Thank you Naomi for such a lovely drawing of my old Lab, Breaca. I am amazed how much detail there is in the drawing, down to the last hair. The more I study it the more I see. The amount of personality and character that you have injected into the drawing is amazing. Though you never met her you have managed to catch her true essence. Thank you.
As a Labrador owner myself I know what truly wonderful companions they are.
There are so many fabulous traits to a Labrador – her undying loyalty and the way she’ll follow you around everywhere you go. His joyful enthusiasm for, well, pretty much anything! Her triumph in being able to carry a huge log for the entire walk (the bigger the better). His sheer elation at seeing water and running into it at full pelt. Her love for affection and the abundance in which she gives back in return. His eager welcome to greet you when you walk in the door, tail wagging so hard it makes his bottom wiggle.
And of course, her love for food. Any food. Especially cheese.
I want to help you get the best out of your Labrador portrait so that it truly reflects the unique personality of your dog and captures everything she means to you.
So here are a few Labrador-specific tips to help.
(If you haven’t already, read through my Dog Portraits page for some more generalised advice.)
Photographing your Labrador
Being great food lovers, Labradors are often fairly easy to photograph. If your lab is proving a little camera shy, you’d be amazed at the difference a tasty incentive can make! Whether your Labrador is black, golden or chocolate, photographing her in good natural lighting will really bring out the colours in her coat and beautiful shape of her face. It will also allow me to see those gorgeous rich browns in her eyes.
I always recommend getting down at eye level with your lab if possible. This avoids any odd perspectives which can happen when pointing the camera down at her.
For some more tips on photographing your Labrador, read my photo guide.
What size should your Labrador portrait be?
There’s a lot to a Labrador, not just in personality but also in size! Being a large breed, you might want to consider the larger portrait sizes for your artwork, especially if you’re gifting a portrait and are looking for that wow factor. This will allow me to capture much more detail in your portrait so that it really springs to life.
As a guide, a head and shoulders portrait of your Labrador in my largest size (18 x 24 inches) would be life sized. To view my full range of sizes, read my size guide.
Choosing a background colour
Your Labrador’s personality can influence your portrait in a number of ways. When you think about your dog, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it having her snuggled up on the sofa with you? If so, then a warm cosy background colour could work well – creams or a warm stone colour for instance.
You might picture your lab out with you on a game shoot. Or diving into a pond to retrieve a ball. In which case, maybe a blue background would be best. Or a diffuse out-of-focus green foliage effect.
Something as simple as the background colour will help portray your lab in the environment where they’re at their happiest.
Choosing a pose
The pose that you choose for your portrait can say a lot about your dog, so choose something that you feel reflects his personality well. If he’s a laid-back lab that loves to chill you might opt for a lying down pose.
Labradors in particular have really perfected that loving expression so Labrador portraits often work well when they’re looking right at you.
If your lab is a die-hard swimmer, you may opt to have him drawn with wet fur, fresh from the lake! Perhaps she’s a highly trained gun dog and you’d like her clutching her training dummy in her mouth.
The images below will give you a few ideas for your own Labrador portrait.