I get asked to draw personalised dog portraits more than any other pet. Dogs have always held a very special place in my heart – I have had several family dogs, each with their own individual characters. Currently, I am between pet dogs after losing both my own dog Maddy and family dog Holly in 2017. The void is a significant one.
Our canine friends are unconditionally loyal and really are members of the family; hence why I’ve been drawing dog portraits since I was 17 years old; back then, they were special gifts for family members at Christmas time or for birthdays.
We are a nation of dog lovers so it is no surprise that the majority of my work is completing dog portraits. Oftentimes they are gifts, but just as frequently they are commemorative pieces which honour a deceased pet. Losing a beloved dog is always devastating. It is something I can relate to and it means a lot to me to be able to help people through that.
Here is a selection of some of the dog portraits I have drawn in recent years…
Personalised Dog Portraits by Emma Gorton
Otta the Black Labrador/Collie cross was a dear family pet who died back in 2012. I was asked to draw this large dog portrait as a commemorative gift for Roger.
He was thrilled with the final piece and Otta’s portrait now takes pride of place above the sofa that he used to lie on.
“We were so happy with Emma’s drawing of our beloved family pet, Otta, who is sadly no longer with us. As a birthday present for my dad, the drawing perfectly captures Otta’s personality (and extremely long tongue). Everything is so true to life, and the pet portrait now sits proudly in my parent’s sitting room looking down over his favourite sofa. I highly recommend Emma’s work. She is meticulous to the finest detail, completed the commission to the deadline we set before my dad’s birthday, and kept us updated with her progress.”E.Garlick
Lara the Border Collie mix sadly passed away in 2018. Subsequently Karen and Ernie asked me to draw this special commemorative dog drawing so that a part of her would still be with them in their house.
They had so many fantastic photos of her, it was tough to pick just one; but I’m glad I chose this one. Her gentle nature and beautiful markings really come across.
“Emma has done two portaits for us over the past 3 years. One of our beloved Lara which has pride of place on our wall and she looks stunning. The second a special requests of our Son and his wife to be with their precious ‘Poppy’ as a Wedding present. She made a fabulous job of it. We now have ‘Sammi’ and she too will enter Emma’s Hall of Fame. She is just so talented.”K.Rumsey
Max the beautiful Black Labrador belongs to Lisa and Ali and he’s the love of their lives! Lisa asked me to draw a portrait of him back in 2021… Ali’s 50th birthday was approaching so she thought a drawing would be the perfect special gift for him.
Lisa sent me some great photos of Max but the one that really stood out and captured his spirit was the one with his ball! It was a real pleasure to draw Max with his very shiny coat, and Ali was delighted with the final result.
“Ali was absolutely thrilled with the portrait of Max – his face lit up when he opened it. He couldn’t believe the likeness and how you’d captured him to a tee. Now he has pride of place at home. Thank you so much.”L.Hewitt
Alex and Zoe commissioned me to draw Ralph, the Flat Coated Retriever puppy back in 2019. He was a new (and very lively!) member of the family and they wanted something that would capture his spirit as a puppy.
We had a fantastic range of photos to choose from and we decided that this one was perfect – it emphasises Ralph’s gorgeous shiny coat and adorable eyes. Ralph also has a very soft, gentle and loving personality and this photo beautifully portrays that.
“We commissioned Emma to draw Ralph, our Flat Coated Retriever. Ralph is our first dog together, and we really wanted someone to capture him as a puppy, particularly as we were expecting our son shortly after. Being a long haired black dog with a shiny coat, Ralph is difficult enough to photograph let alone draw.
That said, not only did Emma manage to capture Ralph in amazing detail, she also managed to capture his spirit in his eyes and facial expressions. Emma is as passionate about her work as she is about the animals themselves, and this shows in the dedication, time, effort and attention to detail in every one of her works.
We are so happy with our commission, and will definitely be asking Emma to do a “grown up” version of Ralph soon!”A and Z.Ford
I completed this dog drawing all the way back in 2014 and it’s still one of my favourites! Firstly, Roly has so much character showing through. Secondly, I love the fact that the photo was taken after he’d been paddling, so he’s soggy!
Emily asked me to draw another portrait of Roly shortly after – she loved the character of the first one, but also wanted to capture his trademark Border Collie fluffiness in the second.
“I couldn’t believe how well you captured our lovely Roly boy!”E. Dexter
Pet portraits make are a great gift idea for dog lovers. For example, I received this charcoal portrait commission from Rona who was looking for a special Christmas present for her daughter.
The photo Rona gave me of Badger the Jack Russell was just brilliant; the head tilt shows so much personality and it’s such a classic doggy character trait!
Because the timescale was a bit tight we decided to go with the small portrait size.
“Oh I love it! You have captured him beautifully, well done. What a lovely present for my daughter.”R. Willett
Rona loved Badger’s portrait so much that she decided at the last minute that she needed to get one done for her son as well! So, she gave me Oscar’s photo.
