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I would be honored to create a contemporary-style portrait of your child, your wedding photo, your grandparents, your favorite selfie, or your pet! I will work with you to create a portrait that you love!

I work with mixed media (including watercolor, gouache, and/or acrylic paint, ink, and colored pencil) on paper and offer two standard sizes with customizable options.

Custom portraits are time-consuming and complex (but enjoyable!) endeavors, so I would truly appreciate if you would read the following before filling out the commission request form linked at the bottom of this page.

I look forward to working with you!

Reference and finished portrait of an 8-year old who loves video games!

Reference and finished portrait of an 8-year old who loves video games!


I will work closely with you to capture the essence of the subject(s). The final work will be very close to the provided reference image I am able to work from (pose, facial expression, etc), so sharp, clear, well-lit photographs are essential. Please make sure to provide specific reference if there is something particular you have in mind for the finished piece.
Email all photos to jameshive@gmail.com. Images provided will be used exclusively for the purpose of creating this work.


Father and son

Father and son

  • Head and shoulders portrait of ONE person or animal in specified sizeY

  • Your choice of color or simple patterned background

  • USPS Priority shipping anywhere in the USA (includes insurance and tracking number). International shipping will be calculated individually and payment will be due before portrait is shipped. Express or special shipping options may be available; please let me know if you are interested and we will discuss options and pricing.
    Work will be shipped flat in reinforced packaging, without frame.


  • One extra figure (two total) in one portrait together will be invoiced for an additional $90. Two extra figures (three total) will be an additional $150. Large groups are available for a negotiated price.

  • Additional elements can be added (flowers, favorite objects, and other images) for an additional $30 or more, depending on complexity. Please provide reference materials or specific information.

  • Detailed or complex background will be invoiced for an additional $75 or more depending on complexity. Reference images must be provided.

I love working with couple and wedding photos!

I love working with couple and wedding photos!

Please note that all portraits will be similar in style to my examples shown. Extreme photo realism and cartoon art are not my cup of tea, and I am unable to fulfill requests to alter my painting style.

You must pay the 50% of the full amount at the time we agree upon commission of the artwork.
The remaining half will be paid upon completion. Any final payment is due before painting will be shipped.

We will collaborate to determine a due date for the painting. Most paintings can be completed and shipped within 2-3 weeks. Timeliness will depend on prompt communication in approving sketches and any changes. 
A rushed timeframe may be available depending on my workload, and will require an extra fee of $50 and a 75% up front deposit instead of the usual 50%.

I want you to be happy and excited about your painting, and love the final product! 
I will email you any sketches final line art for approval before painting begins. Please make any major changes to the work while in the sketch stage. Any drastic changes after the sketch is approved and painting begins will be invoiced for an additional amount. This is due to the nature of watercolor paint (it generally cannot be painted over to change large area of color) and will vary depending on the complexity and if starting the painting over is the only option to get the desired result. Changes at this point may also alter the due date.
Any preliminary sketches and progress photos will be watermarked with my name. This will not be included in the final piece.

Hairy or scaly - I will paint your pet!

Hairy or scaly - I will paint your pet!

Due to the nature of custom portraits, I am unable to accept a full return of the finished artwork under any circumstances. If, during early paint stages of the work, you choose to refuse completion and do not wish to purchase the piece, I will cease progress. I will retain the unfinished artwork and the non-refundable deposit.

I use only high-quality, professional grade papers, paints, pencils and inks. The paper brands I use are Arches, Canson, and Fluid in 100% cotton rag. I use all professional quality painting and drawing supplies from the following companies:  ShinHan, Winsor-Newton, Holbein, Faber-Castell, Grumbacher, Prima, FineTec, Prismacolor, and Liquitex, among others.

The painting should always be framed behind glass and displayed away from direct natural sunlight, which can cause color fading over time. Do not hang in an area of high humidity (such as a shower area or over a kitchen sink).

I can include other elements or backgrounds into your portrait!

I can include other elements or backgrounds into your portrait!

Upon final payment, you become the legal owner of the work with some exceptions.:

  • I retain common law copyright to all works created by me, including reproduction rights for self-promotion only. I will never sell reproductions of a privately commissioned artwork.

  • Please do not allow any changes or revisions by other parties to the original work.

  • No original work may be reproduced (digital or physical) without prior agreement.

Please note that I will sign and date the portrait in an inconspicuous location with my initial monograph and the year.
Each work will come with a certificate of authenticity with materials list, copyright statement, title, signature, date of completion, and care instructions.

Work cannot begin until:

  1. Commission request is received

  2. Photo reference is received and approved

  3. We are in contact and complete a commission agreement

  4. Deposit is paid