The Art of Pet Portraits

There is something very personal about pet portraits and like human portraits they are a test of the artist’s skills.  For any artist or illustrator to create figurative art, be it a human or an animal, in some detail, is an enjoyable and engaging excercise tempered only by the artist’s own expectations and satisfaction with the end result. When it is a commissioned portrait however, there is the added pressure of the work being judged not only on professional rendering but also on the added factor of likeness. An artwork depicting a cocker spaniel might look great to the casual observer but for the commissioner of the artwork it has to look like their beloved “Poppy” or the piece is a failure. Thankfully, to date, I have never had any rejected on that basis. I am in the process of building up a gallery of previous successful portraits.

How much does it cost?

Every portrait is different and there are varieties in size, medium and number of subjects. In reality jobs are often priced based upon intitial discussion of requirements but experience tells me that some are put off by the lack of that information, I guess with the assumption that it is too expensive so I have created a rough price guide for consideration here and would add that there are no hidden or unexpected charges. The finalised price is always agreed in advance and a 40% deposit then secures the schedule for completion and delivery.

How long does it take?

Each piece will be scheduled and normally completed within two weeks although waiting times vary depending upon current demands. If you require the piece for a special occasion or presentation then I would strongly suggest that as much notice as possible is given. I am always willing to discuss or advise by telephone or email.

What is required?

The better the reference the more chance there is of a good likeness. A good smartphone photograph is often sufficient and a few pointers for taking them:

  1. Preferably outdoors in daylight
  2. Uncluttered background so outline is clean
  3. Frontal head and one of each side of the head
  4. Don’t look down on (or up to) the pet. Try to be on the same level.
  5. Make sure the photo does not crop out ears, top of head etc.
  6. Body outlines and markings.
  7. Remember, there is a good chance I have never seen your pet.

I understand that in the case of posthumous or memorial portraits those reference picture images may be impossible to obtain but don’t despair there are often artistic remedies that I can utilise. It’s certainly worth a call to clarify.

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