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Custom Pet Portrait Mediums: Which to Choose

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While asking an artist to make a portrait of the pet, many owners get confused while choosing the medium. If you are also not sure what kind of medium you want for your pet portrait, then we are here to help you in choosing the best medium for your pet portrait. Choosing a medium can be a tricky decision, as different mediums often allow for different tones and emotions. While choosing the medium,you should remember what kind of emotions you want to show in your custom pet portrait.

There are of course plenty more mediums than just the ones we are listing here, we’re highlighting a few of the most popular portrait mediums below:


Charcoal can result in beautiful contrast, often with a loose, atmospheric result. If you don’t mind losing the color, charcoal can be quite striking for black and white pets.


Due to the multitude of individual marks that must be made, pencil works can be time-consuming but result in incredible detail. If you want to be able to see every piece of fur on your pup’s face, a pencil is a good choice. The pencil also tends to look the most realistic custom pet portrait.

Colored Pencil:

The same as pencil work, but with color! Colored pencil allows for the detail of pencil, but with color. Pencil mediums also can help emphasize coat texture, so if that’s a defining aspect of your pooch’s look, you may want to consider pencil or colored pencil.


Pastels often result in a softer look while retaining great vibrancy.


Watercolor can result in some very unique and create portraits, often with a looser look.

Oil & Acrylic:

Oil is the traditional portrait medium and has been the gold standard for centuries. Both oil and acrylic paint result in durable portraits and allow for great texture. Pet portraits in oil are especially ideal for those who want that classic portrait look and feel.


Some artists will create a pet portrait for you digitally, resulting in a really stunning and unique piece made through artist editing software. Digital portraits are often much cheaper than hand-painted pieces (no costly materials outside of the software are required). They can also be created in a huge variety of styles – your imagination is the limit! However, printing a digital portrait yourself can get quite pricey, so make sure to take into account printing prices before opting for a digital portrait.

Multi-colors vs black and white pet portraits:

Most owners will assume that they want a pet portrait in multi-colors. While this is often a great choice, it’s smart to not totally discount black and white options either. The black and white look of charcoal and pencil portraits can be quite striking. The powerful contrast can make a huge impression that color portraits simply can’t pull off.

If your dog has a black, grey, or not especially colorful coat, check out some black and white pet portraits and see if they appeal to you. On the other hand, if your pet has a rich, colorful coat that is a huge part of who they are, you’ll likely want to stick with multi-colors.


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