<![CDATA[ECLECTICKELPIE.COM - News]]>Sun, 05 Nov 2023 11:23:14 +0000Weebly<![CDATA[FAQ’s About Getting a Pet Portrait]]>Fri, 24 Jun 2022 15:04:20 GMThttp://eclectickelpie.com/news/faqs-about-getting-a-pet-portrait
Are we there yet? Are we there yet? 
Here's some useful answers to the most commonly asked questions I get asked.
Can I choose what size of portrait?
Yes, of course! Sometimes this choice is down to budget as all my pet portraits are priced by the size of the finished artwork.  I have a range of basic sizes which I use but you can also specify dimensions if you have a particular place you wish to display your portrait. You can find my Price List for the standard sizes I offer here - https://eclectickelpie.com/prices.html 

Can you remove a background from the photograph?
YES! That’s the beauty of getting a pet portrait done. As we all know, it’s so hard to get animals to pose on the spot, in a specific way!  Some of the best photos we take of our dogs or cats unfortunately have annoying backgrounds.  Like your cats photographed in front of the kitchen bin… or your dog at the park with people in the background… sound familiar? Well, getting a pet portrait can mean you capture that perfect animal pose, but without the distracting background, making it a worthy piece of artwork rather than a photo you store in your phone and never print out! 

Can you draw a background into the portrait?
My art style is generally quite minimalistic where I present the subject on a neutral coloured background. This allows the detail in the portrait to really pop and make your pet the focus. However, I can do a background if one is requested.

Can you draw the whole animal?
Yes, you can get the whole body of your pet in the portrait if you like, just remember that you may not see as much detail. 

Can you draw my cat and dog in the same portrait?
Of course, if you have good photographs to work from I can make up any composition of pets you have… (if they’re safe to be in the same photo together...gerbils and snakes together? I’m not so sure!)

Can you make additional prints of the pet portrait for my family?
Yes, on request I can produce high quality prints of your pet portrait so that you can share with family. There is an additional fee for each one as I work with a local print company who specialise in fine-art printing.

How long does it take to get a pet portrait completed?
Because I work part-time as a Lighting Technician in the theatre & TV industry, my work schedule can be very irregular. Long anti-social hours means I don’t get to draw as often as I’d like so my completion times on portraits can vary.
I aim to complete medium sized portraits within 2 weeks but sometimes this just isn’t possible due to work. If you need a portrait completed for a specific date, please let me know at the time of booking and I will juggle things around to get it to you for your deadline.
I tend to book in 2 portraits each month depending on the size and complexity of each one and I will give you an estimated starting month when you book. It’s always advisable to book in advance of popular dates like Christmas. Don’t worry if you are late in booking though as I do offer gift vouchers to the full value and valid for 24 months, so you can still gift a portrait if you’re a last minute minnie like me :)

Do you always use pencils or can I get a painted portrait?

Most of my recent pet portrait artwork has been created with artist pencils as it is my preferred medium. They lend themselves so well to getting that fine detail I aim for, however I do work in watercolour from time to time so I’m open to discussion on a looser style using watercolour.

How long will the colour last on the artwork?
I use artist grade pencils that have been tested and rated using either the Blue Wool or ASTM D-6901 Scale. This gives each pencil (or pigment) a rating based on its ability to withstand fading under light. Under gallery conditions they will last well over your lifetime but what about in home conditions? So long as you don’t hang your portrait in direct sunlight or in a very brightly lit area your portrait will be absolutely fine. If you are at all worried you can speak to your framer about using UV protective glass.

Do you offer framing?
I do not currently offer a framing service as choosing a frame is a very personal thing, it needs to fit with the decor of your home. They are also incredibly costly (and risky) to post. Instead I supply all my pieces with a neutral coloured mount (or mat) cut to a standard frame size which enables you to pop it straight into a shop bought frame. I can also supply your portrait as “art only” without the mount if you plan to go to a local framer. That way you have complete control of what your finished piece looks like.

Can you post internationally?
Yes, I take commissions from all over the world. All my finished pet portraits are packaged securely to ensure they are not damaged in transit.  International shipping costs will be applied accordingly, and agreed in advance. 

