A Day in the Life of a Pet Portrait Artist 

 June 24, 2022

By  Emma

I wear many hats, but being a pet portrait artist is one of the most rewarding things I do.

Recently, I have been working on a watercolour dog painting. It has taken several visits to my client’s home, many conversations, and lots of talk about things their pet liked to do. You see, getting to know the animal and the family helps my creative process. It also means the artwork is unique and personal.

Primarily I work in watercolour, but I also use pencils. The paper I use is as important as the medium. Why? Because this ensures the painting best reflects the animal, the required style and the client’s preference.

I’m going to tell you more about this, but before I do that – and for ease of reference if you’re in a hurry – here’s a link to my pet portrait prices.

Now, let’s continue.

A Pet Portrait Artist with My Ears and Eyes Open

I am currently working on a big watercolour dog painting which is a memorial. It is a local commission so I was able to visit my client. On the first visit I was able to take a wander in the garden to see his favourite spot. By listening to Cory’s owners I understood how important this would be in the painting. They had happy memories of him chasing the last corner of evening sunshine for a snooze. He also has a remembrance rose, which turned out to be the second key to the composition.

On my next visit, I took some sketches to show them, talked about paper and we decided that a smooth, high white paper would be best. Their preference was a contemporary, minimalist painting, so this lovely paper was perfect.

I held the large sheet of the paper, above the fireplace for a visual reference. It was immediately clear that the painting needed to be that size in order to fill the space.

All in all, good coffee was had, and I had a clear vision of what I was about to do.

On that visit I also took some frame samples. I knew they wanted chrome, which is unusual, so I wanted them to be sure. I don’t always provide a full service like this, but when I do it’s important to agree upon the final expectation. This also allows me to visualise the picture and ensure the style of the painting matches the frame choice.

Since then, I have spoken to them via phone, text and in person on several occasions to ensure I’m on the right track. This removes my anxiety about what ifs, and ensures they are happy at all times.

The latest visit was to finalise the colour for the rose. I used a little discretion here because the Blue Moon rose that Cory has dedicated to him is not particularly blue! His markings are warm, and his eyes are a reddish brown, so using a contrasting blue brings the painting to life.

I’m almost done with Cory, although I’m quite attached to him. Generally, when I start saying ‘hello Pooch’ to my dog paintings it’s a sign I’m nearly there! Here he is peeking out on one of my You Tube shorts.


I’ll show you some photos of before and after pictures once he’s finished, so that you can see the difference.

More than a Pet Painting Artist!

Now, I suppose it’s worth mentioning a little more about life as an artist. So, next I’ll tell you a little about the wider aspects of my arty world.

As a pet portrait artist, I offer many options. The service I offered with Cory is a bespoke one, taking on the whole project through to framing, but I also create smaller pet paintings which I can do from photos.

But that’s not all, I also love to paint seascapes and flowers, and to be honest anything else that catches my eye! France is a source of inspiration for me, and in fact I write travel books too.

In addition to that, I create painting videos, write tutorials, and also paint the places I travel to. I suppose you could call me a travel painter as well as a travel artist!

Whether I’m writing or painting though, it has to be said that the thing that gives me most pleasure is seeing the reaction on people’s faces. With pet portraits, it’s often tears, but they are good tears. It means I’ve done a good job.

With my books, I have a memorable review that says, “please don’t stop writing, you have a special way of taking people away with you”.

My clients and readers make my artistic pursuits worthwhile.

Choosing a Pet Portrait Artist

You may be surprised to know that I’m not going to say “pick me, pick me!”

All artists have their own unique style and offer different services. I want people to resonate with my message, and I want to know 100% that I can deliver what you want.

Trust, integrity, and transparency are key, and this includes working on pet paintings to commission. If I can’t meet your deadline, or have any doubt at all I will tell you. If you want a pastel commission, I will tell you they aren’t my thing, but I know someone who is.

Overall, I want to be a sounding board for those who are looking for a unique piece of art. I hope that what I offer is something you’d like, but I’m more than happy to listen to you and help you arrive at that decision too.

In fact, what I’d really like is that you and I have a chat before you make any decisions. I am available at your convenience, to help you decide what kind of artwork you’d like. My contact information is:

Facebook: Characterful Pet Portraits

You Tube: Emma Herbert Watercolourist

Call / text: +44 07546 105762

Email: emma@painterlyponders.co.uk

If you look at the You Tube channel, you’ll also have a chance to see me painting. What better way to see whether you like what I do?

Getting to know you is actually one of my favourite things about being a pet portrait artist!

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