Montmartre is the art-district of Paris. Most famous artist that lived in Paris, lived in Montmartre. And there are still lots of artists living and working in this area. So if you would like to get your portrait drawn in Paris, this is the place to be! These portrait artists can be found on the Place du Tertre. I had my portrait drawn here twice, once when I was 12 and once when I was 18. I didn’t really like my first portrait and so I made sure not to make the same mistakes again six years later. So this is a chance to learn from my mistakes. Here is a guide for getting your portrait drawn in Montmartre!
1 Clothing choice, hairstyle and make-up
If your portrait will be drawn, of course you want to make sure you look nice. It’s up to you how you want to look of course. Most artist prefer it if you have your hair loose if you are a girl and also pay attention to the neckline of your shirt and if you’re wearing a necklace. Most portraits are from the chest up. When I was twelve and I had my portrait drawn, I had worn my hair in a ponytail all day, so my hair didn’t look as nice loose as it normally would. I also didn’t wear make-up when I was twelve and my face was a bit shiny and tired from a long day. Of course you don’t need to wear make-up, but just make sure that you feel like you look nice.
2 Decide what kind of portrait you want
There are many different artist on the Place du Tertre with many different art styles. You could choose to let someone draw you realistically or to let someone make a caricature of you. If you’re with someone in Paris, you can also choose if you want an individual portrait or one portrait of the two (or more) of you together. Knowing what you’re looking for will make choosing an artist easier.
3 Set a budget
Prices of the portraits don’t vary that much, but since some artist work on one portrait longer than other artists, they may ask a higher price. It is also dependent on how busy they are; if they have no costumers, they will probably lower their price to convince people to get their portrait drawn and when it’s busy in the high season, they will mostly work by a higher, set price. The average is about 50 or 60 euros in the high season, but children are usually cheaper than adults and group portraits are usually more expensive than individual portraits (but cheaper per person). Don’t be afraid to bargain a little! My portrait when I was 18 was about 40 or 45 euros (a little before the high season). And don’t forget to bring enough cash.
4 Choose the artist
As I mentioned before, there are a lot of different artists, so take your time to walk around and look at examples of their works. Keep in mind that the examples they display are some of their best works. The best way to judge their style is to look at what they are drawing at that moment if they have a costumer. If an artist is pushy or doesn’t have any examples of their work, don’t be afraid to just say no and walk away.
5 Check if they have time and bargain about the price
Especially in the high season, it might happen that there are already a few people in line at one artist. In this case, you could try setting a time with the artist so that you can come back later. If you don’t have the time for that, ask how much time he expects to spend drawing the people ahead of you. If that takes too long, you will have to find another artist. And as I mentioned before, go ahead and try to bargain with the artist.
6 Your facial expression
Especially if you’re going to have a realistic portrait drawn, make sure you can sit still and hold the same facial expression for a long while. Looking natural is usually the best. Don’t talk or move too much or the artist will have a harder time making your portrait look realistic. I tried looking natural when I was twelve, but when the artist was halfway, my mom told me to smile a little more. The artist then got a little irritated, because my whole facial expression had changed. Also be prepared to have lots of people look closely at you while you’re posing. They are of course also looking to choose an artist that can make a portrait that looks like the person.
(can you tell my face is hurting from posing for a long time?)
7 Don’t forget to thank the artist
Congratulations, you just got your portrait drawn at Montmartre! All you have to do now is thank the artist, pay him, take the portrait safely home in a tube, find a nice frame and choose where to hang it up.