Dec 27, 2006
This is stage 2 of Shamus. I'm guessing that I've put about 5 hours into it so far (give or take).
I've really got to get into the habit of timing how long it takes me to do these drawings. I have timed some in the past and came up with some general times. I think, generally for an 8x10 drawing, it takes me 8-10 hours for one pet. For an 11x14 drawing of one pet, I think it takes about 15 hours. Every drawing is different though and some go more smoothly than others. Maybe I should carry a little stop-watch around in my pencil case!
I hope everyone had a great holiday. I travelled home to Moncton (about 1 1/2 hrs from here) and spent time with my family. I had a lot of visiting to do and it was great to see everyone. It was a busy 4-day weekend!
Sadly, my little sis wasn't with us this year because she's in China, teaching in Shanghai. My mother and I are heading there this February for 2 1/2 weeks and we're quite excited! Neither of us has been to China so it will be quite an adventure.
I hope everyone has a Happy New Year! I will post an update on Shamus again very soon.
Dec 22, 2006
Dec 21, 2006
Dec 18, 2006
Dec 13, 2006
Dec 9, 2006
I discovered velour paper while reading a book by Lesley Harrison, called "Painting Animals that Touch the Heart". She is an amazing artist, and the softness that she is able to acheive in fur is unbelievable. This is partly due to the fact that she uses velour paper. I ordered some online because you can't get any around here, and I love it. It is sort of a fuzzy, velvety paper, and really neat to draw on. I like it much better than regular pastel paper which is quite rough.
I'm keeping this drawing for my portfolio because I need to build up more of a collection of my original art. Right now, most of my originals belong to other people!
Dec 4, 2006
Each person's website is ranked, based on the number of votes that they get. The higher the rank, the more exposure your site gets. I'd like to ask you to vote for me!!
It is very easy to vote for my website: visit http://pagesportraits.com , click on the "Prices etc" button, click on "Links" at the bottom, then click on the "Hall of Fame" banner....done!
I appreciate your votes!
Nov 29, 2006
Last year, I got tons of requests in Nov and Dec to do portraits for Christmas, and I was unable to do them because I was booked up. This year I've hardly had anyone asking. Maybe it's because people are checking my website and reading my blog (where it says I'm booked), or maybe it's because I've raised my prices a fair bit since I've started doing this. It would be great if lots of people are checking out my sites, but it also sort of feels like not as many people are interested :( . I hope that's not the case.
As for the prices, when I started doing portraits, I really underestimated the time it would take me to complete a portrait. Many artists don't like to charge too much when they start out because they feel a bit guilty charging what a portrait is really worth...I felt that way. In time though, I had to start raising my prices because I was severly undercharging for the amount of time and money that I was putting into each portrait.
For you, the client, the increase in price means that your piece of artwork is worth more. It also means that I have become more popular as an artist; an achievement that I am quite proud of! As animal art becomes more and more popular, so will the value of your portrait.
Nov 28, 2006
Nov 19, 2006
Nov 6, 2006
1. Mercedes - Standard Poodle
2. Shamus - black and white cat
3. Noah - Cocker Spaniel
I can't give exact dates, but I figure this brings me to January-February. I don't have an update of Mercedes yet. I've been a bit busy lately and haven't worked on her much.
In other news, I've tried selling some of my work on Ebay lately. Unfortunately, nothing has sold yet though. I tried selling an original ACEO (the horse that I posted a couple of posts back)(please see description of an ACEO in the same post), as well as some prints and greeting cards. A couple of people were watching my items, but none of them sold. sniff sniff. Ah well, I've not given up yet!! I'll keep trying some different things!
Today after work, I had an interesting message on my phone. A woman from Platinum Magazine got my name and information at my vet clinic, and wanted to talk to me. The message she left said that they are doing some articles about pets as family members, and they were looking for interesting pet-related businesses. I guess mine peaked her interest, and I think they want to know if I want to put an ad in their magazine. I haven't talked to her yet, just left her a message, but it sounds exciting! I'll keep you posted!
Oct 26, 2006
This is a drawing of my cat, Tully, that I've been working on. It's my first attempt at coloured pencils in years...I think since I drew my Shelties in 1996, actually! She is done in Prismacolor coloured pencils on blue pastel paper. I'm not sure of the size, I just cropped it to about 5x7 I think. I'm obviously not finished yet.
