The most important thing to consider when commissioning a portrait is the reference photo's you provide. The better the photo the better the drawing!

Below are some tips when it comes to taking photos:


A good quality photo is needed so I can pick up the finest details. This means I can make the drawing as realistic as possible. It's extremely difficult to work from blurry photos as the drawing process turns into guesswork. 


It's best to take your photos outside in natural daylight, as it will show the natural colours/shading of your subject. Don't worry if this isn't possible, I can edit any photos taken indoors to get the closest natural colour/shading match.


There is no 'right' or 'wrong' pose. Consider which photos have the most sentimental value to you and show the subjects' character best. It is best that the whole subject is in the frame so there is no guesswork on some features.


When merging multiple pictures together for one larger composition, it is essential that all the photos are at a similar angle and level so the portrait looks as natural as possible. If this is not possible I have some options below.


Here are some examples of what makes a good and bad reference photo, curtesy of my lovely studio assistants Widget and Mitzie!


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  • Widget is in a nice pose.

  • Photo taken outside in natural daylight.

  • Features are clear and defined.

  • Mitzie is showing her character.

  • Sharp details.

  • Natural daylight indoors but has been edited to be brighter.

  • Face and body is in frame.


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  • These photos are too dark.

  • The features are not clearly defined.

  • The photos are taken too far away.

  • Some features are completely blurred.​

passed pets and family members


If your pet, or a member of your family has passed away, and you only have a select amount of photos, don't worry. Send over the photos you like and we can work from there. If they are blurry, I can use a sharpening and texture tool when editing to enhance the details as best as possible.


Shown is an example of an old 6x4 photo reference of my Grandpa alongside the A4 graphite drawing.

multiple subjects on one page

Sometimes it's near impossible to get the perfect photo! You either have little wrigglers that won't stay still, you can't gather everyone together, or you'd like to combine passed members with present ones.


Don't worry! You can take separate photos and look through ones you already have (taken at similar angles and levels) and I can then merge them all together, like I have done with these portraits!

If you need any help choosing the perfect photo(s) or have any questions, pop me over a message!

Now check out my Sizes and Prices page for stage two!