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  • Writer's pictureAmy Elizabeth Fine Art

Pastel Pet Portraits UK - A Spotlight on Miniature Schnauzer Portraits

Learn about the creation of my first ever pastel pet portraits and coloured pencil pet portraits, of my Miniature Schnauzer by Amy Elizabeth Fine Art- Pastel Pet Portraits UK

A pastel pet portrait from photos, of a black and silver miniature schnauzer | Pastel pet portraits UK
A spotlight on Miniature Schnauzer portraits

I'll be honest here. I have a slight soft spot for Miniature Schnauzers. Why? Well, because I own one. My little dog Monty (a black and silver Miniature Schnauzer), is the whole reason I create pet portraits today.

It all started after I had owned my little bundle of joy and fur for just over a year. I had seen artists on Instagram creating beautiful pet portraits from photos of a range of animals, and dogs of all shapes and sizes including Miniature Schnauzers. Whilst I have always been a fairly keen photographer, since getting Monty. I had been diligent in always making sure I had taken at least a few nice photos of him every month, either whilst we were out and about, or at home in the garden with some nice flowers as a backdrop; I felt that a pet portrait was something a little special. I am still not 100% sure what it is about a pet portrait that makes it more special than a photo, but there is perhaps something in the time and care taken in creating it that makes it more special.

Once I had decided I would like a portrait of Monty, I thought I would have a go at creating my own custom pet portrait of him myself. Whilst being a fairly keen crafter, and one of those people who will have a go at any craft they fancy, I didn't have a huge amount of experience in creating realistic pet portraits from photos (!) I did some research and decided if I was going to try and do this, I would do this properly. (Anyone who knows me, is well aware I can be described as a perfectionist...) I researched what kind of pencils and materials "proper" artists used, and then purchased a ream of high-quality paper and a range of Faber-Castell coloured pencils in the colours I thought I would need for Monty's black and silver coat colouring. Whilst I am mainly now create pastel pet portraits, I initially started off in coloured pencils.

Creating my very first pet portrait of a Miniature Schnauzer

Being a keen photographer, you would think I already had a photograph to work from. However, I decided to try and get a photograph specifically for me to create my pet portrait. To this day, I still think it is the best method for getting a good pet portrait. What makes a good pet photograph, does not always make the best pet portrait.

Once my parcels of pet portrait artists supplies arrived, I set to work. Only beginning after studiously watching a wide array of YouTube videos (a learning technique that also worked well when I had to learn how to cut both human hair and dog hair during the Corona Virus lockdowns(!)), I slowly worked my way through creating a pet portrait of Monty. If you have seen any photos of him, you will know I like to keep him in what I call a classic Schnauzer cut (I have no idea if that is actually a thing..), with longer hair on his legs, a proper natural beard and of course the trademark Schnauzer eyebrows.

A pet portrait drawing of a Miniature Schnauzer in coloured pencil
My first ever pet portrait- a drawing of Monty the Miniature Schnauzer

I have no idea how long my first pet portrait of Monty took, but I do know it was a very long time. It was created in coloured pencil, which even at the best times is a slower medium of artwork, but considering my perfectionist nature and the fact I had never tried to draw something in this scale and level of detail before, it took a very long time.

Now I look back on this portrait and think about all the things I don't like about it. However, considering it was my very first pet portrait and something that I created on a bit of a whim, it is actually in reality, probably quite good.

Creating my First Miniature Schnauzer Pet Portrait in Pastels

History then repeated itself slightly, when once I had been working in coloured pencils for a while, an artist friend suggested I should maybe try working in pastel pencils. Personally, I wasn't sure, as at this time I was quite getting into working in coloured pencils, creating highly detailed pet portraits from photos. However, this lady really does know what she's talking about, so I thought I'll give it a go. And what better subject to start pastel pet portraits with than Monty the Miniature Schnauzer.

My first ever pastel pet portrait of my miniature schnauzer Monty
Miniature Schnauzer Dog Pastel Pet Portrait

With both of my pet portraits of Monty, I started by taking specific photos to work from. Despite the fact I did have a lot of nice photos of him, they weren't exactly what I look for in a photo when choosing one to create a pet portrait from. You can find out more about what I need and look for in a pet portrait reference photo here.

Both my portraits of Monty are very different. Between doing the two my skills had developed a lot and also pastel portraits and coloured pencil portraits look different. It was my first attempt with pastels drawing Monty and I ended up being quite happy with the final result.

Since drawing Monty for the first time, I haven't drawn any other Schnauzers or drawn Monty again. I would like to in the future do an extra-large portrait of Monty in pastels. It would be nice to draw him at a time when it wasn't my first ever attempt at a new medium!


Pastel Pet Portraits UK - A Pastel Pet Portrait of Monty Again!

It has happened again! I have started another pastel pet portrait of Monty. This time as my first attempt at a pastel portrait on velour paper. This kind of paper is quite like a velvet piece of fabric and quite different to my usual pastel mat (which is like sandpaper). I have gone big for this pastel portrait, it is 24 by 18 inches, so rather a bit larger than Monty. Pet portraits in pastel are my favourite medium, so it is nice to expand my skills within the medium.

I love the different effect you can get on this pastel paper, it is a softer more painterly effect.

As I am writing this I haven't quite finished him, I am being rather indecisive as to what colour the background should be, however, I am very pleased with how his pastel pet portrait is progressing. I have absolutely no idea where it is going to go on the wall at home though!

I love Miniature Schnauzers, Monty has been the most wonderful addition to my life, I know the joy that these little dogs can bring to our lives. They are the best dogs, so loving, affectionate and willing to please. If you have a Miniature Schnauzer (or any other pet!) and you would like to commission a pastel pet portrait of your dog, please get in touch.

Pastel pet portrait of Miniature Schnauzer
Monty with his Nearly Finished Pastel Pet Portrait

My skills as a pastel pet portraits artist continue to improve all the time, to see more recent examples of my work as a pastel pet portrait artist click here.

To read more about my lovely boy Monty, click here.

My name is Amy and I am an artist specialising in pastel pet portraits UK, based in Derbyshire. I work from reference photos taken by my clients to create realistic portraits of their pets. All I need to get started is a high resolution photo of your pet, in the pose you want them drawing in.


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