Commission a one-of-a-kind portrait of your hero, a loved one or yourself. I create portraits in a combination of watercolor, gouache and colored pencil on high-quality archival rag paper.

Recent Work

Explore some of my portrait commissions and illustration projects.

I have over 35 years experience as an illustrator and portrait artist.

Source Material

To create your portrait, I work from photographs. Photos can be supplied by you or, if the subject is local, I will schedule a photo session at your home, office or other location. If you provide the photos, they should of high enough quality to see the subject’s features clearly.

Composing the Portrait

After we discuss the purpose of the portrait and decide on its content, I will develop preliminary pencil drawings to explore composition and lighting. I will provide 2 designs for your approval. Upon your approval of one design, I will create a small color study for your approval prior to proceeding with the painting.


All of the painting happens in my studio. I often refer to additional reference material in order to complete the portrait. The painting itself will require 4-8 weeks or more, depending upon its size and complexity. I will keep you updated as I work by sharing work-in-progress photos. I will send a photo of the finished painting prior to packing and shipping.


Paintings are shipped flat, unmatted and unframed, in protective packaging using an insured carrier. If you are local, I will deliver the painting in person.

Portrait Pricing

Portrait pricing is based on the portrait dimensions and:

The number of people or pets in the painting
How much of each subject is to be depicted
The intricacy of clothing, accessories and props
The complexity of the background
Shipping/delivery costs

Base prices are in US dollars. Sizes are in US inches.

  • 8 x 10: $450.00
  • 9 x 12: $540.00
  • 11 x 14: $847.00
  • 16 x 20: $1,760.00
  • 20 x 30: $3,300.00
  • 24 x 36: $4,752.00

Prices shown are for a single likeness on a simple background. Additional subjects, costumes, objects and complex environments increase the price.

Prices do not include matting or frame.

Sales taxes apply for portraits shipped within California.

A signed agreement and 50% downpayment, paid by credit card or check, are required. Work will begin once funds clear. Balance and shipping expenses are paid by credit card upon completion of the work. Artwork will be shipped upon payment in full. A 2.5% convenience fee is charged on all credit card payments.

Paintings are packed and shipped flat, unmatted and unframed, with tracking and insurance.

Shipping, packing and insurance costs are billed in addition to the creative fees.

A certificate of authenticity, for provenance purposes, signed and dated by the artist, is included.

Pricing is for the commission purchase of an original, physical artwork. I retain copyright to the work. I reserve the right to reproduce the artwork for promotional purposes.

The client may purchase one-time North American reproduction rights.(license) of a digital version of the completed portrait.

I Write At Eye Level

Eye Level is my blog where I write about design, illustration, color, creativity and creative freelance business.

5 Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About Color

February 10, 2017
Although we see in color, have favorite colors, and use color for practical reasons every day, we aren’t necessarily aware of what color is, how we see it, and how we use it. I pulled these 5 principles from my complete course in color theory, because they are stunning aspects that dumbfound many people. 1] Color does not physically exist. That red ballcap is not really red, grass is not colored green, and the sky is not filled with blue.  Color is a perception caused by light waves received by our photoreceptor cells and stimulating our optic nerves to tell our brains that we’re seeing red, green and blue. Nothing is actually colored. We see color on an object because the object contains pigment that reflects and absorbs light waves. What is reflected by the pigment is the color we perceive. 2] Color is energy. Color is a property of light. White light, aka visible light, is that part of the energy spectrum that we can see (rather than hear). White light is a blend of various wavelengths from red on one end to violet on the other. 3] Color is dynamic. Because color is a property of light and is measured like sound in amplitude and wavelength frequency, some colors advance, meaning they are seen more quickly, and others recede. Reds are longer in wavelength than greens or blues, which is why we see red so quickly at a distance. Red is used in highway signage systems to catch our attention when we need to do something immediately, such as STOP! 4] Black and white are colors. Black, white and grays are colors but are in a different category of color than the 12 hues. Black, white and gray are not hues because they lack chroma, and they’re not browns (chromatic neutrals) for the same reason. Black, white and gray are achromatic (without color). But, in order to perceive them, we need pigment to reflect and absorb light waves. For example, black is perceived when the entire white light spectrum is mostly absorbed by a pigment. Very little light (although there is always some light) is reflected by the pigment. With pigment, we can always make black darker by casting a shadow on it. White is the result of the entire visible light spectrum being reflected back at high amplitude.   5] RGB and RYB are both correct. There are 2 kinds of light. Direct light is created by a source, such as the sun and stars, fire, light bulbs, electronic devices, and bioluminescent critters. Indirect light is reflected from the surfaces of objects. Direct light is required before indirect light can happen. Direct light is known as the additive color system, where mixing its 3 primaries, red, green and blue, together creates white light. This is the RGB system which covers all your lighting and digital devices. Indirect light is known as the subtractive color system and pertains to anything that contains pigment. Its primaries, red, yellow and blue (specifically, cyan (blue), yellow and magenta (red) combine to create
design photos pictures

