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  • Writer's pictureAmy Elizabeth Fine Art

Pet Portraits from Photos- What Size Portrait Should I Commission of My Pet?

In this blog post, I discuss how to choose a size of portrait in which to commission a portrait of your pet. I talk about factors that could change your decision on sizing, including composition, what animal you are commissioning a portrait of, the photos you have available for me to work from and where you envisage putting the finished artwork in your home.

What Size Pet portraits do You Offer?

As standard I offer 3 sizes of pet portrait. 5x7 inch "mini" portrait, 8x10 inches, and 11x15 inches. These are my standard sizes, however if you want a different size then I will be able to accommodate you.

Pet Portraits from Photos- When choosing a portrait size, do the photos matter?

Yes! Is the simple answer. If you are limited with the photos you have to work from, for example you are commissioning a memorial portrait of a pet that has passed on, the photos may be a limiting factor. The simple fact is that the larger the portrait you request, the higher quality the photograph I work from needs to be. Thats because there is more space for me to include the detail in the pet portrait. The more detail in the photo, the easier it is for me to be able to include all that detail in a larger portrait.

If you are not sure whether your photos are a high quality enough for the size portrait you wish to commission, just get in touch with me for a no obligation chat about your options.

When is a Mini Pet Portrait the Right Choice?

I really do think there a lot of great reasons for commissioning a small portrait. The smallest size I offer is 5x7 inches. Smaller portraits work really well for single subject head and neck portraits of dogs and cats, especially when you only have poor quality photos to work from, that do not have a high level of detail in the photo. Smaller portraits are great as affordable gifts, for the pet owner in your life.

Mini pet portraits are also absolutely perfect for "small furries", such as gerbils and hamsters. A 5x7 inch pet portrait of a gerbil is still going to be bigger than the real thing! Here is an example of a portrait I did for

a relative, of a gerbil. I sent this piece fully framed with a white mount. Remember than when you order a pet portrait from me, the size reference is the space within the mount, the overall finished size will be larger once you take into consideration the mount and framing.

What Size Portrait Should I Commission for More than 1 Pet?

If you are wanting a portrait of a number of pets together, then you need to be looking at a larger size of portrait. Personally I would suggest that anyone wanting a portrait of more than one animal together should opt for my largest size portrait which is 11x15 inches. This allows for each pet to still have a nice level of details, and space for a nice composition to be arranged, rather than them squashed together.

Alternatively if you are wanting portraits or more than one pet, you can always commission them to be separate pieces of art, that way they could either be hung together or in different locations of your house. They could either be matching, using the same pastelmat paper colour, other you could use different shades, to match the colours of your pets/decor in different rooms.

Equestrian Pet Portraits- Larger is Better

The main subject that really benefits from having a larger portrait are horses. The reason I do not offer mini portraits for horses is due to the fact that there is more detail required in a portrait to make is look realistic. Horses are beautiful creatures, with a lot of shape to their head, especially round the eyes. To do a horse portrait justice it needs to be either in my 8x10 or 11x15 sizes.

Throughout history horses have been a subject for portrait artists, often they were painted on huge canvases. Horses are large creatures in real life, and using the same logic as with "small furries" portraits working very well in my smallest portrait size, horses are best drawn in a larger size.

The horse portrait in pastels, shown on the left is in my 8x10 inch size. This portrait fills a reasonable space within its mount. This size allows for a good amount of detail including enough to be able to include the horses halter. (Halters and bridles are quite complicated to draw, so they need to be drawn big enough to be able to get all the detail in. )

To commission a horse portrait with more than one subject, my largest size must be used. Either that, or you can commission your horse portraits separately in a smaller size.

Middle of the Range - What is a medium sized pet portrait good for?

My 8x10 inch portrait is a good all rounder. Excellent for single head and shoulder portraits of dogs, cats and horses. They may also be suitable for a smaller single full body portrait of a dogs and cats.

It is also suitable for double portraits of smaller animals such as hamsters and gerbils. Medium sized portraits are mounted to a final size of 10x12 inches, which is a good standard sized frame. You will be able to pick one up from most frame retailers. If you wished to take it to a professional framer, they can make a frame to your exact specifications and be able to guide you on what would be the best choice to suit both your artwork and home decor.

What if I don't like any of the pet portrait size options?

In reality, I can do pretty much any size portrait you want. I limit my general choice to 3 sizes to make it easier for people to decide. If I believe your pet portrait commission would benefit from being a different size, then I would let you know and give you full guidance on getting the optimal size for your portrait. However, for a majority of subjects one of the 3 options should be right for you.

I hope this post has helped you in learning more about the process of commissioning a portrait of your pet, and I hope you take the time to check out some of my previous artwork or contact me about any questions you may have.

I am a pet portrait artist based in Derbyshire, specialising in pastel pencils and coloured pencil portraits, in a realistic style from photos taken by my clients. Check out some of my previous artwork here.


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