Drawing Dogs

A few years ago I started doodling scenes from my family life. I wanted to capture moments that I might forget, things that made me laugh or stop and think.

I meant the sketches to be very quick and silly, but I was getting caught up in whether they looked enough like my children.

I tried drawing them as little dogs instead, and to my surprise the drawings began to flow much more easily.

When I tried out drawing them daily for #inktober on Twitter a few years ago, the characters began to develop a different shape.

Then on holiday in France we got caught in a thunderstorm while we were visiting an amphitheatre. We made a dash for the car under a tarpaulin that didn’t quite cover us all, and as we ran though the streets of Orange laughing and getting soaked, I knew that it was a scene I wanted to draw. I sketched it that day, then did an ink drawing back home in England. I wanted to capture the exhilaration and the holiday feeling, and it was the first time that the dogs seemed like a family.

There have been loads of dog drawings over the past few years. There have been stories that didn’t really get anywhere, and lots of dioramas.

Last year I was very ill and was lucky enough to be able to take the time to really rest and recover. Throughout my treatment and as I grew stronger I drew, wrote and collaged a lot, and found I didn’t want to draw dogs at all. Because I was drawing in a journal just for myself, and not thinking about posting anything, it didn’t matter if my characters looked ‘right’ or not. For the first time in years I could draw without thinking about an audience. Despite the circumstances, it was liberating. I began to realise that I wanted to do more than little inky dog doodles.

I didn’t know if I would go back to drawing dogs, but alongside experimenting with printmaking, painting on canvas, writing and paper cutting I started working with an iPad and Ipencil for the first time, and the dogs have found a new lease of life there. So I think the dogs characters may still be around for a while…

… but in amongst lots of other things.

Introducing Dodie and Bo…

Dodie and Bo live on the same street and have been friends ever since Dodie’s family moved in, when they were smaller pups than they are now.


Dodie is full of bright ideas, and Bo is usually happy to go along with them!


Dodie and Bo had their first outing this month, in the pages of the rather wonderful Earwig* magazine…in which they got to spray their Headteacher with Stinky Turnip Juice.**
* http://www.earwigmagazine.co.uk (can’t insert link right now!)
** Dodie and Bo do not recommend that children spray their teachers with Stinky Turnip Juice (although Pongy Parsnip Juice is a different matter…)

This is the life…

I’ve been playing round with paper-cutting and lightboxes (at and after a brilliant workshop at the House of Illustration with Courtney Dyer) and it is SO MUCH FUN…..

This is a work in progress, I’m learning as I go along and the slow nature of the work really suits me st the moment.