Drawing Bradley the British Shorthair cat
“…the end result was more than we could have expected.”
Bradley’s ‘Mum’, Jeanette, contacted me in late 2019 after she’d seen my portraits on Instagram. She’d followed my work for some time and decided that she’d love to have her own portrait of her adorable boy Bradley.
Bradley is a British Shorthair cat, and a rather good looking one at that. Jeanette included some gorgeous photos of him, and I could see instantly that he was a real character. I asked if she could do a little write up for me explaining all about Bradley. Getting an in-depth knowledge of his characteristics would be key to enabling me to capture his true personality in the portrait.
Finished portrait of Bradley.
A bit about Bradley
On receiving Jeanette’s write up of Bradley I had to chuckle. He sure did have a unique personality! Here are some fun facts I learnt about him:
Favourite food: Mayonnaise (although it has to be Hellman’s!) Turkey slices also go down a treat – the wafer-thin ones though, nothing too chunky.
Favourite hobbie: Birdwatching
Favourite toy: ‘Bunny’ – his dearest possession that he regularly practises ‘killing’. (It’s a love-hate relationship!)
Bradley is very much a people kind-of cat. He follows his family around everywhere, like a little shadow. He takes his role as household supervisor very seriously, and has to closely monitor all activity, whether its bed making or dinner prepping. If ‘Dad’ is away with work, Bradley will keep a watchful eye on ‘Mum’ at night-time by lying on top of her (although on occasion he’s drifted off and woken up on the floor!) He also likes to keep his humans physically fit, so every now and then he’ll take them for walks around the garden using his lead. Bradley has his humans very well trained; they know to keep all windowsills in the house free of clutter, so that he can park his backside there for birdwatching duties.
Some of Bradley's daily activities.
Showing off Bradley’s best features
As well as capturing Bradley’s special personality in the portrait, Jeanette was keen that the drawing showed off her favourite features of him. She told me how she loves his thick coat, and the way his fur parts to give a crackle-like texture. She loves the fine wisps of fur on the top of his ears. And, of course, his incredible eyes. We also discussed how Bradley’s fur colour appears quite different in some photos than others. In certain lighting, he looks much bluer than he actually is. Jeanette sent me some photo references to show that his true fur colour is a much warmer tone.
We discussed multiple options for the composition of Bradley’s portrait, and found a reference photo that captured him perfectly. We decided on a full body portrait to show off his glorious thick coat. As Jeanette was short on wall space, an 8 x 10-inch portrait would be the perfect size.
Bradley seeing his portrait for the first time.
A special delivery
I took several photos of the drawing at different stages of progress, and posted them up on my social media channels. Jeanette was so excited to see the regular updates.
Once the drawing was complete, it was carefully packaged and shipped off to Jeanette. Bradley was very curious when the package arrived. The box it came in looked particularly exciting, and he decided it would make a very comfy bed. It was just his size!
Luckily, Bradley highly approved of the portrait as well, and put on his best pose for the camera. Jeanette was over the moon with it, and excitedly took it off to the framers. It was lovely when Jeanette sent me some beautiful photos of the framed portrait a few weeks later. The frame choice complimented the portrait beautifully.
You can see more of Bradley (and his adorable kitten companion Lyra) on his instagram page - @bradley_bsh
Bradley's portrait back from the framers.
“I came across Naomi on Instagram and immediately knew that I wanted her to do a portrait of our British Shorthair Blue Cat Bradley.
I kept an eye on Naomi's work over a period of a few weeks before approaching her. I asked a few questions and she made me feel so at ease with her reply.
She asked for a selection of good quality photos and then amazingly she wanted to hear about Bradley. She wanted to get a feel of his personality. She took everything on board and the end result was more than we could have expected.
Be assured, if are looking for trained; they that special person to do a portrait of your special pet, don't look no further. She is a lovely person, who will make the whole process very very special.
Thanks Naomi... Looking forward to a new portrait with Lyra xxxxx” - Jeanette Michael
Drawing Bradley's eyes.