Dog portrait drawings of Mabel and Abby

custom hand drawn dog portraits of Mabel and Abby-detail

OK, I fully admit I have a soft spot in my heart for small dogs in particular…but this pair of larger dogs totally captured my heart, too.

This was another portrait commission that came out of the  r/AccidentalWesAnderson subreddit post my husband made. Mabel’s and Abby’s dad, Wayne, emailed me to see if I could draw his dogs as a surprise for his wife. He describes Mabel as a big clumsy dog that’s scared of the world and Abby as an angsty teenager.

Wayne left it up to me to create concepts to tell the stories of their personalities. For Mabel, since she’s scared of the world, I combined a scared expression with a butterfly on her nose to represent something non-threatening that she’d be unnecessarily afraid of. The floral border is inspired by lilies, which is a flower that symbolizes humility and devotion. To me this suggests an innocence that resonates with the description of her being big and clumsy + scared of the world, as well as the devotion of a dog. Her size in relation to the frame and name banner suggests that idea of being big and awkward.

For Abby, I used the description of being an angsty teenager to incorporate elements associated with an angsty teen: headphones so they can tune out the world that doesn’t understand them, and dried up roses that suggest sensitivity while being a bit edgy. Her expression is a cross between pained and apathetic. Anyone else thinking of the movie Say Anything right now??

sketches of dog portraits for Mabel and Abby

I knew that for Abby I wanted to go with darker colors to fit with her angsty disposition. So to contrast with that and be in keeping with the butterfly and lilies, Mabel’s color palette is more soft and innocent.

custom hand drawn dog portraits of Mabel and Abby

One of my favorite parts of making these portraits is working with the eyes and eyebrows to capture the right expression. There’s so much potential there! And that moment when I add the white highlights in the eyes is just the icing on the cake.

After a few weeks of shipping the portraits to Wayne, I asked if he’d given them to his wife yet. I didn’t want to post about them and accidentally spoil the surprise. But he said he couldn’t wait until her birthday to give them to her — which is what happened when Libbie ordered portraits of her dogs Scout and Tuck. I think that’s about the best compliment. Thank you to Wayne for allowing me to create portraits of these special girls!

Drawing of Buster the French Bulldog

 

portrait of Buster the French Bulldog

How cute is Buster?! This was another portrait commission that came out of the  r/AccidentalWesAnderson subreddit post my husband made. This French Bulldog’s dad, John, emailed me after he saw the portrait of Scout. He wanted to capture a few things in the portrait:

  1. a beret (after all, il est francais!)
  2. Buster’s favorite toy, which John and his wife call Olympic man

The photo he provided was absolutely fantastic, and since he described his little guy as alert but not overly hyper, I thought it was the perfect reference angle. The slight head cock and expression lent themselves well to capturing his alertness — he looks very curious, like he’s absorbing everything he hears.

I asked John if he had any other words to describe Buster, and he said “sleepy and hungry. It’s all he does.” lol!

The toy they call Olympic Man was apparently part of a BarkBox at some point…I mentioned it to my friend Niki (dog mom to Fiona) and she remembered getting it herself. I thought that was so cute.

Buster the French Bulldog reference photos

To get around Buster’s ears, I sketched the beret in a shrunk-down size so it nestles down between them. I envisioned it in a classic dark blue because that would coordinate well with the decor I saw in the photo.

John suggested we portray Olympic Man like an Olympic medal, hanging around his neck, which was exactly what I had been imagining when he first mentioned the toy. I love it when that happens!

Since we had this Olympic theme going, I chose olive branches for the botanical element along the sides because it’s what they used to crown winning athletes with.

sketch of Buster the French Bulldog

Since Buster’s coloring is white, charcoal grey, and soft pink, I wanted to keep his color palette rather muted. The olive branches fit perfectly with this, and don’t overpower the blue and gold medal.

I took an in-progress photo every so often so I look back and see how it developed.

 

 

I’m super happy with how this portrait came out, especially when I look into his eyes. The soft grey-blue shines like he’s going to pop off the paper and start walking around.

mixed media custom portrait drawing of Buster the French Bulldog

If you’re interested in having me draw a portrait of your dog, just reach out with the form below.