1. Choose the portrait type

Visit the Prices section and choose the option you like the best. Please contact me if you need more information about the different mediums, or would like to order a custom size etc.

2. Pick a reference photo

Choose a clear, well-lit photo which really shows the personality of your pet. I'm always happy to help you pick one if you're unsure. You can also refer to my complete photo guide below.

3. Contact me

Please send me an e-mail to it@ilonatdesign.is containing the reference photo(s), the size & medium of the portrait you'd like to have, any special wishes and the country you're from (so that I can give you a correct shipping quote).

4. Book your slot

Once all the details have been cleared, I will send you a PayPal invoice for 25% of the portrait price. When the deposit has been paid, I will book your slot in my commission calendar.

Reference Photo Guidance

In order to render lifelike and highly detailed results, a good quality photograph of your pet is required. It’s by no means necessary to use a high quality digital camera, phone photos work just as well. Here are a few quick tips for a good reference photo (please see more tips with example below):

  • the subject’s eyes are in focus
  • well lit, ideally in natural light
  • a close-up, at least the face, neck and chest are clearly visible
  • high resolution & overall sharp and clear quality
  • taken at the subject’s eye level

It’s of course not always possible to obtain a good quality photo, for instance when the pet has passed away. In this case I’ll work from the best photo that is available, but it’s good to keep in mind that some guesswork will be required and the result may not be 100% accurate. If you have multiple photos to choose from, I’m happy to help you pick the best option. Once the reference photo has been approved by both parties, I will send you an invoice for a 25% non-refundable* deposit of the final portrait price. After the deposit has been paid, I can give you an estimated date for the start and completion of your portrait. I send you updates throughout the whole drawing process to ensure you will be happy with your portrait.

*The deposit is refunded only in the unfortunate case that I have to cancel your portait.

Keep your subject close

A perfect reference photo is ideally taken at the subject’s eye level, with the eyes in focus. All the details of the face and at least the neck and chest area are clearly visible.

Get down to your pet’s level.Avoid looking down to your pet when taking their photo. Photos taken at odd angles rarely work for portraits. Also, if the subject is too far away, the fine details get lost.

Good lighting is key!

All the fine details are obscured if the photo is either too dark or harsh light is directed right at the subject. A bright but overcast day offers usually the best conditions for outdoor photography. If you take your photos indoors, try to place your pet near a window to make use of as much soft natural light as possible.

Things to avoid:

  • using a flash
  • taking photos in direct sunlight
  • photographing against a light source.

If you’re using a DSLR / system camera

That artistic blur, which many photographers strive for, doesn’t always work for an art reference photo. Please shoot with a smaller aperture to avoid excessive blurring. Shooting “wide open” while focusing on the eyes tends to blur the muzzle, making it hard to see the details. I recommend an aperture of f3.5 or higher. In this example the muzzle is slightly blurred, but the details are still visible, even when zooming in.

Can’t get your pet to stay still for a photo? Try holding their favourite toy or treats in one hand while taking their photo. It does require some coordination, but gets easier with some practice!