FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Choose a topic or scroll below to see the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

About Us

Our Artists

Art Words

Pricing

Commissions

Postage

Complaints

Other Questions

If you would like to ask us a question please contact us either by clicking this link or emailing us on [email protected]

About Us

What is Pet Pawtraits Online about?

We are all about your pets and our artists! 
Pet Pawtraits Online has one main purpose: to bring artists together for you to discover and make the perfect choice for your pet portrait!
We aim to provide a platform for artists from all backgrounds with any level of skill and/or experience to showcase their pet portraits and be eligible for commissions.
We strongly believe in fair pay for artists and encourage all our clients to see the true value in commissioning a bespoke piece of art from any of our artists.
In a nutshell:
  1. You choose an artist and request a quote using the form on the listing. (Alternatively, you can submit a brief for us to match you with an artist.)
  2. We provide you with a quote 
  3. You accept the quote
  4. The commission proceeds
  5. When the artwork is ready, we arrange delivery
  6. You receive your artwork
 
Please see the below section 'Commissions' for full details on every step of the process.
Laura (founder of Pet Pawtraits Online), working out of a small home studio in Bath is a person with two passions. Art and animals. 
Her first pet portrait was of her own beloved boy 'Wren'. She drew his portrait in chalk pastels when he was still a pup and her skills were in their infancy too. When he passed away 12 years later she painted his portrait in oils and has since made many more pet portraits with just as much love. Now she devotes most of her time to illustrating children's books and developing this site hoping to help other pet portrait artists get commissions.
 
It's a big task creating and running such an ambitious and user heavy website as Pet Pawtraits Online is, so alongside Laura is Dylan.
 
Dylan is an artist living and working in Hull and something of a hero. Once there was an artist who broke her ankle days before her final degree show, she was devastated as one of the main parts of her exhibition was going to be her appearance dressed as a gorilla. Dylan stepped in instead and wore the gorilla suit in spectacular fashion and the night was saved! Dylan has two cats called Wendy and Alan and a dog called Alice and if he had a horse too it would probably be called Dave.
 
In short, the people behind Pet Pawtraits Online are a pair of animal mad creatives with a passion for helping other artists!

Our Artists

Can I contact the artist directly?

Like all professional art galleries, our website acts as a professional intermediary between the client and the artist. 
Most artists are very busy people; professional artists often work long hours creating or hold multiple jobs to support themselves, their families or their dreams of making it full-time in the art world. 
We believe the best place for an artist to be is in their studio making art and so we take care of all client communications for our artists.
The art world is a highly competitive industry and we strive to build a fair and accessible web based commission site for artists with any skills and any level of professional experience.
It is hard to be seen or stand out online against the plethora of individual artists pages and websites who have had more success or private wealth enough to pay for advertising. There are literally hundreds of Facebook pages for artists and often the ones with more 'likes' are the ones who get more commissions. We aim to make a fairer system by offering a free web based platform for all artists, fresh or famous! We also believe by giving only first names we give more emphasis to the talent behind the work instead of the name that goes with it. 

Our company is based in the UK but our website is open to registrations for pet portrait artists from all over the world.

Yes! We are open for registrations for pet portrait artists to come and join us. Please click here or use the link at the bottom of the site to sign up.

Art Terms & Phrases

What is 'media'?

The term 'media' refers to the materials used to create the artwork such as oil paint, pencils or watercolour. Often you will hear the word 'medium' to describe the materials used in art making, 'media' is the plural of medium. We use the plural term 'media' when talking about materials as quite often artists will be skilled in the use of more than one type of medium or may use multiple types or 'mixed media' to create their work.

The 'subject' or 'subjects' are usually living beings represented in the artwork. The dog and the cat, the dog on it's own or the dog with it's owner: these are all subjects.
Subjects are the main focus points of an artwork.
 
Objects differ from subjects in that they are usually visual items represented in the artwork rather than living beings. For example: The ball near the dog, the cushion the cat sits on or the shirt the owner is wearing would all be considered objects. 
 
Things behind the subjects and objects represented in the artwork as usually referred to as the 'background'.
 
'Subject matter' is a term used to describe the talking points of an artwork. Individually or collectively, the subjects, the objects, the background and the manner in which they are all composed or relate to each other is what we would call the subject matter of an artwork.
Literally it means how the visual elements of an artwork is put together, how the artwork is composed and the subject matter is positioned within the boundaries of the surface it has been created on.
 
