New Series: Dog Bark Park

Champ in Regalia

This summer I volunteered to create a drawing for the annual “Urban Wanderers” exhibit at the Saint Louis University Museum of Art (SLUMA). I’d been going to the event for a couple of years and was always impressed. It’s a art show and fund raiser in which St. Louis artists make and donate their art to raise money for Stray Rescue of St. Louis, an amazing organization that works to rescue stray animals from urban areas that have been abandoned, abused or both. Each artist is assigned a dog or cat and is given free rein to create a piece that tells their story. The art is auctioned online and all proceeds go back to Stray Rescue.

I was given an Akita named Champ, who is a bit of a star in the Stray Rescue firmament. He was terribly abused and near death when he was rescued and nursed back to health by Randy Grim, the founder and director of Stray Rescue. He was adopted by a couple who live on a lake and has become a Facebook star with thousands of followers. He’s a beautiful pup and very photogenic.

I decided to scroll through Champ’s FB page to find a suitable image. I landed on one in which he is looking up expectantly. As a dog owner, I know that look well: “Are you gonna share that?” He’s wearing a colorful bandana that I also recognize as being from the groomer. We get them every time our dog pays a visit.

At first I thought about just running the image through some apps but quickly realized it wouldn’t do him justice; I would have to draw him, not just ‘app’ him. I turned to Procreate, the premiere drawing and painting app for the iPad. After importing the image I cut out the background and replaced it with a drawing I made in OmniSketch for the occasion.

Then I got down to the time consuming work of drawing Champ using subtle color variations and line opacity so that he truly looked painted and I’m very pleased with the result. I’m also happy that the picture sold to Champ’s owners.

I have decided to do a series of dog portraits called Dog Bark Park, inspired by the grassy background. The next subject was our Welsh corgi, Bruno.

UPDATE: The DBP page is active with new pups!

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