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An Incredible Pet Portrait From Jess Ridley Art

I got in touch with Jess Ridley after I came across her amazing animal portraits. Jess primarily gets commissioned for cat and dog portraits but also has a wonderful array of wildlife artwork inspired by her trip to Africa. I asked her to draw my golden retriever, Jofra, and I’m incredibly excited to share with you the results. I also asked Jess a few questions about her work.

How did you get started in pet portraits? Is it something you’ve always been interested in?

My whole life has been dedicated to performing, so it’s safe to say that I never saw drawing becoming as important in my life as it is now! Alongside my lifelong training in musical theatre, I drew purely as a hobby. I loved drawing as a child and would draw everything from the candlestick on the living room table to school portraits of my brother. In fact, some of my earliest (and perhaps best) pieces were crayon on wallpaper – much to the dismay of my parents! Drawing was always something that I found therapeutic. I never really envisioned it becoming such a large part of my life.

A trip to Africa provided me with a huge amount of inspiration to create some wildlife pieces that caught attention on social media and so I began my small business. I had only ever created drawings as gifts for friend and family but quickly realised there was a demand for portraits of the lovely furballs we share our lives with.

Pet portrait Jess Ridley

What is the most challenging aspect of drawing pets?

The most challenging aspect of creating a pet portrait is working with the customer to get the right reference photo. Animals are notoriously tricky to get to stay still, but getting a clear, well lit, high-quality reference picture really is the key to a good portrait. Creating features that can not be seen in the reference photo (for example if part of it is blurry) is something I find very challenging.

Why is graphite or charcoal your go-to medium? What do you like about them?

Graphite has been my go-to medium simply because it is what I began drawing with as a child. It was a natural progression from scribbling on printer paper with a HB pencil from the kitchen drawer to where I am now. I only bought my first ‘proper’ drawing pencils in my teens and used to draw with whatever I found around the house. I have always loved the effect of monochrome pieces but hope to branch out into pastels soon to add a different element to my wildlife and pet portraits.

Pet portrait Jess Ridley

How has your artwork evolved over the years? What have you learnt in the process?

Although I took art GCSE, I would say everything that I have learnt about drawing has been through trial and error. There are hours of tutorials on youtube as well. Practise really is what it is all about and I truly believe anyone can draw if they have a structured approach and time to dedicate to it. I learn something new with every portrait I create.

One of the biggest challenges is knowing when to stop! Once I have finished a piece I will often hide it away for a few days and come back to it with fresh eyes before deciding it is complete. My biggest lesson has been that patience is very important. It takes a while for a piece to take shape and it has taken me a long time to have patience with the process.

Pet portrait Jess Ridley

Interested in a portrait? Get in touch with Jess Ridley via her website: or email

Don’t forget to follow her on Instagram and Facebook for the latest updates.

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Gift Guides

24 Purrfect Presents For Pet (& Pet Lovers)

Looking to treat your pet? Whether it’s a new food bowl, some tasty treats or cute new wardrobe addition, there are some wicked gifts out there to spoil your furry friend. I’ve also added in some bits and bobs for pet-lovers too.


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For Dogs

Large Taster Hamper, Different Dog


Everyone loves a hamper, so I’ve no doubt your dog would be delighted with this Different Dog hamper too. It’s packed with nutritious seasonal recipes, slow-cooked lamb bone broth and packs of dog food.

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Plain Dog Leads, The Jambo Collection


Sometimes I’m a fan of keeping things simple and you know these leather dog leads are going to stay sturdy and last you a long time. Plus, you can mix-and-match with any colours of collar or bowtie!

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Medium Dog Basket One-Of-A-Kind, Wovenology Baskets


This is a dog basket you’d be happy to have on display anywhere your home. I really love its vibrant colours. It comes in small, medium or large to best suit your dog.

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Handmade Glazed Dog Bowls, Reg & Bob

From £30

I love the ethos behind Reg & Bob: ‘dogs should be dogs’. From this, they’ve developed a simple and practical range of collars, leads, bowls and bags.

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Blue Collar, Reg & Bob

From £17

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Cotton Rope Bed and Blanket Bundle, The Dandy Dog Company


A great one if you’re short on space or looking for a bed that isn’t too bulky, pad out this boho cotton rope bed with a blanket in the cooler months or use without when it’s warmer.

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Dog Collar Mustard Yellow with Bowtie, Ollie & Co England


Make yours the smartest (and most stylish) dog on the block with this mustard bowtie. Handmade in the UK from 100% Scottish wool.

