How to choose a pet portrait artist
Let’s say you would like a pet portrait painted of your pup, so you look up “pet portrait artist” and HOLY SMOKES there are a ton of artists out there.
And they’re all fabulous!
How do you choose which artist to go with?
Well, first of all - what kind of art do you enjoy? Next, look around your home. What is your home decor like? Maybe you want to commission some custom pet art to match your sofa.
Who knows, maybe someday you'll want to commission a custom sofa to match your art!
Alright, I've teased you enough.
Now, let’s talk about the different styles of art when commissioning a painting of your dog. This might help in deciding what kind of pet portrait artist to go with, if you are indeed looking for one.
Realistic & Hyper-Realism Styles
With the realistic style of pet portraits, it looks like you can almost reach out to pet the painting. But then you hear your responsible side give you the, “Look with your eyes, not your hands” reminder.
Your hand slowly lowers back down.
Ah, but the experience is still there.
You can practically feel the softness of their fur. There’s a depth to the hairs, with sunlight shining through. Depending on how intricate the artist gets with details, you might even see a reflection of what Puppers was looking at when the photo was taken.
And that reflection might just be of you!
More than likely though, it has sparkles of blue sky mixed with the light. In any case, these catchlights give your pet’s portrait the spark of life that you know so well.
Not only does this style require a high level of artistic talent, it carries an air of sophistication - even for the most adorably goofy dog.
In fact, what a fantastic combination of personality and sophisticated perfection.
Realistic pet portraits. So realistic you can practically smell their breath.
(Wait a minute...)
What this style eliminates in detail, it more than makes up for in feeling.
Let’s be honest here, who looks at all of their dog’s details in daily life? Maybe groomers have a highly tuned eye for furry details, but for most of us - we see that big smile when we get home.
After that, it’s a flash of prancing feet, wagging tails and loud pants of excited breathing. And that’s just coming from the cats! Ha. Just kidding.
Dogs are the experts at throwing welcome home parties. Kitty might also be insanely excited to see you - or change sleeping positions (with a little paw stretch) to acknowledge your return.
The impressionist style tends to have wide, loose texture of paint. Up close, it looks like strokes of color. Step back a few feet and the painting comes to life.
It’s a lovely style, more relaxed and usually captures the feeling of a moment.
Imagine going over to a friend’s house for the first time. A formal portrait near the entryway catches your eye. It has the head of a Golden Retriever head dressed up in a fancy medieval dress, sitting upright in a fancy velvet chair. Fancy, Fancy, FANCY! So fancy.
You might first think - Oh, how funny and interesting. But then, their Golden Retriever comes running around the corner, his long fur flowing behind him like a shampoo commercial in slow motion. For men. With gloriously long hair.
You snap out of your shampoo commercial moment and back into reality.
You look back up at the portrait and realize it’s an actual painting of their dog.
The painting instantly becomes awesome and very interesting!
Or you see framed prints of Boston Terriers in rockets, flying out to space.
They might have less details, but you recognize unique markings in the prints to know that it’s a custom portrait.
The humorous portrait can be every bit as artsy and it has a completely different feel to it.
Fun, minimalist, vibrantly colorful - these are all words that fit into the modern style of pet portraits.
It casts a wide range of different mediums. Some artists paint with acrylic paints on canvas, other artists utilize specialized tools on the computer to create portraits. Pastels, charcoal, print machines, you name it.
The main ingredients of the modern style include bold colors, a simplified background (usually) and graphic style art.
The modern style adds a splash of fun to the pet portraits. Dogs are fun. They pair up quite well with modern art...like cupcakes with frosting and bacon. It’s fun with a delightful twist of the unexpected.
You never know!
How to Choose
Now, let’s go back to the original question - How do you find a pet portrait artist to paint your pet’s portrait?
You may already know what style of art you like and which artist’s work pleases your eye. If that is the case, email them immediately and tell them how much you enjoy their art.
Because artists love to hear when their artwork brings joy! You’ll make their day. I promise.
On the other hand, if choosing an artist feels like walking into a candy store and you like ALL the flavors - I just want to say that I totally get it. There are so many amazing artists in this world.
My best advice is to buy a card or print from the artists you like.
Tape their art up to the walls and live with it for a few days.
After awhile you will find which art appeals to you more than the others. There is no right or wrong. Ask friends which ones they like. Ask family. Ask your dog.
Within a few days, you should have a better feel for your preferred artist.
Best of luck and let me know what type of art you like for your pet portraits.
You get extra EXTRA awesome bonus points if you like my style the best.
Next up, we’ll discuss what to look for when commissioning an artist for your pet portrait.
I never get tired of talking about pets in paintings - and I would love to hear about yours. :)
Until the next time, give your furry loved ones an extra pat from me.