It’s always an honour to be asked to draw someone’s pet.  They are so much more than pets, though.  They are part of the family and cherished companions.  I work from photos in order to achieve the best likeness of your pet as possible.   In order for me to draw your pet in their best likeness, there are a few things you can do:

It starts with the photos

The more detail is in the photos, the more details I can draw.  It’s that simple!  Here is a list of the best type of photos::

  • The photos are high quality – saved directly from your camera or from your phone.  Photos downloaded from Facebook will have been rescaled and optimised for faster loading, which reduces their sizes, meaning that some details may be lost.
  • Photos have been taken at the pet’s eye level.  It is helpful to get down to their level and entice them with a treat to get them facing the camera.  Photos that are taken looking down at a pet can work sometimes, but generally this is best avoided.  It can make the pet’s head look too large, and their limbs look too short, if we can see the limbs at all.  This effect is called foreshortening, and is only sometimes a good setup for a pet portrait.
  • Photos taken outdoors.  Natural light shows off your pet’s colours much more accurately than indoor lighting, which can cast its own hue over your pet’s fur.  Or feathers.  Or scales.  You’ll be amazed how many colours are actually in a black coat!
  • Photos with clear eyes.  The majority of anyone’s personality can be seen in their eyes, and that is the same for pets as well as humans.  If the eyes are clear and have plenty of details, then we’re halfway there.
  • Multiple!  Feel free to send me as many pictures as you like.  The more photos there are, the better idea I can get of the subtleties of their colouring, markings, and personality.  If they have their favourite toy nearby, even better!

It is of course possible that the beloved subject is no longer around for us to take their photo.  That’s fine – I will research the breed to make sure I know their fur direction, fur length, and other details if they are not visible in the photo.  I want to draw the best possible pet portrait for you, and I will let you know if the photos are too rough or grainy and unsuitable to use.

Why bother with a pet portrait if we have photos?

Photorealism is fine, but we have photos for that.  I prefer to concentrate on the animal’s personality.  There are also some elements of a photo that you may not like, such as a messy floor, or a questionable cushion pattern dominating the background.  I can create a softer, more subtle background, or add a ‘bokeh’ effect, which can be tailored to your home decor and tailored to your home decor, making it the perfect piece of art for just the right spot on your wall.

How long does a pet portrait take?

Generally, a 9×12” portrait will take 10-12 hours.  I like to live with it for a few days before handing it over, to see if there are any elements that need to be refined.  Coloured pencil portraits tend to take longer, owing to the number of layers it takes to get a vibrant, rich finish.  If you have a specific date by which you need the portrait finished, let me know at the time of booking.  

I have multiple pets – can you fit them all in?

The prices on the pricing page are for one animal only.  Each additional subject will come at an extra cost per animal.  I would advise a minimum of 12×16” for more than one animal, as this will look better and contain a better level of detail than if the subjects were squeezed into a smaller size.  I am happy to discuss options with you, of course.

But I don’t want a pet portrait.  What else can you do for me?

If you have something in mind, or just want something different, that’s fine too!  All animals are considered.

What next?

Here’s are the steps to commissioning me for your pet portrait or custom art:

  1. Email me with a rough (or specific) idea and size of what you would like.  
  2. Send me some photos, either via email or a WeTransfer link.  
  3. If you are unsure of what style you would like, I can advise you on what I think will work best for your pet, including whether you want a simple or detailed background.   If you would like a mock-up created in Photoshop, I will create one and send it to you for free.
  4. Once you are happy with the style and size, I will finalise the cost.  When we are happy and you want to go ahead, I will take a 50% non-refundable deposit.  This secures your place in my calendar.  I will also send you a contract containing the details.  I want you to feel reassured and protected.
  5. During the process I will send you work-in-progress pictures, if required.
  6. When the portrait is finished, I will send you a photograph for your approval.  I can make small changes at this stage, such as adjustments to colouring.  Changes in the pet’s position will not be possible!
  7. When you have approved the portrait, the remaining 50% of the balance will be due.  When payment has cleared,  I will send you a high-resolution jpeg file, and will post the portrait to you.  If you are in the Oxfordshire/Berkshire area, you are welcome to collect the portrait from me directly.  I can also accept the balance via cash or card if you are collecting the portrait. 

© Avril Parkes 2020