Whether they’re dogs, cats, turtles or tarantulas, pets are family members who deserve a place on our walls. Using images of your pet as art in your home or office can brighten up your day and keep a beloved friend’s face with you long after they’re gone.
1- Pet Portraits
Getting formal portraits of pets isn’t a new fad: ancient Egyptians and royal families have been commissioning paintings of their cats and dogs for centuries. You can join this tradition by finding a portrait artist who specializes in pet paintings. They may be able to create a beautiful piece from a photo of a pet that is squirmy or has passed away, or may ask to schedule an in-person sketch session.
Think about how you want to use the art before you commission it. A medium sized wrapped canvas of your dog with a bright color background might be best suited for a room with modern décor. If your home has a more traditional style or if you want to hang your pet painting at work, you may want something smaller that can be framed. Talk to the artist about the space where you want to hang the portrait so they can customize your art.
2- Photographic Pets
A pet portrait can also take the form of a beautiful photograph. We all take photos of our pets, but often the image is cluttered with people or laundry in the background, or the lighting doesn’t capture our pet’s playful spirit. If you want to create your own pet art at home, you can improve your photo skills by learning some basic techniques. If you want a truly professional piece, contact a local family portrait company and ask for a pet session.
Some photographers specialize in pet photos and others won’t include them in their services, so make sure you ask specifically what experience they have shooting animals. Pets may feel scared or stressed if you need to bring them to a photography studio, so find out what methods the photographer uses to help them feel calm and get a relaxed looking shot. Ask to see examples of their finished work, and what their policy is about the final image: does your sitting fee include rights to the image, or will you have to purchase each copy of the photo separately?
3- DIY pop art
If hiring a professional is out of budget or not your style, there are still plenty of ways to get Fluffy or Fido on your wall. This tutorial shows a quick and easy project that can transform a photo of your pet into a work of art. The beauty of this project is its simplicity; the photo doesn’t have to be great quality, it just needs to show your pet’s face clearly. Just use a copier to enlarge the photo into a black and white image printed on colored paper, then cut away the background and mount your pet’s picture onto a second sheet of colored paper. The result is a bright and cheerful picture with clean lines that really lets your pet’s face be the focus of the frame.
4- Paint Your Own Pet
If you feel up for a more complicated art project at home, you can create your own painted portrait. Start with a photo of your pet mounted to a canvas, and use that as your guide, painting over each shape and section of their face until a portrait appears. This project is similar to a paint by numbers kit and will have that same vintage feel when it’s finished. Even if you’ve never worked with paint before, using the photo as your guide will help you capture the main features of your pet. The imperfections and slight irregularities in the painting are what give this portrait so much charm.
Not every pet portrait will be a good fit for your family. Think about the space where you want to display your art, how your pet reacts with strangers, your budget and which features of their personality you want to capture most. Let those decisions guide your choice for which kind of art you want to invest in. Ultimately, whether you hire a professional or create your own DIY portrait of your pet, you’re sure to love having their face on your wall.