My most affordable pet portraits are done in pencil – both graphite and charcoal where appropriate. In addition to the advantage of low cost, the intensity of black and white helps to bring out the pet’s personality. Color is beautiful, but black and white shows things that color can’t.
Pencil Pet Portrait Gallery
Pencil Pet Portrait Pricing
|Size||Price||Add’l Pet / Bkgnd||Shipping|
|5 1/2″ x 7″||$59.00||$34.00||Free|
|8″ x 10″||$119.00||$49.00||Free|
|12″ x 16″ Head shot||$149.00||$74.00||Free|
|12″ x 16″ Full body||$164.00||$79.00||Free|
|16″ x 20″ Head shot||$199.00||$99.00||Free|
|16″ x 20″ Full body||$244.00||$119.00||Free|
Graphite is an excellent choice for certain kinds of pet portraits, particularly small sizes and portraits of light-colored pets. A graphite pencil can be sharpened to a very fine point, which enables the artist to depict a tremendous level of detail. This is particularly important when drawing the pet’s face and eyes. Pets with white or light-colored fur also look good in graphite, as the medium lends itself to the special techniques required.
For larger graphite pet portraits (more than 8″ x 10″) I use something called vellum-surface bristol board. Many artists favor a smooth board, but I find that a little texture helps bring out the dark tones, add expression to the lines, and overall give the picture a feeling of more depth.
A smooth surface works better on small and miniature portraits. When drawing miniature portraits, I make use of a delightful space-age material called drafting film. It’s not paper, but a coated polyester surface which is virtually impervious to organic decay. It allows the artist to achieve a breathtaking level of detail in a small area, and to create polished gradient effects so smooth that they almost look airbrushed. “Coconut” the cat, a mere two-and-a-half by three-and-a-half inches of detail, is an excellent example of why graphite and drafting film make such a powerful combination for pet portraits.
Charcoal is my medium of choice when it comes to depicting animals with dark fur. The reason for this is that the color of charcoal is much darker than most graphite pencils. The high contrast of a deep black charcoal form against a white ground make the portrait stand out, or, “pop”, more than one done in graphite. It’s a bit more of an expressive, rather than “literal” medium, because the lines are not as fine. For this reason, I don’t recommend it for portraits measuring less than 8″ x 10″. For a large portrait, however, the dramatic darks and smooth gradations can be rather stunning. I also make frequent use of charcoal or carbon pencil in some areas of my graphite portraits. This is because when graphite is applied heavily, as in depicting the dark eyes or noses of dogs, the shiny graphite produces glare. A bit of charcoal applied to the area helps this problem significantly. I try and help my clients select a medium that suits both their personal taste, and the subject, and in the case of graphite vs. charcoal, there is no price difference.