Visual elements are often described as:
Line - The path or perspective which the eye follows to take in the subject matter.
Shape - Defined areas within the artwork (with a visible edge)
Colour - The use of hues within the artwork
Texture - A visible and tactile quality of the surface on which the artwork is made
Value - Light and dark shading within the artwork
Form - Dimensions defined in the subject matter such as height, depth and width
Space- The areas which include (positive space) or are void of (negative space) subject matter
 
Here is an example of how the compostition of an artwork may be described:
 
An artist makes a drawing of a dog sitting with a ball by it's feet using coloured chalk pastels: 
 
The artist has chosen to arrange the artwork with the dog in the center of the page. The outline of the dog and the ball is clear against the paper and the physical shape of the dog is very well matched to the photograph they are using. The colours are slightly exaggerated and intensified in comparison to the photo. There is a good amount of shading under the dog to show it's shadow. The paper has a slightly rough grain to make the drawing look more like an artwork than a photo. The artist has chosen to include the rug which is shown in the foreground (front) of the photo but behind the dog the artist has not included anything else and so there is a fair bit of negative space behind the subject where the paper has been left blank.
The term style usually refers to a specific description of the pre-defined manner in which the artist chooses to arrange their composition and represent the subject matter in an artwork. 
 
Here are a few examples of styles that are popular among our pet portrait artists. (These are by no means any official definitions but some simple interpretations of different styles you may encounter on Pet Pawtraits Online).
 
Photo-realism for example, is a style of artistic creation that is as close as you can get to a photograph without the use of a camera! Sometimes at first glance the artwork may be mistaken for a photograph as some artists use techniques which make it difficult to identify individual marks made by their hand.
 
The term Realism describes an artwork that is very realistic but with identifiable suggestions of the artists use of materials or techniques. The composition is realistic but still obvious that it is an artwork and not a photo.
 
An Illustration can be used to representation reality or fantasy and illustrators often compose their work using techniques and that range from semi-realistic to outright unusual. An illustration will usually be enhanced by the imagination of the artist to produce an artwork that is more in the realms of a design than a simple like-for-like composition.
 
Impressionist, think Monet! Lots of small dots or overlapping splodges of colour to make something that up close is visually quite chaotic but from further back merges to create a beautifully structured and coherent artwork.
 
Expressionistic usually describes an artists way of speaking through their artwork. Often the compositions offer some distortions on reality by including unusual visual elements such as overly bright or uncontrasting colours, exaggerated forms and light values (brightness and shading). Techniques the artist might use can include loose mark making such as paint dripping or splatting or simple line drawing and an absence of detail in favour of large areas of colour. Often these radical or unusual additions or twists in the artwork are strategically placed by the artist as a talking point or an expression of emotion, feeling or mood.
 
Pop Art is probably a term you are familiar with if you have seen the work of Andy Warhol. It is a bold, bright and fun style of art which challenges the traditions of art making by incorporating imagery from popular culture (which is where the style gets it's name...alongside the fact that this kind of work pops out at you perhaps!) Celebrity, advertising, comic books and brands can lend inspiration to artworks made in the pop art style as well as techniques used in mass production such as printing. It may sound an unusual style for a pet portrait artist to choose to create work in but we have seen it done and when it does work, it works very well!
 
Abstract is a style on the other end of the scale from photo-realism. An abstract artwork usually incorporates a partial or complete distortion of the representation of any subject matter. An abstract artist will not attempt to represent realism in their work but instead will exaggerate shape, form and colour and can include loose techniques such as gestural marks and simple lines or block areas to represent subject matter. Again, this is another rare style found in pet portraits but it's not unheard of.

The 'turnaround' of an artwork is quite simply the time it takes the artist to turn a blank surface into a beautiful artwork!

How long is a piece of string? There is no real standard size of artwork as artists can work in a huge range of sizes from the miniature to the massive! 
 
We use some standard paper and canvas sizes here at Pet Pawtraits Online to give an idea of the size that an artwork can be made in. Most artists are happy to work in standard sizes but some prefer art paper, canvas and other art surfaces that are a little bigger or smaller than usual...and let's not forget our 3D artists who work with a huge range of materials in all kinds of shapes and sizes.
 