What will it cost me to get a pet portrait?
I have a price list online - check it out here - https://eclectickelpie.com/prices.html

If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch
​Thanks Arla x 
<![CDATA[Why a Pet Portrait is Ideal for Your Gallery Wall Home Decor]]>Tue, 24 May 2022 18:29:45 GMThttp://eclectickelpie.com/news/why-a-pet-portrait-is-ideal-for-your-gallery-wall-home-decorToday’s best modern living rooms are less ‘catalogue’ perfect and more personal spaces, with people increasingly trying to inject personality into their gallery wall through carefully curated art pieces that reflect their personalities. And there’s no better way to inject a punch of personality than collate your own gallery wall that includes a bespoke portrait of your beloved pet!
Firstly, what is a gallery wall?

​If you’re looking for decorating inspo then dive into Pinterest for a whole array of ideas. Type in ‘gallery wall’ and there are endless photos of amazing artwork compositions put together in peoples homes.  From 3 frames sitting side by side on a wall, to a whole wall of different sized frames, the possibilities are endless. A gallery wall can become the main decoration feature of a room or hallway that draws your eyes and provides an insight into the personality of the homeowner.  I find most effective gallery walls to be ones that include original art as well as prints, with themes unique to the homeowner including personal memories, family and pets merged with typography and charity shop finds. A truly eclectic vibe, very well suited to a modern living room. There are no set rules to a gallery wall, but if you just put what you love up on your wall, it will all come together in the end to create something truly unique.
Why does a Pet Portrait work so well on a gallery wall?
If a gallery wall is a place to put everything you LOVE in an eclectic display, then a picture of your pet should surely be included in there, right?!
Yet, posting merely a photograph may not have the same impact. You may find the best photo of your pet (which is such a hard thing to do, I should know!) might have a dodgy background, such as the local dog poo bin or clothes all over your bedroom floor!  Yet, if you have a Pet Portrait drawn, all the best bits of your pet can be on show with no nasty background! This will ensure your pet picture fits in much better on a gallery wall display.
If a gallery wall should evoke memories then without a doubt, a Pet Portrait should be included. Anyone who owns a dog or cat will know they end up being treated as a prominent member of the family.  Human and animal in total devotion and love for each other.  In the heartbreaking reality, humans will always outlive our pets (unless you have a tortoise as a pet!) So, memories of past beloved animals can be kept alive in a Pet Portrait. Your fluffy little kitty or handsome doggy, realistically captivated in a piece of art that you’ll be able to enjoy for many more years to come.
How do you create a gallery wall for your home?
As mentioned earlier, gallery wall decor can vary from just a group of 3 small pictures, to a whole wall of picture frames with your personal style and memories captivated in them.  So, you may want to curate a collection of different sizes to suit your gallery wall space and that’s where I can help.  I don’t work to one standard size. In fact, I can draw your Pets Portrait in a whole variety of sizes.  A Mini size pet portrait might just include a study of your pet's eye, paw or nose, to create almost an abstract piece of art which would look great on a gallery wall.  A medium size Pet Portrait might include the head and neck of your animal, but sizes can go right up to XX-Large which might include the whole body of your animal or even a group of animals.  So you can be sure your Pet Portrait will fit nicely into your gallery wall design (and your budget!), either prominently or discretely depending on the size you commission.

If your gallery wall should reflect your personality, then what better than to include your favourite picture of your pet with its distinctive expression that you have come to adore. It may be your dog with a great big smile on its face, that would make you smile back every time you walk past it on the wall. Or an expression of your sassy cat, that would make you laugh. Or it could be your beautiful horse, standing proud which will remind you of all those days out on the paddock and getting ready for shows. So, if you love labradors, don’t just put up any old picture of a lab on your gallery wall, display one that is truly personal to you as it’ll give you so much more pleasure.

So, now we’ve clarified that a Pet Portrait can make the perfect addition to your gallery wall decor, here’s a few ideas of how it might look.

If you’re interested in commissioning a Pet Portrait for your gallery wall then please get in touch with me - arla@eclectickelpie.com

Thanks Arla x 
<![CDATA[Top 5 Reasons to get a Pet Portrait]]>Mon, 08 Nov 2021 21:30:16 GMThttp://eclectickelpie.com/news/top-5-reasons-to-get-a-pet-portrait
My realistic art style often gets mistaken for a photograph and, while that is extremely flattering, it does lend itself to the big question… “Why should I commission a portrait of my dog or cat when I could just print out the photo?

