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Making Art

Tackling Pet Portraits

Capture or Commemorate Your Animal Friends

My husband and I adopted our beagle from PAWS Chicago, the city's largest no-kill humane organization. We visited the state-of-the-art shelter several times before finding our pup, but every time we would go over to the side of the building labeled Dog Town and take turns meeting the animals looking for homes. (Kitty City was located on the other side of the building.)

Families or people who've donated to the PAWS cause often sponsor the different rooms within Dog Town and Kitty City, and sometimes these rooms will feature portraits of beloved pets belonging to the sponsors. Yep, Oprah's late cocker spaniel, Sophie, has a prominent position within the doggie housing.

Pet people know that your animal becomes like family, so maybe a painted portrait is a way to celebrate your friend, honor his or her memory, or just challenge your artistic abilities with a more difficult project.

How to Draw & Paint: Pet Portraits by Lorraine Gray walks you through crafting stunning acrylic or oil paint masterpieces of your favorite animals. The book gives practice tips on more difficult areas, such as whiskers, fur, ears and manes, and then walks you through the process from sketch to finished portrait.

Here's an example of the initial stages of capturing a cockatoo's essence and for an added bonus, these tips for rendering fur are extra helpful for your next cat portrait.

how to paint cockatoo

Images excerpted from How to Draw & Paint: Pet Portraits

Do you have a beautiful pet that would make a fascinating portrait subject?





Heather Linder

Heather is a journalist and writer living in Chicago with her composer husband and art-loving puppy, Lancelot. She's on an endless quest for the city's best coffee and is endlessly inspired by Chicago's magnificent skyline. Heather is a bookworm, aspiring chef, and NPR fanatic. She's in the process of teaching her beagle to use a French press and overcoming her fear of DIY.

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Art is the proper task of life.

Friedrich Nietzsche

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