Drawing, Illustration

Drawing Dogs

As a nation, we’re a nation of shopkeepers but more importantly, Dog Lovers. The & Co. sign off of all my posts refer to the ever wooly, hairy, smelly, wouldn’t have him any other way, but loveable studio dog, our Border Terrier Walter.

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His constant presense, and his role as the cornerstone in our family has in turn led him to position of chief muse and he has apperead on many birthday cards over the years.

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Walter on a birthday card has always been a hit, but his fan base (although wide), is limited. So in turn I took to drawing friends dogs and they loved recieving the cards as much I enjoyed making them . It’s basically dog porn, or the equivilent of me walking the dog in the park and meeting and greeting every other dog that walks by. Crufts on cards.

Sophie

Eric and Dotty

The populairty of dog designs are unprecident. Bonkers dog lovers are prepared part with their cash in return for a portrait of their pet. Be it a bespoke commision or just a generic breed image. Even before we had a pet, my then boyfriend, now husband tried and succesfully won me over with a Sweet William Designs birthday card and Mug. Infact, we recived a Sweet William Design card for our wedding and loved it. (Thank you Emily and Andy, from one crazy dog couple, to another)

For me, a pet portrait doesn’t need to be pixel perfect photo realism to capture the heart and expression of our four legged friends. I love the work of British Aritst Sally Muir .  Muir’s dog portraiture..demonstrates the artist’s technical range and her keen understanding of essential doggishness. …Muir’s mastery of the expressive capacity of the canine eye in particular makes these paintings live and pant. — Claudia Massey, Spectator

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Sally Muir has become a regular artist in residence at Anthropologie. First showing in the King’s Road Gallery back in 2013, her pup portraits never disappoint. Her A Dog A Day Book, does as the title suggests, it began life with a Facebook post in 2013: ‘My name is Sally Muir and this is a new gallery where I will add a dog drawing/painting every day, adding up to a massive 365 day dogfest. These every popular pet portraits been succesfully liscenced on to the dessert plates, tea towels and mugs and are avaliable in Anthroplogie

I was asked by Kate, who run’s Sew Creative in Altrincham to draw her dogs, Eric and Dotty for a piece for her home. I was flattered and well it gave me just that little nudge in self belief to print some dog birthday cards and add dog portaits commisions to my store.

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For a non lover, this post reads as utter nonsense, but to the dog lovers out there who know just how important it is to have that extra heart beat in the house, I hope this resonates with you. If you or anyone you know would be interested in a pet portait, please follow this link on my store. They make great gifts for any occasion.

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Drawing, Journal

Why I Keep A Daily Sketchbook & Why I Think You Should Too.

In the age of Gratitude Journals, Line A Day Diary’s and Happiness Planner’s it seems the humble blank sketchbook has been pushed aside. Increasingly there are more artists and designers sharing there ‘page a day’ online and the benefits are not exclusive to full-time artists. So I want to encourage to keep a daily sketchbook.

The queen of a ‘page per day’ has to be Samantha Dion Baker  whose feed is enough to stop your scrolling in your tracks. Her detailed pages combine sketches, hand drawn type and diary entries that share her day to day life in New York as a designer. Don’t get put off by her beautifully hand crafted pages, as her account has been going for over three years.

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I started my page a day sketchbook at a moment of needs must, endless boredom, frustration and a need to feel productive whilst off work sick on the sofa. Little did I know that the thoughtfulness of composition, consistency of honing my skills and mindfulness of not staring at the screen would become my healthiest creative habit to date.

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Here is one of my first pages from an early sketchbook, which does really go to show that Malcolm Gladwell was on to something when he was barking on about 10,000 hours. Practise, practise really does pay off.

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Sketchbook pages can document days out, forcing you to pay attention to what’s around you and really notice your surroundings.

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It’s easy when you’re on holiday or travelling to keep up a page a day, not so easy when seemingly nothing is happening, but when you pay attention to boredom it becomes unbelievably interesting. For me, this is where the magic happens.

Suddenly keeping a daily sketchbook becomes more than just sitting down with a pencil, it starts to seep into all aspects of the day, suddenly you wake up, your eyes are open and you begin to notice the little things, looking for something that will make the cut and feature in your page.

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Keeping a record helps to track the days that might have go by without a blink of an eye.

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The thing about keeping a sketchbook is that the magic happens when you tend to your practise and by ensuring you make time for it. I know that if I can’t manage to carve out 30 minutes for drawing my day, somewhere amidst the noise and haste,  life is really off balance.

Sharing your sketchbook online helps you stay accountable and forces you to keep up the habit. Like all creative endeavours not every page will be a success, but done is better than perfect. You have to be prepared to accept some days will be a drag and you’ll question if your dog drew those lines on page. But other days all things will come together and your work will start to flourish.

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Keeping a daily sketchbook is a commitment, but it forces you to wake up to what’s around you, gives you a sense of accomplishment and allows you to share your creativity with a supportive community.

Now go and channel your inner Samuel Peeps and start your own ‘page per day’ sketchbook.

Claire & co.

XO

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