You've got an idea - and you want me to bring it to life. An original painting? Maybe some new and unique glassware? Possibly even a custom, hand painted surfboard, surfboard t-shirt, surf style t shirts, surf wall art? Excellent! I'm stoked to work with you on this!

Before we go ahead and get started, let's talk about the process of making a commissioned work of art, and the journey we will take together.  Our journey consists of a ten step process, which is laid out in detail below.

  1. Discussion of concept
  2. Conversation on pricing
  3. 1st payment
  4. Initial layout
  5. Notes & Final layout
  6. 2nd payment
  7. Creation of final art
  8. Minor notes
  9. 3rd payment
  10. Shipping

What Your New Piece of Art to Become

The first thing we get to do is talk about what you want, whether it's a Surfboard, Surfboard t-shirt, Surf style t shirts, Surf wall art pieces and what you want your new art piece to become. We'll discuss subject, content, color, size, materials and anything else that needs to be worked out. Once I get an idea of the materials, techniques, and how long the process is likely to take, I'll quote you a price and a completion window. Once you've agreed to the price and final delivery date, we start with one-third of your total payment. I will create a custom listing or send a PayPal invoice for this amount and, upon payment, I can get started on our new project.

Casual Conversation

Next, we get to have a longer casual conversation about the piece. If you already have visual research (which is GREAT!), then we have it in front of us when we are talking. Research can be any images that can help me get a better idea of what you want the final product to look like, or feel like. Images don't have to be precise or be surf related. It can be an image of a random shoe that happens to have a particular set of colors you want to use or a magazine clipping that has a shape that you want me to understand. Maybe you like a particular type of tree and would like it somewhere in the piece? Anything to help share any part of your idea. Through this discussion, we develop a composition and color scheme that suits your tastes.

Pencil Sketching

Based upon our layout, I'll either do a rough pencil sketch to generate the composition, a Photoshop collage, or a color sketch on my iPad - it will all depend on what suits the project best. It is important to know that this sketch will merely be a rough idea of the final version. It will NOT be in the same materials as the final (such as a pencil sketch or digital sketch, rather than actual paint) thus will NOT look identical. The point of this sketch or collage is to work out the colors and layout and make sure we have the right things in the right positions before we move into painting. As is normal in the artistic process, the freedom to adapt and adjust the design subtly throughout the process creates a much richer final art piece and allows me to give you my very best work.

Custom Surfboard Examples

Below are some example concept sketches I did for a custom surfboard. Note how rough the first one is. The final would have been in full painted color, but this first blue-line sketch was just laying out the position of elements on the board. Also, see the completed surfboard below, based on Concept Sketch 3. Note the differences between how the actual paint looks on the board, versus the digital concept sketch. These same sorts of differences may apply to your piece of art, so I don't want you to be surprised.


Buy Surfboard Art designed by Nelson Makes ArtCustomized Surfboard  concept designed by Nelson Makes ArtBuy Nelson Makes Art Custom Sea Art, Surfboard, Surf, Surf style design.



You will get one round of notes on the concept sketch - we can move things around, adjust color schemes, what have you, based upon your notes, and if need be I will do a final composition sketch to ensure we are on the right page. If a final composition sketch is required, you get an additional round of notes. However, these notes can only be slight and involve minor tweaks, as we should have worked out all the major elements with the first round of notes.

Upon completion of this concept sketch, another third of the full payment is due, again via PayPal invoice. Once received, we move to the third and final stage.

Painting in Process

Now I finally get to painting! When I have created your finished work of art, I'll take a photo and will send it to you in a proof stage. Again, you get a round of notes here. Depending on the medium, the notes will be made as best I can. For example, if it's watercolor, moving things around is hard if not impossible (which is why the composition is so important early on), but minor tweaks may be possible. An extra palm tree here? A Polynesian symbol there? Since every medium is different, we'll have to address each note individually, to see if it's possible, but I will do my best.

That's it! You now have your own, new piece of original art!

If the final piece does not suit you, I can take another stab at it for an additional fee.

The final product...based on the Concept Sketch 3 above.  Note that it is NOT a replica - but the visual idea is the same.  If you work with me, the same principle applies.  Pretty cool, huh?


Final Product  By Nelson Makes Art- Sea Surfboard, Surf style design.


Once the final round of notes (if any) is complete, the final third payment is due. This final payment will also include any additional fees that had accrued during the process (don't worry - they won't be a surprise - I'll have told you all about them during the process - things like doing additional concept sketches, changes, additional materials, etc.). I'll take one nice final photo of it for you and send the final piece to you.


The final piece will be shipped UPS Ground unless otherwise discussed, which has a typical shipping window of 5-7 business days.  Please note that I ship to the continental United States only (if you live in Alaska or Hawaii, please please please tell me immediately - it may not be possible for me to ship my art to you depending on what it is, or it will have extra shipping charges).

Unless we have agreed that all the rights remain with you, I retain the right to replicate the piece in the future. However, I see fit (prints, etc.). Other people may love your creation nearly as much as you do! 

Just to recap, fees are paid in thirds - one-third upon agreement, one-third upon completion of composition, and final third upon completion of the last stage of notes. An example range of fees for an original watercolor painting (based on size) are:

  • 8 1/2" x 11" watercolor paintings range from $250-$500 depending on the complexity and requirements
  • 11" x 14" watercolor paintings range from $400-$800 depending on the complexity and requirements
  • 16" x 20" watercolor paintings range from $600-$1200 depending on the complexity and requirements
  • Other original art pieces may be commissioned (surfboards, glassware, etc.) and those prices will be on a per-commission basis.

Obviously, I work in more than watercolor - but hey its a great place to start. Thanks again for stopping by. Let me know if you have any questions.