Of All Things...It's Dogs

You spend your life drawing what you like only to find out one day that the stuff you're doing just for the hell of it is the stuff everyone else likes.  For years i've drawn goofy dark and surreal stuff but what seems to bring in the possibility of money is dog portraiture.  Freakin' dog portraiture.  But hey,
that's pretty cool i guess.  Dogs are awesome, money is awesome...but why the hell couldn't my crazy shit sell?  The stuff i really really liked and really put thought into?  Oh well, no use griping.  The top painting is of my Saint Bernard, appropriately titled "Willer Paint".  The second painting is of a jolly Norwegian Elkhound/German Shepherd mix that is part of my love's family, her painting's name is "Mandy Paint".  I feel a bit like George W. Bush here venturing into the world of dog painting.  I paint very very rarely.  I have produced only about 5 (not including these two dog paintings) paintings since high school, all
of which sucked.  Then i get a bit of an urge to paint my dog a couple weeks ago and here we are now.  Seems dogs come out pretty good for me.  One of my mum's friends wants me to paint her Sheltie, so i'm off to a damn good start with this new journey into painting.  Media used for both of the paintings:  Acrylic paint on white gesso ready made canvas.  Willer Paint didn't take much effort, i will be honest.  Mandy Paint on the other hand took quite a deal of time and effort due to her odd fur patterns and needing to completely invent her irises and pupil into the image.  The poor dear has a brutal case of pannus which has made her eyeballs grow a dark brown "skin" (not really skin, just pigmented cells that took over the cornea).  The progressive auto-immune disease has left her with little sight and her irises and pupils have all been covered up.  Both dog portraits are from picture reference, drawn freehand WITHOUT the use of the "grid system".  Eye measurement technique was used for sizing (you draw an eye, you measure facial features, bodily features in eye lengths).  This technique is good for animal and human portraiture alike. Most dog's noses are about 2-2 1/2 eye lengths (from eye corner to eye corner of one eye, then measure from bottom eyelid to tip of nose) long, with exceptions for pug nosed dogs such as the Pug, Boxer, and a few other breeds.  I have a whole method to all this measuring jazz because i absolutely hate tracing and loathe the "grid system" so this just works better when going from picture reference. 

Special Note:  On the human face, with some exceptions of course, the bottom of the nostril is roughly 1 eye length down from the tear duct.  The human eyes are evenly spaced 1 eye length apart from each other.  The base of the nose is roughly 1 eye length in width from one nostril to the other.  You will find that humans and animals share similar sizing.  Miss Mandy's nose and Willer's nose are both approximately 1 1/2 dog eye lengths long.  Note that you must use the animal or human you are drawing's eyes, do not use the eyes of one human to measure another or the eyes of one dog to measure another, then you get goofy looking creatures.


  1. Interesting how the world works. Most people will tell you they want new and original, but in reality most of them end up wanting whatever 'normal' thing that makes them the happiest. As long as you're happy doing it and other people enjoy it as well, I say go for it! But keep drawing the "goofy dark and surreal stuff",I believe that is where the real 'gold' is.

  2. I guess my first response to your quandary is to perhaps do dog portraits (or whatever subject matter you paint) embellished with your own dark surreal style, your vision. Just some food for thought.

    Great technique on the paintings by the way. Keep at it, dude! Practice makes perfect.


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