fine art pencil pet portraits by commission

Pencil Pet Portraits by Melanie Phillips

Pencil Pet Portraits Melanie Phillips

Welcome to my pencil pet portraits gallery! My name is Melanie and I am a professional pencil portrait artist. I work from my garden studio drawing dogs, cats and horses.

The photo on the right is me working at my drawing desk on a commission. I work with clients from all over the world, so where ever you are, if you would like to commission me, you are more than welcome!

All of the pencil portraits in my pet portraits gallery below are hand drawn by myself. Click each portrait to view them in more detail along with the reference photos, testimonial from the client, photos of the portraits with my pencils resting on them for scale and the portraits framed.

If you would like to send me your photos for a drawing, you are more than welcome to from my pet portraits contact page. I’m looking forward to working with you and hearing all about your pet soon!


Head Studies, Full Bodies or Montages

I offer two types of pencil pet portraits. The normal head or full body portrait with multiple dogs within a scene. I then offer Montage drawings. Montages are a collation of studies, usually one main study in the centre and 4 studies around the edge of the main study. My clients love my pencil montages as I am able to depict their pet in various poses and in different stages through their lives from puppy hood to adult. My montage drawings are also fabulous to show your dog doing different actives like agility, fly-ball and field work to show poses and relaxing, or as you can see in the cat montage at the top of this page, in lots of different poses. If you are interested in commissioning your own unique montage email me your photos today!



Taking Photographs for your portrait

Taking photos for a portrait

Photographs are key for the basis of a good portrait, one of the most important parts of the process. Digital cameras are the best way of photographing your pet, however good quality tablets and mobiles can work well. The best way to take photos is outside getting close to your subject. Get down on their level taking as many photos as you possibly can.

The photo on the right is of 'Hettie' who visited my studio with her with her owners to have her photo taken for a portrait. I use an SLR Cannon camera and took 33 photos of Hettie to get the perfect photo of her. Don’t be afraid to take an abundance of photos!

If you would like to read about taking photos for a portrait I have created a lovely page showing previous portraits. You can see photos clients have emailed and how the commission turned out. It might give you an insight into how you would like to see your pet portrayed, as it all starts with a good photo....

Taking photos for a portrait »



Hand Drawn Portraits

Traditionally Hand Drawn Portraits

My pencil portraits are bespoke, hand drawn drawn portraits. All of my portraits are traditionally hand drawn by myself. I spend many hours working out compositions with the client, making sure the design of the portrait is right before putting pencil to paper.

It is very important that all of the photos and the composition is perfect before any work start. Then once we are both happy, I sit at my easel drawing your pet - dog, cat or horse, creating a one of a kind drawing.

If you prefer the traditional, classic style of a pencil drawing, then this medium is for you.

Why not visit my Pencil Portraits in Detail Gallery which shows my portraits in detail, along with photos of my hand working on them.

Detailed Gallery »




Bespoke Framing for Portraits

Framed Pet Portraits

My pencil drawings must be mounted / matted and framed under glass. I have a wonderful framer called Amanda and we work closely together, along with my clients to create the perfect frame for you.

Amanda has an abundance of mouldings in her framing shop and has access to thousands more, so we are sure to find the right frame for you.

If you would like your portrait framed with us, clients usually let us know the kind of frame they are looking for and I email a number of frame mouldings for you to choose from.

We also discuss the kind of mount / matt that would work with the drawing too. Why not visit my framing gallery to find out more about Amanda's frames and see some previous framed commissions. Framing Pencil Portraits »



Pencil Pet Portraits Process

Pencil Pet Portraits Process

If you would like to follow a live commission from the initial contact through to the client receiving the portrait pop over to my Pencil Pet Portraits Process page.

When a client commissions a pencil drawing from me, I cut the paper 1 inch larger than the requested size. I always try to maximise the size of the portrait when drawing. When mounted the framed portraits overall size will be larger. For example a 12" x 10" once framed with a 2 inch mount will be approximately 18" x 16" depending on the style of frame.

If you have any questions, you would like to order a bespoke size for your drawing, do drop me a line and we can work together on something especially for you.

Pencil Pet Portraits Process »




Pet Portraits Testimonials

The photo left is of my client Paula and her portrait of teasel. Paula commissioned me to draw Teasel on a 12 x 10 size and had the drawing framed by her local framer. Paula emailed me a lovely testimonial which you can read part of below. Pop over to my testimonials page to read more and see lots of lovely photos my clients have taken.

Testimonials »

I picked up my portrait today and I have to tell you it is ABSOLUTELY STUNNING!!!! You have captured her spirit beautifully and the kindness she had in her soul shone through those big brown eyes.

Through you we have the most BEAUTIFUL tribute of our very very special little lady. It will take pride of place in our lounge. Kindest regards, Paula



Pencil Drawing Techniques

Pencil Drawing Techniques

I use a variety of graphite pencils to create the perfect balance of detail and contrast in my pencil portraits. My favourite graphite pencils are Derwent, however I use other pencil brands too. I work from light to dark, building up the layers gradually, creating realistic, highly detailed pencil portraits.

The paper I use for my pencil portraits is Italian Fabriano which I initially found on a trip to Italy when I was at Art College in the early 90's. Fabriano papers have been produced for centuries and it is extremely high quality, so perfect for my needs.

Why not pop over to my Studio and Materials page where you can see lots more photos of where I work, my studio and the materials I use to create your portrait.

Studio and Materials »




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