Category Archives: Uncategorized

Jake is finished!

I have loved every minute working on Jake’s portrait. I had a stunning photo to work from. A perfect expression for a portrait like this. This larger 16″ x 24″ size enables me to add so much detail even down to the bubble on his tongue. Jake is my first Corgi I have drawn and I didn’t realise how cute they are until I started working on his portrait. This portrait will soon be making its way to the USA and I cannot wait to see it framed 😍

16″ x 24″ Pastel Portrait

Muntjac – NEW!

Over Christmas I completed this Deer portrait. Something different in that me and my husband sat down and did the same drawing together. For someone who hadn’t tried drawing before I was really impressed with his finished portrait. I’ll share them on a later post as he did an initial attempt without any help from me and then for the 2nd attempt I gave him 15 minutes of tuition. It was really rewarding to see just how much the second version had improved.


I have always loved the wildlife we have here in the UK. I think we have many species that are often overlooked. My recent Pheasant painting for instance, the colours of these birds is beautiful. The expression in the reference photo in the Muntjac was something I was keen to capture.

This Muntjac portrait is currently being professionally mounted and then will be up for sale :). Details below.

A4 (8.3″ x 11.7″) Pastel Portrait
Ref photo: Sue Dudley @ Wildlife Reference Photos

Portrait details:
A4 (8.3″ x 11.7″) Original Pastel Portrait
Professionally double mounted (photo coming soon)
£145 FREE UK P&P

White fur.. How to approach it?

Is white truly white?
Painting white fur can be challenging but I love it. The biggest thing to remember is white is never white. White is very reflective so often there are many other colours and tones to include. Really studying your reference photo will make such a difference to pick out these differences and ensuring they’re included in your art.

| Top Tip |
Start with a grey mixture of black and white and then add the colour to it you want. So if you want a browner grey add a raw umber, burnt umber (depending on the tone your after) to your grey mixture. This is always a good starting point for mixing values for white fur. This is also how I would mix my pastel colour for white fur to.

10″ x 12″ acrylic on canvas

Look at Alfie here, the West Highland Terrier. There are so many different tones. Capturing these differences ensures that your portrait will not be flat. You need to ensure your contrast is correct. Your lights light enough and your darks dark enough.

‘Festive Robin’ SOLD

This little guy made it off to its new home yesterday :). I loved working on this smaller piece and plan on doing a few more like this. When I planned this Robin I had lots of off cuts of my pastel paper, Pastelmat. I hate seeing waste and this paper due to its high quality is not cheap. So I started to come up with ideas on how to create smaller pieces but still ensure I captured the level of detail I typically like to include in my artwork.

I completely changed my background and added all the snow elements to this portrait but the Robin reference was kindly provided by Steven Sutcliffe.

Keeping my pastel pencils really sharp and working in light layers I was able to still include all the feather detail even on this 4″ x 4″ size. I then had it professionally double mounted by my local framer to fit a 8″ x 8″ standard size frame. I love to mount. I think it really finishes off this piece. Double mounts are by far my favourite mounting option. I think they add another 3D dimension to the artwork.

Double mounts

Adult cheetah reference by Emmanuel Keller @ Wildlife Reference photos
Cheetah cub reference by Tazi Brown @ Wildlife Reference photos

This Cheetah is also part of my Easter Sale – reduced from £395 to £350 with FREE UK NEXT DAY P&P. Details on all my current sale pieces can be found here ‘Easter Sale’

‘Two of a kind’, this mother Cheetah and her cub I had my local framer double mount. Again, I think it adds so much more depth to the piece. He currently has a few other of my portraits including my Tiger and her cub in pastels and a recent Deer pastel drawing I completed over the Christmas break which I have yet to share with you :). He is also mounting my black and white Lion drawing in pastels to. So plenty of newer work which will then be ready and looking for homes.

If you are interested in any of my original pieces of artwork please don’t hesitate to contact me at zara.toms@hotmail.co.uk or over on any of my social media pages.

HUGE Easter SALE!

SCROLL THROUGH BELOW TO SEE WHAT IS ON SALE 😀

I don’t often do these types of large sales but this year I have some extra wildlife pieces planned and I need to make some room! So I will be selling some pieces at a bargain price over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.
Email me at zara.toms@hotmail.co.uk if you would like more information on any of these originals.

