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Pencil Portraits of Your Pets

I'm sure you've been there. A quick snapshot of your pet turns out much better than you expected. It really captures their character, or that instantly recognizable expression. It would look great on the wall...

Except when you look more closely you notice the distractions in the background. That ear belonging to your other pet in the corner, the dead grass underfoot, or the branch growing out of the animal's head. These elements spoil an otherwise perfect shot.

All is not lost!

As a pet portrait artist I can look beyond these obstructions and zero in on the features you most want highlighted in your pencil portraits, bringing out the personality of your pet and capturing it forever in art.

My name is Carol Leather and I live and work in Cambridgeshire, UK. I've been drawing animals for over 50 years, using a variety of art mediums until settling on graphite and then artist-quality coloured pencils.

In addition to pets, my drawing board often features wildlife and birds that I photograph here in the UK. Fine art prints of these drawings are sometimes available.

Working together to get the best result

Recipients of drawing sitting on sofa
Polly posing near her portrait

As fellow pet owners we both know that our animals are unique. They have individual characters, different attitudes, distinct personalities and markings. Just as with humans no two are ever identical.

You want a pet portrait that captures these details, and shows their true beauty. A drawing of another dog or cat of the same colour or breed just won't cut it! 

This is where we have to work together.

Unless you live near me, and I can meet and photograph your pet, I am reliant on what you provide. Blurry shots of a dog in the distance don't give me a lot to work with. If I can't see the eyes, I can't reproduce them accurately in your drawing.

But don't worry, I provide tips and guidelines for getting the best reference photos. There is no need for fancy cameras or lenses, modern smartphones will do the 'job' in most cases.

Once you have taken your photos, contact me. Share a little information about your animal, and tell me when you want the drawing. Perhaps it is for yourself, or a gift for a friend or family member.

We can then look through your photos and discuss which would work best. Check out Louis's page to see how we chose the best photo from those his owner sent me, along with what we left in and what we excluded.

Colour or black and white?

Do you prefer a traditional graphite drawing or full colour? I offer both choices.

The artist-quality coloured pencils I use are lightfast, which means the colours will stay true to life, bright and vibrant unlike those designed for use by schoolchildren.

The surface I draw on is also important. Sketch paper is great for, well, sketches! But for an heirloom portrait we need something much more substantial and long lasting.

I have some original pieces that my mother drew many years ago. Sadly she drew on any scrap of paper she could find, including the backs of envelopes, and they have now yellowed and started to deteriorate.

I would hate this to happen to your portrait so will only use acid free papers or surfaces which will easily last a lifetime or more.

I choose from a selection I keep in stock, depending on the size of the portrait and the colours of the animal. Don't worry, I will take care of that decision for you to ensure the best results.

I am looking forward to working with you. 

Carol