Commissioned Pet Portraits

Posted on Jan 19, 2016 in Commissioned Work, Promotions and Offers | No Comments
Commissioned Pet Portraits

On this bright winter’s day we’ve decided to promote our Pet Portraits as we feel it’s a service we just don’t celebrate enough. It seems ironic really, considering this is how most of our design ranges are initiated, so here’s to celebrating it more!


Hand drawing plays such an important role – not only in our product ranges but also our signature style as a brand. We feel it is the act of drawing itself, which brings out the essence of a subject’s character, therefore drawing really matters to us.

A lot of the time, we find that our commissioned pet portraits inspire our product ranges and the above example of our ‘Winston The Great’ design is a classic example. This came to light through a customer, who had seen our dessert plates and mugs and contacted us to request a British Bull Dog design in Winston Churchill attire. Our creative director, Kat, saw the potential in this idea, so decided to add it to our main range of Fine Bone China Mugs and Dessert Plates(as seen in the image below). * Unfortunately this design is currently out of stock, as we are looking to transition towards a made-to-order process. Please do contact us however if you are interested in purchasing these items and we can provide you with alternative options.


We get many customers asking if we can apply custom drawn illustrations of their pets to mugs and plates, which make lovely gifts and hold significant value to their recipients. The main issue, we face is that it’s a lengthy and costly service, with each drawing being so detailed. It seems a shame not to promote it however, so we can make this happen through Contrado’s made-to-order service, which would be added to the costs of our custom portraits. An A4 custom portrait costs £250 and an A5 portrait, £150, where each drawing represents its subject as accurately as possible and can take up to 20 hours to complete, (and in some cases longer).

Each illustration is hand drawn in pencil, from a photo, onto cartridge paper and we request that a selection of high resolution photos are provided so that we can choose the best ‘fit’. During our ‘Winston’ commission Kat was in regular contact with our customer to check that everything was on track, because as you can imagine, the original photo did not come with the bowler hat, bow tie and cigar! These items had to be fashioned onto the photo before drawing, and/or drawn separately and dropped into the illustration (as per the cigar image above). We therefore always need to make sure our customers are happy with the ‘costumes’ we have chosen first.


Accuracy and attention to detail is of the utmost importance so when responding to any enquiry, we always provide examples of previous commissions with their original photos so that the customer can gauge the standard of our service.

We also like to collaborate with organisations and charities where possible, as we had the pleasure of working with the fundraising charity, I Heart Whippets and donated our ‘Miss-ter Marple’ portrait to their Christmas Auction, which raised a whopping £13,769 in total and was such an honour to be a part of.

Miss-ter-Marple-Hand-DrawingMiss-ter Marple_Instagram_Half Complete

Thanks to our muse ‘Basil’ of The Whippet Hotel, we not only gained a wonderful subject for our character range but also a funny story behind our illustration. Kat was unaware that Basil was male before choosing to draw him from a post on The Whippet Hotel’s Instagram page; and when she contacted their proprietor, Caroline Patey-Johns – with the intention of turning him into ‘Miss Marple’ – there was much amusement on the discovery of his gender. His name therefore took an un expected turn!


Our handsome ‘Sir Norman’ design above, had also originated from a commissioned brief and has been a wonderful addition to our Mugs and Dessert Plates. As we look to the future of our products, we see commissions as a valued source of inspiration. We want all our customers to have their say and we welcome your thoughts, therefore please feel free to post any comments to this post.


If you would like to commission us to create a Pet Portrait – or even a Human Portrait of your choice, please contact us with your enquiry and we’d be more than happy to assist :) You may choose to have your subject in character, on paper or a product, so feel free to have a think and get your creativity flowing!

Thanks again for reading and as always, any comments would be most welcome :)

Have a lovely day,

Kat – drawing ‘Winston’ below!


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