Mike Theuer

Watercolor & pencil portraits from your photos

Hi.  I'm Mike Theuer, a retired PSU Art Instructor and professional portrait artist.  I hand create watercolor and pencil portraits from your photos.  Mike Theuer profile pictureEmail a photo and I'll turn it into art!

I've created over 2000 portraits in 4B graphite pencil and transparent watercolor since I started taking commissions online in 2007.  I've taught art at The Pennsylvania State University over a span of 21 years.  I've illustrated books.  And I'm a featured artist on Pencils .com.

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Customer reviews of their portraits

quotes black and light dog family pencil portrait by portrait artist mike theuer.

"Mike was able to capture both my dogs beautifully in a pencil portrait that I absolutely LOVE! Wonderful work and finished on time as promised. Highly recommend Mike Theuer!" – , 2/2/2018


"Great work. Realistic price. Look forward to doing business with Mike again. He really makes art easy." – , 8/19/2011

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Time-lapse videos of me creating portraits

This first video is me drawing a staff member at Pencils.com.  My oldest son Henry helps out . . . sort of.

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Portrait prices

pencil portraits starting at 


watercolor portraits starting at 


HALF payment to start
"Compassionate Pricing"

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How to order a portrait of your own

  •  Submit  my order form.  Tell me your ideas.  FYI I can combine separate photos.
  •  Attach  your digital photo.  Or mail a paper photo later.
  •  Discuss  your ideas by email.
  •  Pay  HALF now by credit card, check, or PayPal—PayPal offers free financing for 6 months.  Pay the balance once you approve.
  •  Receive  a finished pencil portrait or watercolor portrait worldwide in around 2 to 12+ weeks plus shipping.  Plus get a digital version by email.

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Send me a photograph you love

Your photo will give me a gut feeling.  And I'll try to draw that feeling into your pencil portrait, or paint it into your watercolor portrait.

For example, this close-up photo of a black Labrador gave me the sense he wanted to be hugged.  So you'll notice I drew his pencil portrait with fluffier edges like a teddy bear.

black labrador pencil portrait by portrait artist mike theuer
black lab reference photo

black labrador pet pencil portrait

This photo of twin baby brothers impressed me with character.  So I omitted the background to focus on them only.  Plus I used pencil lines with strength.

twin baby brothers reference photo

twin baby brothers pencil portrait

twin baby brothers pencil portrait by portrait artist mike theuer

I laughed when I saw this photo of a beagle.  So I rotated his photo up and brightened the corners.  I wanted his watercolor portrait to be 'looking up' like the corners of his smile.

beagle lounging on a couch watercolor portrait by portrait artist mike theuer
beagle reference photo

beagle pet watercolor portrait

And sometimes a photo makes me feel like everything is perfect exactly as it is!

newborn in tutu reference photo

sleeping baby girl watercolor portrait

newborn in a tutu watercolor portrait by portrait artist mike theuer

6 Tips for choosing a portrait artist online

Have you looked online for a portrait artist?

Maybe you want a portrait artist to draw a favorite photograph of your pet?  Draw a pencil portrait of your parents' old wedding photo, or paint a watercolor portrait of your baby from a studio photo?  Then you've noticed there are a lot of online artists to choose from!

Here are six tips that will help you pick the best online portrait artist for you.

  • Skilled  ― does the portrait artist capture the subject?  Look for an artist whose pencil portraits and watercolor portraits include reference photos so you can compare and gauge the artist's skill at capturing a likeness.
  • Appealing  ― does the portrait artist make a great first impression?  Look for an artist whose watercolor portraits and pencil portraits make you smile.
  • Consistent  ― is the portrait artist consistent?  Look for an artist with lots of samples.  If the sample pencil portraits and watercolor portraits are all good, then your portrait will be just as good!  BEWARE art companies who sign their portraits with a company name.  They often hire a stream of artists.  Meaning the samples they display on their website may not be from the artist you'll get.
  • Current  ― is the portrait artist current?  Look for an artist whose pencil portraits and watercolor portraits are dated this year.  If not, that artist may be out of practice.
  • Reasonable  ― is the portrait artist worth the price?  Look for an artist whose price makes you think you would gladly pay that amount for a watercolor portrait or a pencil portrait.
  • Trustworthy  ― is the portrait artist someone you can trust?  Look for an artist who has been in business a long while, the longer the better.  And whose customers recommend him or her throughout that time.  Such an artist will likely continue to do his or her best to keep your business.  BEWARE artists with vague methods.  They might "hand make" your portrait using a computer program.
  • by   mike theuer logo ,