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"Feetured" - Francesca Adams

Hi Readers! Welcome to our next instalment of the 'Feetured!' blog series, where we get to know more about the brilliant creatives and artists working in the North West of England.

We aim to build a safe and engaging networking space that will allow creatives across different art forms to find one another and spotlight the incredible talent right here in the North West!

The blogs will allow our 'Feetured' guests the chance to talk in more detail about their work or ongoing projects, and we hope our readers will not only keep up with the series but support these fantastic artists going forward!

Hi everyone! My name is Francesca, and I'm so excited to be part of this month's Feetured. I will use this blog space to talk about some important facets of commissioned portraiture before highlighting some important advice I have for anyone hoping to plunge into the industry.

That verb, 'to plunge', is rather apt when speaking of the portrait industry. So unlike other areas of the art world, it is sometimes tough to find a tentative way in – the only thing to do is take the plunge. My work, at its base, is for other people. I work to make sure I can visualise people's love for their animals, and it is rare that I ever do a full portrait for myself. It's essential to add your own style, flair and imagination to your work; you should not just do commissions on autopilot; an artist should do them. That is why I love my work so much; it is the culmination of my love for drawing and the love I know others feel for their animals.

My recent work is starting to get bigger and more complex as I gradually increase my client list, and I become more confident in making this work larger. I can entirely empathise with the oscillating dynamic between confidence and insecurity, especially with art. Days draw into nights when insecurity strikes. It sometimes seems impossible to finish a commission because it doesn't reach the photorealism I have come to attune my critical gaze. Criticism is significant. However, you shouldn't tear down your work before you've even finished it.

Unfinished work is the elephant in my studio, and I assume many others also have this uninvited guest! But why? Why are we so afraid of unfinished work? There is nothing wrong with stepping away and never coming back – in fact, some of my best work remains unfinished, pinned to a wall or hidden in a sketchbook. Their value lies in their unfinishedness. It gives room to imagine, to see mistakes without the weight of completion, to make art for the sake of it. And if I wanted to provide a single piece of advice to you, it would be just that, make unfinished art for you and no one else.

The world of portraiture relies on our ability to transfer the life we see onto the page in front of us and keep that life, keep it alive and caught in limbo, existing in paper forever. That's what I encourage anyone I meet to practice because we must be not just an artist but a sorcerer at times! If you want to get started in the portraiture business, there's no secret code, no hidden exams, no concealed barrier – start drawing. Start drawing, draw everything, draw from life and draw from photos.

You also need to price your work. Do some market research, see what other artists are charging and consider an appropriate fee; never price down your work. Along with the 'unfinished-work elephant', there's also the 'money elephant'. Don't undercharge; your talent is worth much more than your timid suggestions, I promise you! Many people shy away from speaking about such commercial matters, but it is, nonetheless, important.

Finally, my advice is simply to observe. Watch the animals around you: think about how they move and hold themselves; note their personalities! More than just examining your subject matter, take time to stop and watch the world go by in front of you - see how you can apply this to your art so it can breathe in the same life and energy.

This blog hasn't even scratched the surface of the portrait business, so if you have any questions about me, my work or how I work, please get in touch with me through Instagram (@fran_stripes_) or my personal email ( I would love to answer any questions you have! If you'd like to commission me to draw your beautiful pets, don't hesitate to reach out for a quote.

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