Australian Wildlife Artist | Kerri Dixon

Pet and Wildlife Portraiture

Reference Photos

  The quality and detail in your reference photos are very important, especially high-quality photos of the eyes are needed as they are the window to the soul of each animal.  This will really make sure I can capture your pet as unique.  

  As I will be using the photos to give me all the information I need, any special marks/features of your pet need to be clear for me to see.  The more detail you can give me, the better the portrait will be.  

  You can send me as many references as you like and I will let you know, based on my experience, whether the photos are suitable to use and which would make the best portrait.  


  You can give me separate reference photos of each subject but they need to be taken with similar lighting and quality.  If you are going to take new photos of your pet then consider taking them from the same level as your subject and from a short distance away, using a good quality camera would be best as the fine detail is really important for me to see, especially around the eyes and nose.

   Experiment with lighting angles to achieve the most realistic colour of your subject.   A light source coming from one side is usually best as it will give a good range of tone (hi-lights, mid-tones, and shadow).  Especially with black animals, it is very important to get good lighting on the subject so I can distinguish the shapes of the face and not just see a black blob with eyes.


  The subject does not have to be looking at the camera as unusual viewpoints can sometimes make charming and original portraits.  Don't worry about the background as this will usually be removed from the portrait anyway.  


  Finding the right reference photo is really important as it needs to show the personality of the subject and it will give me all the information I need to capture the likeness.   

  You are not limited to only Pet photos, if you have taken a great photo at the zoo or in the wild and would love to see it turned into a beautiful pastel painting, I am more than happy to take it on as a commission as wildlife is my specialty. 

Mediums Used



Charcoal / Carbon Pencils

  Charcoal or Carbon Pencils are another love of mine and can achieve a great range of black and white tones with rich black that graphite cannot achieve.  For a beautiful effect I can add a subtle amount of colour using pastel pencils to select areas of the portrait, this technique can really bring out the eyes in a gentle way.

Soft Pastels

  By far my favorite medium that achieves a softness that is unattainable in any other medium and is perfect for rendering the fur of an animal.  They are also pigment in its purest state so the intensity of colour is like that of no other and therefore will not fade over time and is the most light fast of all mediums ensuring your portrait can be passed down through generations to come.

  My choice of substrate for my work is always a sanded pastel board in a few different brands, I choose this depending on the size and subject of my painting.  All substrate are of the highest artist quality and are also light-fast.  I always choose a sanded paper due to my technique of building up multiple layers of pastel, and only a sanded paper will ensure the pastel remains fixed to the paper.



Time Frame

  I will give you an estimated completion date when your order is placed.  This will be determined by where you are placed in my order queue and the size and medium of your portrait.  Pastels can sometimes take me up to 3 months to complete to my satisfaction, so please allow plenty of time if you want the portrait for a gift.  Plus allow 2 weeks extra for framing if needed.

Charcoals are a much quicker process but can still take a few weeks to complete.


  Your portrait will be sent to you in a custom made, slimline box with glassine paper protecting the face of the pastel during postage.

However, if you would like your portrait framed, I will work closely with you and my framer to get the best results for each particular portrait.  The cost for framing is not included in the portrait price,  I will give you a total price of portrait including frame before commencing the work for your approval.

 If you would prefer I can send a pastel unframed to reduce costs and problems with trying to transport a framed piece at a reasonable price.  I can send your  However, I cannot be held responsible for any damage to the pastel once it has left my premises.


  All framed pastel work will only be transported via IAS (International Art Services) as they are the only Art Courier company I will trust with my work.  The paintings are transported standing upright at all times which is crucial for soft pastel work.  Each piece will be quoted individually but is usually around $200 for transport along the east coast of Australia.

  Charcoals and unframed pastel portraits will be sent via Australia Parcel Post using custom made heavy duty boxes to protect them. You will be notified of delivery costs when first ordering your portrait so there are no hidden surprises.

 I will keep in contact throughout the transit of your portrait to make sure it arrives safely and you are 100% happy with it once you have seen it in person.