My name is Louise Jarvis, I am a professional animal artist based in Perthshire, Scotland.
How long have you been a professional animal artist?
I have been working full time for the past four years. I graduated in 2006 from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, in Dundee with a BA Degree in Illustration and Printmaking. I spent six years studying art beyond Secondary school level, undertaking many night classes along side my degree to get the most out of my time as an art student.
What got you into art?
I knew from about the age of 4 that I wanted to be an artist. I could draw animals, especially horses fairly accurately for as long as I can remember. I loved the freedom that art brought and the ability to turn a flat piece of white paper into a work of art using only a pencil, pen or paintbrush. It let me escape into a world of my own, the only limit was my own imagination. While other kids were out playing I was sitting drawing. It gave me a lot of joy and it continued from there.
What is your favourite subject to draw/paint?
I am a canine art specialist, i.e most of my work is dog related. I love the difference between breeds of dogs from a tiny chihuahua to a great dane, no two breeds are the same and everyday I get to work on such different subjects within the canine world. I also love horses and as a young girl dreamt of owning a horse of my own, I put my dreams onto paper and the reality is I became too busy to own a horse due to the demand for my work however the dream is still a very real one. For now I get to draw and paint the most beautiful horses and that is really exciting for me.
What mediums do you work in?
When I started my business in 2010 I began with pastels as these were my preferred medium at art school. They are dusty, messy and you get your hands dirty. It feels like a proper medium and once you have finished you look like you have been working! The price range for pastels is £300 and up, although the most realistic of the mediums, the market required a cheaper alternative so in 2012 I started the "Sketchy". The "Sketchy" was a product I came up with which was pen and watercolour sketches of pets for people which over the last two years now contribute to 80% of my work. Pen and watercolours are a cheaper alternative to pastel, they are affordable for people wanting a portrait of their pet without a massive price tag, they also get a piece of art with my name on it and I found this was also a big selling factor to their popularity. Pen and watercolour portraits start at £75. At the other end of the spectrum I also offer Acrylic/Oil paintings, these are the creme de la creme. They take a long time to complete due to the drying and layering process, they are painted on canvas and are the most traditional medium, they start at £550 and go up from there.
Where can we see your work?
My work is mainly based online and on social media. I have 10,000+ followers across Facebook and Twitter and a huge supportive network including many followers who have followed me from the beginning. I am always promoting my work and have a very strong online presence. I have done a lot of shows in the past as well as Open Studio events but for me the internet is my main outlet. I have a website with an online shop. I think the fact I post progress photos of my work on Facebook and Twitter means that customers can follow my work in the making, see the feedback from previous customers and feel confident that I will produce a quality product for them. I am very pro-active and I feel customer satisfaction is key to having a good business. I interact with my customers a lot and have fantastic support from my followers. I am very fortunate that I have collectors all over the world and have my work in no less than 17 countries. I still feel very honoured when I am commissioned to do a portrait of a client's loved pet. The buzz I get is still as strong as when I first started. There is no better job in the world and to hand over a portrait of a dog or horse that has passed away and they owner is moved to tears. It makes the hard work so rewarding to see how much it is appreciated.
What are you plans for the future?
I have a full book of commissions until April 2015. I am very fortunate to have a lot of work booked in and I will continue to do customer commissions as normal. I am also working on a very exciting project "The world of dogs - An artist's perspective" It was an idea I came up with two months ago. I set myself a target to make an art book covering as many breeds of dogs as I could do within a six month period. I have had an overwhelming backing by customers, top show kennels, as well as interest from the media on the project. The book features pedigree dog breeds, from the top winning Crufts show champions to your loved home pets. The aim was to show dogs, through art, living everyday lives. The aim was to show breeds and capture the character of as many breeds as possible. This year alone I have managed to cover no less than 100 breeds. Next year I plan to repeat the project again but to cover every breed of dog that I never managed to do this year as well as some I have already done. The aim is to release the book at the end of Feb/beginning of March in time for Crufts 2015 where I have already lined up one stand to sell the book for me with a percentage going to their charity. I am also working closely with the Dogue de Bordeaux Welfare raising money for them. The breed is one close to my heart and I have already raised over £250 for the charity with more expected over the next week or so. I designed their charity Christmas Cards and have had an amazing number of sales and support from that. My aim for 2015 is continue doing the work I love and to continue producing art that customers love.
Website - www.louisejarvis.co.uk
Facebook - www.facebook.com/louisejarvisart
Twitter - www.twitter.com/louisejarvisart