Reference Photo Tips

The following tips are for pet portraits, but the same ideas can be applied to portraits of people.

The amount of detail that can be added to a drawing depends on the quality of the reference photo used.  For most cases, I will be working from a reference photo provided to me by you.  It is important to consider a few things when taking reference photos of your pet:

  1.  Lighting:  The best lighting is daylight, without direct sun or heavy shadows.  Photos should be taken without flash whenever possible.  This allows me to see the true colors of your pet’s fur and eyes.
  2.  Angle:  The best angle for pet portraits is at the eye level of the pet.  If the photo is taken from above, looking down, it tends to distort the features.

The most important feature for my drawings is the eyes.  The eyes are where I can best capture the spirit of the animal, and give the drawing life.

I can work from multiple photos, so if you need to use more than one photo to get the right reference, that works fine!

While these conditions are ideal, if the pet to be drawn has passed away and updated photos are not an option, send me the available photos and I can let you know if the drawing would still be possible.  While it is more of a challenge, I can still make a memorable drawing to honor your beloved pet!

Example of good quality reference photo:

IMG_2786 (2)

Example of less suitable reference photo:

IMG_3681