Nomi Wagner Portrait Artist

How to Commission a Portrait—Frequently Asked Questions

Painting of a grandmother and granddaughter

Watercolor Portrait Painting in Color

I sincerely appreciate your interest in having me create a fine art portrait painting or drawing, for yourself or to give as a gift. I refer to your recent or older photos, perhaps of a loved one who has passed away.

Clients send a variety of reference photographs to give me clues about a loved one's features.

My goal is not only to draw or paint a flattering and accurate likeness, but also an extraordinary portrait that will bring you great joy and comfort.

It’s exciting for me to paint and watch each unique portrait take on a life of its own.

Please contact me for an estimate or with any questions. I will be very happy to hear from you and there is no obligation.

Portrait styles—drawings or paintings?

    Each of my watercolor portraits begins with a drawing in charcoal or pen and ink.

    Some portraits are left quite loose, with part or all of the drawing visible. Others are completely finished paintings with detailed backgrounds and no apparent drawing remaining.

    Let me know which style you prefer … a looser watercolor drawing or a more finished watercolor painting … or maybe a combination of the two.

    Portraits may be in color, black and white, or sepia.

Watercolor Portrait Painting in Black & White

How to commission a portrait?

  • Send a favorite photo or photos (see Tips below.)
  • Tell me what you have in mind, your personal preferences, tastes, and concerns.
  • Once I see your photos, if I can meet your needs and desires, I will be able to give you a free estimate.


    I’m sorry, but despite many requests, I cannot create portraits combining people who have passed away with babies or children they never met. Depending on the complexity, it takes me days, usually weeks, to draw and paint any portrait commission. That leaves no time to combine various dissimilar photos of people into a brand-new family grouping.

    However ... if you email reference photos with adults, children, babies, or pets already in compatible poses, I might be able to merge the photos into a convincing portrait source. I want to create a beautiful and believable portrait for you, so please send high resolution photos in which I can see faces, bodies and extremities accurately posed. Thank you

My creative process?

Your portrait will be a one-of-a-kind luxury work of art, made just for you. I am detail-oriented and take the time needed to create a stunning portrait, meeting your special preferences and requests.

I draw and paint your portrait by hand, stroke by stroke from scratch, using a stylus and graphics tablet. My artworks bridge the best of both worlds—traditional watercolor painting and the latest technology.

I do not manipulate your photos in any way. I use your photos only for reference and inspiration.

As I create your drawing or painting, referring closely to each photo, my goal is to elevate your snapshot to a fine art portrait.

Watercolor Portrait Painting in Sepia

Why combine traditional and high tech watercolor painting?

  • Throughout the work in progress, I will email you jpeg proofs of your portrait for your feedback.
  • I can make additions or changes without damaging your portrait.
  • I can be spontaneous and try new things, knowing that I can always revert to a previous saved version of your portrait.
  • Once I receive your final approval, your portrait will be printed, signed and shipped.
  • You may order additional identical signed prints of any size.
  • If your portrait is ever damaged, during shipping or later, it can be reprinted from the original file. Isn’t that comforting?!

Portrait sizes and materials?

  • Your commission INCLUDES a signed portrait of ANY size you desire up to 30x40 inches on your choice of fine art watercolor paper or canvas.
  • My husband is a Master Fine Art Printer. He will print your portrait using archival inks on our large format printer.

Watercolor Portrait Drawing in Black & White

Which reference photos to choose?

  • Photos that always bring a smile or tug at your heart
  • Photos of those you love—people and pets
  • Photos of loved ones or pets who have passed away
  • Photos from special moments in your life—vacations, weddings, family get-togethers
  • Photos taken by professional photographers, with a release for any copyrighted images

Tips for selecting the best quality reference photos?

  • Photos that are focused and high resolution help me see good facial detail, so I can create my very best portrait of your loved one.
  • To help me paint and draw an accurate and flattering portrait, feel free to send lots of reference photos giving me clues about the person.
  • Choose the “Actual Size” setting when emailing from an iPhone or “Original Size” when emailing from an Android.
  • Photos from family members should be emailed to you at the above settings, NOT texted. Texting reduces the resolution of photos.
Painting of a grandmother and granddaughter

Watercolor Portrait Drawing in Sepia

Options for sending reference photos?

  • Email your highest resolution photos to me (see Tips above.)
  • Ask me to send you a link to my Dropbox folder, for ease when sending multiple reference photos.

What are portrait prices based on?

  • Number of people and pets
  • Portrait style chosen—painting or drawing
  • Close-up, mid-body, or full-body poses
  • Background detail
  • Complexity of the project
  • Quality of the photos
Painting of a grandmother and granddaughter

Watercolor Portrait Drawing in Color

Portrait pricing and timing?

Pricing depends on the length of time a project will take to complete. Some take me several days and others take many weeks.

Each hand-crafted custom portrait is unique, requiring a different amount of time.

Please contact me for a free estimate or to be placed on my schedule.

Payment information?

  • A deposit is required to begin your project, with the balance due upon completion.
  • Venmo, Zelle, Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, PayPal, and checks are accepted.
  • You are welcome to work out the timing of payments with me.
  • PayPal Credit and others allow special financing such as no payment or interest if the fee is paid in full in 6 months.
Painting of a grandmother and granddaughter

Watercolor Portrait Drawing in Black and White with Pen&Ink


  • Portraits are shipped free USPS.
  • FedEx and UPS (U.S. and International) shippng is available.
  • Please let me know if your portrait is to be a surprise and needed by a special date. I love surprises!

Extra goodies?

  • Additional signed portrait prints, of any size, may be ordered for offices, vacation homes, or gifts.
  • I can have your portrait professionally framed to suit your taste.
  • Greeting cards featuring your portrait are available.
Painting of a grandmother and granddaughter

Watercolor Portrait Drawing in Color with Pen&Ink

I’m looking forward to hearing from you and creating a portrait you will love forever. Please contact me with any questions, for an estimate, or just to chat.