The standard sizes for 2D work that we use as a guideline are as follows:
 
Paper/card/board sizes:
A5 (148x210mm) 
A4 (210x297mm) 
A3 (297x420mm) 
 
Canvas sizes:
8" x 10" 
12" x 12" 
12" x 16" 
14" x 18" 
16" x 20" 
20" x 24" 
24" x 30" 
24" x 36" 
30" x 40" 
36" x 48" 

You can use the above sizes as a guideline to commissioning your artwork. When you submit your brief to request a quote, you will be given the option to select on of the standard sizes. If you want a size bigger or smaller than is offered you can specify the exact measurements on the quote request form.

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Pricing

What is budget range?

Quite simply put the 'budget range' is there to help you decide whether an artist can make you an artwork within the range of your budget. We take the lowest estimated cost of a commission and the highest and put them together to give you an idea of whether the artist makes work that is affordable to you.

If you are finding talented artists offering cheap artwork elsewhere it is down to one main fact. It has always been a challenge for artists to 'be discovered' but the plethora of free-for-all social media, e-commerce and other web based art selling platforms has made the challenge so much harder. Artists are selling their work for cheaper rates to try and beat the competition...it by no means helps them 'win' in the long run though.
 
In such a saturated and competitive markets so many artists feel compelled to misrepresent themselves in the struggle to compete for the top spot. Let's face it, it makes sense, people want bargins, sweet deals and low prices in this ever growing world of expenses we live in. Unfortunately though, this means artists are constantly undervalued, underpaid and undercutting their own creative integrity and their right to fair pay for the work they create. 
One of Pet Pawtraits Online's key aims is to ensure fair pay for all their artists. We highly value our artists and greatly discourage the undercutting of prices in order to compete. We offer professional guidance to our artists to help them price their work fairly. All our artists are self-employed, as are our admin team, and so we encourage everyone to aim to be paid by the same rules any employer would pay their employees - legally and fairly. Nobody at Pet Pawtraits Online is ever encouraged to work below their national minimum wage and if we feel our artists are undercutting their prices we will advise them to reconsider and raise them.
 
Our advice to artists is to take into consideration their basic hourly plus their skills and experience as well as material costs when setting a price for their work. We believe this is the best and fairest method of pricing and we encourage anyone who believes it is unreasonable to do a quick Google search for 'fair pay for artists' and see what comes up. We are certainly not alone!
 
When you request a quote we will base the price on what the artist stipulates. All our artists set their own prices and in addition, as any professional artist gallery would we add a small set fee to cover the cost of arranging the commission. 
 
When you buy an artwork from a Pet Pawtraits Online artist you are directly supporting the artist and the small business that helps artists be discovered, commissioned and paid fairly.
No two artworks are the same and so we believe giving set prices for bespoke pieces makes very little sense. Each individual artwork will take a different length of time to complete based on the choices of media, size and style. 
 
Also as mentioned before we greatly discourage the lowering of prices to undercut other artists and by not showing specific price lists we remove the temptation for people to engage in competitive tactics.
As previously stated we strongly believe in fair pay for artists and it is our policy never to undermine the artist's creative integrity or right to a fair wage. Our quotes will be generally be offered on a take it or leave it basis. There is no obligation to accept a quote, so if you let us know the price is not right for you then we will never try and convince you to commit to a commission. We will however always be happy to offer our free of charge artist match service to find you another artist for the commission who has prices more suited to your budget.
 
It will be in extremely rare circumstances that we would offer any kind of discount on any quote issued as it would greatly compromise our ability to continue running our small business and then all of our artists would lose out on opportunities for the sake of pleasing a few bargain hunters.

Commission Process

What happens when I accept a quote?

Once you have accepted a quote we will first verify with the artist when they will be available to begin the commission and how long they estimate the turnaround to be. If you are happy with the times offered by the artist we will issue you a commission contract which will give details of payments and procedures and our terms and conditions.

Not necessarily. Our policy is for artworks which are under the value of £100 or expected to be completed within 7 days we take payment upfront. 
 
For artworks over the value of £100 that are expected to be completed in more than 7 days we will ask for a 50% deposit. The remaining balance will be due on completion of the artwork.

Yes, you can. We charge a flat rate of £10 for a sketch. We ask for payment to be made upfront for this service but there is no obligation to commit to a commission once the sketch is complete.