Here are my Top 5 reasons for commissioning a portrait of your pet…

The majority of pet portraits I am commissioned to do are in honour of the life of a companion no longer with us. As a pet owner and animal lover myself, I know only too well the grief associated with the loss of a beloved animal and coming to terms with that grief can be just as difficult as it is for any member of the family. Many people find having a commissioned portrait of their dog or cat in their home brings some comfort and sharing their stories with me helps to keep those happy memories fresh.
Customer quote inside a torn paper frame with a blue background
This is all I can hope for when I complete a memorial portrait for my amazing clients.

Often the best photos we take of our pets are not posed or taken in a professional photo shoot, they are the everyday photos we snap quickly to remember a sunny day out at the park, a weird pose or a funny thing our cat or dog has done. These images are packed full of personality and character but they might be blurry, have distracting backgrounds or poor lighting, they just wouldn’t be suitable to print out and frame but they capture that perfect moment in time.

That’s where I can help. It is true that these photos are not the best for me to work from but I can often use them for the pose of the portrait whilst taking colour information, detail and markings from other more detailed photos you have.

I can also incorporate, alter or even remove elements such as a favourite dog toy, recreating areas which have been cut off in the original photo or removing cat & dog collars and horse tack.

Combining multiple pets together in one portrait is also possible and it’s this ability to be a “human photoshop” that can make a hand-drawn traditional portrait much more personal, flexible and unique than a photograph.
Photos of black and white cats combined into a pencil pet portrait
Combining multiple photos in one portrait is the most popular use of my Human Photoshop skills

Buying a gift for someone who has everything? A commission slot for a pet portrait can make an incredibly thoughtful and unusual gift for an animal lover. It may be for someone who recently lost a pet, a gift for a special occasion (a wedding gift is a lovely idea especially if the couple have their own pets, they can be combined into one portrait) or perhaps it’s just because you know how much they love their companion animal and you want to give them something that will be treasured for a lifetime.

Gifting a pet portrait is incredibly easy and you don’t even have to get all “secret squirrel” trying to get a photo of your giftee’s cat or dog on the sly as I offer physical gift vouchers for the full value of a portrait. This means you can still have a fantastically unique (and lusciously packaged) gift but the recipient can choose their own favourite photo and what size will best suit their home. Sounds like a win/win to me!
gift vouchers for pet portraits with christmas lights
Contact me to enquire about purchasing a gift voucher for a commissioned pet portrait

I’m not a fan of decorating, I can’t think of anything more boring than painting walls. If you feel the same way, then a great way to bring some visual interest to an unloved wall is by hanging a piece of original art, especially if it’s of a subject close to your heart.

Whether you have a mansion or a studio flat a beautiful hand-drawn portrait of your pet makes a fantastic focal point for your home. Getting up close to see the detail really shows the time and effort that’s gone into creating every piece. Each one is as special as your bond with your pet and the larger you go, the less wall you have to paint. You can thank me later.
dogs posing with their pencil portraits
A pet portrait never looks out of place on your walls

In March 2020 my theatre job disappeared overnight so I had to turn my side hustle into my main employment. It meant I finally had the time to concentrate on levelling up my artistic skills. During those scary and uncertain days I was truly lucky to have the time to draw and improve. It gave me a focus, a reason to get up in the morning (or early afternoon) and helped me to protect my mental health when it seemed that things would never be normal again.
I am eternally grateful to all my clients when they support my art. It truly makes a difference when you buy from an individual as opposed to a faceless multi-national. We are able to give you a more personal connection and experience tailored to your needs. We care about you and we care about the quality of our products so you receive something utterly unique and not mass-produced.
Small businesses need you and your support so thank you from us all :) 

If you’d like to find out more about pet portraits, get a quote or buy a voucher then please get in touch with me
Email me at info@eclectickelpie.com ​
<![CDATA[THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE BLURRY]]>Fri, 24 Sep 2021 10:03:18 GMThttp://eclectickelpie.com/news/the-good-the-bad-and-the-blurry
Taking good photos of your pet can be really challenging and something people often struggle with. Here's a few things I look for in a photograph when I’m working on a commission pet portrait and some tips on how to make your photo session less stressful for you and your pet so that you can capture that perfect portrait worthy image.

Strike a pose

What is unique about your dog, cat or horse? Remember that I don’t know them the way you do. I can only be guided by you and what you tell me about them so try to make your photos reflect your pet’s personality. Maybe your pet cat has a particular way it holds his head or folds its paws; maybe your dog always has its tongue out or is covered in mud!
​Try to get a photo of them doing what they do best, don’t force an unnatural pose as it just won’t feel like your pet. If you stay relaxed, your pet will too.  