It was only a week or so before Christmas, so a bit of a rush. Nevertheless, all ended well, and everyone ended up with their personalised dog portrait Christmas gift!
“You have surpassed yourself! I know it was a short time frame for you but I am really glad I asked you to do Oscar. Thank you so much- I know they will be absolutely delighted with him.”R.Willett
I was asked to draw Benjy the gorgeous Border Terrier by Fiona for her mother Julia.
She sent me a fantastic high resolution photograph of him; there is so much expression in his face. I was therefore able to really get a lot of detail into the portrait.
I drew him in the medium 8″ x 10″ size and he took around 20 hours complete.
“My daughter Fiona Gear has just given me a portrait of my terrier Benjy which you drew. I wanted to tell you that it is absolutely brilliant, you have caught his character and expression so well, I am thrilled with it and all my friends have been admiring it as well. Just done from a photo I think you are so clever.”J. Grant Duff
Maggie and Mike commissioned me to draw the beautiful little Dandy Dinmont Terrier Cassie for their daughter Emily’s birthday.
The photograph they had of Cassie was so lovely and detailed. We wanted to get her full body into the portrait so we decided to go for the large 11″ x 14″ portrait size.
Cassie took around 22 hours to complete and I finished the drawing off with a striking black mount.
“Maggie and I are delighted with your lovely drawing of Cassie, it captures her perfectly. I am sure Emily will be delighted too. You have such a talent – well done!”M.Boyes
Buzz and Dory
This lovely portrait of Buzz and Dory was commissioned by Claire from Jets Doggy Day Care. It was for one of her favourite customers and close friends… lucky them!
I did this custom dog portrait as a small drawing using two separate images of Buzz and Dory and it took me around 10 hours to complete.
There’s a common misconception that black dogs are hard to capture in charcoal. On the contrary, I love drawing black dogs in this medium and the effect can actually be stunning. Claire and her husband Nigel were delighted with the finished article and so were the recipients of the drawing.
“It’s arrived and we both absolutely love it. You have captured Buzz and Dory completely.”C.Conly
Chris asked me to draw a portrait of little Rufus after he passed away in 2018. He had been a faithful family companion for 15 years and they wanted to be able to keep a part of him with them in the house.
He had such a sweet furry little face, he really was a pleasure to draw.
“We just wanted to say thank you so much for the wonderful artwork you created for us of “Rufus”. He was such a lovely little dog and companion to us for 15 years and you captured him so well. We can always look at him now and really appreciate your skill and time.”C.Barley
Sparrow the Wire Haired Dachshund was my second commission from the lovely Sue. Previously she had asked me to draw her greyhound Mollie who had sadly died in 2017.
After Sparrow gave birth to puppies in late 2017, her owner who was a friend of Sue’s kindly gave one of them to Sue after she lost Mollie. Sue thought that a special personalised dog portrait would be the perfect thank you gift.
Sparrow was such a pleasure to draw – just look at those soulful eyes! I drew her as a medium sized portrait sketch and displayed her in a black mount. You can see me working on Sparrow’s portrait in the video below.
“A big Thank You for the wonderful portrait of Sparrow. As you know it was a gift for a friend who gave us one of her puppies after we lost our wonderful Mollie. They absolutely loved it. I will be returning to you again as I have a pony mad daughter who has a big birthday coming up… I can’t think of anyone else I would want to do Cherry’s portrait for her. Thank you once again.”S. Winslade
The portrait of Holly the Yellow Labrador was commissioned by Tina for her brother and sister-in-law for a joint 60th birthday present. Holly was very elderly and not in very good health when Tina placed her order. Sadly, while I was working on the portrait she passed away.
Tina gave me a lovely picture of her on the beach and we decided that a large detailed full-body portrait would work well.
“I thought you would like to know my brother & sister in law were absolutely thrilled to bits with the portrait of Holly! She is already on the wall!”T. Harrington
Holly the Great Dane/Boxer Cross
I couldn’t complete this page without including portraits of our own beloved family dog Holly, who sadly died in 2017. I drew one of these portraits for my parents and one for my brother Matt a few years later while Holly was still alive. Of course they are even more special now that she is no longer with us – it feels like a part of her is always with us and my niece and nephew even say goodnight to her portrait every night!
Order a Personalised Dog Portrait
This is just a handful of the personalised dog portraits I’ve drawn over the years and they’ve each been special in their own unique way.
Have you got a special furry friend you’d like to celebrate or commemorate? Check out my page on How to Order a Pet Drawing if you’d like a realistic dog drawing, whether for yourself, or for someone else. Alternatively, get in touch with me and I’ll be happy to help. Ordering is simple, and within a few weeks or months you or your recipient could have a beautiful piece of artwork to treasure for many years to come.