How to create a Pet Portrait that doesn't suck



Have you ever thought of yourself as a portrait painter? Probably not, as painting portraits lend itself to old masters, back in the days of the kings and queens with Leonardo Da Vinci or Michelangelo at the helm. Portrait painting takes years and years of study. So how the heck do you paint your pet’s portrait and it doesn’t look like a cartoon rendition?


Luckily we've worked for years perfecting our Pet Portrait system so even beginner painters can create a piece of art that they can be proud of. So here’s how it works…



When you sign up you send us a photo of your pet. What kind of photo works best? Well, think about those traditional portraits and how they were painted. Most of the time it’s from just below their shoulders up, nice and close-up so you can see details. The same idea goes for your pet photo - get a close-up headshot or even full body shot of your dear pup or cat. Another point is to take it at their eye level, not at your eye level. Remember those portraits - they weren’t looking UP at the artist but straight AT the artist.

Now that you have a great photo we’ll do the task of printing it poster size and prepping it to fit your canvas. We use our secret weapon which is carbon paper. Carbon paper allows for you to simply trace your pet to make sure eyes, nose, and all the important parts are sized right and most definitely in the right location for your painting.

Once it’s traced you can get to the painting portion. This is where you get the full artistic license to make your portrait however you like. Some great ideas are picking a fun color background, changing your pet’s coloring - you can even go color crazy and do a pop art version. Needless to say, you can do whatever you like, from as close to the original as possible or channel your inner Picasso and go abstract.

The trick is to work in layers. Start with blocking in the main colors and building up the fur coat from there. Another key tip - start with darkest colors first. Even white dogs don’t start with white paint - use a grey or tan first to lay out the pet and build from there

Hope you can join us for a class! Currently, we have Paint Your Pet classes coming up in San Diego, Laguna Beach, Wichita, and Phoenix.  If you don’t see one in your area let us know and we’ll book it! 

Infoca@paintingandvino.com is the place to get a hold of us.