commission Request.

Post and Packaging

As standard, I use Royal Mail Special Delivery which is guaranteed, tracked and insured. Where parcel delivery becomes more expensive, I will look at other delivery options (such as international courier services) to try and find the most economical solution. I am also happy for you to collect the portrait, either in person or for you to arrange your own courier to collect on your behalf.

Portrait or Portrait & Mount only
Deliver to:
Portrait Size Includes Mount
If ordered
UK Europe Rest of World
up to A4 £10 £20 £25
A3 £15 * *
A2 & A3
Delivered in a poster tube
£15 £20 £25
* we will look for the best delivery options when you make a Commission Request.

Standard Framed Portraits
Deliver to:
Frame Size
mm / (inches)
UK Europe Rest of World
up to 356 x 279
(14 x 11)
£25 £35 £40
from 356 x 279
(14 x 11)
up to 508 x 406
(20 x 16)
£25 * *
* we will look for the best delivery options when you make a Commission Request.

For any non standard sizes or bespoke frames we will quote a delivery price on our Commission Proposal.

Payment

Payment can be made in a number of ways and we accept: cash on collection, cheque (the cheque will need to clear before releasing the portrait), postal order, bank transfer (BACS) from your online banking, or online using most debit or credit cards via a PayPal secure link, details of which will be provided in the Commission Proposal.