Action shots of your dog or horse running can look really dramatic but they can be very difficult to capture due to blurring. If you have a good camera or an app that will allow adjustable shutter speeds then go for it! 
Springer Spaniel chewing a bone in the living room
Ridley demonstarting that a good pet photo should show personality and doesn't have to be posed.

Show your true colours
Photographs taken in natural light always work best for pet portraits. It shows the true colours of your animal's coat and makes their eyes shine. Choose a bright but not too sunny day to take your photo. Take multiple shots as you can be guaranteed that most will be blurred! Use burst mode on your phone to capture several photos at once, that way you can choose the best of the bunch. If your pet is an indoor animal, you can take the photo with your pet facing a window. Make sure you always place the main light source behind you and never use a flash or filters.
Black & white cat looking alert
Pet photos taken in natural light are much better for showing off coat colours, tonal shifts and sparkling eyes

We all need a little help now and again
Pets are unpredictable and much like children they can quickly get bored or over-excited. Prepare for your photo session by getting a friend or family member to help you out. It’s best if it’s someone your pet knows so they are relaxed around them. Be patient with them (animal and human) and if either starts to get fed-up or stressed, stop for a while and have some playtime or a snack. Never rush or get upset as your pet will pick up on your mood.

Bribery goes a long way so arm your helper with some tasty treats and a favourite toy. Ask them to stand behind you and attract your pet’s attention while you concentrate on getting some gorgeous pictures. Don't forget to reward both your pet and your human helper for their efforts.
Tabby cat looking back towards the camera
This photo was captured just at the right moment when Lottie let her curiosity get the better of her

How low can you go?
We are so used to seeing our pets looking up at us from below, but this is not necessarily the best angle for your photo as this can distort their features and often doesn’t make for the most attractive pose, unless your dog has a photo worthy schnozzle (see Gus below). Get down to eye level with your pet to preserve their proportions and aim for a 3/4 view as, just like for humans, this angle is generally the most flattering. Also, don’t take a photo of your horse or dog from halfway across a field, try to fill the photo frame with them so I can see all their beautiful details.
Old black labrador looking up at the camera from a stony path
Gus proving that extreme angles can make fantastic photos too

Size is everything!
I know it’s boring but let’s get a little techy for a minute and talk resolution… It probably doesn’t mean much to most people but very simply put this term refers to the amount of information held in a digital photo. The larger the file size, the more information the photo has. Smartphones take photos at high resolutions so they are perfect so long as you email them to me at their full size.
The problem comes when you upload your pet photos to an online social media site, the images will be compressed and a lot of that information will be thrown out to make the file smaller. This makes it much faster to load but compromises the quality of the image. For me to be able to see all the details and subtle colour shifts in your animal’s fur I have to be able to zoom into the photo really closely (my eyes are getting old), but with a compressed image I can’t. It will go blurry or pixelated so I have to “invent” details that I can’t see or use other references to try and fill in the missing information.  

Therefore, please send me your high quality original photos but avoid using any social media photos of your pets if you can. 
With physical photos you can either post them to me or take a photo of them on your phone. In either case email me what you have at full size (ie. direct from your phone) and we can decide together which are the best photos to work from.
close-up of Black and white cat
This is a very low resolution photo taken under artificial light. It has a nice pose but the detail is pixelated

Choices, choices…
Now that you have run out of storage space on your phone it’s time to thin down your options. Start by deleting any images that are blurred or where your pet has blinked or looked away at the last minute. Now you are probably left with only a few images if your session went anything like mine but hopefully you’ve got some fab photos to share with me. Don’t worry if you are still having trouble picking one, just email me them all and we can decide together.

It’s never easy to get the perfect photo of your beloved pet, but it’s worth the effort. Be patient, take lots and never underestimate the power of treats! Try taking lots of photos over different days, whilst out for a walk, lounging on the sofa. Above all just be patient and eventually you will get the perfect one!

The better the photo, the better your pet portrait will be! (in theory)
Thank you to all of my lovely muses and their human companions for keeping my pencils busy over the last few years.
​It really is my pleasure to draw for you. 

If you’re interested in getting a portrait for your pet dog, cat, horse or bird, but are unsure about what photo to use, please get in touch and I’m happy to chat through some ideas. One of the best parts of my job is seeing your companion animals and hearing your stories about them. What’s more, I love a challenge so exotic animals also welcome! 
Email me a
t info@eclectickelpie.com