Options & Ordering
What medium/media will you use?
Typically, I work with pencil, charcoal pencil, vine charcoal, and/or india ink. You may prefer a certain medium/style (see custom portrait examples), and/or I may recommend a certain medium based on the photograph(s) you send to me.
The medium dictates the paper I will use. I typically use Strathmore charcoal and drawing paper, and Canson Aquarelle or Canson Mix Media paper, but I may use other stock, depending on availability. All papers will be acid-free, and media that smudge (ex: pencil, charcoal) will be sprayed with a fixative to help your artwork last longer.
What sizes are available?
Typically, my pieces are standard sizes, like 5x7, 8x10, 9x12, and 11x14, but if you need a different size, let me know, and I will do my best to accommodate. Dimensions are approximate, and represent the size of the artwork that will appear through the opening in your mat or frame. Depending on the subject matter, the finished piece may be slightly larger than the listed dimensions so that the edge of your mat or frame will overlap with the image.
Will my artwork be vertical (portrait) or horizontal (landscape) in orientation?
It depends on the subject matter. We can determine the orientation when we discuss which photo I will use as the inspiration for the artwork. If you have a strong preference, please let me know before I begin the work.
Can it be matted?
Yes, if you supply me with a mat and frame, I can mat and frame your piece for an additional service fee before delivery. Typically, clients order a mat/frame on Amazon or through another retailer and have it shipped directly to me, or drop one off at my studio. We can discuss this as we finalize your order.
Alternatively, you can have your piece matted and framed through a third-party vendor (like a custom framing shop).
How much does a custom portrait cost?
My pieces start at $300, with price varying based on the size of the piece, complexity of the subject matter, number of subjects to be included, turnaround time you need, medium we agree on, etc. I can give you a more specific quote after you tell me your needs and show me what photo(s) you are considering.
Additional costs may also include matting service, shipping, taxes, etc.
How do I pay?
I will begin work on your piece after I receive an up-front deposit of 50% of the total cost of the completed artwork (including any applicable matting service charge). Shipping/delivery charges and sales tax (if applicable) will be determined after the work is complete and will be added to the final invoice, along with the remaining balance. Due to the custom nature of the work, all sales are final.
You can pay by personal check (made out to Erin Thompson) or by PayPal (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Is there a shipping charge?
If you live nearby (on Capitol Hill, DC), we can make arrangements for delivery. For orders outside the neighborhood, we can discuss your shipping needs (depending on how quickly you need to receive the piece, etc.) and the associated additional cost.
Do you offer gift certificates?
Yes! A gift certificate makes a great shower gift for expecting parents, to celebrate a new-baby's arrival, or for lots of other occasions. Contact me to make arrangements.
The Subject Matter / Selecting a Photo
What photos work best?
My style works best if your photo captures a special moment between its subjects (typically 2 people). I don’t recommend a formal (or even informal) camera-facing portrait where subjects are smiling at the camera. If your photo of a very special moment isn't the best quality, still send it to me, because using fine art techniques is a way to turn mediocre snapshots into meaningful, display-worthy art! If you are having trouble deciding between images, you can send me a few, and I can give you my thoughts on which would work best.
Can I submit a photo taken by someone else?
Only if you have rights to this image. When you submit your photo(s), you are indicating to Erin Malick Thompson (and Erin Thompson Studio) that you either own the image or have permission from the copyright holder or other owner to reproduce the image and for me to display the derivative artwork as I see fit for my own marketing purposes (for example, on my website, on social media, in print form at art shows, etc.). By submitting an order, you also agree that the reproduction of the image will not violate the rights of any other person. In submitting your order, you agree to indemnify Erin Malick Thompson (and Erin Thompson Studio) and defend and hold Erin Malick Thompson (and Erin Thompson Studio) harmless from all actions, liabilities, damages, losses, and expenses, including, but not limited to, attorney’s fees and costs, arising out of or relating to possession or reproduction of the image and any breach of your representations of the photo.
Do you ever include backgrounds?
I prefer not to include much background detail, because my specialty is focusing on the connection between the people in the photograph, rather than on the landscape/surroundings, which can detract from the featured moment. If you have a request regarding an image with important background details, please contact me to discuss feasibility, additional cost/turnaround time, etc.
Will the finished piece look just like me/us?
When I create a piece of art, I focus on capturing the emotion and connection between the subjects, rather than a photo likeness. However, some medium/styles lend themselves to more of a likeness, so depending on your vision for the finished piece, you can select a medium accordingly (and we can discuss this).
Receiving the Finished Art
How long will it take to receive my finished artwork?
I take my time with each piece of art to ensure the finished piece will capture the moment meaningfully for you, so turnaround time is not immediate. Right now, I can produce your artwork in about 3-6 weeks from the time we agree upon the plan and you make your deposit. For non-local orders, shipping may require additional time.
Upon completion of your order, I will be in touch to plan for shipping/delivery. I will send a final invoice, including the remaining 50% balance for the artwork itself, plus any applicable shipping/delivery and taxes. Upon receipt of your final payment, I will ship or deliver your piece.
Can I get my artwork more quickly?
Possibly! If you have an especially urgent need, contact me so we can discuss rush options.
If I buy a custom portrait, will I hold the rights to that image?
Erin Malick Thompson (and Erin Thompson Studio) retains all rights to the artwork I create, prior to and following completion of the sale. Reproduction of the artwork without the written consent of Erin Malick Thompson (and Erin Thompson Studio) shall be prohibited. This is standard practice in the art world. This means Erin Thompson / Erin Thompson Studio may produce and sell prints or products from the artwork (and any incidental or derivative works I create) in any form and may display it in my portfolio, at art shows, on social media, etc. If you have personal concerns about this, due to the nature of your artwork's subject matter or for any other reason, please talk to me about it so we can work something out.