The Mural Process — Commissioning a Custom Mural
Commissioning a Mural: What to expect at each stage of the mural painting project.
- Discovery Conversation
- Contract Agreement and Design Deposit
- Design Process and Sketch
- Mural Deposit
- Final Payment
Give me a call or shoot me an email with a description of your project, including the size of the wall and brief description of the space and creative direction for the artwork. If you are able to e-mail me photos or architectural renderings of the space before our first phone call, that is ideal.
For a cost estimate, please contact me for a free consultation regarding your mural project. After an in-depth discovery conversation (see above) either via phone call or onsite, I will provide you with a written work estimate. If you are interested in learning how I arrive at my price quote, see my page on mural pricing.
Signed Contract Agreement and Design Deposit
In my proposal for work I will include a contract. If you would like to move forward with the design phase for the work, please send the signed contract along with the design deposit back to me. The design deposit can vary based on the size of the project, but typically the deposit is about $1,000. Once I receive the design deposit and signed contract I will begin work on designs for your wall and schedule the project.
Design Process and Sketch
We begin the design process with a clear description of the "feel" or "mood" of the piece. This is typically achieved through a collaborative brainstorming session, and by sharing visual ideas and images that might inspire the artwork.
From our initial design conversation, I will create at least two distinct designs. Depending on the subject and style of the project, the sketch might be a watercolor on paper, a digital rendering or collage, or a pen and ink drawing.
We then have a follow up conversation to integrate your feedback on the designs, and if necessary, I will come up with a completely revised design. In either case, the design that we settle on becomes a roadmap, not an exact literal representation of what the finished work of art will look like. In my experience, knowing the “signposts” — having a clear design direction — is imperative for a successful project. However, in order to create my best works of art, it is important to let a more intuitive creative process take over when I am onsite. When I am working in the space where the artwork will be, interacting with the people who use the space, I have more sources of inspiration than I do when I am coming up with a design in my quiet, controlled studio. I might tweak the colors, scale and composition relative to the immediate environment. Either way, the ideas I come up with onsite, "elbow deep" in paint are what make the artwork truly site-specific and integrated with the immediate environment.
A deposit, typically 50% of my total fee, is due two weeks prior to the first day of onsite painting. This allows for ordering of supplies and confirms the scheduling dates. At this time, we will review the mural design concept again and see if either of us have had any new thoughts or ideas on the mural design. We will confirm the start date and time, and confirm any preparation of the space as necessary.
I typically paint for about 6 hours each day, usually starting around 9 am. On outdoor projects, I may start as early as 6 am or as late as noon, depending on the sun exposure of the wall. You are welcome to watch the process unfold. I like to touch base regularly as the work progresses to ensure that expectations are being met and everything is on the right track.
Clients usually comment on how quickly the work progresses. My focus is on getting things right, and I work until we are both satisfied with the results. At some point, I see that I have expressed what I set out to create. I identify this moment as the point where further attempts at embellishment diminish the flow and energy of the piece. I let you know when I am close to completion and we review the work together to see if there is anything was missed or doesn't feel right. We create a list of final tweaks that are needed, and, assuming it is within the original scope, I make the final adjustments. Then the mural is complete.
A final payment of the full remaining balance is due upon completion of the mural.
Trusting a mural artist with your wall is a leap of faith. I feel extremely privileged to do this work and feel incredibly grateful to each and every client who has trusted me with their walls over my 16 years as a professional mural artist. I encourage you to read about the experiences of past clients to learn how their walls turned out.