I’ve been asked “how do you get your ideas for your dog drawings?” I begin by thinking of something pleasant. This “something pleasant” has often been noted previously in one of my sketchbooks. The pleasantness can be a drink I enjoyed, a bowl of soup, a game, a book… anything I remember as being particularly “pleasant”. You can see some of my sketchbook pages on my “sketchbooks” page on my website https://sueclancy.com/sketchbooks/
Once the “something pleasant” topic has been found I need a character to help me describe that topic.
Lately I’ve been finding dogs a good representative actors. Breed characteristics can add content to my story… for example when I was remembering the pleasantness of hearing a street musician play I chose a Basset Hound to be the musician character. I thought that fit because that breed can be a vocal sort but in a good-sounding way. At least ones I’ve met in person have been. You can see the dog drawing I’m talking about by looking for “Pickles” on my dog portraits webpage. https://sueclancy.com/dog-portraits/
Sometimes I see a dog on one of my walks and make sketches on location. Then back at the studio, I want to draw that dog breed better so I think of “something pleasant” that may fit with that dog and try drawing again but this time using my ink methods on good quality paper.
When I’m too busy to go out where the dogs are likely to be seen during a walk (i.e. it’s too snowy/rainy) I’ll flip through a photography book about dogs looking for a breed to characterize in a way that helps me describe non-verbally my “something pleasant”.
By now I’ve drawn enough dogs from real-life sources (can you say “dog park”?) that i can work decently from a photograph – using the photo primarily as a memory aid for specifics about a dog breed.
Here’s some recent dog-related photography books I’ve used as resource material.
Perhaps you’re wondering why I think of “something pleasant” when drawing dogs. After all there’s so much that is wrong with the world, so much to be upset about…war, poverty, injustice, fake news….
To answer quickly: focusing on pleasant things feeds the good wolves. A small drawing is not the best place to outline a social problem and propose any policy solution.
A small drawing is a place for solace, love and comfort.
You can see more about this “feed the good wolves” philosophy of mine in my book “Dr. Bob’s Emotional Repair Program First Aid Kit” on the artist book webpage https://sueclancy.com/artist-books/