And this is my first ACEO. I've only just learned of these recently from the pet portrait forum that I frequent. ACEO stands for Art Cards, Editions and Originals. ACEO's are 2.5 x 3.5 in. in size (the size of trading cards) and they are a cheaper way of collecting artwork. The trend originally started as trading cards among artists, where one artist would trade one of his/her works for another artist's work. Eventually people began selling these small works of art on Ebay, and now it's a huge market.
I've checked out ACEO's on Ebay, and apparently everyone and their dog thinks their cards are worth selling, but there are quite a few really good quality works on there too. People sell originals and prints.
So I thought I might try my hand at selling some of these ACEO's. The one below is done in graphite pencil, on 2.5 x 3.5 (obviously) 110lb. acid free white paper. I haven't named it yet, so I'm open for suggestions!!
Here's an update on Mercedes. I think she's coming along nicely, and I'm happy to report that I kind of like doing curly hair on a black dog. I originally thought that it would be quite hard to do, but as it turns out, I find it kind of freeing. Usually fur lies in a certain direction and is very straight, but the curly hair goes in many different directions and your strokes can be a lot looser. It doesn't have to be as perfect. It's a nice change.
As for my waiting list, it's pretty short now:
1. Mercedes (in progress)
And that's all I've got for now. I'm not taking orders for Christmas, but any that I take on now should be finished shortly after Christmas.
Oct 19, 2006
I'm drawing her in pencil on 8x10 110lb acid free white paper. The eye looks a little funny because I started it, then wasn't happy, so I erased some of it. Being a black dog, and quite hairy, it's really hard to see her eye in the picture. I'm going to try and exagerate it a bit more in the drawing so it doesn't look funny. Here she is:
Oct 18, 2006
She is quite the cuddly kitten too...annoyingly so sometimes. If she is not within 1 foot of your head, she's not happy. She follows us around constantly, which can be quite cute, but I hope she eventually learns to be a little more independant. Regardless, we are really enjoying having her around.
Oct 13, 2006
"How could you?" by Jim Willis
When I was a puppy I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh. You called me your child and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was "bad," you'd shake your finger at me and ask "How could you?" - but then you'd relent and roll me over for a bellyrub. My housetraining took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed, listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because "ice cream is bad for dogs," you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.
Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love.
She, now your wife, is not a "dog person" - still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy. Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a "prisoner of love."
As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them, especially their touch - because your touch was now so infrequent - and I would have defended them with my life if need be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams. Together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway.
There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered "yes" and changed the subject. I had gone from being your dog to "just a dog," and you resented every expenditure on my behalf.
Now you have a new career opportunity in another city and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You've made the right decision for your "family," but there was a time when I was your only family. I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said "I know you will find a good home for her." They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog or cat, even one with "papers."
You had to pry your son's fingers loose from my collar as he screamed "No, Daddy! Please don't let them take my dog!" And I worried for him and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life. You gave me a goodbye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too.
After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked "How could you?" They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you - that you had changed your mind - that this was all a bad dream...or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me.
When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited. I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room. She placed me on the table, rubbed my ears and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days.
As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood. She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured "How could you?" Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak, she said "I'm so sorry."
She hugged me and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn't be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself - a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place.
With my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my "How could you?" was not meant for her. It was you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of. I will think of you and wait for you forever.
May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.
Oct 10, 2006
Here is the finished copy of Ghira the chocolate lab. I'm not sure exactly how much time she took me because I always forget to keep track of that. I'm guessing somewhere in the vicinity of 10 hours...maybe 12. I'm just waiting for the ok from the client before I spray the drawing with fixative so it won't smudge. There's no changing it after that, so I want to make sure they're completely satisfied before I do anything.
Ghira was done in graphite on 11x14 acid free white paper. Since it's too big for me to do a proper scan with my scanner, I'm going to take it to be scanned professionally and have a copy made for my files.
Oct 1, 2006
On another note, I ordered a couple of sets of Prismacolor coloured pencils on ebay a couple of weeks ago, and I also ordered a couple of technique books on Amazon.ca. I've been frequenting a forum for pencil artists lately, and I've been inspired to do some work in coloured pencils again. It's been a while since I did my last coloured pencil piece, but I'm confident that I will have no trouble getting back into it. I've learned some tips too, so I think I may end up improving my style. The last piece that I did was in 1996 of my two Shelties, Piper and Cailiegh. You can view them on my website. When I get a chance to work on something in CP's, I'll post it here.
