Category Archives: Announcements

NEW MOUNT OPTIONS!

I am very fortunate to have a fantastic framer up the road from me. He has mounted and framed all of my work from the day I started it as a hobby. Recently, he invested in a super duper mounting machine which really is impressive. This enables a range of lovely shape options and styles. Below are just a few of the shapes which caught my eye.

At the bottom of each mount is a code. If commissioning a piece from me and you would like one of these mounts with your portrait please quote the code during the commission process. I have a sample of all these mounts at home so I can photograph your portrait with the mount for you to see just how it would look :).

All of these mounts come in a variety of colours! But the samples I have are in the standard cream and black colour.

Head over to ‘Commission’ tab on my website and click ‘mount options’ for all the new examples :D. Or Click Here to go straight to the page!

My mouse is mounted :D

I have picked up my original mouse drawing from my framers after he mounted it for me :).
This little guy I am thinking will be one of a mouse series as I have access to some really cute reference photos :D.

This original drawing is up for sale at a bargain price πŸ˜€ Scroll down for more info!

Β£45 FREE UK P&P!!
5β€³ X 7β€³
Original Colour Pencil & Pastel Drawing (mixed media)
Pastel was used to create that soft glow behind the mouse and the mouse itself was done using colour pencils.
Professionally mounted to 8β€³ x 10β€³ to fit a standard size frame.
Reference photo: Paul Fine

The full video of me working on this portrait is available to watch over on my YouTube channel πŸ˜€

LIONS HAVE SOLD :D

My original acrylic on canvas board has sold! It’s heading off to its new home in the USA. A lovely client who had already purchased a colour pencil on black paper portrait I did a couple of years ago is adding this to her collection. I also did portraits of her 5 dogs so she has many pieces now on her wall of mine πŸ˜€

Ref photo Terence Porter

I do take wildlife commissions in a variety of sizes and mediums from graphite, pastels and acrylics. Feel free to contact me if you would like more information :).

BADGER SALE!

I need to make space for some upcoming wildlife pieces. My original pastel drawing of this Badger is up for a bargain sale price of Β£145 + FREE UK P&P. For international shipping please contact me for a price :).

Original pastel drawing A4 (8.3″ x 11.7″)
Mounted to 12″ x 16″ to fit a standard size frame
Reference photo taken by Craig Maisfield.

Professionally mounted to a 12″ x 16″

Limited spaces for this year!

** ❄️⛄️ I hate to say the C word seeing as its only June but I only have limited availability for this year ⛄️❄️** If you’d like more information on commissioning a pet portrait please don’t hesitate to contact me :D. I have recently opened my 2021 diary so I’m also taking commissions for next year.

Thank you for all your kind comments on my social media posts, every like and share and of course to everyone who trusts me to capture their much loved pets. You’re all awesome 💕

New original! A Cute Mouse :)

** New original colour pencil portrait for sale ** Bargain price of Β£45 FREE UK P&P
Details below
I haven’t had time to work on any wildlife pieces lately. I have been super busy with pet portrait commissions and any spare time I did have I was working on that large painting of my Staffie and Sprocker.

But yesterday I felt I needed to get started on a new original piece. Just to add some variety to what I had been doing. I have wanted to draw a cute mouse for ages and have had this in mind for a while. When sorting through my art supplies I found some paper that I hadn’t even used before. It comes in a variety of lovely paper colours which is why I bought it in the first place.

Beautiful reference photo taken by Paul Fine.

As mentioned, this little guy is up for grabs. Today I dropped it off to my framers to be mounted :).
Details:
Original 5″ x 7″ Colour pencil Drawing
Mounted to 6″ x 8″ to fit a standard size frame
Comes with a certificate of authenticity
Sent guaranteed tracked and signed next day delivery (within UK).
Β£45 FREE UK P&P
Please feel free to email me if you’d like more information πŸ™‚
zara.toms@hotmail.co.uk

I have enjoyed working in this little guy so much that I am thinking of doing a little mouse series. I have so many stunning references to work from and it would be a shame not to use the excuse to draw them haha!

FREE P&P!

The sun is out and that makes everyone happy! So for the whole of June I am offering FREE UK P&P on all of my limited edition prints!

Information on each print can be found on my ‘Artwork for Sale’ page :).

‘Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow’
Ref photo: Warren Etherington
‘The Hole Hog’
‘On the pr-owl’
Ref photo: Barn Owl – Craig Maisfield
‘Purrfection’
Stephanie Swayne @ Wildlife Reference Photos
‘Purrfection – Close up’
Stephanie Swayne @ Wildlife Reference Photos
‘Vibrant View’
Ref photo: Pam Donovan
‘First Few Steps’
Ref Photo: Pam Donovan

Levi’s work in progress

Such a sweet little face and those eyes were so much fun to draw. The colour and the shines it makes them look so 3D so I was keen to capture that in the drawing.

Later today at 6pm, over at my Facebook page, I will be sharing a longer real time video of me working on the fur around his eyes. Showing exactly how I layer, use the pencils and what shades of pencil I am using the get the midtones and highlights.

New technique… New subject :D

New materials..
I have always loved working against a black background. It first sparked my interest when I was experimenting with colour pencils on black paper. Only using 1 white and 1 mid tone grey pencils to create the portrait was a good challenge. Just having to focus on values rather than colour.

Experimenting can be worth while!
Sometimes trialling new things doesn’t always work out. You may not get the finished look you want but only by trying will you know. I knew I wanted to find a way that worked with my techniques to achieve the black background when working in pastels. I’ll explain the process of elimination below but the new way I have found to work for me and I love it is to use Gouache. I picked up this one tube from my gallery who also has a art shop alongside and gave it a go! My intention was to airbrush it but for the trial piece on scrap paper I just used a paintbrush.

