My dear client,

Thank you for choosing my custom family tree art for your special project.  I, as a person and an artist, believe in getting the most out of every experience in life.  I hope you do to!  So let’s make sure that together we can make your family tree painting into a truly spectacular, and uniquely yours piece of art.

I promise to do my best to make your family portrait both fun and informative. However, (since I’m not familiar with your family), I have to rely on your guidance throughout the process.  The better prepared you are – the better your family tree painting will turn out.  Please look at the steps outlined below to help you get well organized for the project:

1. Select family members for the painting.

To make the selection easier decide on your budget first.  Your budget will determine which family tree painting option is right for you, and that in turn will give you the maximum number of family members you could include in the painting.  Then, depending on the option you choose you can figure out which family members you would like to be painted as full body portraits and which should be represented as names only.

Step 2. Pick good photos of your relatives …or else!

If your family tree is not a surprise gift for someone you can just ask the relatives to be featured in the painting for photos they would like to be painted from. This way you can avoid any future discontent on their part. People are usually more critical of their own looks than the others are.  Oftentimes, even if you think someone looks good in a photo, that might not be that person’s opinion.   So if you have an opportunity to ask – don’t hesitate and just ask your relative for their favorite photo of themselves.

If a family tree painting is a surprise gift for someone, and you have to use your own judgement – try picking a photo where this person looks the most like they do in real life.  Better yet, (if possible), email me several photos of them, so I can pick myself a good photo to paint from.  If you have to scan old photos please use the highest resolution setting possible. I need to be able to see everyone’s faces as clearly as possible.

Basically, the better the photos that you send me – the more accurately and true to life I could paint your family members.

Please make sure to clearly label all the photo files before you send them to me. It’s especially important for family members with the same first and last names. If your brother’s name is John Smith, and your dad’s name is John Smith please label the photos John-Smith-brother, and John-Smith-dad.

Step 3. Decide what to do about people to be represented as names only.

If some members of your family will be painted as portraits, while others will be represented as names only – we can come up with a unique, creative solution to represent them.  For example, I could inscribe your family members’ names, alongside their DOBs on leaves, on the tree’s roots or inside little frames hanging from the tree.  Alternatively, we could come up with something completely different, (something that has never even been done before).

Step 4. Who is Who?

After you make a list of all the family members you would like to include in your family tree painting, please write a clear explanation as to how everyone is related to each other. Better yet, try to make a little graph with everyone’s names, DOBs, and whichever other information you would like to be incorporated in the painting.

If there are numerous branches of the family please group people according to the family branch they belong to. Making this part as easy to understand for me as possible is very important, because I need to arrange the branches of your family tree in the right order.

Come up with a little description for each person, such as their profession, hobby, or whatever else you think is important to describe who they are. Think of their quirks, their habits, of something they do that is either unique or just very characteristic of them.

For example, don’t forget to mention if your niece texts a lot and is never seen without a smart phone in her hands. If your uncle always wears sweater-vests that’s a good thing to mention. If your second cousin would never wear anything, but black please mention that as well. I don’t know relative’s tastes, and I wouldn’t want to paint your second cousin wearing pink if she wouldn’t be caught dead wearing it in real life.

Please remember: it’s up to you to make me get to know your family, and the better I can understand who they are – the better your family tree will turn out. When describing each person please try to follow the formula below:

  1. Family Member’s Name
  2. Family Member’s Age
  3. Family Member’s Profession (if applicable)
  4. Family Member’s Hobbies (starting with the most significant ones)
  5. What does this person normally likes to wear or what do you think they would like to be pictured in. Be specific. Describe the colors they like, and it there are colors they would never wear please mention that as well. What shoes should they wear? If you would like for a family member to be painted in some kind of a uniform (be it military or sports-related) please send me a photo of the uniform.
  6. What kind of an object could they be holding that would represent them best?  It doesn’t have to be one thing.  It’s nice if you could give me some choices to work with.

Step 5. Come up with ideas for the family tree painting’s background

I always try to use the family tree painting’s background to tell a story about the family’s history or hobbies. If you’re not sure what you want in the background please write a few sentences about where your family comes from or what you enjoy doing as a family (golfing, skiing, rescuing stray kittens, etc). For example, if there is a family cabin you spend your summers at – send me a photo of it, so I could incorporate it into the painting.

Think of your family’s history. Is half of your family from Italy and the other half from France? How about an Eiffel tower on one side of the tree and a leaning tower of Pizza on the other? Did you used to live in Texas and moved to Hawaii?  Then, Texas longhorns and hula dancers can become a part of your family tree painting. All the information you provide me with can become fun little details added to the background. However, if you have something specific in mind please let me know, and I’ll be happy to use your idea.