Can you sketch a dog portrait from a photo? You got a business!

The demand for custom portraits has never been higher. If you can custom draw/sketch/digitally-create a photo of a dog- you have a business in hand.

The main place you’ll find people offering this service is on Etsy, However, you can offer it on Fiverr too, as well as independent platforms, or even straight from your social media!

A lot of people interact with their dogs- just as they do with family members. That means- birthday celebrations Purchasing of clothes, holiday outfits and costumes,

And a lot of accessories.

They also love having unique artwork of their dogs
And even order pet-memorial portraits to always remember a dog that passed away.

What is a custom dog portrait and who buys it?

A custom dog portrait can be a lot of different things. Some people sketch portraits from looking at a photo.

They do so with a pencil, charcoal, watercolors and more.

Other people create digital portraits, using Wacom tablet and Photoshop/ClipStudioPaint or any other drawing software.
There are also a lot of people who don’t paint/draw the dog, but more like high-quality edit the dogs photo with watercolor/oil color effects, and with a clear background, and a higher-detail focus than what people take in their everyday photos.

A custom dog portrait is often more than just a portrait of the dog itself, and can often include- blurry like framing effects, banners that have words/dates on them, and even floral frames that go “around” the dog’s head.

People get these dog portraits for the most important reason- they love their dogs.
You would find a lot of people designing pet portraits for holiday cards, Save the Date announcements, a dog who passed away, or just for fun.

Where can I offer this service?

There are a variety of places where you can offer a dog portrait service, but let’s narrow them down to 4:

ETSY – the pet-portrait market on Etsy is a huge pne, with so many different kinds of dog portraits, in different styles, digital and physical.

FIVERR – A more comfortable platform for commission-orders! Start a profile (it’s free) and create a gig (a service offer = gig). Make sure to pre-make several examples- to show on your gig’s photos!

YOUR OWN WEBSITE – you can open your own website, based on woo-commerce, or connected with Paypal, and have people order from there!

SOCIAL MEDIA – a bit old-fashioned, but some artists still just post unique dog portraits on their social channels- and interact with potential buyers there- often resulting in bank-wires or paypal payments!

There are many ways to sell dog portraits- what’s important is when you choose one- research that platform for information about how to succeed in that specific platform.
You could also – choose more than one platform to maximize your chances of making a sale!

Examples from some top-selling dog-portrait-makers

Ermir Kolonja, owner of KolonjaArt Etsy shop, drawing gorgeous dog sketches.

Antara94, a Fiverr user, selling simple but gorgeous pet portrait editing!

Digital VS print

There are so many ways this dog portrait business can be done- with both digital and print results.
Here are just a few ideas of practical ways to sell your custom dog portraits on Etsy:

  • Create the portrait digitally (sketch or edit) and sell the file
  • Create the portrait digitally, and use a POD service like Gooten or Printful to make and ship a print of that portrait directly to your client.
  • Create a portrait by hand – sending the original sketch to the buyer. (with out without a frame)
  • Create the sketch by hand, photograph it in high resolution, and sell the printable file.
  • Create the portrait using oil colors or acrylic- on canvas- and sell the canvas- or the digital photo of the canvas!

You could also use photos of the dog portrait you made (either digitally or physically) and use them to sell items with that portrait!
You’d be surprised- but a lot of people will gladly pay for home decor and accessories with their dogs portraits on them!

Viet, owner of DrawYourPortrait Etsy shop, is a great example of someone who took dog portraits, and portraits in general to a whole new level in terms of products with dog portraits. With more than 7000 orders, her shop is an amazing example for anyone looking to set up a similar business.
Here are some of her best dog portrait products, for your inspiration:

How to stand out

As there are many of other people selling custom dog portraits- you’ll need a way to stand out, a way to make your service tempting for people- even though you have no reviews in that sales channel yet.

Use one or some of these tips to create an enticing service/product:

Make it simple.  

Don’t ask for too much from the buyer, don’t over-explain what you do. Make it simple- what they need to send you and what they will receive. Use one of your service’s main photos to describe in text the process for the client.

Price it as you want! You can give out low prices as a beginner, however, on certain platforms it might look like you’re not valuing your own art.

Price lower on Fiverr for “attention”, but on Etsy- make sure to price as you deserve- but offer a sale on all products to celebrate the opening of the shop!

Get creative-
Add text with the name of the dog, or maybe create portraits of the person with their dog. Use different creative colors, mixed media, or just something that will make people feel or laugh!

Get your own traffic! Never stop promoting, educate yourself on instagram marketing, Pinterest marketing, and run facebook ads.

If you treat this as a business- you’ll be able to make it into a business!

Do your research-
Search the web for different portraits, get ideas for “materials” or editing styles, as well as different products you could manufacture with your dog portraits.

It’s not an easy thing, starting a business
And a lot of people think they don’t have the proper skills to make a living from art.
But it’s easier than ever now, with Etsy, Fiverr, and social media- to make a living from editing or sketching dog portraits.
It might not be easy, getting traffic for your service,
creating your portfolio and coming up with ideas…
But it is… Simple.

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