With her first ever word being ‘dog’, it is no surprise that graphic designer Jane Morgan would end up in the pet portrait business. The talented young artist from the North East of England creates bespoke, stunning watercolour paintings in her spare time and has had people from the other side of the world asking for commissions.
Like many artists, Jane’s love for art was apparent at an early age, but her inspiration came from those with four legs and a waggy tail.
“My family have always had terriers growing up and ever since I was little I was always painting them. For Christmas, my mum actually gifted me a booklet of drawings I did of dogs from when I was a little girl – it was really cute”, Jane recalls.
“I studied art at GCSE and A level but I didn’t really enjoy it. We were always told what to draw, when I really just wanted to do my own thing. I was able to experiment with acrylics and other mediums at A level but after I was given a watercolour set from a neighbour, watercolour is all I’ve ever really known.”
It was three years ago that Jane received her first paid commission. She had shared a painting of a mother fox and her cubs online, and someone from Facebook contacted her to ask where she had brought it from. When Jane explained it was her painting, the person asked if she could paint one for them and it spiralled from there.
Jane’s beautiful use of watercolour has resulted people from all over the world to ask for commissions. “I’ve had commissions from Australia and quite a few from Texas! People will send me a commission by email or through Instagram, and I am always given a photo to work from.” Jane explains.
“I don’t have a specific process. The hardest part is drawing the figure, I usually start by drawing the shadowy bit, like the eyes and nose, and then from there it’s a bit like painting by numbers. Every piece is totally different.”
“I love painting spaniels and unusual breeds but I never know how the piece will turn out, it usually depends on how much time I spend on it. A painting can take two to eight hours.”
Jane has found painting to be a beneficial way to unwind at home, she explains.
“I do have a ‘proper job’ working in graphic design from Monday to Thursday, so painting is more of a hobby right now, but I’d love to do it full time one day. It’s a way to relax, I come home and let loose by painting. It’s also really good for mental health.
“I sometimes struggle with anxiety and feeling a little down in the dumps, at these times it’s important for me to keep painting. When I’ve completed a portrait and the customer is so enthusiastic it really gives me the pick me up I need, it’s very therapeutic to paint, I put on some relaxing music and get lost in my art.
“I really am grateful to have such a creative outlet that can help me when I’m struggling.”
Due to the new arrival of a Romanian rescue, Jane’s art had to be put on hold. However, having the tiny scampering feet of a Dachshund cross around is proving to be a great addition to Jane’s life.
“We’ve always had rescues, but it was my parents who did all the hard work. I’m finding the adjustment a little overwhelming at the moment, but Patsy is such a loving little girl and is bringing so much joy to our lives. She’s more than happy to sit by feet as I paint away, as long as I feed her the occasional treat!”
You can see more of Jane’s art on Facebook and Instagram at @JEM.Illustrations or by visiting her website.