While many people capture the essence of their pets on camera and video, some also choose to commission an artist to draw a portrait of their beloved pets. Hiring a professional artist is always an option, but with a few basic steps and suggestions, an owner can learn to draw a portrait of his or her pet that encapsulates both its personality and appearance.

One of the benefits of an owner drawing his or her pet is that the familiarity and affection for the animal is already present. Whether it is a dog, cat, bird or reptile, the animal’s spirit can be drawn and preserved in a unique way. Materials required for drawing pets include paper, a pencil and an eraser. Pens or coloured pencils may also be used depending on the amount of detail going into the drawing.

Animals can be difficult to draw because they are not always willing to remain in one place for an extended period of time. Drawing relies on the subject remaining still and maintaining a static position throughout the process. For amateur artists, the drawing process may be easiest when referencing a picture or a set of pictures that feature the animal in a variety of positions.

If the pet is being drawn without the use of photographs as reference, it is recommended that one or more basic sketches be done in order to best capture the basic shape and structure of the animal’s body. Begin by studying the animal and drawing round and oval shapes for the body, head, tail and limbs. Once these basic shapes are on paper, other details may be added and these outlines can later be erased.

Certain areas require much more attention to detail, such as the eyes, nose and feet. They eyes and the rest of the face are generally the most difficult part of the drawing, as they require a tremendous amount of detail. Focusing on the basic shape and then later addressing more detailed areas will help the drawing progress into a completed portrait. Good lighting will also help to ensure that the animal is being captured in its best form.

If a dog or cat is the subject of the pet portrait, its fur may be complicated to capture. There are a number of drawing techniques that will make this step easier. If an animal has long, straight fur, try using long, quick strokes with the pencil. Darker fur can be depicted by a large number of strokes that are close together. Lighter fur is drawn with sparse strokes. Coloured pencils may be used to better depict the details of an animal’s coat.

It is also important to note that the first drawing is not always the best. Just as many tasks require more than one attempt to get right, capturing the physical appearance and the personality of a treasured pet is not necessarily successful right away. It is important to remember that drawing is an art form that takes practice and patience.