Detailed Charcoal Pet Portraits by Artist Emma Gorton
Welcome to Bella & Bryn, home of beautifully detailed charcoal pet portrait drawings by Emma Gorton and animal-inspired products made in the Cotswolds.
A little bit about me
My name is Emma Gorton and I am a pet portrait artist and designer living in the Cotswolds with my two house rabbits and dog Maddy. I can normally be found in my studio drawing or designing and making my own fabrics and products, fuelled by copious amounts of tea!
"Bella & Bryn" is named after my bunnies. They can normally be found chewing on my furniture or annihilating an area of the house!
I grew up in Bourton-on-the-Water in Gloucestershire and have always loved the beauty and tranquility of the area…I am never short of inspiration here and I am at my happiest when I am being creative!
About Emma’s Pet Portraits
"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened" Anatole France
For a lot of owners a pet is so much more than just a pet – they are another member of the family. A pet portrait can be a lovely gift or way of commemorating a beloved animal.
I have always been drawn to animals and I have always had a pet around the house. With my love of drawing it has always been natural for me to use my pets as subjects and I have been drawing pet portraits now for 15 years. I spend most of my time doing dog and cat portraits but I have also drawn horses, rabbits and a pet hedgehog!
As well as doing pet portraits I have also dabbled in wildlife portraiture and my works have included a tiger, owl and vulture. Animals are all so incredibly well adapted to their own individual environments and I love exploring their characters and bringing them to life on the paper. To see some of my wildlife prints please visit the Bella & Bryn shop.
Drawing is definitely a labour of love for me and my style focusses heavily on detail so my drawings can take up to 20 hours to complete. Sometimes the hardest part for me is knowing when to stop working on a piece as I become so attached to each of my subjects! I always strive to really capture the essence of an animal’s character.
As well as my very detailed portraits I also offer a pet portrait sketch option as well as gift cards for those who are working to a shorter timeframe, wanting to spend a little less or who simply want their recipient to be able to choose their own photograph for me to draw from.
My favourite part of being a pet portrait artist is getting to see someone’s reaction when they receive their portrait - it is often a very emotional experience because people are so attached to their pets and very often my commissions are for animals that have sadly passed away. Having a portrait of them is a lovely way to commemorate them and can help with the grieving process. See more about commissioning a pet portrait here.
Why I use charcoal pencil
A lot of people ask me if I work in colour as well as charcoal. Whilst I love working with colour and have completed colour portraits in the past, I have always been drawn to black and white images. In my youth I studied photographers such as Bill Brandt and Ansel Adams and found that monochrome images can have an impact on the viewer that coloured images just can’t achieve in the same way.
Black and white is timeless and it accentuates shadows, highlights and textures. I love trying to bring out the huge range of grey tones in my work.
I find that taking the colour out of an image strips it of any distractions allowing the subject to speak for itself and for its unique character to really shine through. It’s for this same reason that I also do not include backgrounds in my portraits.
To read more about why I love black and white you can see my blog here.