In case I don't post again this week, I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving!
Sep 20, 2006
Sep 14, 2006
I worked on Ghira for about an hour today and got a lot of her muzzle done. I will still go back later on and touch it up. I had some trouble with the nose. I think I like it, but I'll probably fiddle with it some more later on too.
I really like the photo that I have to work with. It's very clear and I can see a lot of detail. It's been a while since I've had such a good photo to work from!
I will post this drawing again when I get more done.
Sep 12, 2006
1. Ghira the chocolate lab - started
2. Mercedes (Sadie) the standard poodle
3. Shamus the black and white cat
I have been getting the first of many inquiries lately, asking if I'm still taking orders for Christmas. Regretfully, the answer is no. I have told #1 and 2 that their portraits will be ready for Christmas, but #3, I'm not guaranteeing for that time. The reason for this is that each portrait usually takes me a month or so to do. I work full-time and only do this in my spare time, and each portrait usually takes me 8-15 hrs to do. Things also tend to come up before Christmas, which can put me behind in my work. For these reasons, I didn't take too many orders for Christmas.
If you had wanted to give a portrait for Christmas, may I suggest giving a gift voucher? They work in one of two ways:
-First, you can order a portrait now, knowing that it will not necessarily be ready for Christmas. I can give you a voucher to give as the gift, that says your loved-one will be receiving a portrait soon.
-Second, you can give a voucher as a gift, and your loved-one can contact me about having the portrait done. You two can decide on the amount and portrait size, and contact me about choosing a reference photo. These vouchers are valid for 6 months from the date they were given as a gift.
There is more information about gift vouchers on my website www.pagesportraits.com .
As of recently, I am no longer offering to complete a portrait by a specific date or deadline. There is a waiting list for my portraits, and it is on a first-come, first-serve basis (as are the vouchers). It would be unfair to those who have been waiting, if someone else jumped the queue. Also, like I said above, sometimes things come up and I am put behind in my work.
So, if you do want me to do a portrait for you before a specific date, I highly recommend that you contact me months ahead of the date, and I will do my best to accommodate you. For Christmas, I recommend you book before summer. This year, I was booked by July. And, like I've mentioned above, gift vouchers make a great gift too!!
Sep 10, 2006
Sep 9, 2006
Sep 5, 2006
2. Mercedes (Sadie) - standard poodle
3. Shamus - black and white cat
I handed off Nelly and Paddy to their owner today. They are Christmas gifts and I hope the recipient enjoys them.
The "Frex" is in town today (Fredericton Exhibition). I'm heading there shortly to check out the animals. I really have no interest in going on any rides, or playing games to win cheap stuffed toys, but I do want to have a look at the horses and whatever else of interest is there. I'm taking my camera with me too, in hopes of getting some good shots for reference photos.
Aside from doing commissions, I want to do some drawings for myself of different subjects that I don't normally get to do. I might keep them or sell them...we'll see how they turn out! I haven't had anyone commission me to do a horse yet, and I'm dying to do one! So anyone out there who is interested, please contact me! In the meantime, maybe I'll get some good shots at the Frex. I also would really like to take a trip to the zoo in Moncton soon and take some pictures there before they close for the winter.
Sep 3, 2006
I got the ok from the owner of Paddy and I'm very happy that he is satisfied with it. I will be delivering it to him sometime this week. I tried scanning Paddy myself at a really high resolution and printing him on my new printer. The print came out really nice...almost exactly like the original. I thought I'd post a new copy of Paddy's finished drawing since I took more time this time to get a really good scan.
So next I will be working on "Ghira", a chocolate lab. She is for my co-worker's daughter as a Christmas gift.
Sep 2, 2006
Since I'm new to this business, I don't have any bulk orders to get scanned or have printed, and it seems bulk is the way to go if you want to save money. A lot of printing companies won't print onto heavy paper, and others only have small scanners. Others just charge an arm and a leg. So I have also been thinking about investing in a good quality printer for my home.
My boyfriend and I went out yesterday to have a look at printers, just to see what was out there. After much thought, I decided to invest in a high end printer, and bought a Canon Pixma iP6600D from Staples. http://www.canon.ca/digitalphotography/english/product_article.asp?id=855&cid=1
I'm quite excited to try it out and see what it will do. I will still probably take my drawings to get scanned at a printing company because our scanner doesn't have the high resolution that I want, but now I can do the prints myself.
