Our Pets

We all love our pets, they are our best friends; our soul mates, our confidants, they are precious and much loved members of the family. So, what better way to celebrate our pets, and all they mean to us, then with an original pet portrait of them in a style of your choosing. If commissioning a pet portrait is something you are considering then you have come to the right place and I am thrilled you are here! 

I have created a very detailed account below, of what is involved when commissioning a portrait but if there is anything else you would like to know, if there are any unanswered questions, then please don't hesitate to get in touch. I am here to help.

I want to commission a portrait - What next?

  • Firstly, if you haven't already, could I suggest you have a look through my pet portrait folders which will give you the opportunity to see my work and the different mediums I currently work in. This may help you decide which medium you would prefer for your own portrait.

  • The prices page would be the next place to visit to help you choose what size medium you would prefer you would like.

  • Once you have made a decision, and you are happy to proceed, you will need to look through your photos and make a decision about which photo you would like your pet's portrait to be drawn from. There are a few important pieces of information to be taken into account at this stage. What I see is what I draw.

Choosing the right photo.

I am sure I am not the only pet portrait artist that has been both amused and sometimes stunned, at the quality of reference photos received. I once received a photo of a dog that wasn't even facing the camera!! (I kid you not). I think the best thing to remember when you are choosing your photo is that,





What do I mean by this?

The better the quality of the photo, the better the portrait!

Put simply, the better the quality of the photo, the more detail I can add to the portrait, vital if your portrait is to be as realistic as possible. The best photos show the eyes clearly and even the direction of the fur. 


Would you say this makes a good reference photo?

kitten example of a bad reference photo for a pet portrait commission - Jagos Art
  • The kitten's pose is good and would make for a nice drawing. 

  • Although the detail isn't great there is enough information available to create a drawing. 

I could definitely work with this photo. However, I would suggest that the best medium to use would be charcoal or graphite pencil. It would of course be your decision and if your heart was set on a coloured pencil or watercolour drawing/painting then I request additional photos showing the colours more clearly.

What about this one?

example of a bad reference photo for a pet portrait drawing of a dog

At first glance this might look like the perfect reference photo. The pose is nice and all her features are shown. However, upon further investigation you can clearly see...

  • The quality of the photo is poor.

  • There is hardly any fur detail visible.

  • The eye colour is very hard to see. 



So, what does the perfect photo look like?

example of an excellent reference photo for a pet portrait drawing of a cat

I'm not sure this is the 'Perfect' photo, I think the lighting could be better, but the quality of the photo is very good and the detail is very clear. The fact that the photo is a close up of the kitten also really helps. It is worth noting that I took this photo on my Samsung S6 mobile phone - not a really expensive camera.

I always enlarge the reference photos to at least the size of the drawing I am doing. This helps me greatly with regards keeping the proportions correct as I draw. If the quality of the photo is good then enlarging the photo has no impact on detail as you can see...

Close up photo showing excellent detail of a pets eyes for a pet portrait commission - Jagos Art

The photo above is in fact a photo of my gorgeous girl. I used it to draw the picture opposite. The drawing was made so much easier because of the amount of detail. For example, I was able to draw the fur accurately in terms of direction, colour and length. And as you can see the eyes were so clear in the photo that I was able to draw a realistic copy of them on the picture. The end result was a very true likeness of my little girl.

As mentioned, I took the photo, I used to draw from, on my mobile phone - certainly not the latest model I might add. With all this talk of getting the best photo, I hope this highlights that you DO NOT need an expensive camera to take your reference photo. 

(c) JagoArt Justine Jago

a coloured pencil drawing of a cat pet portrait commission
What have we learnt?
  • The quality of the photo really does matter - the better the quality the better the portrait.

  • Lighting matters - natural light is best and ensures the true colour of the pet is captured. 

  • Close up photos help greatly - the details appear crisp and clear. Fur direction can be seen more easily. The eyes are clearly seen and the smallest of detail in the eye is visible. 

  • Photos taken at your pets level, where possible, often produce great results.

However, I do appreciate that it is not always possible to provide such photos, especially in the sad circumstances of a pet having passed over. Having lost my own best friend, my beautiful cat Jady five years ago, I appreciate how sensitive this can be and so, in such cases,  I promise I will do my very best with whatever photos you have to offer.  

What happens next?

If, after reading this you have decided you would like to go ahead and commission a pet portrait then that is fantastic news. If you live nearby and like the idea of having your portrait drawn for you by a local North Devon artist then I would be very honored to be that artist. Please click the button below. 






If, after reading this you feel you would like to know more or you have more questions that need answering, then please feel free to contact me using the buttons below. I look forward to hearing from you.