In order to render lifelike and highly detailed results, a good quality photograph of your pet is required. Here are a few quick tips for a good reference photo (please view my complete photo guide for more tips and examples):
  • well lit, ideally in natural light
  • a close-up, at least the face and some the neck and chest are clearly visible
  • high resolution, overall sharp and clear quality
  • ideally taken at the subject’s eye level

See Complete Photo Guide

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.

Contact me to secure your slot!

Use the form below or contact me via Email: or Instagram: @ilonatdesign

Reference Photo Guidance

A perfect reference photo is well lit, ideally taken at the subject’s eye level. The eyes don’t have to be directed at the camera but they should be clear and open. All the details of the face are clearly visible.
A good reference photo doesn’t have to be professional, phone photos work just as well as long as the subject is clear and in focus. This photo example would also work as a full body portrait.
If you use a DSLR, 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.
Photos taken at odd angles or from too great a distance rarely work as portraits. If the subject is too far away, the fine details become fully obscure.
Avoid harsh light (sun or artificial) directly on the subject. It blows out the highlights and creates deep shadows, making it  difficult or even impossible to see the details in those areas. In this example the dog is also squinting and the details of the eyes are fully obscure.
Please make sure that the whole head and some of the neck and chest are included in the frame. Otherwise improvisation and guesswork are needed to fill in the missing parts, and the result may not be accurate.