If there’s one thing I can’t get enough of, it’s artwork featuring cats. Because, after all, they’re effortlessly beautiful and cat art can really catapult their beauty to the next level. For one immensely talented artist out of Serbia named Ana Milosevic, she uses her creative skills and talent to transform our feline friends into purrfectly regal works of art. I came across her impressive work on Instagram and immediately contacted her hoping to learn about her work and feature her on the site. Thankfully for me, she agreed, so everyone enjoy learning about her creative process and enjoy viewing some of her best portraits.
What gave you the idea to start creating these whimsical portraits?
I love all anthropomorphic art. The idea of combining these old iconic portrait paintings with pets has always made me laugh but I haven’t thought of doing them myself until recently. Just before the Covid19 struck I was actually working on another business idea that involved making handmade paper and designing aesthetic wedding invitations. When the lockdowns were imposed that idea had to go on hold due to the cancellation of social gatherings so it was a difficult time for me. I wanted to cheer myself up a bit so I remembered how joyful this idea was to me. I am a pet owner, a proud mom of two cats (Cheetah the tabby girl, and Mrki the black boy) and I started researching businesses that do these types of portraits.
As I have a degree in graphic design I was disappointed by the lack of quality and effort in every portrait I came across. It seemed to me that no one paid attention to details and I said to myself – Ana you can do this much better! So that’s actually how it all started. The first two portraits I made were of my furbabies Cheetah and Mrki and I thought that I could try out a couple more and eventually started sharing the portraits on Instagram in hopes to brighten up someone else’s day.
The beginning was not easy as I had to start with 0 followers on Instagram but as time went by more and more people seemed to be enjoying my work and that’s what kept me going. Of course, the more portraits I was doing the more my skills improved and I think that people appreciated seeing the effort I invested in Petification. After some time I added a second portrait style – a digital watercolor, as I think it is a beautiful everlasting memorial art. Now I stand proudly behind every portrait I make.
What is your design process like?
I love to have the opportunity to choose the outfit myself and design the portrait from scratch. First I start with deciding on what is the best photo I have. Ideally, people would send me a bunch of good-quality photos with different poses, which I must admit doesn’t happen too often. Sometimes my customers have a limited number of pet photos in situations where they want to surprise their loved ones and not spoil the surprise or unfortunately, the pet has passed away and they don’t have an opportunity to take more photos.
After choosing the overall best photo of the pet, I look through all of my outfits to see which of them are a match to the pose of the pet. I am constantly adding new outfits so I have a large collection at this point. One of my favorite things is matching colors! For example, if I get to do a portrait of a tuxedo kitty I love putting them in a black and white tuxedo. It looks so natural because we already expect to see those colors and I think it takes anthropomorphism to a whole new level. My most noted works were always the ones that I color-matched so I know I’m not the only one pleased by that.
Of course, I am always open to suggestions and my customers are starting to be very good at choosing the outfits themselves! Sometimes the only thing I will suggest is maybe changing the color of the outfit to match the color of the pet’s eyes which I find to be very aesthetic as well.
Although I use Photoshop as a tool to create my digital art, I must highlight that all my portraits are handmade. I am drawing with a graphic tablet and pen and one portrait can take up to 3.5 hours to make. Even though I use one photo as the main image for the portrait I am constantly referencing other photos I have. It’s very often that the best photo for the portrait is missing some details or the colors are completely off so I love to get a good range of photographs to try to capture as many details as I can.
The part I enjoy the most is shading and highlighting. I think that it truly brings another dimension to the portraits and brings them to life.
I see that you’ve created portraits with dogs and cats, have you ever made a portrait of another type of animal?
So far, most of my artwork is dedicated to cats and dogs, but I also made portraits of bunnies, mice, squirrels, and even bearded dragons. There really are no limitations when it comes to animals. I like new challenges so I enjoy making something completely different and new. I am actually planning of doing a wild and domestic series of portraits with bears, tigers, horses, pigs, etc. in the near future. I’m really hoping my online community will find them entertaining as well!
Can you share with me some of your most memorable pieces?
Even though it’s one of my early works I have to mention the portrait of a Russian Blue beauty named Nenya. When I made her portrait I knew I found my style. I have since improved my skills drastically and my portraits are more detailed but this one is so close to my heart as it was the beginning of my magical gallery.
There were also some very funny moments where I made my cats marry each other to announce my marriage or when I took Keith and Winky (two IG cats) on a date for Valentine’s.
A few of the more recent works that I would love to mention are of course Mauri and his cucumber; Miss Kayla, a snowshoe that brought the first snow of the year to my town; Sir Oreo in his tuxedo; the golden calico beauty from France and the Roman Empress Livia. Of course, I can’t forget Little Guy 1 Eye, a gorgeous tabby boy whose portrait is my profile picture on Instagram! I could go on and on but I think this is a good time to stop and invite people to visit me on Instagram (@petification) and find more of my whimsical portraits.
What’s something special you’d like for people to know about the art that you create?
I put my heart and soul into every portrait I make and dedicate the same focus and attention to each detail. I’m giving my best to exceed my customers’ expectations with each and every step along our journey in creating their pet’s masterpiece. My intention is to make highly realistic portraits that will evoke the happiest feelings in all of my customers and bring the brightest memories of their animal companions so I am trying to capture the pets’ authentic character and portray their finest image that will last forever.
As a participant in several pet charity actions, I’m also always open to taking part and inspiring others to participate in different animal-related charity activities. I know it doesn’t make a huge difference but it is a step towards spreading kindness and making this world a safer and better place for our pets and animals and that is very important to me.
Also, something that not a lot of people know is that my art helps me to take care of a feral cat family that lives in my neighborhood. Every portrait I make is helping me feed them daily.
I see that you’re located in Serbia, do you ship worldwide?
I am located in Novi Sad, Serbia, but I print and ship my portraits (canvas and poster prints) from the USA. For now, I ship printed portraits to the USA, Canada, the UK, Spain, France, Italy, and Germany. I also sell my portraits as digital, print-ready, high-resolution files that can be ordered worldwide, so customers can use them digitally or print them locally and that way support small print shops as well.
I’d like to give a special “thank you” to Ana for taking the time to offer such detailed responses to my questions. I hope you enjoyed learning about her creative process and viewing her lovely work. For more on Ana’s work, check her out here on Instagram, and view her store here on Etsy.
All Images Courtesy of Ana Radosavljevic – Petification Studio