Pet portraiture is nothing new. As long as people have had companion animals, they’ve been capturing their likenesses in ink, paint, photography, and more. But in recent years, custom pet portraits have become more and more popular, in part because the internet makes it easy to track down artists and access their work from afar.
Of course, a custom work of art is going to cost you (artists gotta eat!), but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Whether you’re seeking a beautiful bargain, or you’re ready to invest in a masterpiece, there’s a pet portrait artist out there to suit your style and budget.
You can find one-of-a-kind pet portraits in every media from paintings to sculpture to tattoos.
We’ve rounded up some truly innovative artists making one-of-a-kind pet portraits in every media from paintings to sculpture to tattoos. Read on to learn why these artists love working with pets, see examples of their work, and learn how to commission a custom pet portrait of your very own.
California-based artist Megan Lynn Kott says she loves painting people’s pets because, “It’s like getting my own personal cache of cute pet pics!” Kott doesn’t just rely on cute reference photos to capture your companion’s likeness. She also invites you to send info about their personality to “imbue each portrait with that pet’s specific identity.” All that careful attention to detail results in lovely watercolors that capture the essence of your animal friend.
I try and imbue each portrait with that pet’s specific identity.
While Kott’s cat artwork (and temporary cattoos!) has gained popularity online, and she has cats at home, she doesn’t play favorites in the Cats vs. Dogs wars: “I consider myself more of an animal person more than anything else.”
See more of Megan’s work, and order a painting of your own, at MeganLynnKott.com.
Cassie Torres creates handmade crafts “for and all about the dogs,” and her custom embroidered portraits are too charming to believe. Cassie’s artistic talent is bona fide with a BFA in Illustration, but it’s her genuine love of dogs (including her own special pup Momoko) that imbues each embroidery with character and affection.
Visit the Peach Paw Crafts Etsy store to place an order, and check out the sweet pet bandannas while you’re there. Cassie’s store is one-stop shopping for adorable, affordable pet art.
Patrick Bucklew is a fine artist in Portland, Oregon whose artwork has appeared on book covers, in scenes on the HBO series Bored to Death, and even in the home of musician Fiona Apple, who owns a Bucklew original of her dog Janet (source).
Bucklew accepts commissions by email at email@example.com, and is actively seeking commissions to help offset medical and other bills. You can support a great artist and get a stunning, one-of-a-kind pet portrait in return—now that’s a great deal!
Of course, we can’t do a round-up of unique pet portraiture without including something for cat people! Chicago artist Sara McHenry makes adorable felt cameos custom-designed to match your favorite feline. You can choose to add a hanging loop, pin back, or extra-strong magnet to make your custom pet art functional.
Although cats are Sara’s specialty (and every cameo is completed under the watchful eye of Sara’s adorable co-worker/companion, Pais), don’t worry, dog people: Sara will make a custom cameo of your pup! Just be sure to send great photos. See more examples and place an order on her Etsy site.
Artist Matt Lubchansky does comics and illustrations for all manner of media, but he says pet art is probably his most popular commissioned work.
“It’s fun to do for a lot of reasons, foremost being I often to get to scroll around someone’s Instagram for an hour looking for good reference photos. It’s probably helpful that I love animals so much,” says Matt, who has two cats of his own.
Matt asks people to tell him about their pets, and aims to capture something unique about the animal in the artwork:
“It makes it more fun for me (and the person I’m doing it for, I hope!) to have something interesting thrown in there that’s not just a lifelike drawing.”
Matt will work with you to come up with the perfect concept to suit your pet and your budget, whether it’s a campaign poster, animated gif, or something you haven’t even dreamed up yet! Learn more on his Twitter and Tumblr, and email firstname.lastname@example.org to commission a custom pet illustration of your own.
Maxim is a teenage artist living in Massachusetts, and he creates custom pet drawings in a sweet cartoon style at a price point that makes custom pet art accessible to just about anyone.
These vibrant, adorable drawings are done on high quality paper, and come framed in a 6×9″ matte board perfect for display. Visit the Pet Art by Max Etsy shop to see more examples and place an order today (hurry, before Max rockets to stardom and his prices change)!
New York City artist Joy Rumore has been tattooing since 2001, and currently co-owns Trinity Tattoo Collective in Ridgewood, Queens. Joy, whose own pets include a cat named Chicken and a rabbit named Rhinoceros, loves to create custom work for pet people.
“I enjoy seeing how happy the client is to have a permanent way to carry around their pet,” Joy says. “I’ve done pet tattoos in all kinds of different styles: abstract, illustrative, realistic, wearing costumes, etc.”
“I enjoy seeing how happy the client is to have a permanent way to carry around their pet.”
Joy tattoos by appointment only, so reach out in advance, and start planning your trip to NYC! Just email JoyRumoreTattoos@gmail.com to inquire. And if you’re not ready to commit to a tattoo, you can request a colored pencil drawing instead.
Professional veterinary technician and sculptor Leilia has a passion for all things animal, but she’s especially fond of dogs, and her cartoony clay sculptures are truly unique! Leilia hand-sculpts each figurine, and loves to hear fun stories about the pets and their personalities, and add those qualities to the sculpture.
“The challenging sculptures always prove to be the best learning experiences,” Leilia says. Her most challenging work to date was an unusual scruffy dog sitting in an oversized teacup: “Needless to say, between the dog’s unique looks and the interesting pose, it proved to be quite a challenge! Fortunately the piece turned out well and the customer was extremely pleased with it.”
For more examples of Leilia’s wonderful work, and to inquire about a commission, visit her website.
Whether you’re a fan of realistic portraiture, pop art, crafts, comics, or just about anything you can imagine, a one-of-a-kind pet portrait is a click away. By commissioning work from one of the artists featured here, you’re supporting independent artists (and their beloved pets, of course) and commemorating your best friend in a truly unique way. Happy shopping!