The only problem is, my printer won't print the 11x14 size that I'm offering in my "Prints" section on my website. http://www.pagesportraits.com/prints.html So my options are to continue to have these larger prints done at a print company, or to stop offering this size. I would be interested to know what you all think. How popular would an 11x14 print size be? (I'm talking prints, NOT original drawings...I'm still offering these.) Please comment!!
Sep 1, 2006
Well I believe that Paddy is done. I just have to get the ok from the client to make sure he is totally happy with it. Once I get the ok, I'll spray it with fixative so it won't smudge, and he can pick up both Nelly and Paddy. Next it's on to Ghira the chocolate lab!
Aug 29, 2006
Here is Paddy's portrait so far. As you can see, I'm darkening the shading, and filling in the lighter areas. I'm guessing I've probably put in about 4-5 hrs already. Hopefully I'll be finished in another week or two.
So far I'm getting lots of good feedback from my website. I still have a few minor changes to make in the layout, but all in all, I think it turned out really well. Paul is responsible for making the website for me and I think he did a wonderful job. Thanks!! (It was my birthday present).
I've already had an order for some greeting cards. The client that I did Sadie (Golden Retriever) for wants to buy some. I ordered a stamp today that will have my website and my name on it. I'll use it to stamp the backs of my greeting cards and my prints. I also will sign my prints so you know they are authentic.
Have a great day! I'm off to the gym now.
Aug 28, 2006
I took on another order today to do a portrait of a cat named Shamus. So the waiting list goes as follows:
1. Paddy (8x10) - Newfoundland - in progress
2. Ghira (11x14) - Chocolate Lab
3. Mercedes (Sadie) (8x10) - Standard Poodle
4. Shamus (8x10) - Black and white cat
This brings me to somewhere around/after Christmas time. It's hard to say exactly when I will complete each of these portraits. Things tend to come up that set me back a bit, and having a full time job is time-consuming as well! The first 3 portraits will be finished before Christmas though and the 4th, sometime after.
I have done some more work on Paddy, and I will try and post a scan of him tomorrow.
Aug 23, 2006
Here is the first stage of Paddy's drawing. So far I've drawn in the general outline, and I've started shading in the really dark areas of his fur. I like to do the dark areas first, and at the beginning of my drawings, there is a lot of contrast between the light and dark areas. This way, I am able to see the different tones easier. As I progress further into the drawing, I balance the different tones out, and make the dark areas darker.
In the final drawing I like to exagerate the lights and darks a bit more than they are in the actual photo. I find this makes the drawing pop a bit more and makes it more interesting. If you draw the tones exactly as they are in the photo, it tends to make it a bit boring, especially when the animal is one colour, and you can hardly see the different shades. With Paddy, since he is black, I really have to look closely to see the different shades of grey.
Aug 21, 2006
Although I have been drawing most of my life, I feel that I should continue growing in my work, and I strive to make each drawing better than the last. These forums have provided me with so many useful tips, and have gotten me even more excited about what I do. I am also looking forward to trying out oils soon, and perfecting my pastel and coloured pencil drawing techniques.
So lately, I have been spending so much time looking through these forums, setting up my new blog, and working/researching my website, that I feel like I have been stuck to this computer for the past couple of days. It's so addictive, I can't seem to pull myself away!
Aug 20, 2006
This is Nelly, a golden retriever, and I just finished her for a client last week. She took me about 9-10 hrs to draw. I really loved doing Nelly's portrait because she seems like such a happy dog.
Nelly was done in graphite pencil on 8x10 paper.
1. Nelly-Golden retriever-completed
3. Ghira-chocolate lab
4. Sadie (Mercedes)-standard poodle
I have guaranteed that these four portraits will be completed for Christmas, and I am not taking any more orders for Christmas. If you are interested in giving a portrait as a Christmas gift, I can give you a gift voucher. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have a few reasons for starting this blog:
I thought it would be a good place to post my pet portraits in the different stages before completion. As the owner of the portrait, you can keep checking this site to see how your commissioned portrait is progressing, and if you have any problems, you can let me know before it is actually finished.
I will post my waiting list for commissioned pet portraits here also. So if you've ordered a portrait, you will know exactly where you are on the waiting list.
And, I just wanted to have a place where I could write my thoughts and where you can learn a little bit more about the person who is doing your pet portrait.
I will do my best at keeping my blog up-to-date. I hope you enjoy it!