Commissioned Pet Portraits



About Emma’s Pet Portraits

 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.

 "Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened" Anatole France

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.



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. 

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.


 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.


Commission a pet portrait 

Outlined below are the steps involved in ordering a pet portrait drawing.
Please note that orders are done on a first come first served basis. I currently have a number of orders to work on and my normal lead time is around two months. If you are wanting a portrait drawing done in a specific timeframe, for example for a birthday or anniversary, then please contact me and I will do my best to accommodate you. Please allow a minimum of 4 weeks.
  • The first step is to email me some high quality images of your subject. It is normally best to send a few different ones as I can then assess which one I think will work best and it also gives me a better feel for the appearance and character of the subject. Digital images can also be sent by post on a CD/pen drive. Photos must be clear, in focus and high resolution. The best photos tend to be those taken in good natural light (but not bright sunlight) with no flash as this causes red-eye. I find that the best portraits are those which focus on the subject’s head and have a small amount of the shoulders/body visible. Be careful not to crop the image e.g. cutting off ears! The above images are a couple of examples of the perfect photographs for pet portraits.
  • Once we have agreed on a photograph to use and discussed your requirements I will send you an invoice for a 30% deposit which can be paid via Paypal or by credit or debit card. Alternatively payment can be made by a cheque made payable to myself, Emma Gorton. For portrait prices please see the "Portrait Prices" page.
  • I will then begin work on your portrait. I can send you regular updates of my progress by email if requested although some people prefer to wait until the piece is finished before seeing it.      
  • Once your portrait is complete, I will send you an image of it to approve. Once you are fully satisfied with it I will ask for payment in full and once that has been received I can send the finished piece to you. I mount each portrait using ph neutral virgin wood pulp mount board in either off-white or black depending on your preference. I can send images of both options so that you can decide which one works best for your portrait.

Black mount

Off-white mount

  •  A framing service can be provided with various options available starting from an extra cost of £35. This can be discussed at any time during the ordering process.
  • Completed drawings are sent by courier using a 48 hour service within the UK Mainland and Northern Ireland and a tracking number will be provided. Portraits can also be shipped worldwide, though delivery timings will vary on location. For prices please see the "Delivery Costs" page. As charcoal has a tendency to smudge, your portrait will be fixed and then packed very carefully in order for it to reach you in perfect condition. Please take extra care when opening your parcel and enjoy your unique pet portrait drawing!