You can contact the admin team any time with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your commission and we will be more than happy to help.
We offer all the artists we represent the opportunity to work undisturbed, so we will very rarely put you in direct contact with the artist during the commission process.
Yes, you can request update progress photos while the artwork is being made. More often than not the artist will be happy to provide progress photos. However, not all of our artists will be confident to show their work in progress. We will encourage them to provide photos if you are especially keen to see them. 
 
We very much believe that a work in progress should be respected for what it is. We therefore regard it as the artist's prerogative to complete an artwork using their own creative initiative and sensitivities and therefore cannot pass any requests for changes to the composition to the artist until they have completed it. Please see the below for questions regarding changes to completed commissions.

We can't give a definitive answer for this as every commission is different. When we issue a quote we can give you a rough estimate of how long it will take the artist to complete the artwork. Once a quote has been accepted we can then confirm with the artist an expected date of completion. This will be made official in your commission contract.

We always aim to protect the working integrity of our artists and will never outright accept offers of more money for an artist to create an artwork faster. If you have a specific date in mind the best way to ensure you get your artwork by that date is to choose an artist who is available and able to finish your commission on time before you commit to a commission contract.
 
You may put in a 'rush request' before commissioning your work. Likewise, once the terms of the commission have been agreed, if you decide you want the artwork to be completed faster we can put a request in for the artist to make it priority. this may incur an extra charge if it will cause the artist to lose other business or work unusual hours in order to complete your work. It is the artist's discretion whether or not to agree to a 'rush request' and the extra charge will be determined by a set calculation to cover costs. 
Under current UK law you are not entitled to cancel a commission once the contract has been signed and the work has begun. We do however offer a grace period of 48 hours in which you can cancel for artworks with an expected completion date of more than 7 days from the date of the contract being signed. If you change your mind within this 48 hour period we will issue a refund minus a set admin fee of 25% of the deposit paid which includes a compensation fee to the artist for any work already complete.
 
 Any artworks expected to complete within 7 days from the date the commission contract is signed are considered immediate orders of work not and all fees paid are non-refundable.
 
Please see the section below 'What happens if I am unhappy with the outcome of my commissioned artwork?' for information relating to cancellations of completed commissions.

The artist will notify us as soon as your artwork has been completed and is ready for shipping. We will contact you and supply you with a photo of the finished artwork. We will ask you to confirm that you are happy with it and ready for it to be shipped to you. Once we receive confirmation from you we will issue you an invoice. If you have already paid for the cost of the commission the invoice will be for postage only. If you have paid a deposit, your invoice will be for the remaining balance and the cost of postage also.

Where possible we can quote a price for you to have the artwork framed. If you do wish to have the piece framed, usually this should be requested before the commission commences to give plenty of time to make the necessary arrangements. If you decide after the commission has begun that you would like the artwork framed you must tell us as soon as possible. We cannot guarantee that the artist will be able to fulfil your request and so we do not offer framing as a standard service but as an extra when and where available.

When your commission is ready we will send you a photograph provided by the artist of the finished piece. If you are not happy with elements of the composition then you must contact us as soon as possible to discuss the issues you have. We want you to love your artwork and we are happy to work with our artists to agree upon and implement any minor reasonable changes to the artwork at no extra charge. 
 
We always work to protect the creative integrity of our artists and if we feel that you have you made requests that are unreasonable or extravagant we will not be able to honour them.
 
Instead will offer you the opportunity to remake the work to your new specifications and issue you a new quote with no additional admin charges. 
 
Alternatively we will offer you the opportunity cancel the current commission and choose another artist to complete the work. 
 
If you are unhappy with any of the solutions offered you can cancel the commission altogether but any fees or deposits already paid will be retained for work already completed. 

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Postage

Do I have to pay for postage?

Yes, just as with many online purchases you may make, when you purchase an artwork at Pet Pawtraits Online you will need to pay for postage. 
We recommend choosing an artist that is based locally to you, or within a near state, region or province to help to reduce postage costs. 
Postage must be paid before arrangements can be made for your artwork to be shipped.

Once your commission is complete the artist will supply us with the weight of the package and we obtain a quote for you with the best possible courier or mail service available in your area.

For everyone's piece of mind, we will never ship an artwork without obtaining postal insurance with the courier company or postal service we have selected to deliver your artwork. The cost of insurance will be included in your postage invoice.

