Capturing the cuteness of Arlo the Kitten
How this cat portrait made for an extra special birthday gift
Arlo was a very new addition to his family when I was asked to draw his portrait. He was a rescue from the local cat shelter, and only five months old. Arlo completely stole his family’s heart right from day one. He was a teeny-weeny bundle of energy and mischief, with a larger than life personality.
I received a message from my client Rob asking if I could draw a portrait of Arlo as a surprise present for his wife Caroline. Her birthday was coming up and he knew it would make the perfect gift!
This would be the second portrait I would draw for Rob and Caroline. The previous year I had drawn their dog Lily, a beautiful and much-loved cocker spaniel. Rob and Caroline were over the moon with Lily’s portrait, and it was a real honour to be asked to draw a second portrait for them.
Finished portrait of Arlo, along with a close up showing the intricate detailing.
Before I started work drawing Arlo, I asked Rob to give me an insight into Arlo’s personality. I really had to chuckle when Rob described Arlo as “absolutely nuts!”. He has all the energy you’d expect from a little kitten, and more. With absolutely no fear, Arlo loves to scale to the highest heights of the household furniture. The more precarious and wobblier the better! Every little nook and cranny needs thorough exploration. Sometimes he’ll strike gold and find himself a lovely warm cosy den for a nap. Suitcases and shopping bags are particularly desirable.
Arlo also loves his cat naps and chill time. These are very important to recharge for the next adventurous excursion. He loves to stretch out on something soft and fleecy, preferably in the sunshine or by a cosy fire.
Some photos of Arlo and his daily escapades.
Crafting the perfect portrait of Arlo
Rob sent me a lovely selection of photos of Arlo to look through. We discussed various options and chose a reference photo of Arlo which captured him in a rare moment of calm! He had the most adorable expression on his face. His bright green eyes shone out with a mixture of contentment and pent up energy, ready for the next bout of excitement. We knew it captured him wonderfully, would make the perfect portrait.
The reference photo showed him snuggled in the arms of Caroline against her fleecy dressing gown. Knowing how much Arlo loved his fleecy blankets, I decided to include the fleece of Caroline’s dressing gown in the portrait, but make it look more like a blanket instead. The background colour was chosen to give the portrait an added sense of warmth and to bring out the pink tones in Arlo’s ears and paws.
A gift to treasure forever
Arlo’s portrait was to be a complete surprise for Caroline. I kept everything firmly hush-hush, and made sure not to post any progress images on my social media before the portrait was gifted.
Caroline’s birthday surprise was a fantastic success! She was completely over the moon with her special portrait of Arlo. It made for a fabulous gift, and is something she can cherish forever. Rob and Caroline had Arlo’s portrait professionally framed and it now hangs side by side with their portrait of Lily, their cocker spaniel.
You can see more of Arlo by following his Instagram page - @arlo_cute_kitten
Framed portraits of Arlo and Lily.
“We have just received our second portrait from Naomi, and can’t recommend her highly enough. The attention to detail in Naomi’s portraits is amazing, and yet again she has managed to capture our beloved pet’s nature perfectly. Thanks once again." – Rob Lincoln-Williams
Drawing Arlo's whiskers.