pet dog grid
pet portrait wip

dog's eye

Coloured Pencil Strokes

Completed Pet Portrait



Pencil Pet Portraits


These pencil pet portraits used smooth paper. The artist blended the soft pencil and a putty rubber was used to highlight. For more about realistic pencil portraits, see the "Pencil Portrait" link at the bottom of the page.






pencil pet portrait

Pencil pet portrait where the artist has left the background white.









Colours were layered gradually to blend them – at least four or five were needed to achieve the right look in any one area. The eye below shows the variety of coloured pencil strokes the artist has used.

Light is made from spectral colour – accurate reproduction through mixing creates luminescence and texture in the finished pet portrait. Using predominately ready-made colours from the pencils would result in a dull-looking, lifeless portrait.






Pet Portrait Showing Grid


Soft coloured pencils are best for mixing: for this pet portrait the artist used the Derwent Coloursoft range. These pencils are soft and quite oily. The paper was textured to aid blending and colour depth. A grid system helped the artist retain proportions when reproducing the pet photo (courtesy: PD

The artist used a finegrain paper for Shane’s pet portrait (below) as opposed to a heavygrain (above). Again, the artist paid attention to colour, not being afraid to add greens, blues and pinks to the dog’s coat.

In this portrait, the artist used a colourless Blender Pencil.

closeup pencil lines

Pencil strokes on fur

dog photo


pet dog portrait

Pet Portrait


dog portrait


This pet portrait demonstrates the colours perceivable in a white coat.





pet portrait

In this pet portrait the artist made use of the white of the paper for the fur against a grey background.


Click portraits to enlarge.



horse portrait drawing

Pet Horse Portrait


Other Portrait Tutorials


Cow Portraits, Various Media


Coloured Pencil Portraits


Pencil Portraits






This Artist uses

artists pencils

Pet Portraits; Portrait Drawings of Children; Families and Weddings; Realism, Sketches, Nudes, Figurative and Abstract Art by UK Pencil Pet Artist.













dog portrait



(Click for enlargements)


The sample below compares the richness of a mixed black with the more flat-looking colour straight from the pencil.







These examples from Gulu’s Pet Portrait show how the artist builds colour before blending.


Minimalist pet portraits present an interesting challenge for the artist. Above, quick lines were used, and fine details ignored. Olive’s elegant limbs suit this simple portrait style.

In the pet portrait below the artist aimed to capture form and movement using as few lines as possible.




Minimalist Pet Portraits.

Of course pet photos are often difficult to take! But at least with modern technology we can take selections of photos easily, meaning an artist can often find a favourable composition to enhance a pet portrait’s end result.





Pet portraits make wonderful gifts!

Contact the Artist to commission a pet portrait in pencil or coloured pencil.

The artist works from your pet photos. See the main pet portraits page for portrait pricing and FAQs.


Composing Pet Portraits


1. Backgrounds


Different backgrounds give different effects to a pet portrait.

Some pet portraits are enhanced by a "blank canvas", giving a clean finish and focussing attention onto the animal, as below.


portrait pet


Alternatively, background may be integral to a pet portrait’s theme. Roderigo is best remembered in the garden …




… while Zola is given the royal treatment!


pet dog

Character Pet Portrait


The cat in the following pet portait is predominately red-orange, so the artist has used a dark green-blue background. These colours are opposites on the colour wheel, and known as "complimentary" colours:


Cat Portrait


This pet portrait’s background was improvised to create the colours and atmosphere associated with Victorian oil paintings:






Portrait showing repeating forms (please click)

cat portrait in pencil


pet portrait


A classically eye-pleasing composition for all kinds of pictures is the triangle, noticable in the horse portrait below. More unusually, the two dogs take up a cross formation which holds the portrait together.

dog portrait


2. Composition


For the best pet portrait, the artist looks for the most pleasing composition amongst the photos available (often cropping is needed).

In the photo below, the tail was cut off and the animal positioned too near the bottom edge. Slight alterations by the artist rectified these things – otherwise, it’s a well composed pet photo.

Note the numerous repeating shapes (some inverted) that help balance the finished pet portrait:

Minimalist Pet Portraits

Background and Composition

Colours: Blending and Building

Pencil Pet Portraits

Pet Portraits Tutorial

Pet Portraits in Coloured Pencil, Pencil and Ink from Photographs Tutorial and Examples by UK Pet Portrait Artist