Pet Portraits

Jake the collie on his bed

Beverley Courtney draws pet portraits - of dogs, cats, and other pets. She works in graphite, tinted graphite, and coloured pencil.

"I like to be close to animals," says Beverley, "and in drawing a head-study I really get to know the subject well. As the drawing develops I learn more and more about them. I work with Artists' Coloured Pencils because they're such a sensitive medium, now increasingly used by animal artists for their ability to render fine detail - especially fur and feathers - and depth of colour. There's a palette of over 250 hues to choose from - that's why the colouring is so subtle. By building up the colour on the page, you can get all the shades and flecking that make up an animal's coat."

And these drawings are remarkable in that they show almost every hair and whisker. The breeze lifts the soft hairs on a spaniel's ears, the sun glows through the creamy fur of an exotic cat. Water drips from the mane of a collie in a stream. You feel you can reach out and touch the animals, and they each have their own individual character.

"I've lived and worked with animals all my life, so capturing their personality in a drawing is, to me, a natural extension of seeing and handling them," adds Beverley.

"The many hours taken to complete a portrait gives me time to really familiarise myself with the subject - this is why their characters shine through."

Cricket the Whippet

Living with several dogs, cat, hens, and many fish, in the peaceful country town of Malvern in rural Worcestershire, she divides her time between drawing pet portraits, animals and their surroundings, and training dogs and puppies.

She's known around Malvern as a dog trainer who specialises in building a strong relationship between owners and their new puppies. Shes the founder of Good for Dogs! Dog Training School, serving puppy and dog owners from Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.

A regular exhibitor at the UK Coloured Pencil Society's shows, she is now a Silver Signature Member and last year was - for the third time running - first in her category, winning the Derwent Award for Best Animal at the 13th Annual Open International Exhibition with this drawing, Cricket the Whippet.

King and Amber the greyhounds - coloured pencil

Weve just received your package with the portrait and greetings cards. They are absolutely fantastic. Were absolutely delighted with them. Cant thank you enough.

Bruce - graphite

I have received 'Bruce'. Thank you so much, he is absolutely wonderful. Your talent is astonishing. I shall be telling all my dog owner friends about your portraits!

Cilla - graphite

Shes arrived! And she really is beautiful. It looks just like her. Thank you so much for finishing before my sisters birthday. Its really going to make her day.

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