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How We Create Your Graphite Pencil Pet Portrait

The successful creation of your pet portrait depends - more than anything - on a good collaboration between you and your artist.

It all starts with a GREAT (not an “okay,” not even a “good”) photograph.

We don't have the pleasure of meeting your pet. All we know about him or her is what you tell us, and what we can see in the photograph(s) you provide. It makes sense, then, that the photo you give us must be as high-resolution, and as indicative of your pet's personality and physical characteristics, as possible. Additional close-up photographs of the pet's eyes or other important features are appreciated.

Make sure your pic is as least 3 megabytes in size. If you're taking the photo with a newer cell phone, it is very possible your default settings meet or exceed that quality. If you're not sure, open your camera and click on its "settings" menu. (The manual that came with your phone will explain this if it is not obvious on your screen.) Simply set your phone's camera to a size/quality/resolution of 3Mb or better.

If you're taking your photo with a digital SLR or another stand-alone camera, chances are you already understand the concept of resolution, but consult your camera's manual if you are uncertain of its settings.

As to the composition of the picture, be sure to focus on your pet's head and shoulders as this is what our portraits capture. A full body shot from 20 feet away will NOT accomplish this. Get up close to your pet to really narrow in on his or her facial features. Backgrounds are not as important as the pet itself, since these are not typically included in the portrait.

It is most critical that your photograph accurately demonstrates your pet's eyes, nose and mouth in detail. And, be certain your photo shows the facial expression you want in the portrait.

The accuracy of the resulting portrait relies in large part on the photo(s) you provide. Please read (and re-read) these tips before taking and submitting your picture(s). And, study these examples for even more insight into what makes a great pet photo:

example of bad pet photo another example of bad pet photo
example of great pet photo another example of great pet photo

What the heck are “bespoke” pet portaits?

Our artists hand-draw your pet portraits. These are not traced and colored-in copies of your photos, nor are they created using photo editing or other computer programs. Each portrait is a custom-made, one-of-a-kind piece of art - or, as our ancestors commonly said, bespoke.

Our portaits are created in the USA - and why that matters.

In an effort to pump out product and keep costs as low as possible, it is common for many businesses - even portrait companies - to farm out their work to underpaid, overseas workers. We NEVER do that. Our portraits are created by American artists. They are paid a fair and decent rate. We are very proud of that. And, we're also proud of the fact that...

A portion of the proceeds from every sale is donated to non-profit animal welfare organizations.

We are in the process of creating long-term relationships with several animal welfare groups. As these details are confirmed (and once we obtain all necessary permissions) we will regularly report our contributions on this site.

But, back to you: first, decide on your pet portrait size.

A “portrait” is defined as a head-and-shoulders pose of one pet.

Our graphite pencil portraits come in three sizes: 6"x9" (shown below), 8"x10" and 11"x14". Please note that these are image sizes, not overall sizes.

In addition to your portrait, you will also receive an archival-quality mat making your portrait ready for hanging in any standard size frame you choose. Mats are larger than the portrait, as this list indicates:

• 6"x9" portraits are shipped with 9"x12" mats (cost is $135)
• 8"x10" portraits are shipped with 11"x14" mats (cost is $200)
• 11"x14" portraits are shipped with 16"x20" mats (cost is $385)

The frame size and the mat size are generally the same.

Gracie in mat

How we schedule your portrait.

To schedule creation of your portrait, a 50% non-refundable deposit is required. Upon receipt of your deposit, your portrait order is added to our production calendar. This deposit also covers your artist's time and materials in the early stages of portrait production.

Our typical turnaround time.

Pet portraits are typically completed within three weeks. If longer turnaround times are expected, this will be explained at the time of your order.

Gift orders.

Because certain times of year are much busier than others, we highly recommend that you contact us to discuss giving a pet portrait as a gift. We want to ensure that your portrait arrives in time for your special occasion. If outstanding orders indicate that we can't fulfill your order in time, we also want to be honest about disclosing that fact.

Ready to place your order?

We would love the opportunity to create your pet portrait. If you feel you have enough information to proceed, please submit our order form.

Still have questions? No problem! Just contact us and we'll be happy to answer them as best we can.

PLEASE NOTE! Neither our order form nor our contact form requires you to provide any financial or credit card information. If you choose to order your pet portrait by credit card/PayPal, your information will be submitted directly to PayPal using their secure, encrypted system. If you choose to pay by check, it will be deposited at our local bank branch.

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