S. Clifford Art


Tips for Ordering Your Pencil Portrait or Drawing:

If you’ve never commissioned a work of art before, you may not be quite sure how to go about it.  I’ve provided some tips below to help you understand how best to work with me as an artist and to understand the costs.

Photographs: I work primarily from photos, so choosing the right photo is very important.  Generally speaking, you want to have a large, clear photo with good lighting and lots of detail.  Tiny wallet-sized photos often don’t enlarge well (you don’t gain more detail by making them bigger), so photos larger than 2″ are preferable.  Avoid flash photography if you can, as this tends to wash out depth and detail; light and shadow is what makes black & white beautiful, so give me something with contrast!  If the photo is very darkly lit, blurry, or badly faded due to age, I can sometimes improve it on the computer enough to make a good drawing (see the WWII portraits of my grandfathers for examples), but I can’t pull out detail that the camera did not capture.  If you have a photo you’re not sure about, send it to me anyway and I can tell you what kind of potential it has for a good drawing.  Also, when scanning photos, make sure the resolution is as high as possible: minimum 300 dpi (dots per inch), but 400-600 dpi is better.

Clifford-Family-Photo-49-medPoor Quality Photo Clifford-Family-Photo-333-medGood Quality Photo

You can submit a digital or scanned photo to me through the contact form on this website.  If you need to send a physical print, email me through the form for my mailing address.  I am located in Houston, Texas.

The Drawing: I try to match my drawings to standard frame sizes whenever possible, so my standard portrait size is 8″x10″.  I will resize and crop your photo on the computer to match these dimensions as long as it doesn’t result in cutting off part of the subject’s face.  I can draw your picture on plain white paper or on toned paper, and larger sizes are available upon request. I can draw multiple faces such as this young and old portrait, and I’m more than happy to draw animals and beautiful locations as well.  Background details may be added in or left out by request or artistic discretion.  If you have any special requests, please contact me to discuss them.  During the drawing process, I will send you work-in-progress shots to show you how the work is progressing.

Pricing: On average, a portrait of a single face requires about 10-15 hours of drawing to complete, though this may vary based on the level of detail.  To use my portrait of The Fleet Admirals as an example, Admiral Leahy (upper left) required only about 8 hours of work, while Admiral Halsey (lower left) took over 17 hours.  My starting price is based on the average amount of work required to complete the drawing, and is adjusted based on the level of complexity (multiple faces, detailed background, difficult lighting, etc.).

8″x10″ Portrait: $200.00 for a single face with monotone background.

For larger sizes, multiple subjects, or very high levels of detail, submit your photo and contact me to discuss an estimate.

Quoted prices do not include shipping & handling or 8.25% TX state sales tax for in-state customers.

Payment: I require a 50% deposit in the form of a check, money order, or bank draft. Once payment is made and the picture is approved, I will give you an estimated completion date.  A typical 8″x10″ portrait generally takes 2-4 weeks to complete (drawing is not my day job just yet), depending on my workload; larger or more complex pieces may take longer.  If you have a deadline such as Christmas or a birthday, please make sure you notify me of this so I can get it to you on time.

The remaining balance, including shipping costs and tax, is due when I email you a final proof of the drawing. Once I have received the balance, I will ship the drawing to you. For local clients, final payment for a portrait is due when the portrait is picked up. Drawings are sprayed with a fixative to prevent yellowing and smudging, and portraits are sold unframed. Reference photographs are returned in a separate envelope inside the shipping package. This completes our sale.

In the end, my goal is to capture your memories in a timeless and beautiful way you can cherish forever, and I can’t wait to get started!