Creating Portraits Of Pets

portraits of pets

A bit more about creating custom pet portraits

In this little article, I would like to share with you some information from my own experience about creating portraits of pets.

I have been creating portraits of dogs, cats, horses and other animals professionally since 2009. Painting individual pet portrait commission is a very responsible work and it is certainly bespoke artwork. I would work very carefully with all the tiny details and sometimes have to re-paint again and again some parts of the portrait, just to make sure I achieve the best likeness possible. 

commission dog portrait UK

It is a long and precise work and I understand that it is highly important to do it right because I would want my customers to be happy with the final unique portrait of their pet. 

With every year I learn more and more about creating pet portraits from photos. This includes things like my art materials and the techniques I am using. And even though I feel like I have learned quite a lot during these years of painting, I am quite sure there are still plenty more things I will learn. And I am really looking forward to this.

commission portrait of my dog

Every time I have got a request for a custom pet portrait, I start by looking through the pet’s photos my customer can provide me with. 

In an ideal world, a nice quality, high-resolution picture where I can see all the details clearly would be perfect!

But most of the time this is not the case. I would say 70% of photographs do not respond to these requirements. And I know that a lot of time to get more pictures of a pet is impossible.

In these cases, I usually request as many pictures as I possibly can, so I will work from all of them.

In some of the photos, I will see the colours of the eyes, on another ears shape and nose, etc…

There were only a couple of times I had to refuse to take commissions because of the very poor photo qualities.

But most of the time I will do my very best to create your dog portrait,  cat portrait, horse portrait or any other animal.

A lot of times my customers would like a portrait of more than one pet in one painting. 

It is very seldom anybody would have a photo of their pets all together and in the right positions. It is almost an impossible mission!

I am always happy to create a composition with a few pets in one painting, a so-called multiple pets portrait. I use different pictures as a reference and combine them in one painting. This type of portrait will require some work  to be done beforehand.

To start with I would try to get as many suitable pictures of the pets as I can. The photos should be taken from approximately the same angle. 

commission horse portrait
multiple pet portrait

There are two types of portraits where I can combine pets from different photos in one painting. the first one – is head & shoulders portraits with a smudgy background and just gentle dissolving of the portrait at the bottom.

Another type is harder to paint and would require the most preparation as well as work. For this type, I would place the pets on a creative background. For example, by the sea, on a field or in the woods. This is the most challenging artwork and it takes a lot of work to make it look natural.

While working with a multiple pets portrait I always create a photoshop mock-up for my customers. I think it is an important step to do. it will give customers an idea about the future painting of their pets and they can advise me if they are not happy about something prior to me starting my work.

When I feel like my painting is coming close to the end and there are only a few details left to work on, I will email the photo of it to my customers for their first approval. At this stage, I am absolutely happy to do any possible alterations if required. And then the process will repeat until my customer is absolutely happy with the final result.

multiple pet portraits
Tibetan Terrier portrait

Sometimes instead of a classic style pet portrait, my customers would like to see a creative style portrait. I am happy to do my very best to create an unusual portrait of your lovely pet, for example featuring. your dog as a king.

portrait of my dog as a king

And the final stage to complete the portrait commission will be framing. For all the UK customers I always recommend framing the portrait, so when they will receive it, it will be ready to go on a wall straight away. I say UK customers because the glass in the frame may be damaged during the transition to another country. So, for all the customers from abroad, it will be much safer to receive the unframed painting and then take it to a professional framer.

But for all the UK customers I offer a wide range of frames, directly from my supplier and I professionally frame pet portraits for free. The only charge applied is the actual frame cost.

All my pet portrait commissions have to be framed only with glass frames.  It is due to the art media I am using. I work with different types of pastels and although this is an absolutely amazing art media and I only use the best quality materials, pastel artworks are quite fragile if not protected.

dog portraits uk
Pet portraits uk
framed dog portraits

Well… this is all for now. I hope you enjoyed reading this little article that tells my story of how to create pet portraits and what steps are involved.

Thank you for your time!

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