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The Artist’s Desk

This is the Artist’s Desk…literally.

Pen and Ink Portraits - Horse, Bengal Tiger, and Mastiff - Dog and Wildlife portraits by Shafali on her desk.

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Another shot:

Pen and Ink Portraits - German Shepherd, Kitten, and Boxer - Dogs and Cats pet portraits by Shafali on her desk.

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I do my pen and ink drawings on Acid Free Art Paper that is at least 120 gsm. The final artworks are in the size of 8 inches by 10 inches. When you commission me to draw your pet, I request a few high-resolution pictures. I select one of them as the main reference, and use the other pictures to understand your pet’s personalities.

A Pen & Ink pet portrait is different from one that’s done either in oil, water, or pencils. You just can’t afford go wrong in a Pen & Ink drawing, because if you do, you can’t go back and make changes and so you’ve got to start again from scratch. Now that may not seem like a big thing, but imagine going wrong when you are putting the last stroke on the drawing. So every stroke made in a Pen & Ink drawing has to be put right the first time.

Another important aspect of drawing pet portraits is that the portrait must be the portrait of your pet and not just of any dog or cat of the same breed as your pet’s. A pet’s face is every bit as unique as a human face – and a pet’s portrait has to capture all that uniqueness, so that when the pet’s human family members look at the portrait, they see THEIR special dog, cat, bird, or hamster.

An artist can’t breathe life into her pet-portraits unless she is able to look into the eyes of the animal and connect with them emotionally. For me this connection is important. I always draw the eyes first, because the moment they are drawn, they begin to talk. Those eyes anchor my pen to the paper and guide me.

I quote from something that I wrote to capture my experience of drawing a dog-portrait, a few years ago.

“I made some sketches, I looked at Dewey’s pictures again and again, and again…until I thought that I could look into his eyes and feel his furry paw in my hands, until I could feel my fingers run through his wirey fur, and until I could feel the silk of his delicate ears…and then I went out on the terrace, sat down against the wall with my drawing board on my knees, then with the soft rays of the December sun lighting up the drawing, I began to draw. Then I guess, I just went on drawing, until I saw Dewey smile at me from the drawing. His smile, half hidden in his magnificent silky beard, inspired me to draw in a cushion, and to give him a private corner of his own…”

The final approval, of course, has to be a pet’s.

Here’s what happens next 🙂

The portraits of a Poodle, German Shepherd, Beagle, and Springer Spaniel come up for approval.

The portraits of a Poodle, German Shepherd, Beagle, and Springer Spaniel come up for approval.

Here you see my own furry bundle of joy checking out some of my dog-portraits.

The portraits of a Poodle, German Shepherd, Beagle, and Springer Spaniel appear to have been approved.

The portraits appear to have been approved.

Now you know, you are in good hands…err…paws 🙂

If you’d like to commission me for a portrait of your furry son or daughter, please contact me here.

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