You may remember the pastel drawing of Teddy I completed earlier in the year. This was my first pastel drawing against the black background and I was really pleasure with how it came out. But there was things I learnt and the one thing that I soon realised was to get the rich, deep black colour I used a lot of my pastels. It burnt through them very quickly. So I wanted an alternative.

So… I did two test pieces on scrap pieces of Pastelmat paper. Pastelmat is my preferred paper to use for pastels.

Tip
If you intend on doing any experiments with any of your art supplies make sure you use the materials you plan on using for the actual portrait. There is no good in trialling something with cheaper materials because you may not get the same results.

Here is the actual portrait of Levi after my two test pieces worked out how I intended and I got the result I wanted.

So, how did I approach it?
What I did was mix up a batch of the black Gouache and water it down to create a wash. To make sure I didn’t paint over any of my sketch lines I used a 1 inch flat brush for this. I applied the wash to the background and let it dry. I was amazed at how the Pastelmat coped with so much liquid. I have used many papers in the past when I used to airbrush background for my colour pencil pieces and they always warped and never dried fully flat. Not so much of an issue as they are framed but still I’d rather it didn’t happen.

The Pastelmat warped initially but dried completely flat. I mean super flat. You wouldn’t have known. I did find that the paper absorbed the paint so much that I did have to do a few coats like this to get the look I wanted. I am rather picky and it has to be right. Gouache dries completely matt which is exactly what I wanted. This was more important as I planned on giving a very light black pastel layer over the top to get the black depth even stronger. And this is exactly what I did. I am really really pleased with the outcome and this is how I will do all of my black backgrounds with pastels from now on. Fantastic effect and its one of them times when experimenting has 100% paid off for the way I work and the outcome I like.

Tip
* Make sure you tape down all 4 sides of your paper. With any paper where you are using water, paint etc this is a good idea. It helps to ensure the paper is encouraged to dry flat.

* Make sure you let the previous layers dry fully before doing the next. I left a good few hours between layers. So for a portrait like this I would start these preparations a few days before I was actually due to start the portrait.

My routine for something like this is.. apply the first layer first thing as soon as your work day starts. I then do the second coat after lunch and then the final coat that evening etc. Spread it over a couple of days if needed.

* With Pastelmat, when the paper was flat with no buckling I took that as the paper was dry and ready to take the next layer.

I have been given permission to share the work in progress updates of Levi’s portrait with you so I cannot wait to share them :D. I’ll keep you posted!
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Photograph tips

I had the absolute pleasure of capturing Stan & Dan. A kind photographer, Jamie at Forever Photogenic, went and took some stunning photographs of them for me to use for the portrait.

Having high quality photographs does make such a difference. They do not have to be taken by professionals, most cameras now have excellent cameras and capture the level of detail needed for the portraits.

Photography tip: 1# What angle should I avoid?
If you are taking photographs of your pet in the view of having a portrait done there are a few things to remember. There are some instances where certain poses may not be best suited. For instance, if you stand up and take the photo of the pet much higher than they are the camera focuses on the nose and muzzle area and can make this area look out of proportion. Sometimes this may work well but majority of the time it isn’t ideal.

An instance where the angle is focusing more on the nose but in this instance the photo would work for a portrait. It captures the personality of the dog (my Maisey) and the detail such as fur direction (explained in the tips below).

This is more where I would say it may not be the best angle for a portrait. The detail is still there but the perspective isn’t ideal. Her nose is far more larger than her eyes and is making the composition feel unbalanced.

2# What lighting is best?
Outside, natural light is normally the ideal. Alternatively, having the pet next to a natural light source such as a window is usually suitable. Outside, natural lighting is certainly the best for black fur. This can be rather difficult to capture but the daylight reflects nicely capturing all kinds of colours that make up black fur. Black fur is one of my favourite things to paint/draw.

3# Can I use multiple photos?
I can work from multiple photographs. If there is a photograph where you like the general pose but there is something you wanted to change please don’t hesitate to let me know. That may be you want something added or taken away etc. There has been an instance where I have actually used the ears of a Spaniel from one photo and used them on the head of the photograph that the client preferred.
Now this does mean that both the photographs are taken in a similar angle but even then I can use my photo editor to change the perspective.

Changes like this I always do a mock up and send back to the client for them to ok it before I start on the portrait. It’s much easier to change anything on the computer during the layout stage than it is on the portrait.

4# What quality photo do I need?
Having drawn so many dogs and through experience I can use lower quality photographs. In these instances I can make the portrait far more realistic than the photograph. There have been many occasions when I am required to add far more detail to the fur, eyes etc than what I can see.

I always say to my clients, the ideal photograph would be one that shows the very best level of detail. What I mean by that is things such as fur direction. If I can see that then I can usually work with the photo. Like I say, if that is lacking in the photograph still send them across because I may be able to work with it.

Please feel free to send across to me any photographs you have in mind. There is no fixed rule in what is the ‘best photo’. In some cases where sadly the pet has passed away there may only be a small selection of photographs. I will always try to make it work and there has only been a couple of occasions where I haven’t been able to create something I feel would be adequate. I always want to capture the pet not just a Staffie, or a Labrador. I want people who know the pet to say ‘that’s Maisey’. If I feel I cannot achieve it because the photographs just are not of a good enough quality I will be honest in that. Like I say, this is a very rare occurrence and 99% of the time even if photos are limited I can improve and enhance the photo capturing your much loved pet and their personality in a special drawing or painting.