On any given social media feed you’re bound to see a picture of someone’s pet. Having a pet is one of life’s greatest pleasures. They provide companionship, joy, humor, and more fun to everyday life. Humans have been proudly displaying their pets for thousands of years, and of animals in general for even longer. Roughly 600 pieces of art were found in caves throughout southern France. They depict different animals and the art is around 19,000 years old. However, domesticated animals weren’t shown in art until about 3500 BC. Those paintings were of goats and horses alongside their owners. The cats of Ancient Egypt were held in high regard and shown in artwork through sculpture, carvings and paintings. Later on, Greeks demonstrated their love for man’s best friend through art, especially mosaic tile. The Renaissance period is what ushered in what we know as a traditional portrait. Royalty and folks of the high court often chose to get their portrait done with their pet at their side or on their lap. Cats became a frequent muse for Asian art in the 1700s, but it wasn’t until the Victorian era that solo pictures of pets came to be. Cameras were still new to the world, and even taking a single photograph was an involved and expensive process. Nonetheless, people chose to get pictures of their four-legged friends taken – a testament to how important our pets have been to us throughout time.
Breanne Roberts is keeping in line with human tradition and creating pet portraits in a fun and modern way. The best part? No holding still for hours on end.
Breanne is a graphic designer based in Traverse City. While in school, she chose to do a pet portrait for a screen printing class assignment. She liked it so much that she kept the idea in the back of her mind for future freelance work. When she started freelancing in 2019, the pet portraits were a hit.
“It went like a whirlwind. It was amazing. I love our local community and I’m so thankful for the support.”
Her portraits are done digitally and with her own artistic style. Your pet won’t have to sit still and quiet to get it done either. To get a portrait of your pet done, all she needs is a few photos of your animal. She does a lot of dog portraits but is open to any pet you want to show some love to.
“The pet portraits offer such a variety. I just recently got to do a bearded dragon which is the most unique one I’ve done so far, it was so fun.”
Though pet portraits are her specialty, Breanne has created logos for local businesses and is open to all kinds of graphic design projects. She also creates stickers, prints, and really cool magnets made from vintage magazines.
“I’m honestly open to anything. If someone wants to come to me and throw an idea at me, I like the thought of being able to make your thoughts into a reality.”
Her own dog Malcolm, a Bichon Poodle mix, provides daily joy and inspiration, but Breanne has grown up with dogs for most of her life. As a kid, she thrived on artistic projects. An assignment in elementary school required students to create a Life Magazine cover. Breanne drew herself with a paint palette and a brush with green grass and a blue sky behind her. As an adult working as a graphic artist in beautiful Northern Michigan, I’d say she accomplished exactly what her 3rd-grade self had hoped for.
“I just wanted to combine the two things I really enjoy; working with art and working with animals.”
To make your pet a portrait star, you can reach out the Breanne through her Instagram account @breannekdesign, or you can email her at . Find her prints and stickers at West Bay Handmade and Moonstruck Gardens in Traverse City. To find her magnets, visit EB2 Vintage in Traverse City.
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