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Job Profile

Pet Portrait Artist

Pet portrait artists are commissioned by clients to create original artworks of their pets.

Average Salary (per year)

Variable

Typical Hours (per week)

Flexible

How to become a pet portrait artist:

There are no formal entry requirements to become a pet portrait artist, and most artists are self-taught.

Many pet portrait artists begin creating pet portraits as a hobby.

Some pet portrait artists have a background in fine art or have studied art.

Day to day activities of a pet portrait artist:

Your day to day activities might include:

Liaising with clients to arrange art commissions

Creating pet portraits

Packing and shipping finished work

Admin and marketing work to get new clients

Working environment of a pet portrait artist:

You can work from home or from a studio or workshop.

Meet the pet portrait artist – Sema Martin

What made you want to become a pet portrait artist?

I have always been fascinated with animals and loved drawing them as a child. I normally drew for my friends and family and gave them as gifts. One day my friend offered to pay me for my services and draw her cat that sadly passed away. At this point I had never been paid for my art so it was a wonderful experience.

When my friend received the portrait she was so happy and thankful it made me feel like my art had helped her heal and I wanted to keep doing this for others.

What was the route to become a pet portrait artist?

I have no art qualifications except for a GCSE and A-level in Art. I actually went on to study Aerospace and became an engineer for a while before deciding to take up my pencils again. I practised a lot with one medium, coloured pencil, and I feel this helped me specialise and develop a niche portrait style.

I marketed my drawings on social media platforms until I gained sales. As my business grew I was able to develop my coloured pencil skills and quit my job as an engineer. Now 5 years later I am still able to use my skills to provide for my family.

Describe a typical working day

Since I work from home I have the flexibility to decide when I work which can change depending on the day. I normally like to start the day with replying to email and messenger enquiries, replying to all comments on my social media platforms and scheduling my posts for the day. I then spend most afternoons and evenings during the week creating the pet portrait commissions. On the weekend I review my marketing strategies and deal with admin jobs.

What can people do to make sure they have the skills needed?

I would suggest developing your skills in one area with one medium. Therefore, you can learn quicker and market yourself well in the particular niche you have chosen. There is so much help out there for artists such as workshops, classes, Youtube tutorials, Patreon, and online courses. Use as many as you can to hone your skills as an artist.

What do you enjoy about the job?

I love making people happy when they receive my portraits. It is the best feeling in the world when someone wants to treasure something you have poured your heart and soul into. The customers are the reason I chose to make this my career.

What are the main challenges in this role?

Learning how to market yourself as an artist has been the main challenge. As an entrepreneur running your own small business, you have to learn how to wear many hats. To help other artists with the business side of things I wrote the book ‘Art is my career – How to start an art business’ which contains everything I have learned from starting and running an art business. It’s the book I wish I had when I first started.

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