Doing custom pet portraits also mean I get the chance to hear about all the beautiful stories about the pet owner and their pet. This year, I have decided to start documenting what I've learned with each drawing. I hope you will find joy in them as much as I had.
Here is a little story of Zoe's adventure as told by her lovely owner Leonie.
Name: Zoe 16 | Owner: Leonie
Once when she was 6 months old I had her spayed on a Friday so I could look after her over the weekend. When I came home from work the following Monday she had disappeared. I searched and searched for her for many days but alas to no avail. Despite advertising in newspapers and local radio as well as notices on the waiting room notice boards of every local vet, she had simply disappeared. Ten days passed I received a phone call at work from my local police station saying they thought they might have my cat.
Seemingly Zoe had staggered in through the automatic doors during the night shift. She had been tied up around her neck with wire and was badly cut. She was emaciated and was skinny. One of the policemen on duty had taken her the next day to the closest vet to get treatment IT WAS MY VET who had spayed her only 2 weeks before, he recognised their veterinary tattoo in her ear and suggested the policeman check the noticeboard for my phone number!
I raced out of work to the police station and there was my little girl. She was running around their back office and hiding. When I called her name she came out from under a desk and took a huge leap onto my shoulder....she purred and snuggled into my neck...I cried... the 2 policemen were emotional............LOL... it was a general sob fest!
Zoe was home.
Clearly, someone had taken her for their own. But she had escaped and clever girl, went to the police LOL
Apart from going away on holidays when she stayed with my parents or I had a house sitter, she never left my side after that until she passed away of old age 16 years later.
PS. The really nice ending to this story. I bought a lotto ticket and posted it with a thank you note to the policeman who had taken her to the vet and cared for her. He'd refused to take payment for the vet bill and the cat food he'd bought. He called me 2 weeks later to say he'd won $1500 :) Karma.
I was recently commissioned to do a series of three drawings for a nursery. The brief was to create something that not only goes well together but also provide meaning to the family and newborn.
After a bit of brainstorming, we decided to do a drawing of the family pet, the letter M with a wooden block which hints to the baby's name and a toy monkey with an AFL football as the baby was born in the year of the monkey and AFL is the father's favourite sport.
I’ve been drawing pet portraits for well over two years now, and it has only occurred to me that I have never really blogged about the process. Whenever I receive a pet portrait commission, I start by mocking up how the drawing will look on the computer. As animals are quite fickle, it is very rarely that I receive a perfect photo to draw from. So instead, I very often have to create a final mock up from cutting and pasting from various photos gathered.
For this pet portrait, it was important to capture Ollie’s cheeky side but we couldn’t find a good enough photo of her sticking her tongue out. So instead, I google references of dogs with their tongue sticking out and photoshop it on the image instead. Same with the collar, I simply source the collar from another photo and paste it on top.
After the mock up, I then sketch a rough outline on paper to set the layout. This step is very rough, it is more for me to plot the major elements like eyes, nose on paper to make sure everything is in the right proportion.
Once I’m happy with the layout, I will then work on the final drawing. I often start with the most prominent or important area as it is important to get it right. You don’t want to spend hours working on the non essential areas and then having to start again because the eyes look wonky or out of place. This is also the part of the drawing where I spend the most time as it can often make or break the drawing.
It is also important to note that drawing takes a lot of time, I often work on a drawing in hour blocks, as I notice the quality of my drawing can deteriorate if I don’t take proper breaks. It also help you see your drawing with fresh eyes when you start on it again.
The rest of the body usually come together pretty quickly, the trick here is to not over work the drawing and work in layers to develop depth which I will talk further about in a future blog post.
Those of you who have been following me on Facebook or Instagram would have known that this has been my passion project for quite some time. The idea of turning my pencil drawings into repeats for textile has always been appealing to me and I’m pleased to say that it is finally a reality.
The sample arrived last night and it turned out so much better than I imagined. The silk has such a beautiful weight and drape, and the print is simply stunning. You can literally see each pencil stroke on the fabric!
As this is my first time dipping into the world of fashion accessories, I will only be printing a small run to get an idea of whether it is something worth pursuing. (I’m double crossing everything to hope that it is) I will be sending an order to the printer on Monday, but thought I’ll offer a pre-ordering service until this Sunday. That way you can make sure you won’t miss out.
Each scarf is 100& silk, it is semi-sheer and will be hand finished by local makers. All pre-orders will receive free shipping and the expected arrival will be mid-late November, just in time for the festive season.
On July 14, 2015 I celebrated the last day of The 100 Day Project, which was arguably one of the most ambitious projects I’ve ever participated in. For 100 days, I was tasked with doing a pencil illustration of a flower, finding out it’s symbolism and posting it for all to see on social media. The idea behind The 100 Day Project was pretty simple, you pick something that you are passionate with, pick an action to go with it and repeat the process for the next 100 days. It’s a celebration of the process and the making, the goal was not to produce a perfect piece of work day in day out, but to do something everyday, no matter what.
The reason I chose flower as my topic was purely because of my love of flower and my lack of floral vocabulary. There are over 400,000 species of flowers in the world, and yet I couldn’t even tell you the difference between a rose or a peony half the time. I wanted to learn about the different flowers out there as well as their symbolism and cultural significance.
I have to tell you, it was a hard 100 days. Picking which flower to draw gets harder and harder as I reach towards the 100 day, each drawing on average takes at least 2.5 hours, the longest was 7 hours, and it was not easy to find information on certain flowers. In all honesty, I’m not 100% happy with all of my drawings, but that’s not what this project was about. I’ve learnt so much about myself and drawing as a craft in that 100 days, I was so proud that I didn’t miss one day and had the discipline to finish such a difficult project.
Now that the project is over, I would really like to share my flowers with everyone. There were talks of an exhibition, a limited edition book and other bits and pieces, but I have decided in the end to release an original drawing and 20 limited edition print of a flower a week for the next 100 weeks. I’d like to stick with the 100 theme and the idea of releasing them gradually seems to suit my temperament.
I hope you like my flowers and will come back each week to see what I’ve release into the wild. Visit here to see all of the 100 flowers.
Week One: Dahlia
There are more than 30 species and over 20,000 cultivars of dahlias. The original French diva, Marie Antoinette, feel head over heels for dahlias when they were a new arrival in Europe, and now there’s a variety named after her.
Click here to buy the original art.
Click here to buy the limited edition prints.
Recently, I drew this wilted rose for the Works on Paper Exhibition shown at The Corner Store Gallery in Orange, NSW. There were over 45 artworks on display and although I didn’t get the chance to visit the show, I have been told that it was quite an event, with many of the Orange residents braving the winter chill to attend opening night.
I have been slightly obsessed with wilted flowers lately, I really like the texture and the oxidised colours they tend to adopt once they reached the end of their life. One can’t help but think about the life that they’ve had and ponder on their short life span.
I’ve been working on this drawing sporadically since the beginning of July and am so glad that it is finally finished. It’s been such a joy to take on a new challenge and have a break from my usual subject matter. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about turning some of my drawings into repeats for textile. Do you think it is a good idea? Perhaps a pattern for a scarf or a headband?