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Custom dog portraits drawn by hand

Pile of coloured pencilsThe pencils I used to draw a black dog!

I am a UK artist who specializes in drawing custom dog portraits in coloured pencil. I have drawn portraits of dogs of many breeds, ages and colours including portraits of show dogs and pedigrees. My gallery shows some of the commissions that I have completed.

I've been drawing dogs since I was a child and always enjoy the challenge of capturing their different fur textures and shapes in coloured pencils.

I will capture your dog's natural character and artistic likeness in a lasting portrait that you can enjoy for years to come.

The commission process

I would need a selection of photos of your dog that we can then narrow down to the one you would like me to draw.

In the section below I have provided some tips for getting good photos.

If details or elements of the animal are missing it is difficult for an artist to reinvent them. Therefore, you are more likely to be happy with the end result if you love the original photo.

Don't worry about background distractions as I won't include those in the portrait. But if something is in front of the pet it may be better to pick a different photo, or retake it if possible. 

Once we have picked THE PHOTO, and you have chosen the size, then I will ask for a deposit before I start the work of art. I will also give you an estimated time of completion.

What makes a good reference photo for a pet portrait?

Your photos should ideally be taken outdoors on an evenly lit day. Bright sunshine can cause heavy shadows and shadows around the eyes that can spoil your portraits. Electric lights indoors, can create colour casts and ugly shadows. 

Please take your pet's photo from a short distance. This will ensure they are take up enough of the picture for me to be able to see their features clearly.

On the other hand, don't get TOO close, as the camera can then distort those features making the photo look more like a caricature.

Phone pictures are fine as long as they are clear and in focus. As long as I can see the features and the way the fur is laying we should be good.

Professional pet photographers often pick a wide open aperture on their lens which throws the background out of focus. If possible avoid doing this as it can blur the fur in places as well. 

Please do not edit the photo to use any filters that change the colours, as I would need to see the true tones in the coat to draw it correctly.

If your dog is no longer with you, I will advise as to whether any of your photographs are suitable for creating a portrait. I won't accept an order from you if I think you'll be unhappy with it.

Gallery of custom dog portraits

Coloured pencil

Molly portrait in coloured pencil

Mollie the Staffordshire Bull Terrier rescue

(Private Commission)

Molly was drawn on Clairfontaine Pastelmat, a slightly textured board that allows lots of luscious layers of pencil colour to build up the depth of the dog's fur. She was drawn for my client's brother in law, after his wife sadly passed away. He loved the portrait, although he had to wait until after the first Covid lockdown to receive it. 


Cockapoo dog portrait in coloured pencil

Louis the Cockapoo

(Private Commission)
10 x 12 inches

This pet portrait of Louis was commissioned by his owner, after she saw one of my drawings on Social Media. The story of this commission is featured here. We included his favourite toy in this study.  Later she also asked me to draw her new black cockapoo puppy, Cocoa in her smart lobster print harness. They are now hanging next to each other on her "dog wall".


White dog drawn in coloured pencils

Polly the Boxer/Setter cross

(Private Commission)
6 x 6 inches

Polly was a rescue dog, said to be a cross between a boxer and Irish setter! I photographed this gentle giant as she sat on her owner's bed, looking out the window waiting for the man of the house to return. She was also created on Pastelmat and illustrates the fact that white fur is very rarely just white. Pinks, purples, yellows and blue pencils were all used to build up her smooth fur.


Pet portrait on drafting film

Ozzie the Cockapoo

Original in artist's collection

I drew Ozzie, my own dog, on drafting film, a translucent plastic surface that LOVES coloured pencil.

One benefit of using this is that I can place coloured paper behind my drawing and it will show through. This way I can leave the decision of the background colour until I have completed the drawing, and offer you a choice.


Double dog portraits in colour pencil

Belle and Lulu the Miniature Schnauzers

(Private Commission) 
8 x 10 inches

I am sure we all have old photos, taken on film years ago, that have discoloured over time. That was the case with the picture of these two schnauzers that I was commissioned to draw. Certain areas of the photograph had a distinct purple hue so some photo editing was required before I started drawing these ladies.

I was delighted to hear that I had got the colours just right, when the owner received her portrait, despite the challenges. 


Gundog portrait

Vizsla dog portrait

Original and prints for sale

I photographed this handsome Vizsla while out for a walk. The owner actually had four of these beautiful gundogs with her. I enjoyed every minute I spent drawing him, as he reminded me of my friend's Vizsla, George, from years gone by. Recreating that shiny, russet fur was a challenge and took more colours than I first expected. 


Three bulldog puppies in a row

Bulldog puppy trio

Sometimes a photo just cries out to be drawn in coloured pencil! I mean who could resist these days-old bulldog puppies all in a row? They were placed on a neutral coloured blanket which didn't show them off to their best so I took artistic license and changed it to a complementary blue in this pet portrait.


Whippet puppy dog drawing

Brisk the Whippet puppy (14 weeks old)

Original and prints for sale

I drew this dog portrait in coloured pencils after meeting her when we were on holiday. Her big blue eyes were absolutely gorgeous, and she had the most beautiful grey/brindle fur!

Whippets hold a special place in my heart as I had one when I was a child. This puppy was Brisk by name and brisk by nature and lead me a merry dance when I tried to photograph her.


Graphite pet portraits

Bulldog in graphite pencil

Keith the Bulldog pup

(Private Commission)
10 X 10 inches

On meeting this young bulldog I couldn't resist taking his photo. After starting the drawing, in graphite pencil, for my own pleasure, I showed it to the owner's wife. She clamoured to purchase it when it was complete, as a birthday gift for her husband. They were both delighted with the finished result. 


White Jack Russell in graphite

Mitsy the Jack Russell Terrier

(Private Commission)
8 X 10 inches

Mitsy was the first white dog I drew in graphite. The story of this custom dog portrait is told here


Black dog portrait in graphite pencil

Toby the lurcher

(Private Commission)

Toby the lurcher was a stray that was rescued and given a loving home when he was a young lad. Now 14 he has the most beautiful temperament and helps his owner look after the children. I love capturing the sheen on a short haired dog portrait. 


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