Pet Portraits from Photos

Pet Portrait Mock Up

Pet portraits are achieved using your favourite photos as reference.  To start I select the colour of Pastelmat Board background to work from.  It doesn’t make a difference to the finished artwork but selecting the right colour can help me with applying colour.  Darker bases are easier when you are painting a light coloured animal, and therefore a white base for the darker coloured animals.  I keep a good supply of pastelmat surface card in various colours.  Although my favourite has to be the light blue and buttercup or maize.  The latter two being very similar although the maize is slightly paler.

The first step for me is to use an A4 size piece of paper to visualise how much the head fills the space.  Starting with the eyes and where they are in relation to each dog.  Also with one dog being larger than the other this paper size gives me a starting point.  The size of each dog has to fit nicely into the aperture size of the painting. So it is a tricky process to get right.

This is something that works for me and is not very easy to explain. So once I have pinpointed where the eyes are going to be I can work outwards from there.  The initial stage is just a rough outline of each dog using a pastel pencil. The next stage I fill in the shaded areas with darker colours.  Also white highlighted fur I will colour in.

I will keep a client informed of progress and updated photos.  Sometimes a client may like to see the initial drawing only before it is completed.  So having a nice surprise at the end.  This painting of Buddy and Tess is being delivered locally tomorrow. Aperture size 20″ x 16″.

Dog Artist UK

Finished a gorgeous double painting of two border terriers last week so if you are looking for a dog artist in the UK, I would love to hear from you.  Here is one of the duo, Bentley. His companion is Lola and you can see the full painting here on my dog portfolio.

Lola and Bentley visited to have their reference photos taken, which is a great way to see a little into their personalities.

Bentley is a very quiet border terrier who plods along bothering no-one.  He looks like a teddy bear and is so loving. You can see the love portrayed through his eyes.

Bentley’s companion Lola on the other hand is much more dominant and is the boss! Exactly like our female Border Terrier, Binny she definitely likes to be the boss of the house.  

If you are looking for a dog artist in the uk who paints in a traditional realistic style, I would love to hear from you.

Once I have received your initial enquiry through the enquiry form page I will reply with my email address.  Having an email address exposed on the website just attracts too much spam.  I will then ask you for some photos of your dog and we can proceed from there.

Pet Artist Barnstaple

This week i’m uploading a portrait of a dog painting which is not in my portfolio. Whilst updating with Copper the Beagle it made me remember Lucy.  So here she is in a cropped in style, and framed in a wood cream distressed moulding.

Pet Artist Barnstaple

A friend of mine who owns two dogs one being a Spinone contacted me this week.  She likes pencil drawings in a loose scribbled style and asked me to try it out.  

Rogan with his rugged fur and good looks made an ideal choice to have a play with a graphite pencil. The surface I used was a pale grey Pastelmat, and I wasn’t sure if this would work. Well this was the result!  It literally took about 20 minutes to do and was a refreshing change. 



Bichon Frise Pet Painting

So the new year has gone off to a very busy start.  Bookings are now being secured from June onwards. I have made very good progress on the double border terrier painting.  Hoping to have this finished by the end of this week so I can sketch out another double dog portrait. This Bichon Frise dog’s name is Tiny.

A Bichon Frise pet painting I did around 3 years ago and doesn’t time does fly when you think about it. I have completed three portraits for this client.  I have quite a few returning customer one of whom has commissioned me 5 times now!

Commission Bookings

So it’s back to work for a few days after a lovely break. Today has been busy updating the dog portfolio and I have drawn up a double painting of two border terriers.  There has been an influx of commission bookings too, so I have been busy preparing some mock ups.

I have also been making lots of changes to my website which is very time consuming but must be done.

The spaniel portfolio has been updated with a beautiful Cocker Spaniel Nemo, who visited when I took his photos. 

Recently I have been asked to paint more Border Collie dogs, so I thought I would add their own separate portfolio. If I were looking for a Pet Artist I would like to see some examples of my own breed.  Therefore I try and vary the dog portfolio as much as possible. Although it is not always easy as some breeds are far more popular than others.


