watercolor artistry


Reese, the pretty kitty featured here, was photographed by her mom, Katy Jones, and painted by watercolor artist, Alicia Betz of The Welcoming District.


Watercolor Pet Portraits – Great Photos Equal Great Paintings

Are you thinking about commissioning a watercolor portrait of your fur baby? Yay! I love painting pets! Before I start your painting, make sure to send me really good photos of your dog or cat. It actually only takes one if it’s a great photo, but I understand that sometimes it may take a few to show off their best features. Here are my tips (and requirements) for capturing your pet so I can paint them accurately.

Get on Their Level

Kneel down and take the photo on their level (or close to it). This helps me see their stance, belly markings, and natural posture.

On the left, a photograph of a Yorkipoo. On the right, a watercolor painting of a Yorkipoo by watercolor artist Alicia Betz of The Welcoming District.

Photograph by Milli’s mom, Rachel Hegarty.

Capture Their Eyes

Are they looking at you in the photo? I want to see their eye color and reflections. If their eyes just look dark, please take a closer photo.

Photograph by Katy Jones, Reese’s mom. It’s a perfect example of sending one photo for an accurate pet portrait!

Good Lighting

Does your photograph show their color and markings accurately? Poor lighting may make me think they are a different color than they really are. Natural light is best, but you can always send me a few if the photo ideal for their stance or head tilt isn’t well lit. Outdoor photos in even light like the one below are perfect!

On the left, and engagement photo of the couple and their Bassador, Luna. On the right, her watercolor pet portrait by Alicia Betz of The Welcoming District.

Luna was captured beautifully by Savannah Smith. The bride sent me a few other photos and Luna has her own Instagram account so I got to see her cute little stance on social media, too!


Do you want your pet’s collar in their photo? Or are they wearing an accessory? I don’t need to have this in the photo you send me, but I do need a written description. I recently had a bride request that her pup’s collar be painted the same color as her bridesmaids dresses. (So I received a photo of those from her as well.)

A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel photo on the left and a watercolor pet portrait by Alicia Betz of The Welcoming District on the left.

Photograph of Bingley by his mom, Amanda Reynolds. I love his bowtie! So dapper.

On the left, a photograph of the cutest Boxer pup at the beach. On the right, his watercolor pet portrait by artist Alicia Betz of The Welcoming District.

Beau wasn’t wearing a bowtie, but his human mom, Katy, requested one. Cuuuute! And not a problem that it wasn’t in his photograph.

How Many Images are Required?

Just one if it’s as good as any of the photos above, but that’s a challenge for some. I get it and understand if you need to send a few. These photos are important because there is a good chance I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting your pet and need to look at photos while I draw and paint. Me trying to guess how they look wastes a lot of time and I require good photos before your design week starts. Below is an example of how you may use a couple pictures to show off what you’d like painted.

Examples of good photos to send in for a watercolor pet portrait by Alicia Betz of The Welcoming District.

Terra’s photo on the left was used for her stance and the one on the right above the painting showed off her eyes and cute head tilt!

Unacceptable Photos

I don’t want to embarrass or make anyone feel bad, so I’m not going to show examples of unacceptable pet photos. But just one more thing before I get off my pet photo soapbox, if your pet gets hair cuts, please make sure the photo(s) is (are) with the way you want them painted. *Stepping down now.

Here are some last reminders, though, and a checklist to help you send a great photo!

A list of tips for taking photos of your pet for their watercolor pet portrait.

Get Started

Interested in getting your pet’s portrait painted? Click here to learn more or here to contact me. You may also email me at

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