A Problem of Mastiff Proportions

April 24, 2007
I received an e-mail last week about a massive mastiff noted in the Guinness Book of World Records as being the world’s largest dog. There was a photo accompanying the email and, sure enough, said pooch is depicted walking alongside its master. The dog is definitely out of proportion, and, on closer look, we can take note of a few issues with the image that makes its veracity questionable. First: what’s with the dog’s hind legs? Given the presence of the right back paw shown just “under” the right forepaw, the leg it should be attached to is missing. Second: The dog’s shadow is incorrect. Compare it with the shadow of the horse, and we’ll note that the angle of the light would create a cast shadow of the dog’s legs just as it’s doing with the horse’s legs. However, we see that the shadow cast by the dog is hanging close and is too elliptical to represent the shape of the dog. And, there’s no shadow attached to that unseen hind leg. Third: proportions don’t work. Proportion (relative size) is an aesthetic principle in which the size of something is measured against something else or against an established standard. For something to be believable it must make sense. Proportion is one way to achieve a believable illusion: the size of something is related to the size of something else. The dog is too big in proportion to the horse (which, by the way, is a fairly small horse I checked out this story and photo on Truth or Fiction, and found it to be “almost” true. The world’s largest dog, according to the Guinness folks, is an English Mastiff named (appropriately) Hercules that weighs about 282 pounds. The dog in the photo can’t be Hercules: it’s not an English Mastiff and it would weigh in at about 500 pounds, if we compare its size in relation (proportion) to the horse. Well, at least the lighting in the photo is consistent in angle, which is usually a problem with composited images such as this one. We can draw the conclusion from this that we cannot believe everything we see. We live in an age in which it is a simple and common thing to modify a image. A photo is no longer proof of anything.


May 24, 2007
Designers should draw, I think. I know a lot of people become designers instead of artists because they can’t draw or they don’t want to, but in my experience as both designer and artist, drawing is necessary to both disciplines. How can one express an idea to another except through drawing, or at least doodling? Sure, the idea can be expressed in words, spoken or written, and we’ll use a lot of words to convey the idea and also leave a lot of room for varied interpretations. The espression is much more succinct in a drawing. Drawing is a visual language. Like any language, it can be learned, and some people are much more adept at learning it and using it than others. And, as in learning a language, if you don’t use it you will lose it. The other thing about drawing that I find to be true is that it is evidence of thinking. In looking at sketchbooks of great masters (DaVinci, Michaelangelo, Rodin, etc.) what they were envisioning was recorded on paper. And in teaching I find students are able to express their ideas quite easily through doodling, drawing and cartooning. I can see what and how they are thinking and if they are thinking adequately to deal with the entire design project. I keep a sketchbook. It’s full of serious drawings, doodles, gestures and words. In my business I carry a daybook instead of a PDA because I can put pen to paper and doodle while recording information. I do this especially during phone calls, and my notes weave in in between my quick sketches and doodles. It’s difficult to draw on a PDA, I’ve found, and far less satisfying than the tactile sensation of placing a pencil against paper. I will always draw, doodle and sketch.
design marketing

An Experience

May 30, 2007
Design is not only something seen but something experienced. Here I am not referring to the experience of the client with the designer but the experience of the client’s customers with the design itself. Whether it’s in graphic design, retail design, industrial design or fashion, the designer’s challenge is to create meaningful experiences for the end user. In other words, the design should be significant, applicable and heartfelt. The designer uses aesthetic elements such as type, color and texture as triggers to create meaning, achieve a positive audience response and build brand loyalty. It follows that design is not created for the client but for the client’s customers. When a client regards design only as something that makes their business look good and they want the designer to simply produce their ideas according to their tastes at the least possible cost, they are engaging in short-sighted thinking and doing a their customers a disservice. This is detrimental to the goal of the design; alternative solutions won’t be considered and the final result may not make that meaningful connection with the customers. Clients need to let go of assumptions about how their projects should be developed. What they ask the designer to do may not be the best thing given what they want their customers to experience. For example, the client may ask for the design of a post card when a booklet would create a stronger connection. Or a particular color is requested that does not support the concept. This is not to say that the client has no input into the design development. Far be it from me to take that stand. At our studio we work closely with our clients throughout the design and production process. What I mean is that the designer is contracted for his expertise, his experience and ability to conceive fresh ideas that speak to a designated audience. He needs to be free to make the best design decisions on behalf of the client. At Alvalyn Creative we recently released a client for this very reason (which is why it’s the topic of this commentary). We were unable to develop design that we believed would function well in reaching the client’s audience because the client insisted on imposing their personal preferences—even their working style—onto the design and onto our development process. Even though we discussed our concerns extensively with the client, there was an on-going disconnect on their part. I wonder, would this client insist on working in this manner with an attorney or accountant? If not, why with a designer? Is it because we do art and that’s not as important to a business as financial or legal accountability? We wish the best to this now former client. Which gives us room for a new client. Any takers?


Graphic Design

Web & Email Design

Brand Strategy

Recent Projects

  • Royal Hunting Spec Insert designed by Alvalyn Lundgren
    Royal Hunting Product Insert
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    Royal Hunting
  • Royal Outdoor Logo designed by Alvalyn Lundgren
    Royal Outdoor
  • Read and Ride literacy program flyer ©2015-16 Alvalyn Lundgren.
    Kids that Read
  • Pets Central Media web site for veterinarians by Alvalyn Lundgren
    Pets Central Media Web Site
  • Rotary DreamCatcher web site designed by Alvalyn Lundgren
    Rotary DreamCatcher Playground Web Site
  • Gift of Work web site designed by Alvalyn Lundgren
    Gift of Work Web Site
    Custom Maid Books
  • MPISCC InterCom online magazine
    InterCom for MPISCC
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    White Paper for ITG Consultants, LLC


I am the owner of Alvalyn Creative, a boutique creative studio located near Thousand Oaks, California. I create narrative illustration, graphic design, web design, branding, as well a custom portraits.

For the past 35 years I have been helping businesses and organizations establish and maintain influence through effective and elegant graphic design solutions including visual identities and logos, print advertising and direct mail, web sites, email and social media graphics, publications, catalogs, annual reports. I also create visual branding for events.