Creating Pet Portraits Using the Art of Collage

Many people love to take photographs of their animals, have their pets photographed, or commission an artist to paint a pet portrait from photographs. These are all beautiful ways to create lasting memories of a cherished companion. Having those photographs turned into a unique piece of art takes it all to another level. To accomplish this, I use the art of collage, the technique of cutting small pieces of paper and using them to create a whole new image. And you don’t even have to be a great artist to do it, if you don’t mind getting a bit of an abstract piece in the end.

I like to work from photographs and create my pieces on canvas, but if you are a beginner or don’t have confidence in your artistic abilities, you can take your own photographs, print them out, and then cut and paste pieces of paper over the top of the photograph. The photograph disappears under the emerging work of art. I’ve used that technique with young students who have created some amazing pieces.

With collage, you really can’t make a mistake either, because all you have to do is cut out more pieces of paper and glue them over the mistake. One of the things that I find beautiful about collage is the way that the pieces of paper overlap, creating texture and raised surfaces in the work. You can use any type of paper, but I like to use the paper from high-quality, glossy magazines like National Geographic and Arizona Highways.

The beauty of collage is that you really can use so many different styles and materials. Try adding beads or feathers. I personally like to create realistic images that show you the spirit of an individual animal, but if you really want to go wild, you can try a fun technique called cubomania. Take your photograph, cut it up into small squares and randomly glue the pieces back together. You may not get an actual picture of your pet, but you get a pretty cool piece of art!

When you finish your work of art, you will have to seal the surface and let it cure (completely dry) before framing. I use varnish, added in many layers (drying completely between each layer). The more layers, the more your picture will pop. However, if you don’t want to get fancy, you can just use white glue. To avoid permanent clouding, don’t overbrush. Just brush across once, slightly overlapping the sealant, and let it dry and clear on its own.

A pet portrait made in collage makes a one-of-a-kind gift unlike any other, creating a forever memory of your pet. Of course, collage can be used to create any image, but you want to create something that you love. My passion is animals, so that’s where my creativity takes me.

Tips on Pencil Portrait Drawing – The Hands

Drawing hands takes much practice. Hands are typically quite complex with many smooth transitions between darks and lights. Shapes overlap and need to be studied very carefully to yield acceptable realism. There are also lots of edges, crevices, and creases.

It is imperative that you do not ignore the many angles that are present in the hands. Hands are much more angular than our ingrained memorized image would suggest. Therefore, it is very easy to make the mistake of portraying the hands too chubby and rounded which leads to an unnaturally rounded.

Here are a few pointers that will give you the basic memory pack for drawing hands. When I say “memory pack”, I mean a set of memorized issues about drawing hands that should be in the foreground of your thinking whenever you draw hands. This is a facility you should develop with each feature of a portrait such as eyes, ears, etc.

* Simplify

Generally, any kind of photographic subject will have so much detail that it becomes necessary to simplify, i.e., leaving out much detail. Of course, you must develop a facility to leave out the right details and keep the important ones. This is where your artistic sensibilities play a major role. Making the right choices makes all the difference.

It is a good exercise to look at pictures in magazines and practice the simplification process. Ask yourself the question: What can I eliminate in this picture while still retaining the essence of the subject? In fact, as you get more experienced you may ask yourself the question: What should I add to obtain an even more convincing rendition of the essence of the person I am portraying?

The same is true with drawing hands. The hands have usually so much detail in them that you must discard the unimportant details. At first, keep your eye on the major shapes, the so-called large masses. You do not want to miss those.

Remember, at this stage, try not to think too much of how a hand is supposed to look like, just draw the shapes as they are.

* Males and Females

There are many differences between male hands and female hands. On average, male hands are larger and squarer. For example, the fingers are less tapered and thicker than those of the female. The female hand is slender and the finger tips are much more tapered compared to the male fingers. The fact that females (generally!) do not have hairy hands adds to the lightness in color.

* Values

First, avoid outlining the hands at all cost. Let the edges be formed by applying the correct contrast in values. Study the hand very carefully. Note where one finger overlaps another and be sure to include all the cast shadows.

Also, it is very important to render the reflected light on each finger because that is what will give the finger its roundness and three-dimensional look.

* Angles and Planes

Hands are surprisingly angular, not as much rounded as we sometimes think they are. The joints and knuckles have various planes to them which need to be carefully rendered.

* Blending

Keep the blending of the hands very smooth. Blend the darks into the surface they belong to. This way there is no confusion as to which surface the dark line belongs to. Again, do not forget the reflected light between the fingers. This will create the illusion of roundness of the fingers.

The hands can be used to enhance the visual impact of your pencil portrait drawing. For example, the addition of hands to a baby picture makes the whole thing much more endearing. Therefore, adding hands to a portrait is always something to consider. With this, I think you can have a good start at drawing hands. And remember, practice, practice, and practice some more. Drawing is a hands-on art, so to speak.

Senior Class Portraits: The First Impression

Make this time the most memorable moment of your life. The school is about to end, you’ll step into the real world soon and have many responsibilities, so spend this time being carefree and happy. The internet is full of ideas for senior class portraits so start the creative juices flowing and go crazy.

Photo Shoot ideas

– Your photographer will have plenty of ideas for the session but you can always add your own style. Though balloons might seem childish but when incorporated in the right way, they can gives a great look to your portraits. Sparkles and confetti are other nice addition to the photos, adding a little bit of magic. Or go for a more sparkling look with sparklers; write your name with one for a more glittery setting.

– Abandoned or remote locations look wonderful, with just the right lightening and camera angle. You can go for this option since the photographer can control the level of exposure. As for you, act for the part and get weird.

– Or just do the opposite and get creative on the busy city streets. A shot of you standing by the passing traffic, or waiting at the bus stop. The photographer should use the sunlight to create a unique image. There are so many ways you can make this session exciting and beautiful too.

– A natural background would look lovely – stand in a field of flowers, lie down in a bright pillow of green grass, or get the looming mountains in the distance. All of these would give a more natural look to the photos.

– Dress up in glittery gowns and sparkling heels and get a fairy tale photo shoot. Get cute with farm animals or just include your pets. They make pretty good photo partners.

– Use some props to hold or sit on during the session, such as a book, chair or an umbrella maybe.

– These photos are a great way to showcase your special talents. If you are a musician, incorporate your instrument in the photos. Get your sports spirit on and get creative on the field of your favorite sport.

During the shoot

– Relax and be comfortable with he settings.

– If you are in a studio, ask the photographer to put on some music to ease the tension.

– Follow the photographer’s direction. They will know the best poses to get a good photo so do what they say, even if it might seem silly.

– Let that smile come naturally or you’ll get a mechanical smile that looks horrible. If you are relaxed, the smile will look great. A little tip to help you; leave a little space between the teeth for a genuine looking smile.

– Allow yourself little breaks during the photos and take a sip of water to cool down.

This time will not return so make sure that you enjoy every last bit. But most importantly, choose the photographer that will make this time more special and creative. Visit and make these senior year portraits memories to relish.