We recently caught up with the incredibly talented Chloe, of ‘Pet Portrait Illustration’.
Chloe started her career doing mainly traditional oil paintings, however the majority of her commissions these days tend to be for a more modern illustration.
We wanted to find out a little more about the work involved and how these fabulous pieces of art are created.
‘My portraits are created using a combination of gouache (a rich matte paint) and Indian ink. I think the style is growing in popularity because people are wanting something a bit fresher and more contemporary. Minimal and including bold complimentary colours, the paint is applied to bring out subtle tones in the fur and markings of my subjects, but unlike digital portraits they are completely hand painted and the portrait the customer receives is the original.’ Explains Chloe.
What does a typical day entail for you?
‘I’m a bit of a night owl, so my day in the studio doesn’t actually start ‘til about 11am. I tend to do a bit of tidying and spend mornings around our house with Elvis (my cat), but then stay at work until 8 or 9pm. While the light is at its best I’ll begin by photographing recently completed pieces then get on with whatever commission/s I have at the time. There’s quite a bit of admin happening behind the scenes so while having some lunch I’ll usually be checking commissions have arrived OK, sending emails, responding to enquiries and updating my customer records and online portfolios with new work.
I sometimes can feel a tad nervous before picking up my pencil to start a Portrait. I know Pets are a big part of the family so sometimes the pressure really is on. I want to show them at their very best, giving their owners something to treasure forever.’
What’s the best bit about the job?
‘It’s hugely rewarding to get feedback when people receive their pieces and say that I’ve captured their Pet’s character – above all, that is my aim and to know that something I’ve made will mean so much to people in future is really special. This is definitely my favourite part of the job. I feel so lucky to be able to do what I love and make people smile.’
What’s the worst bit about the job?
The ‘worst’ bit about the job is being sent reference images which don’t do the Pet’s justice. Saying that, I have a friend who is a Pet Photographer and so I understand how hard it can be sometimes to get a jumpy Jack Russell or a sleepy cat to pose in front of the camera.
Any tips to get a good photo?
‘Some tips on getting the best photos are: taking the photo in good natural lighting, with the light source behind you. If the majority of the light is coming from behind your pet it dulls the colours and makes it difficult to see clearly. Photos taken from an angle directly above your pet can alter their proportion, so it’s always advisable to take it from your pet’s eye level, and get the whole figure in.’
Any tips for getting into the job?
‘Take time to find your style and develop it. If you enjoy the process of creating that will be evident in the end result and make a great piece. Build up a portfolio and get your stuff out there in whatever way you can – social media is an excellent marketing tool but don’t forget the value of meeting people and making connections. I sometimes do live portrait events and it’s so wonderful to chat to customers and hear the stories behind photos and the relationships between People and their Pets.’
We absolutely love Chloe’s work and really enjoyed finding out more about how she works.
Are you a fan of Chloe’s work? Keep your eyes peeled as she will be collaborating with us for Octobers photo competition.