Bix the Hungarian Vizsla

Bix’s portrait was commissioned by as a birthday gift, so I’ve had to be very secretive about sharing any updates in case I spoiled the surprise.

He is a gorgeous Viszla, and although the client sent a number of photographs this was her favourite and mine too, as it really shows his gentle nature and handsome features.  

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Bix’s reference photograph.  I decided to crop the bottom part of the photograph and the collar was omitted at the client’s request.

The background in the reference photograph was stunning, and I was delighted when the customer requested to include it.

I began with a quick sketch of Bix’s head and shoulders

I thought the initial sketch crammed him in a little for such an active dog who looks ready to spring into action, so I decided to give him some more space by changing the orientation.  The portrait was to measure 10″ x 8″/25 cm x 20cm so by changing it to landscape I was able to add more background in and give him some breathing space.

I usually work on the background first, but with Bix’s portrait I found myself concentrating on his face first.

The finished portrait gave lots of space and background, but also was focused enough on Bix to lots of detail in there, all those wrinkles and dimples.  For this portrait I used Faber Castell pastel pencils on Daler Rowney Ingres pastel paper, with white and yellow ochre soft Unison pastel for highlights.  It measured 10″ x 8″/25cm x 20cm.

‘Bix’ by Gillian Ussher.  Pastel 10″ x 8″ 2016

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Published by gillianussherart

I am a pet and wildlife artist, originally from Ireland but now based in Frome, England with my husband and children, two rescue dogs Rua the Hungarian Vizsla and Ogie the blind terrier, and Jet the cat. I take commissions for pet portraits and draw original animal art, most of which is sold as fine art prints and art cards. I also teach others how to draw through online classes and short courses available through my website. I have been working as a full time artist for many years, and have fulfilled hundreds of pet portrait commissions. My client base is international, and I ship worldwide for free. My work has been featured in publications such as Dogs Today Magazine, Dogs Monthly, The Guardian, Talented Ladies Club and Country Living Magazine. I support animal charities whenever I can, by regularly donating art to various rescue group fundraisers, donating 20% of income from prints to various breed specific rescues and providing wildlife rescues and rehabilitations centres with original art to fundraise and create merchandise. If you are interested in purchasing or commissioning art, or if you just want to connect, you can contact

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