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Portrait Commission Guide

Thank you for considering me to draw your beloved animal!

Commissions that I do are always done from reference photos that my clients provide for me. No in-person meetings or sittings required. There should be one main photo that the drawing will be based off of and a few additional photos so I can see the subject better. Below is a brief guide going through what makes a good reference photo and sizing.

Finding a Reference Photo

The reference image is incredibly important- it lays the foundation for your entire portrait. I like to do commissions from one main reference, not a composite of several photos. The four keys to keep in mind when choosing a reference photo are:
– Lighting: You should have a bright(but not overexposed), preferably naturally lit photo. Lighting can also express mood. for a dramatic feel go for hard lighting casting dark shadows on part of the face.

– Clarity: I need to be able to see the subject well to be able to capture them well. You must have a clear, high resolution picture showing details for me to work with. For a non-full body portrait check the eyes and fur to see if there is detail visible in the eye, light reflection in the eye, and whiskers. I also need to be able to see the direction the fur is going. If those details are visible, great! If not, please try to find a clearer photo.

– Expression & Pose: Think about your animal’s personality and characteristics. You’ll want them to look natural and like themselves. Think about where the subject is looking. This can help express his or her personality. If your dog is very loyal and attentive try to have them looking at the camera. Looking directly at the camera can also express confidence.

– Angles: Generally try to avoid looking down at a steep angle onto your pet like you would if they’re on the floor and you’re standing. Instead, either get down on their level and look at them straight-on, or pretty close to it at a slight angle down to them.

Try experimenting with different angles, lighting, and poses to find something you like and that captures your pet’s personality. Take lots of photos. Pets move around quite a bit so most pictures probably won’t turn out great but keep snapping pics and make sure to review the photos you’re taking so you can make sure it’s going in the right direction. Have fun looking through pictures or spending time with your furry friend taking new photos!


The bigger the drawing is, the more detail is achievable, but even with the smaller sizes I can still achieve a good level of detail. My standard sizes are: 5×7″, 6×8″, 8×10″, 9×12″, and 11×14″ You may request a custom size. Archival mounting and matting comes standard with any drawing or commission you purchase from me. Each drawing will be matted up to the next standard frame size.