Pet portraits are a wonderful way to commemorate your love for the fur baby in your life. They’re a timeless gift that you can cherish throughout your life, even if your pet is no longer with you. Plus, looking at a portrait of your beloved pet can boost your spirits on the hard days.
Some art looks so real that it seems to jump right off the canvas. This perfectly describes Lucy Colegate’s pet portraits, as the details and shading in her work brings the art to life. She takes great pride in the masterpieces she creates, and loves sharing her art with others.
“Knowing what an animal can mean to you, and being able to provide somebody with a portrait that they can treasure forever, that reminds them of the happy times, is amazing.”
Meet the talented pet portrait artist
Lucy, a pencil portrait artist and tutor living in the UK, creates realistic drawings for proud pet owners. She first began drawing at age 12 when she was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. The illness completely drained her of energy, and it even affected her relationships and education. The once sporty 12-year-old went from racing bikes to being bed-bound.
“I had to adjust to that so quickly and I needed something to do. So I thought, ‘Right, well, you like pencils, you like to sketch now and then, so let’s give this a go.’ So, I taught myself from YouTube.”
She watched countless hours of YouTube tutorials and studied the styles of various artists. She also learned what materials she would need from watching the videos. After gathering the necessary supplies, she got to work sketching pet portraits. Since then, she’s perfected her craft and become even more passionate about drawing animals for people.
Lucy turned her passion for creating pet portraits into a thriving career
“In a time where everything was so uncertain for me, everything seemed to be going downhill, and drawing was the one thing that I noticed a rapid improvement in,” Lucy said. “I was getting asked from family and friends if I would draw their dogs and their pets, so I started selling commissioned work when I was 13.”
After posting her work online, people from all over the world contacted her for portraits. She drew horses, cats, dogs, rabbits, and many other animals for them. Since then, she’s created thousands of pet portraits for customers worldwide.
“That’s how I really fell into drawing animals, and as time has gone on, I can’t imagine drawing anything else. I think my absolute favorite part of the drawing process is probably midway. I’ll completely zone out and I will just be looking at exactly what I see, all of the different shapes, colors, the reference image, and just focus on recreating that on paper.”
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Lucy’s eye for details helps her recreate a near-perfect drawing of the animals. On her website, she’s even turned some of her pieces into greeting cards and prints. She also runs a tutoring business to teach others how to create their own masterpieces.
Why Lucy loves creating this artwork
She says on her site: “There’s nothing I love more than passing my skills down to other aspiring artists, and still being able to produce my own commissioned work.”
Lucy’s helped children as young as five dramatically improve their drawing skills. She teaches them shading, blending, and coloring, planning lessons around their individual interests. While she loves bringing out the artist in others, she still enjoys creating her own art the most. She loves seeing the delight on her customers’ faces when they receive their completed pet portraits.
“So, another part of the creative process that excites me the most has to be handing over the portrait, or sending it over once it’s finished. When I can sit back and enjoy the piece for what it is, that is one of my favorite parts. It is the most rewarding.”
Turning a photo into a piece of art
Lucy has a certain process for transforming a photograph into a pet portrait. She first asks customers to send a high-resolution photograph of their pet in natural lighting, close up and in focus. Once the customer chooses what size portrait they’d like, Lucy gets to work. She draws everything in a traditional style on a white background, but will customize the portrait on request.
She creates all her portraits using Prismacolor Premiere, Faber Castell Polychromos & Caran D`ache Luminance colored pencils. These allow her to draw in very fine details and create a truly authentic image of each pet. Customers can choose either black & white or colored drawings. Throughout the process, she sends updates to her customers so they can monitor progress or request changes.