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Why Commission a Pet Portrait Artist?

Commissioning a pet portrait artist is a great way to ensure that your beloved pet is remembered forever. Pet portrait artists can create amazing works of art that capture your pet's personality and depict their distinct traits and characteristics. These portraits can serve as beautiful keepsakes, and they make a great addition to any home.

Each hand-drawn portrait is unique. It depicts your pet, not just a generic animal of the same breed or type.

While a photograph of your pet may show their facial characteristics, it doesn't necessarily capture their personality. As a pet portrait artist I enjoy using my artistic license to express your animal's character in a drawing.

How to Choose a Pet Portrait Artist?

One of the first things to consider when choosing an artist is the medium they work in. Some artists use oils, watercolour, acrylic, or pastel.

I prefer the detail and texture possible when drawing in coloured pencils, or graphite. Each medium imparts its own qualities to the artwork.

Then there is this thing called style.

Do you want a modern stylised picture with broad strokes and splashes that resembles your pet when viewed from a distance?

Do you want a hyper-realistic copy of your photo, warts, and all?

Or do you want something in between that represents your pet realistically but with my artistic vision apparent in how I have handled the colours and textures? This is the way I prefer to work, and if this matches what you desire, then we could make good partners.

One way to narrow down your choice of style and medium is to follow a few artists on social media. This way, you can see how the chosen medium is used to reproduce the images and how the style fits each work.

Another deciding factor may be the price

It may be tempting to look for a bargain, but do you want something churned out quickly with little attention to detail? Or would you rather pay a little more for a lovingly created custom piece of art from an established artist such as myself?

What to expect from your pet portrait artist

Of course, your main requirement will be an original piece of art depicting your pet in the style we have agreed upon.

However, as well as creating a product, my job is to provide a service and understand the need to immortalise your much-loved pet in an image that will last a lifetime.

My promise to you is:

  • To fully understand the requirements and details of your pet's portrait
  • To listen and respond to your comments and requests
  • To draw your pet using the highest quality materials and suitable techniques
  • To create a unique piece of art that you will love

What makes a great pet portrait?

Still-life artists get to set up their composition and sit and draw it without worrying about the objects moving. Of course, that isn't possible with pets! They jump up, run around, and never stay in one pose for more than a few seconds.

Therefore, as a pet portrait artist, I must rely on your photographs. Pet owners often worry that their pictures will not be good enough, saying, "I don't have a fancy camera."

However, the quality of modern mobile phones is sufficient if some points are kept in mind when photographing your pet.

The more photos you can send me, the better. Not all photos will work for a portrait, as I illustrated on my page showing the drawing of Louis below.

Portrait of Louis the cockapoo

Posing Your Pet

Most commissions I have drawn have been portraits of a pet's head and neck, although sometimes a client will ask for a full-body drawing, especially of a small animal.

A camera lens does not see as our eyes do, which can cause issues when using a photo as a reference for a drawing. Therefore, I suggest you try to hold the camera at the pet's eye level. If you can't get down low enough, try raising the pet (safely) so that you are not looking down on him or her.

Wide angle lenses, such as though built into phones, enlarge the closest thing, which if you are photographing Fido, can be the nose. This results in photos with huge noses at the end of long muzzles with a tiny head behind. Great for a cartoon but not suitable for a realistic portrait. To avoid this, get close enough to get the head in focus, but not too close! A sideways view will often work better.

If your pet is tiny, such as a hamster or rabbit, you may need to use a macro setting on your camera or phone to ensure their photos are sharp.

If your beloved pet has crossed the Rainbow Bridge, I am here to honour their memory in the best possible way. Please provide me with the finest photo you have of them, and I will pour my heart and soul into creating a beautiful tribute that captures their spirit and essence.

Photo of dog showing distortion caused by a wide angle lens on the phoneDistorted muzzle due to having the phone too close to the dog

The Pencil Portrait Process

Once we have decided on the ideal photograph(s) to use for reference and whether you want your portrait in shades of black and white or full colour, I begin work.

I am happy to share progress photos during the process, but there are some things to keep in mind.

Coloured pencil drawings are worked in multiple layers, gradually building the depth of colour and details. Therefore the early steps may look washed out and faint. This is illustrated in my baby elephant drawing page. Ok, so this wasn't a pet! I draw wildlife too

Baby elephant drawing

I work in sections, getting the basics in place, then add further layers to bring things together in the final stages.

If you've subscribed to my Facebook art page, you may have seen several portraits in progress, so this may not surprise you.

You can see completed portraits on my dog and cat gallery pages, which also give a little of the story behind each portrait.

Commission Your Pet Portrait Today

If you are happy that I can provide the type of drawing you are looking for, please use the form on my Contact page to get in touch.

I will reply ASAP and ask for more details, including some photos of your pet(s). We can then discuss your requirements and start the process of picking THE photo for the best portrait.

I look forward to working with you.

Carol Leather
Pet Portrait Artist

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