Custom Portrait FAQ

Some commonly asked questions

We are thrilled by the enthusiastic response to our custom portraits! Thank you so much for your interest in having your dog or cat (or pig or rabbit or frog) captured. Below are some common questions asked of me, the artist-in-residence:

Q: Who's the artist?


A:
I am! My name is Bambi Edlund, and I own Beatrix & Midge Co with my sister, Sienna. She runs the joint, while I do the drawing (I also live with the titular twosome, Beatrix and Midge.) I have been a professional illustrator for over 12 years, but I have been drawing my entire life. My dad was an artist, so I grew up with endless art supplies and paper, and because we lived 20 miles outside of a small town, I was able to devote a lot of time to drawing (as well as stalking the wild bunnies in our yard).

For the past dozen years I have worked as a freelance graphic designer, illustrator and hand-letterer. I have designed and illustrated for many food magazines, as well as pet publications, and my first illustrated children's book is being published in the spring of 2017. If you'd like to view some of my other work, you can see it at my personal illustration website, bambiedlund.com.

Q: How much does a portrait cost?

A: Our price for a custom portrait is USD $375, which includes a 16x16" hand-stretched canvas print. Worldwide shipping is also included.  

Q: How do you create the portraits?

A: I use a drawing tablet called a Wacom Cintiq, it's basically an amazing monitor that you can draw directly onto. It is extremely pressure sensitive, so it is surprisingly similar to drawing on paper (though easier to erase!). 

The software I use for the majority of the drawing is called Manga Studio (aka Clip Studio Paint). It was developed for—surprise, surprise—Manga cartoonists, but it has been co-opted by many illustrators, due to its amazing flexibility. It allows you to create "brushes" which you can tweak in many ways, until the brush behaves exactly as you want it to. Because these brushes can be exported, many artists have made digital versions of their standard pens, pencils and paint brushes, including various mediums like oil, acrylic and even watercolour. Several artists sell their brushes in sets, so you can amass a large variety of tools. These brushes are remarkably similar to the real thing, with the only real difference being you don't have to worry about dragging your hand through wet ink! I have a digital version of pretty much every "real" tool in my art supplies drawer, so I find that while I still do initial sketches with pencil and paper (somehow it's the only way I can work through rough ideas), I rarely draw finished art on paper anymore.

The term "Digital Art" has come to mean so many wildly different things, many of them less-than-stellar, so I tend to stay away from that descriptor, even though technically my work is digital art. However, it's drawn exactly the way I draw on paper, just on a glass screen. I have many years of experience using physical pens, brushes and paper, experience which has transferred to using digital versions of the same tools. The portraits are drawn with a brush that has the same texture as an analog paintbrush with a gouache paint, so in the finished product you can see the individual brush strokes, just like you would in a "physical" painting.

Working this way allows me to have a high-resolution, true-to-colour digital file, which can then be printed on our high-quality matte paper, stretched canvas, and even on mugs and tote bags.

Q: I have seen artists on Etsy and elsewhere willing to draw my dog for $50, why are your portraits more expensive?

A: The price reflects several things: the amount of time involved (I don't send a portrait until I feel I have gotten the expression exactly right), my many years of illustration experience, and the level of care that I take to ensure the portrait contains the spirit of its subject. It has been extremely gratifying to see the comments when we send the finished portraits off—we have had so many people say that they can't believe how much the portrait looks like their pet and that I have really captured them—and that's exactly my intent. 

While there are many very talented artists doing portraits for lower prices, I find that often they don't do it for very long, which I completely understand—it takes a lot of time and effort, and as a professional designer and illustrator, I have learned my lessons with regard to underpricing my work! I want to make sure this a sustainable business, and, as such, I must charge what my time is worth. I spend many hours drawing and tweaking and perfecting, and I want to be sure that I set prices that cover this time adequately, as I would never want to feel that I cannot afford to spend extra hours getting the portrait just right. 

My portraits aren't super-realistic, like some oil or watercolour paintings—I prefer a more illustrative style that fully captures the pet, yet remains fun and playful. This takes the same amount of experience and effort as painting realistically does—it's simply a different style. Some artists do amazing, painstakingly detailed work, and these artists often charge much more than I do, which is a reflection of their immense talent and larger time investment.

Something that makes my portraits different from many others is that I don't do an exact drawing from a single photograph—instead, I ask for several photos of each pet so I can be sure that I capture their personality. I use many photos from various angles and use those to draw the pet from straight on in our "mugshot" style. I believe that by drawing a portrait based on the animal itself, rather than on one specific photo, I can capture more of their essence.

Another element that we take into consideration when deciding on pricing is the quality of the final print. There are many printers doing adequate work, but we want to ensure that our products are extremely high-quality. We feel that the printer we deal with has the utmost attention to detail, and is fully accountable if any product is less than perfect. We settle for no less.

Q: Can I get my dog drawn on just a mug or a tote bag?

A: We can certainly print the finished portrait on a mug or a tote bag, however, the same amount of time is spent drawing the pet regardless of the final product that it's printed on. As such, we must charge the portrait fee to do the artwork—in the end if you would rather have a mug or tote instead of a canvas, we can change the pricing accordingly to reflect the lower-priced product, but it will be only $25-$40 less, depending on the item.

Q: I have several dogs that I would like to have portraits of, is there a discount for multiple pets? 

A: Yes, we do offer a small discount for multiple portraits, however, whether I draw one dog or three, the same amount of work goes into doing each portrait, so it doesn't make sense for us to charge a lot less to do multiples, as we must account for the amount of time invested. Oftentimes, buying multiple items can cost significantly less, but in most cases it's duplicates of the same product—whereas in this case, doing three portraits for one client demands the same time investment as if I did single portraits for three different clients. As such, we cannot offer a large discount for multiples.

Q: Can I get my two/three/four pets in the same portrait?

A: Because the square format is working so well, for the time being we are sticking with that format, a single pet "mug shot" only. As mentioned above, drawing multiple pets in one picture takes the same amount of time and demands the same detail as drawing them in separate portraits, so we don't offer groups at this time. We may expand the format in the future, however! 

Have a question that I haven't answered? Email us!