How Dogs Taught Me to Draw
They're an artist's best friend.
Office dogs were the best part of working at an animal shelter. I loved sharing my workday with canine coworkers. They were always thrilled by a break from the kennel, getting extra cuddles, walks and treats.
I'd tape signs the door to let humans know there was a dog in the office.
That daily ritual of sketching different dogs encouraged me to embrace quick, imperfect drawings. I never had time to redraw any of them or overthink color, line quality, or tone. It forced me to focus on the distinct features that set the dog apart, instead of trying to capture an exact likeness.
Rescue pets have always been a massive source of inspiration to me. They symbolize hope, compassion, and strength. The joyful feeling of watching them go home with their people is sublime. I love imagining where they'll go.
My own rescue dogs influence my daily practice. I find amusement in how Vigo crosses his paws or Charles’ tongue hangs out when he sleeps. I always have scrap paper or a sketchbook nearby so I can record those moments that make them unique. Those moments stay with you when developing your own authentic style.
Here’s a video of me drawing the very first photo of Reggie:
I applied to adopt him right there in the grocery store. A few days later, he was our new family member.
Rescues in your creative practice
Reach out a to rescue and ask permission to draw some of their photos online.
Visit a shelter to draw pets from real life!
I’m sharing some sweet character interaction process videos, along with feedback from my agent and edits I’m making along the way.
I’ve shared my process for illustration from The Secret Garden, and it’s giving me so many springtime vibes. I’ll show how I handle feedback and edits in the upcoming final video.
We’re drawing from this delightful Artists and their Cats book on Friday, and I cannot wait! Shoutout and thanks to my awesome cousin-in-law Caitlin for giving me this gem as a gift.