A local artist creates custom drawings so you can cherish your four-legged friends forever. Keep reading for the picture perfect details.
Cincy Chic: What is Patou Pet Portraits?
Brandi Maples, Founder of Patou Pet Portraits: Patou Pet Portraits is an art studio specializing in custom pet portraits created in your choice of graphite or colored pencils.
Cincy Chic: What inspired you to start the art studio?
Maples: I have always enjoyed drawing, being told as a child that I was a good artist. I never thought of it as more than a hobby – in fact, I went to graduate school for Art History, seeing myself as teaching art, rather than practicing it. The idea of drawing pets probably first came to me when our cat, Max, was dying. I used to sit with him at night to keep him company, and then decided I needed to draw him. I wanted to remember these quiet moments with him. Our pets are our family! A few years later, when we brought home a giant Great Pyrenees puppy (known as a Patou in France where they were first bred), I absolutely fell in love. As she grew into a gorgeous, long-haired white dog, I realized that she’d make such lovely drawings. In fact, pet portraits – either to celebrate a best friend, or to commemorate the life of a pet recently deceased, would be the ideal opportunity to bring together my interest in drawing and love of animals. Once I got started and did my research, I found that pet portraits (especially dogs) have been highly valued by the British for hundreds of years and that commissioning a drawing of your lap or hunting dog is as common as having family pictures taken is in America. I’d love to see this become a common practice here where we most certainly treat our pets as family.
Cincy Chic: Who’s behind Patou Pet Portraits?
Maples: I am the sole artist, which hopefully explains why clients sometimes have a decent wait when they order a custom drawing! I have a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and my Master’s in Art History from the DAAP program at UC. I am a self-taught artist and have been focusing on colored and graphite pencils for the past couple of years. I live in Madeira with my husband, two daughters, my dog Daphne, and two house cats, Gabriel and Maggie.
Cincy Chic: What is it that makes Patou Pet Portraits unique?
Maples: While there are lots of studios that will take stunning photographs of your pet, there are not many that do custom drawings. There is something special about having an artist draw your pet. When I draw a pet I study many reference photos to examine every detail, from fur color to the curls on their ears, to the shape of their eyes. I talk with customers about their pet’s personalities, and then I see this personality expressed in the multiple pictures provided by the client. The drawing I create is done from a single photo selected by myself and the client. I like my drawings to have a high level of realism – for clients to be amazed that pencils can create something so life-like. But, unlike a photo, you can still see pencil marks. There is no doubt that this is a drawing that was given a huge amount of time and attention to detail.
Cincy Chic: What types of services do you currently provide clients?
Maples: I create custom drawings only at this point. Prints can be made of any of the drawings I’ve done, although I’d like to create original drawings for the purpose of printmaking in the near future. I’ve done drawings for anniversaries, birthdays, sympathy, and holiday gifts. Most recently I created a drawing to be used on a wine label. Gift certificates are available and are great because the recipient gets to be part of the process! I always send progress pics to customers so they can see their drawing evolve.
Cincy Chic: What are your prices for a custom drawing?
Maples: Currently my prices range from $175 (for a 5×7) to $250 (11×14) for a standard drawing. Because my work is custom, prices can fluctuate depending on the number of pets or a larger size.
Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon for Patou Pet Portraits?
Maples: Yes, I hope so! When I can find some time outside of commissions, I’d like to create some original dog drawings and have prints made for sale online and locally. I’m also playing with the idea of having pillows made from my drawings and possibly Christmas ornaments and mugs. I know I’d love to have my coffee in a Great Pyrenees Mug every morning!
Cincy Chic: Where can readers go to learn more and follow along?
Maples: Right now the best place to find me online is on Facebook and Etsy. I keep these updated frequently. A website is in the works and when it is up and running, all of my Facebook followers will be the first to know. I am always happy to get emails and will answer any custom portrait questions fairly quickly.