How to commission
an animal portrait

A straight forward process to commission an animal portrait of your dog, horse, cat or any other animal. 

animal portrait process step 1


The first step is to arrange a meeting with you and your animal. Getting to know and appreciate their unique characterises will help me get the look that you see everyday. I’ll also take a number of photos to help me replicate these qualities within the portrait. Additional photos that you can supply which demonstrate a particular pose or look are also very welcome.

If your pet or animal is no longer with you, or if a meeting is not possible, we can discuss the animal portrait commission over the phone, and I can work from a series of high quality and clear photos which you could supply by email or post.

meeting with dog to commission animal portrait
animal portrait process step 2
specification stage of commission an animal portrait


The next step of the process to commission an animal portrait is agree the specification.  Based on the size of portrait and where you will display it, I can guide you through choices including  type of paint (gouache or acrylic), canvas or paper, and most importantly the composition of the animal portrait.  There is no limitation to composition so we can discuss the best route for you including a head portrait, a group portrait, montage portrait or anything else. 

Specification also includes an agreement on timescales and overall fee.

animal portrait process step 3


Typically a portrait takes a week to complete, and I will schedule your commission based on the agreed timescales. When the portrait is ready I will photograph and email a proof for you to approve. Within reason there is scope to make minor adjustments.

proof stage of commission animal portrait
animal portrait process step 4
finish stage for commission an animal portrait


Getting the right finish for your new animal portrait is often not considered by many of my customers when we first meet.  I am passionate about making sure every commission is completed to the highest quality and this includes the finish.

For animal portraits in acrylic and gouache on paper, I will always set it within a card mount. I also offer an optional framing service working alongside a local framing craftsman, and can work with you to select your preferred frame.  Animal portrait commissions on canvas can either be supplied on their own, or I can help you through the choice of frames. 

animal portrait process step 5

Viewing and Delivery

The last stage in the process is to arrange either a viewing or delivery. You are very welcome to view and collect your completed animal portrait from my studio in Oxfordshire.

For commissions where viewings are not possible because of location or timings, I personally package all my portraits using the best packing methods and materials available, ensuring that your portrait arrives to you in perfect condition. Delivery options for international commissions is totally dependent upon your location and the size of the portrait. All portraits are fully insured whilst in transit.

viewing stage of commission an animal portrait

Do you want to discuss an animal portrait?

I would be delighted to talk with you about a new animal portrait and answer any questions or queries you have about any part of the process.

An animal portrait would make a great gift for a loved-one, and the perfect reminder of your pets unique charm and personality. Please call me on 01295 268516.

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Michelle, Oxfordshire

Two horses, sadly no longer with us

"I feel emotional every time I look at it (in a happy way), and the fact that Jeff arranged this for me makes it the best surprise and present I could ever ask for.

It was such a surprise, that it took me a little while to realise it, but when we got home on the Monday, we placed it in the front room, and it appears to 'come out at you' more each night.  Not sure if that makes sense, but their heads and features just come out more and more.  It is beautiful and I cannot thank you enough for bringing both back to me in such a lovely way.

I would definitely recommend you, but your work speaks for itself and does not need my recommendations. Thank you again,  the painting is just beautiful."

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Copyright notice

Please Note: All artwork on this website remain the copyright of Sarah Bowman Animal Portraits, and is protected by copyright law and must not be used, copied or downloaded without the permission of the artist.

A pet portrait would make a great gift for a loved-one

Please call me on 01295 268516 to discuss a portrait of your animal.

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