Katherine Deans: Animal magic

Pet portrait artist Katherine Deans shares her love of drawing animals…

I grew up in a small town in Surrey, England but moved to Aberdeen 4 years ago.  I love living near the beach and the beautiful Scottish scenery. I recently bought my first house and I am glad to call Aberdeen my home. I come from a very creative family as myself and three sisters enjoy creating artwork, tattoos and textiles. Throughout school, art and graphic design were my favourite subjects and I carried on with these subjects until I completed my A Levels.

I’ve always loved animals, especially dogs. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been surrounded by pets through family and friends. Anytime a birthday or Christmas comes around I like giving people personal gifts, so I started painting pictures of their pets as presents for my loved ones. It wasn’t until I drew my sister’s Dogue De Bordeaux, Maximus, that people told me I should do something with my talent. Although I occasional get commissions for portraits of people, or even cars, I specialise in pet portraits. I enjoy drawing pets so much because I know how much they are loved by their owners and the style of my artwork is best suited for animals.

When I’m working on a pet portrait, I like to keep the background plain as I feel the pet is the main focus of the drawing. To add colour, I use watercolour paint for the fur. This is when I can start adding definition by creating shadows where the paint in more concentrated or water the paint down where there are highlights. Once I am happy with the watercolour I then use a black ballpoint pen/biro to create the lifelike features of the animal. I draw each fur stroke in the direction that the fur grows to make the drawing look realistic. I vary the pressure of the pen to create dark and light areas and layer the strokes to add definition to the fur. Once this is completed, I add some white acrylic to areas such as the eyes, teeth and tongue to create the illusion of a wet/glossy surface.

People often ask how I can capture a pet’s likeness and personality. I like to work from several photos of the pet so I can make sure the features are proportioned and situated correctly on the page. I can portray their likeness through fur markings, eyes and mouth areas and the photos sent tend to convey the pet’s personality well. Each drawing takes a couple of hours as I like to take time to perfect the drawing.

Prices depend on size of the work and the number of pets to be portrayed. My Christmas diary will be open from the beginning of October and anyone buying a drawing for Christmas will also get a hand drawn Christmas card of their pet. I also will be doing a Christmas competition on Facebook towards the end of October for a free pet portrait.

To view my art work visit: Facebook: KD Artistry
Instagram: @kd_artistry_26
Email: kd_artistry@hotmail.com

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