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The Ball Bag, The Distinguished Dog Company


Dogs are always in need of new tennis balls. Add an extra special touch with this personalised bag from The Distinguished Dog Company.

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Luxury Oval Wicker Dog Settee, Prestige Wicker


Remind them who is top dog with this brilliant wicker dog settee. It’s stylish, functional and very sturdy.

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Zhivago Dog Carrier, Hugo & Otto


This luxurious faux-fur dog carrier is ideal for transporting your little dog anywhere. Plus, it doubles up as a portable dog bed.

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Dog Meal Plans, Butternut Box

See website for prices

Butternut Box tailors food packages exactly to your dog’s needs. Fill in the questionnaire that asks for your dog’s breed, measurements, level of fussiness and other preferences and Butternut provide you with food your dog likes and needs.

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Indian Print Fabric Neckerchief, The Dandy Dog Company


I am loving the whole collection of neckerchiefs from The Dandy Dog Company but this Indian print one is definitely the most eye-catching.

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Tartan Waxed Waterproof Dog Coat, Mutts & Hounds


A very practical one for the winter weather, this waxed coat will keep your mutt dry all-year-round. Plus it has a fleece lining to keep your pet warm too.

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Looking to update your wardrobe, buy a gift or treat yourself?

You will find a gorgeous range of jewellery, accessories and clothes on TLM Edit, all hand-picked by The London Mummy.

Natural Dog Paw Bam & Dog Toothpowder, Ollie & Co England


Ollie & Co has a wonderful collection of dog shampoos, cleansers, and toothpaste. This toothpaste is all-natural, vegan and comes in eco-friendly packaging.

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‘Pure Paws’ Original Organic Dog Shampoo, Purelight Botanics


Not only is this shampoo luxurious, but it’s also a brilliant all-rounder: it restores shine, uses antiseptic, contains a natural insect repellant and it’s great for sensitive skin. Perfect for any pampered pooch!

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Large Dog Blanket, Herringbone & Plaid – requested image


Blankets are essential for dog owners. Whether you’re protecting furniture or car seats, making your dog cosy and comfortable, or drying them off after a walk. Herringbone & Plaid has a great array of options.

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For Cats

Wooden Cat Bowl, The Wood Life Project


Not only do wooden bowls look really good, but they’re also naturally antibacterial. Suitable for wet and dry food, these bowls from The Wood Life project are sustainably-sourced and made from British trees. Available for cats and dogs.

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Two Tier Wicker Cat House Basket, Prestige Wicker


This is a pretty fancy cat house! With two tiers, they can take their pick between relaxing on top or hiding underneath. Prestige Wicker has some brilliant pet carriers too.

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Mini Pet Bowl, From The Oaktree


These bowls and super sturdy and I like that you can easily remove the stainless steel bowl to easily wash it. Plus, the personalisation element is always a winner.

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For Pet Owners

Pet Portraits, Jess Ridley

Contact Jess for prices

How fantastic are these? Send Jess a photo of your pet and she will bring them to life on the page using graphite or charcoal. Click on the link below to see more examples.

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Neon Walkies Sweater, The Distinguished Dog Company


Wrap up for your dog walk in the wonderful ‘Walkies’ sweater. Cosy, slouchy and made from organic cotton.

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Original Framed Pet Portrait, Maggie’s Needle


There’s something truly vibrant and refreshing about these portraits from Maggie’s Needle.

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Cat Lovers Personalised Pet Portrait Print, Florence & Ottie


A really fun print for cat lovers, send a photo of your cat and pick on outfit choice, then Florence & Ottie will get to work hand-drawing and digitally printing your bespoke print.

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Pet and Children’s Studio Portraits, Carlotta Maitland Smith

Usually £260, quote LONDON MUMMY for £80 discount*

Carlotta creates beautiful pet portraits which truly capture your pet’s personality in a contemporary light. I highly recommend checking out her Instagram, @carlottamaitlandsmith, for further fantastic examples of her work.

*Quote LONDON MUMMY for the discounted rate of £180 (from £260). This includes a pre-shoot discussion for a full understanding of your pet and your wishes, the shoot itself and 4 digital high-resolution images beautifully edited and retouched. This gives you the full flexibility to make as many prints as you like, where and when you like. Should you prefer for your print needs to be taken care for you, Carlotta also offers this service.

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Dog silhouettes, Sophie Ziegler

From £175

I love that these are something a little different. You can keep these prints strictly pets or get the whole family printed in silhouette.

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Personalised Cat Socks, Solesmith


A simple (yet quirky) gift to pass onto any with a feline friend. Get the cat’s name printed onto the socks too!

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