‘Festive Robin’
SOLD
‘Eagle Eyed’
£150 FRAMED! FREE UK P&P
8″ x 10″ Acrylic on canvas board | Frame size 11″ x 13″
ONLY FOR EASTER WEEKEND
OFFER ENDS TUESDAY 6TH APRIL 2021
Reference Photo:  Andy Wilson @ Wildlife Reference Photos
‘Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow’
WAS £250 NOW £200 PROFESSIONALLY FRAMED! FREE UK P&P
8″ x 10″ Acrylic on canvas
ONLY FOR EASTER WEEKEND
OFFER ENDS TUESDAY 6TH APRIL 2021
Reference Photo:  Warren Etherington
‘The Hole Hog’
WAS £250 NOW £200 PROFESSIONALLY FRAMED! FREE UK P&P
8″ x 10″ Acrylic on canvas
ONLY FOR EASTER WEEKEND
OFFER ENDS TUESDAY 6TH APRIL 2021
‘On the pr-owl’
WAS £250 NOW £200 professionally FRAMED! FREE UK P&P
8″ x 10″ Acrylic on canvas
ONLY FOR EASTER WEEKEND
OFFER ENDS TUESDAY 6TH APRIL 2021
Reference Photo: Craig Maisfield
‘Two of a kind’
WAS £395 NOW £350 professionally double mounted! FREE UK P&P
10″ x 18″ Pastel Portrait | Mount 14″ x 22″
ONLY FOR EASTER WEEKEND
OFFER ENDS TUESDAY 6TH APRIL 2021
Adult cheetah reference by Emmanuel Keller @ Wildlife Reference photos
Cheetah cub reference by Tazi Brown @ Wildlife Reference photos
‘Pheasant’
WAS £395 NOW £275! FREE UK P&P
16″ Bevelled Round Canvas | Hangs directly on the wall. Bevelled edge sits flat against the wall creating a lovely 3D appearance.
ONLY FOR EASTER WEEKEND
OFFER ENDS TUESDAY 6TH APRIL 2021
‘A Mother’s Love’
WAS £495 NOW £425! FREE UK P&P
ONLY FOR EASTER WEEKEND
OFFER ENDS TUESDAY 6TH APRIL 2021
Reference Photo: Johanna Kok @ Wildlife Reference Photos

‘Vantage Point’ Sold

One of my last originals from my very first exhibition has sold. This was one of my very first oils on canvas so I’ll be sad to see it go however its going to be hung with two of my other pieces :). I feel very honoured when people choose to keep my artwork in their home.

‘Vantage Point’
8″ x 10″ oil on canvas
Ref photo: Wendy Salisbury

Coming up this weekend….

**HUGE EASTER SALE ON SELECTED ORIGINAL WILDLIFE PAINTINGS **

Teddy

I always love working against a black background. Teddy was my first pet portrait of this kind with pastels. I love the richness of colour pastels can create and against the contrast of the black he stands out so well. It can create a really nice effect.

A4 (8.3″ x 11.7″) Pastel Portrait

New PATREON Tutorial

I have been uploading so much content to Patreon every month. Only set up on the 1st February I’m working hard to get as much content uploaded as I can :).

This weekend this fur study will be the next tutorial uploaded.

4″ x 3.5″ Pastel on Pastelmat.

On Patreon, I set up polls where members can vote for the bonus/focus video which I will then make into a full length tutorial. The poll in February contained 4 photos..
‘Overlapping, longer fur’
‘Wrinkled fur’
‘Tan coloured Spaniel ear curls’
‘Tight, curly fur’

The ‘Overlapping, longer fur’ was the photo fur type that got the most votes.

This was a nice fur type to draw. Looking at the reference photo it would appear this overlapping fur would be complex. But by breaking it down in to small sections and then layer by layer it becomes far less daunting. I have many more like this planned and am looking forward to getting stuck into the next study 🙂

Jake in progress

I have kindly been given permission to share these work in progress updates.
This is another large 16″ x 24″ portrait so HEAPS of room for detail. Jake is my first Corgi I’ve had the pleasure of drawing and I’m struggling to put my pencils down! When this guy is finished he will be heading off the the USA.

16″ x 24″ Pastel Portrait