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Custom Pet Portrait

Pet Portraits Review - A Merryvaluation
by Angie McKaig

I think one of our favorite things to review is pet portraits. It's such a wonderful way to commemmorate your wee furkid, and I love seeing how someone so creative chooses to interpret the world's Princess of Pugs. So many different perspectives, allowing me to see the princess in a different light each time.
It's why we were thrilled when the talented Jamie Pflughoeft of Decopaw Art (and also Cowbelly Pet Photography) told us she wanted to create a Decopaw original of the princess.

Like many companies who offer their portraits nationally, Decopaw can use pre-existing client images. Those living in the Seattle area also have the option of scheduling a custom photo shoot to get just the right photo. But since we already have a huge cache of images of the princess pug (aka the Merrylog), we were able to let Jamie loose in the collection to see what caught her eye. (It's always great to see which photos artists choose. Tells us so much about their art!)

Like many artists, Jamie fell in love with the patented head tilt that has made Merry such a favorite. The photo: a picture of the pug at age 3 wearing an adorable pink polo shirt. The choice of color wasn't lost on me either - pink, naturally, since it is the signature color for the little furry diva.

Decopaw pieces are some of the more interesting digital art we've run across: they're graphically enhanced pet photographs, custom designed for each client. They start with an initial image, enhance it, and then add their own backgrounds, design elements, colors and more to the piece. Each piece comes with four initial unique proofs (created from 2 different images chosen by the client), and revisions can happen at any stage of the process. Once the photos are chosen, Decopaw asks you (the client) to fill out a contract for the work - asking you to include information about your pet and their personality, your color preferences, design styles you're hoping for, whether or not you'd like to see complex design details like flowers, stars, or other elements added. Decopaw can even match up color schemes with your home - just mail them paint samples.

The finished piece can be printed on fine art paper, or - and this was the option we really liked - on gallery-grade stretched canvas. The finished piece, particularly in the latter option, looks just like a custom original painting and is ready to hang. Either option has many different sizes available; we chose a 16x20 gallery-grade canvas for Merry's piece. The edges were painted black.

We will warn you of one thing: it's darned tough to choose from the mockups. Jamie had sent us several to choose from, as the agreement stated, and it was a tough call which one we liked best. Be prepared to gather a few friends around your computer to check out the proofs & help you decide. :) She was very helpful - making changes when we asked, suggesting other ideas that might work. It was a very integrative, collaborative process that really made me feel included - a very valuable feeling to me!

The finished piece was beyond our expectations. It really does look and feel like a painting - vivid colors, lovely texture to the canvas showing through the piece. The black edges were a marvellous touch. And the design itself - as you can see - is just lovely. A wonderful springtime medley of flowers surround the princess, matched exactly to her polo shirt, while teeny butterflies flit in the corners. I was also impressed with the enhanced photo itself - it brought out the highlights in Merry's eyes and face as well as the details in her facial folds much better than the original photograph did.

In all, I was overjoyed with both the finished piece and the process that we went through with Decopaw. If you're looking for something more modern and colorful than "traditional" portraits, this is absolutely right up your alley. Our Decopaw art piece will be proudly displayed in my office for years to come.

You can find out more about Decopaw from their web site at

Site Map | Site Credits: Ecreativeworks