How much does a portrait painting cost?

Updated: Sep 3, 2019

You may be wondering, "How much does a portrait artist cost?"


The cost of a portrait painting may vary greatly between artists but you can expect to pay anywhere between £250 and £8,000+ depending on the medium, the finished style, and the expertise or influence of the particular artist.

This is a common question I’m asked from clients and friends regarding my personal work, and I’ve heard the same from other artists so I decided to do a little research for you.


These costs will vary dramatically between artists, and this is something you should consider when working with one. You may enjoy the work of a lesser known artist just as much, and pay a fraction of the cost of a well known one, who may well charge thousands more.


It is possible to to pay under £250 for an oil painting for example, but the quality may be lacking, as they may be an unexperienced artist or be unfamiliar with the tools they work with reducing how archival the final work will be.

You should be aware of fake portrait paintings also! It is not uncommon for companies to Photoshop the supplied photograph and print that onto a canvas and send it to you as an imitation of a real portrait. This can be done in a matter of minutes with a simple filter in photoshop and is huge rip-off for the buyer.


It's good to see examples of the artist's work before you purchase anything, they should have a full portfolio of examples as proof of there validity as a portrait painter.


Of course price is an important Factor when determining if you'd like to work with an artist, however this should be the only consideration. most people recognise how significant a custom painting portrait would be as a gift to someone else such as a loved one or even a self-portrait that lasts only lifetime but beyond. This should be something that you consider when commissioning an artist for a custom portrait.

How much does it cost to commission an oil painting?

You can expect to pay anywhere between £250 and £8,000 for an oil painting. Of course you can pay more or less than he's amounts but this is what I found to be the average for good quality work. Usually this price will be the same for a live sitting with the artist or for a photo model by a full-time artist in a realistic or impressionistic style.


Generally for a single head and shoulder portrait in oil painting over take between 4 to 6 weeks to complete and Is painstakingly handcrafted to your exact specifications.

This is due to the limitations of the medium as oil paints take a long time to dry in between layers however this gives the artist plenty of time to perfect the results of your portrait commission.


Of course you can also expect the amount of subjects, the detail of the piece, the materials used and time taken, if the artist is up-and-coming, and how large the painting is to factor in final cost of a commissioned piece.


How much does it cost to commission a pencil portrait?

However you may well find that noura artists charging lower rates for their work have just as much technical ability as famous what influential artists. it may be worth considering hiring these artists as you can find a better deal for the commission.


From what I found many artists will charge between £80 for a sketch of a single subject, however this can increase to till over £5,000 for more established artists work. However you will not have to pay this much for a pencil drawing you can usually expect to pay around £200 for a graphite or charcoal portrait drawing.


Again, the time taken to complete the piece will vary, more subjects and more detail will require more time to complete also, the size of the finished piece.

Usually it shouldn't take more than 1 to 2 weeks for an artist to complete a portrait drawing once started, to see good results.


Choosing a portrait drawing over a painting is not only a more economical version of a portrait but offers an entirely different stylistic approach.

The reduce in cost is usually due to the fact that they are often much quicker to produce than a painting but can still offer expert results. However I personally believe that graphite and charcoal drawings are just as impactful as an oil or acrylic painting if completed by an artist that has gained expertise in their field.


No portrait artists it equal but if you find a good pencil or graphite artist it's worth paying what they asked they're still trained to higher quality than most and this is definitely worth the investment for a distinct and unique Style.


Do I need to sit for a portrait painting?

Sitting for a portrait painting is no longer required due to the advances in technology in the last century. Many contemporary artists now work from photographs to high standards of work.

Some may opt for the experience of sitting with an artist in their studio to complete the work, this should be something you discuss with whoever it is you chose to work with.


The cost of pet portraits

You should expect to pay around the same amount for a portrait of a pet.

Most portrait artists will agree that there is not much difference between drawing a pet and a human in terms of total working time, as you still have to respect fundamentals of the practice such as line, shape, form, colour, and texture regardless of the subject. To neglect these issues means a diminishment of end quality.


The cost of up-and-coming artist portraits?

You can often find the work of up-and-coming artists at a reduced price, this does not mean that they have less talent or technical ability than an established artist as they often go through the same training but have yet to earn a large audience.


If you're looking to pay less for a piece this is the ideal way to go. An emerging artist's work may be underpriced, but unlike other avenue of underpriced portraits (as mentioned before) you'll receive a quality piece as a result and you'll be supporting a young idealistic artist. With any luck they may well be worth a small fortune in the future also!


How much do family portrait paintings cost?

If we can surmise that a portrait artist takes two weeks to paint one subject in a painting, you should take 4 weeks to paint to 6 weeks to paint 3 and so on.


Of course you can expect the same from the cost of the painting also, more subjects means more dedication to the work and time spent on each area of the piece. If you expect each subject to be a focus of the peace you should expect the same out of time to be spent on each one, however not all paintings require that each face to be a focal point of the piece and as such will not take as much time to complete.


Each face within a family portrait however does to deserve unreserved attention, and you should expect to pay a price proportional to the time taken. An artist that doesn't charge proportional prices may well be apathetic to the work or unmotivated to provide the same amount of quality for each individual subject.


You should be aware of this when choosing an artist, comparing the artist passed since symbols subject portraits with their past multiple subject portraits is the easiest way of determining this.


Should I pay For a portrait Commission from an artist?

This will depend on what you're after, for some people budget is more important than the actual quality of painting however the result of a painting brings immense value over a potential of lifetimes.


We are used to seeing ourselves in the mirror or in photographs; by contrast we have never seen ourselves when translated through the imagination of an artist before. A portrait artist will be teaching you to see things in a new way – the more you look, the more you will see. At the end of the day, investing in a portrait is investing in a thing of joy for generations to come.


If you're interested in commissioning a portrait piece from me, please visit this page for more information. Drop me an email or comment here and I'll get back to you as soon as I can!


You can watch my latest Youtube video below:



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Portrait Artist & Illustrator, London

For further details and enquiries, please email me at ophanap@gmail.com

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