How to capture a pet

One of the best things someone can draw is their or someone else’s  pet. But drawing pets is different from drawing normal animals if you want to do it successfully. If it is your pet, it probably doesn’t matter what you do. But as for a commission, you have to do it correctly; think, what does the owner like about their pet. Is it play times, personality or just appearance?

bailey 1.png

My first picture of my dearly departed budgie, Bailey shows this. The posture seems forced and the face cartoony even though it was based entirely on a photo of him. The picture is bad for a pet portrait as Bailey wasn’t hyperactive so would rarely look like this. So along with the problem of composition the portrait was unsuccessful in portraying a pet.

What I loved about my pet was his personality, he was always listening to you, relaxed, chirping or generally friendly and I tried to capture his friendly nature in my next picture of him.


This picture was successful to me as although it was an average budgie drawing to someone else it reminded me of Bailey. He always was relaxed like this and looking at me while I talked. This is replicated in the portrait.

It is for that reason alone that you have to follow the rule of capturing what someone liked in their pet when drawing them. As without this rule, it is not their pet just a normal animal that looks similar to them.

Some suggestions for other things people may like and what to do because of that are : if they are active, have them interact with something or running and leaping about, if they are curious, have them study a “mysterious object” or if they are beautiful then pose them like some regal beast.


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