Is your pet adorable? Cute? Charming and just a little bit silly? Either way, they are the most photogenic members of your family but have you ever considered immortalising them in something more than Snapchat? Below are the Top 10 Pencil Pet Portrait Artists working today.
Katja has an incredible talent for expressing the personalities of her subjects. Each of her pet pencil portraits are filled to the frame with character. It’s as if she lived with the pets, learning every one of their quirks. Katja specialises in cats, dogs and horses but is skilled enough to vary from there. Her attention to detail is exquisite, capturing everything, from the imperious, Churchill folds of a Neapolitan Mastiff to the playful glint in a kitten’s eye. No element is missed.
If you’re looking for realism with a dash of style, look no further than Mike Bruce at MCB Portraits. Mike does all manner of portrait work alongside pet pencil portraits. It is this astonishing life drawing skill that lifts him above and beyond. His use of light and dedication to capturing mood is unparalleled. Each and every piece imbues the animals with depth and vibrancy. If you’re not careful, you might just be fooled into thinking the portraits are begging for treats as well
Mike is an artist whose work steps outside of time. His pet pencil portraits have a rustic honesty to them, without any sacrifices on detail. The way that Mike layers his pencil strokes adds a real sense of texture to the work, you almost feel you can reach out and stroke the fur. He captures a visceral quality to the pets that photography never could. After all, no animal is a glossy print. This mixture of timelessness and raw texture is a sweet reminder that our pets are, and always will be, a source of real love in our lives.
For those of you who are enamoured by the more exotic pets, Gary Tymon is the guy for you. Gary will happily, and skillfully create pet pencil portraits of moggies and pooches but also has a knack for elephants, zebras and the adorable panda. Gary is one of the most adventurous artists on this list, which alone would be impressive if he weren’t so masterful with his shading. You have never seen such subtle shadows on a chimpanzee. One could be forgiven for thinking tigers make good pets after seeing Gary’s cuddly portraits.
From her garden studio, Melanie is the artist behind some truly joyful pet pencil portraits. She must be gifted with a psychic link, because so many of her pieces capture the irrepressible glee in these animals eyes. If you look hard enough, you’ll see their eyes twinkle. Honestly, Melanie’s work has a life to it that seems to capture these beloved pets at the very second they stopped to look at the camera. It’s so impressive, that the moving pictures of Harry Potter seem believable.
Rebecca is an artist who has been shaped by her environment in the best possible way. Being a country girl since childhood, she has a lifetime of observation to help express the nuances of her subjects. This background in rural life lets her create a real bond with every animal she illustrates. No one is going to argue about a puppy being cute but it takes a real understanding to let people see the loveable, goofy charm of Scottish Highland cow.
Susanna and her work can be summarised with the word, ‘prestige’. Multiple awards and international exhibitions aside, she brings an incredible sense of nobility to her pet pencil portraits. Through a remarkable combination of composition and detailed shading, Susanna’s subjects are portrayed with a natural, regal presence. Dogs once roamed the woods as lordly wolves. Cats were worshipped as gods (and never forgot). Susanna’s work reminds us of our pet’s aristocratic past but never takes away from their loving personalities. Royalty or not, everyone likes cuddles.
Pet pencil portraits are most commonly done by sending a photo of the animal to the artist as a reference. This means that the pets are in an environment of some sort. Soft cushions, a river or playing in the garden. Capturing an impression of this scene is what sets Julie apart. You can’t express the wearied cuteness of a resting pup without showing the pillow they’ve plopped their head on to. As an added bonus, Julie offers tips on how best to take the reference photographs that are sent to her.
Artists are an irrepressibly creative bunch. Browsing the galleries on this list you’ll see most of the people have multiple skills and styles. Enter the specialist, Marie Brown. Marie works exclusively in the medium of graphite pencils and it shows. There is a confident mastery in the work that forces your eye to appreciate the minute details. You notice the thousand little things that comprise each animal’s unique beauty. Marie admits to a love of drawing fur and it is well worth taking the time to focus on the results. They are nothing short of breathtaking.
Black and white portraits of pets have an air of old world sophistication to them but sometimes you really need a splash of colour. Helena Ruma understands this and delivers with aplomb. Her pet pencil portraits come in a variety of styles but her coloured works are the the stand outs. Through prodigious skill she creates depths of colour that could compete with any oil or acrylic paints. Another point worth noticing in her work is the range of light she can convey. From soft, fur all the way to shining, glossy coats.