Animal Artist ~ Diane Young

Every Picture tells a story – realistic and stylised animals in art from Manic Illustrations


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Studio No 71 Today

My Barn Owl painting now proudly sits in the Gallery window in the hope of a new home.

Barn Owl with gold leaf by artist Diane Young at Studio No 71 Totnes

Here is some more of my work on display too! A mixture of original paintings and prints.

Studio No 71 Totnes Gallery featuring paintings by artist Diane Young


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Commission for Ireland

It was lovely to receive an email from a customer who has received their commission by post today in Ireland.

“The painting has arrived and I am over the moon with it. So pleased. Thank you very much for painting such a great representation of Morgan and the circumstances of his arrival into our lives. You have captured the magic of the evening so well.”

The image has a number of ingredients requested by the client and ultimately the design was agreed upon before starting the painting stage.  A nice thing about this commission was there was no deadline.  This allowed me to think about the best composition using all the things that needed to be in the picture.  The scene was referenced using supplied photographs of the castle, grounds and Morgan himself. This was not a straight forward painting from a photograph perhaps as in a pet portrait, but more a design about an event which led to this dog, an English Pointer called Morgan having a much happier life.

Commission of an English Pointer painting with gold leaf by artist Diane Young of Manic Illustrations Stroud


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Pet Portrait Photo Difficulties.

My portfolio of dog portraits is slowly but surely expanding.

I have taken on a couple of portfolio exercises to get a proper feel for the difficulty rating. They are:

a) a photo which does not have all the pictorial information because the resolution is too low and

b) a photo which is in itself not a great composition but it is the only photo we can get. These are situations a pet portrait artist may find themselves in and with these problems in mind they will then have to decide whether a successful pet portrait will be the outcome.

a) This is Amber.  Most of the photo could be enhanced using the contrast tool to get more information for reference. This worked for all but the eyes.  This was the most challenging and time consuming of my two examples.  I had to make up the eyeDog photo showing Gooner for Pet Portrait Painting by Diane YOung reference material, or cross reference it elsewhere.  This meant it became time consuming and a fiddle mucking about with the “lost” information.  The eyes are the most important focal point (apart from the muzzle also in a dog) and not succeeding in making them look “right” or more to the point “convincing” would spell disaster for the whole painting.  One other point about this photo is the position of the tail gives a very long slim shape to the overall composition and so it was much better to take the important head area instead where there are alot of dynamic shapes to keep the picture interesting.

b) This is Gooner, obviously an older dog, which you can tell by the expression and posture.  The overall shape is not very dynamic and more of an overall circular outline, not the best shape to use for a picture composition.  This painting is taking  much less time on accounDawn Mcniff Gooner 2t I hav all the necessary information in front of me.  I took the liberty of using artistic licence to move the eye gaze so that the image was more engaging. Everything is in place and the painting is almost finished.

Below are the results of my endeavours:

Amber is completed

Gooner to the right is still work in progress.

Pet Dog Portrait Animal Painting by artist Diane Young         dog portrait by artist diane young

There are times when another factor comes into play and that is when the pet owner has produced the only photo they have of their dog and it is just like the Amber example above.  Perhaps this might persuade you as a pet portrait artist to take on the commission.  Of course all these things can be discussed at the outset with the pet owner giving you the commission perhaps with deposit for work up front and other caveats would help mitigate any disaster!

My conclusion is that not having all the information is extremely time consuming and the outcome is not certain. It is up to the Pet Portrait Artist to determine the risk!


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Commissions from pre-existing designs

I offer  a commission service called Commission-Me-This where  I can reproduce existing designs by painting them once again especially for you.  If  you would rather a painting instead of a reproduction print then I can produce a painting that is almost the same in likeness to a previous design but will have an original finished result.  As each painting is made the organic nature of the process will mean that there may be slight differences in colour application but the drawing or design will be the same.  It is also possible that minimal tweaks can be discussed if the client wishes.

ACEO Painting by Diane Young - Where is that Giraffe?

Here is an ACEO of Harvey the Aardvark playing hide and seek with Giraffe.   This ACEO painting measures 3.5 x 2.5″ only.

This was subsequently commissioned as a 7 x 5 ” painting,     see below…….

7 x 5 " Painting of Harvey the Aardvark and Giraffe

The finished painting shown here with a mount  is essentially the same and only seeing them side by side can you pick out the differences in the painting process. 

The advantage of my Commission-Me-This service is that unlike the usual commissioning scenario where you will not envisage the exact result, what you get here is effectively an “original” painting but you can see what you will be paying before  I begin the work.

Click for Commission-Me-This Price Guide.