If you wish to have your artwork delivered by a particular date you must inform us so we can make arrangements for a fast tracked or guaranteed service. We will supply you with the cost of this when we issue you the postage quote.

In very rare and special circumstances the artist may agree to an in person collection of an artwork. To protect our artists this is not our standard practice however and we do not encourage it or offer it as a regular option for the delivery of artworks.

Please inform us immediately of the situation and we will liaise with the relevant courier company or postal service to locate your package or seek compensation for any damage. Any funds obtained from a claim will be paid directly to you.
 
If the damage is repairable, where possible we may be able to arrange to have it restored. If the item is easily shipped within in the UK we can offer this service for a minimal charge plus postage costs. 
 
Outside of the UK we are at present unable to offer any kind of repair options or service. Compensation for any repairs or restorations should be covered by postal insurance once a claim has been made and cleared. 

Complaints

I have received my artwork and I am not happy with it, what do I do?

If you have received your artwork and it does not accurately match your the photo the artist provided at completion please inform us immediately!
 
We make it clear to our artists that completion photos should be as accurate as possible to the finished artwork and should never be edited, altered or tampered with in any way. We expect our artists to provide honest and true photographic likeness of the artwork you are paying for and if for any reason this requirement has not been fulfilled you must let us know immediately.
 
If the completion photos very obviously do not match the completed artwork upon comparison you are entitled to request changes to made for the artwork to match your expectations free of charge.
 
Colouring in completion photos will often have a margin of difference in hue, saturation, brightness and contrast on digital devices from that of the original artwork. If however, the completion photo contains clear, deliberate and undeniable alterations to colouration which significantly changes the likeness of the photograph in comparison to the original artwork we will consider this a serious breach of contract by the artist and will seek to resolve the situation. 
 
Depending on the severity of the differences in colouring we will offer one of the following solutions: arranging for a the artwork to be corrected by the commissioned artist free of charge, arranging for a new artist to remake the commissioned artwork at no extra cost or in rare circumstances where neither is appropriate we will arrange to issue you compensation or a full refund.
 
Yes, in very specific and rare circumstances in accordance with UK law, we will accept returns and offer refunds.
 
We do not accept returns for 'change of heart' situations where the artwork has been accepted by you on completion but on receiving it you decide the piece is not to your liking after all. Likewise, we cannot accept returns for artwork that has been made as a gift and the recipient does not like it. 
 
Once you have accepted and paid all funds due for a commission the transaction is considered complete and only subject to returns in circumstances as described below.
 
We will only accept returns for items that have been damaged in transit or have genuine, provable physical defects that were clearly made but not noticed before shipping arrangements were made. In accordance with UK law you have 30 days in which to file a complaint with us, return an artwork and claim a refund for a physically defective artwork.
 
Physical defects such as rips or holes or visible and notable surface marks that compromise an artworks quality will be considered reasonable grounds for a complaint.
 
As mentioned in the previous sections, issues with the physical likeness of the artwork to that of the completion photo that was provided will be considered on a case by case basis. We will usually aim to rectify these situations by altering the artwork free of charge but in rare circumstances we may offer compensation or a full refund. 
 
Refund payments will only ever be made once the artwork has been returned and examined by the admin team. 
We aim to provide top quality service to both our clients and our artists. If you feel we have failed to do at any point we would greatly value your feedback so we can always strive to improve and do the absolute best that we can.
 
If you have a complaint or a comment or just a bit of feedback - we want to hear it all; the good, the bad and the ugly.
 
You can write to us any time by email to [email protected] or use our online contact form to get in touch.
 
If you have further complaints and wish to speak to someone outside of our company you may write to the Ombudsman Services.

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Other Questions

How do I sign up to the monthly newsletter?

You can sign up by clicking this link.

Our monthly newsletter is to be packed full of the latest exciting news and information about our website, editorial write ups on our featured artists and articles relevant to both the pet and art industries. 
 
From time to time we will have competitions running, events happening and charitable causes we support that we'd love to tell you about too!
 
Also, as our little business grows we will be expanding the website to include some new lovely features like a rainbow bridge memorial page and a gift shop. 
 
If you would like to receive details of all of the above please do sign up now to get our monthly newsletter delivered directly to your inbox!
Please write to us at [email protected] or fill in our online contact form!

You can sign up by clicking here or visiting the artist registration link at the bottom of this page

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