One of my golden rules for pet portraits, particularly small animals, is that you really need to get down to their eye level – looking down on them usually produces an unflattering perspective that makes them look sad. I also avoid incorporating backgrounds as they tend to distract from the subject – they stand out much better from a plain background.
The best pencil portraits are those that capture a moment in time, and faithfully reflect a person or animal’s
Frank here is one of the exceptions – he’s a small terrier, so it’s tricky to get down to his level. Luckily, he’s looking up with bright, lively eyes. He’s all in focus and he looks happy. Furthermore, the background actually helps to lift his pale fur from the page and, although it’s detailed, makes for fairly neutral backdrop.
As a starting point I’d still recommend following my usual tips on how to choose the perfect photo for best results, but I’m always available to discuss your ideas and figure out how to produce something special for you.