Black Horse black background

Black Horse Close Up

I can’t believe I have finally finished my last painting of the year which was a beautiful Cocker Spaniel. Framing completed this morning and ready to be collected. It has been extremely busy over the last couple of months leading up to Christmas.

 I took some photographs of two lovely dogs this week for another big painting.  A Labrador named Tess and another Cocker Spaniel named Buddy.  There was a funny coincidence there as it turns out Buddy is related to the Cocker Spaniel Pet Portrait I have just completed.  It is a small world, but having said that both dogs are local.

For anyone reading my Blog have a great week and I will be back soon.

Labrador Portrait

My latest Labrador Portrait  Bella who is 10 years old.  Her owners wanted a larger size of  14″ x 18″ aperture painting of Bella. Capturing her whilst she is still a very happy healthy dog.  A timeless piece of art from a Professional Dog Artist and something they can cherish their whole life time. 

After sending the initial photos I asked Bella’s owners if they could take some more. The reason being the photos were taken inside. If there is not enough light the photo can lose detail and colour.  Outside in natural light all the colours in the fur will show and the eye colour will be true. 

Luckily my clients had a bright conservatory therefore not having to rely on weather conditions.  A bright day with no direct sunlight is perfect for a portrait photo.  Although I think Bella was enjoying herself very much with all the treats she was getting! 

If you are interested in finding out how it works please follow the link. 

Cavalier Spaniel Painting

Pet Portrait Artist in Bideford

Riva a Cavalier Spaniel Painting she is a gentle dog and highly intelligent.  Riva is a performing dog at Crufts and dances with her owner.  I will be painting Leo who is Riva’s companion soon.

King Charles Cavalier Spaniel Painting

The King Charles Cavalier dog is classed as a toy dog and the breed information can be seen going to the link in bold. They are companion dogs, and are good with children so make great family pets.  They do need alot of human interaction, so are ideal for this environment.

Using only the best quality pastel for all of my portrait paintings, including Caran D’ache these pastels come in both cubes and pencils.  The cubes are great for detailed strokes, as they can be broken to provide a sharp edge. However, they are not really suitable to cover and blend large areas.

French Bulldog Pet Painting

Custom Pet Portraits

Mr Victor a regal looking french bulldog pet painting. He is a French Bulldog with a great personality and bundles of energy.  Mr V’s painting is a large size of  24″ x 20″ and the client had it mounted and framed by a professional framer local to them.  This painting was too large for me to frame and post safely so I was sent between two pieces of plywood. 

Animal Paintings

The largest size that I can safely frame and post would be around an aperture size of 20″ x 16″ but this will depend on the frame width size.  Some frames are chunky and heavy so too bulky to package and post. The largest Pastelmat size is 100cm x 70cm.

Before I went ahead with this commission, I had lots of discussion with the client and explained what I needed as a reference. Especially with larger sized paintings the quality of the image needs to be very good. In the original photo image Mr Victor was sat on a bench in his garden.

Dog Artist Devon UK

Dog Artist Devon

This is Jake.  Jake is a lovely cuddly Cockapoo and is owned by my hairdresser. She has two Cockapoos named Jake and Maisie, and Maisie’s portrait you will see on a different blog.

Apricot colour Cockapoo

Both portraits have an aperture size of 12″ x 10″ and sit side by side on the wall.  Sometimes it is preferable to have two individual paintings than having them painted together. However, I can edit two individual photos together in the mock up to see how they look together.  This does depends on a lot of factors if they will match, notably the light in which they were taken.  Bright sunshine casts deep shadows, whereas a bright day but not direct sunlight will be softer and more natural, so they will need to be taken in the same light.

Photographs as Reference

If you live local to me, then I can take photographs, free of charge, which of course both Jake and Maisie do, so I was able to take their photos and use for reference. My client wanted a cropped full face version which I think looks great, especially in the smaller aperture size of 12″  x 10″.