The pet sketch that started it all.

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” – Anatole France

In the process of finding my career as an artist, I one day sat down and drew just for myself. Of all the mediums and subjects I could choose from, I had been inspired to pencil sketch a portrait of my rescue dog, Jake. I then created a Facebook page, posted it and a friend and coworker reached out and requested one of her own. When presenting it to her at my day job, my boss saw it and asked about one for himself. When presenting it to him a customer had seen it and wanted a custom portrait for themselves as well. C.M.Maniet, after many years of searching, found her artistic inspiration right under her nose, a rescued animal companion whose name is Jake. Christina Maniet is a pet drawing artist who creates custom pet sketches as Pencil Smudge from emailed photos of people’s most loved furry companions. The creation of these pencil dog and cat portraits produces an experience for me that touches people’s soul and elicit goodwill and passion that people gain from the experience of caring for an animal. Pencil Smudge is a platform to share the many tales of tears, resilience, love and laughter told to me along my journey as a professional pet drawing artist. By supporting and bringing awareness of rescue organizations, I can now create those monumental life-changing relationships for animals and people who are in need of love.

About C.M. Maniet and her Pencil Smudge Teammates

C.M. Maniet


Christina Maniet’s pencil smudge dog and cat portraits in pencil portray a “play on contradictions” by capturing the look of stark realism while incorporating a whimsical flair. Born in Erie, Pennsylvania, she studied at the University of the Arts and Arcadia University where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Scientific Illustration. She currently resides in California where her and her team Jake, Rupert and Max are busy eating, sleeping, and creating art. This team consisting of three animal rescues are the direct influence into creating these one-of-a-kind custom dog and cat portraits and the promotion of rescue awareness.


Studio bodyguard and the face of C.M. Maniet’s Pencil Smudge

His past to his present has been a long road with past owners who miss him very much but realized his need for a big yard. His energetic passion for life is the inspiration behind C.M.Maniet’s career as a pet drawing artist through Pencil Smudge.


Project Supervisor

One of the cat partners of C.M.Maniet’s Pencil Smudge Pet Portraits, loves to sit and watch each piece of art being made. It is important to have this adopted feline’s stamp of approval before each dog or cat portrait is sent out.


Finder of lost pencils and erasers

A cat who wins the award for the best housefly catcher of all time. She was rescued from a shelter and her family greatly appreciates her and are in awe of her Mr. Miyagi-like skills.


Pencil Smudge Visionary

This cuddly rescue is always dreaming up the next big idea!


Tech Support

A PAWS Rescue feline and C.M.Maniet’s computer genius. Every time there is a problem Rupert is right on top of it.


C.M.Maniet’s Artistic Journey. The full story.


An adventure is not always a dangerous pursuit for a “holy grail”. An adventure can be a set of endeavors that challenge you, or the exploring of new interests, and all the while sitting inside your own house. Life can be filled with these exciting new adventures.

At an early age I was aware of my passion for drawing. I especially had a love for the hand-drawn Disney movies we all grew up watching in the 80’s. As far back as second grade, I decided that I would draw for a Disney film one day. My family encouraged me often. At the end of each movie we would wonder where my name would appear in the credits. Growing up I was always kept up-to-date with learning the latest computer advancements. Computer animation was growing rapidly. I was easily seduced by the wonders of technology, and where the future was headed in the world of animation. I decided an animator is what I would like as my career.

My next major step towards my dream of becoming an artist was attending college. There I majored in animation. I quickly realized that after spending many long and tedious hours on a computer, that animation was not my cup of tea. I wanted to get back to my most basic love of art. The love of drawing. An education in children’s book illustration seemed like the appropriate choice.

Through this study, I found that my style was not the popular choice amongst publishers. Children’s illustrations needed to be colorful and cartoon-like in style. My best work was realistic in appearance. I again switched my major to study scientific illustration. The scientific drawings of plants and animals seemed to compliment my artistic style. However, I found scientific illustration, in the real world, would be mainly creating computerized graphs and maps. Upon receiving my degree after five years and a pile of school loans, I was left feeling completely hopeless. My next focus would be to start paying off these school loans.

After graduating college I tended bar, rented an apartment and entered the “real world”. Despite not having a career in art, I felt satisfied. Hand-crafting over the top cocktails was a fantastic fit for satisfying my creative side. In my spare time I learned and accomplished many hobbies. I gardened, cooked, ran competitively, and of course made art. The art that I was creating at this time was purely experimental. I thought the solution to a professional career as an artist was to train myself to create art that would be sought out by publishers. I practiced and thoroughly researched color theory, watercolor, colored pencil, and computer graphics. After eight years of building my illustration portfolio, I was left with an unsatisfactory body of work. I was forcing my artistic style to conform to the needs of the professional world. I could not continue making art in this frame of mind any longer. My excitement and interest was in realistic, black and white pencil drawings. Since I had everything I needed in terms of lifestyle, I felt confident in taking a chance and seeing where my realistic pencil art would lead me. I joined local societies/clubs. I entered various fine art shows and exhibited. I dropped all other hobbies and focused wholeheartedly in introducing myself to the local artists in my community. I visited galleries and talked to owners. I attended art festivals and talked to vendors.

In connecting with the community, I finally found my niche in the world of fine art: I began drawing commissioned dog and cat portraits in pencil. The response I received from friends, family and the public was absolutely fantastic. I had created a way of turning my passion for drawing into a career I could feel fulfilled in.

My life has come full circle to the days I spent as a child wishing to draw professionally. I have found a way to draw and transform my skills into a career as a pet drawing artist. All my previous adventures are what has made me stand apart from other portrait artists. My experience with computers has made me successful in incorporating my fine art digitally through social media and the connecting with people on a larger scale. My education in illustration had sharpened my drawing skills and made me versatile within other mediums if ever needed. My bartending has taught me social skills, selling strategies, and connects me with the local individuals living and working in the community. All these skills I hold responsible for the growing of my Pencil Smudged Pet Portrait business. I cannot wait to see what the next great adventure is for me in the near future.

Read more about my experiences and inspirations as a freelance artist in my