View Full Version : Every Dog Has Its Day

09-25-2010, 11:00 AM
As a bit of an intro, I'm an ex-pat American in Australia. We live on a beautiful little farmlet in Victoria with two kids, four dogs (soon to increase), a cat, two house-bunnies and various farm critters. I am completely dog obsessed - training and behaviourism (particularly wrt fear/aggression issues) is my bread and butter and my breed is the Australian Shepherd. For anyone wondering, Aussies come in red and black tri (red/black dog with tan and white) as well as red and blue merle, where the coat is mottled with either grey or cinnamon-sugar colouring. They cna have brown eyes, blue eyes or marble eyes and a number of them are born with natural bob tails. In many areas of the world the dogs born long tailed at birth are docked but in Aus this is illegal so we have a plethora of tail lengths from nubby little bobs to quarter length, half length and full length. So many of the dogs I sketch may be missing tails, have different colour eyes, patchy colour coats etc. :D We train in herding, obedience, flyball and dabble in agility and freestyle. I'm a member of our breed club and enough of a sucker to end up on various committees. Not shockingly, most of my sketches are dogs, the ones I live with or that I know from various shows, trials or training clubs. I sketch them in my little art diary, some pencil, some watercolour pencil, some pen. So that's me in a nutshell. Some of these are older, some done today. I want to try to challenge myself to do more quickie sketches and such to avoid 'artists block' so to speak, hence the start to this thread! :) The book itself is a Quill A5 1010 gsm cartridge art diary.
"Sierra" My oldest girl, nearing 10 years but still so crazy no one ever believes me and insist surely I must mean 10 months. LOL Pencils.
"Verity" My heart dog, now at the Rainbow Bridge. Her one eye is softer than the other as she had bilateral iridial colombomas and the light bothered her. Watercolour pencils.
"Hope" Verity's little sister, sketched wading through the grass in one of our paddocks after a good play took out enough wild-n-crazy for her to move at a pace that wasn't flat out!
"Tilley" Verity and Hope's mum, as she was when I went to one of our shows and she was pestering me for belly rubs! The biggest sookie lala around!http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Sep-2010/301541-veteransday.jpg
"Spok" aka Sugargum Ruff Diamond HT He was an old chap when I sketched him here and a cryptic merle, which means that while he was genetically merle, he appeared black tri at first glance - his merle colouring chiefly being on his front lower leg and cheeks/forehead. Pen.http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/25-Sep-2010/301541-judgeschoice.jpg
"Judges Choice" A lovely blue merle dog who caught my eye while I was resting ringside. Pen.
This lad was a pet puppy who'd come to visit his "first mum" (breeder) as an adult and cheer on his siblings at our specialty show. He had such an interesting face and madly keen expression I wanted to sketch him. Watercolour pencils.

That's about it for now! More later!

09-25-2010, 11:07 AM
Welcome to WetCanvas, and to our friendly little forum here! :wave: I'm going to love following this thread, as I am also a dog person, and love Australian Shepherds. Your pieces are great! I love the dog on its side, practicing 'the look' that all dogs perfect by the time they're a month or two old - 'hey, rub my belly, PULEEEZE!!'. Looking forward to more.

09-25-2010, 12:08 PM
Welcome! These critters are awesome!!! There's an Australian Cattle dog in my extended family who is obsessed with the BALL. There's not enough hours in the day and balls in the world for this dog :)

09-25-2010, 12:28 PM
These are wonderful! Look forward to more! :-)

09-25-2010, 02:55 PM
your deep knowledge of dogs really comes through in these :)

Carole A
09-25-2010, 05:09 PM
Hi and welcome. Anyone who loves dogs is a friend of mine. I have often thought that I'd love an Australian Shephard, but read somewhere that they are busy and active, and that if you don't give them a job to do, they'll make one. The article also said you might not like the end result of their handiwork.
I always love the ones with two different color eyes.

Your drawings are so great. Glad you shared and hope to see more.


09-25-2010, 05:41 PM
Great, great drawings. Beautiful dogs.

Carole, "they" are correct. I had a mixed breed Australian Shepherd (crossed with a golden retriever) years ago. He was a handful and not even a pure bred.

09-25-2010, 06:40 PM
Thanks everyone, I will try to post another one when I get back from flyball today. :) Carole, in general they are very active dogs especially as youngsters/teens. As a breed they relish both physical and mental stimulation. Some lines and individuals are higher drive than others, so it's wise to speak to individual breeders and meet puppies parents and relatives. (True of any breed! Alternately a good rescue will match your personaility and lifestyle with the correct individual.) Personally I do not find they need extensive amounts of physical exercise compared to breeds like Goldens, Labs, Cattledogs and so on but rather that they are as a breed capable of great activity and endurance so if you're trying to wear one out you're going to be hard pressed. My 10 year old will run alongside my bike for 5-7km and then wonder why mum is puffed! LOL She's no where NEAR my 12 month old workingline Border Collie though - she was given to me as the alternative was being put down. She was going nuts in the suburbs eatting their walls/flooring/furniture, barking her head off and escaping. (She's fine here, albeit quirky - she loves to sleep on top of my fridge or laundry machine... ;p) In my experience, dogs who are understimulated mentally tend to be the ones who are refered to as being hyper. Dogs who have a balance of mental stimulation to balance the physical stimulation are happy with fairly average amounts of physical activity for a large dog. Mental stimulation may include training, tricks, Kongs, Buster Cubes or other puzzle toys, bones to chew, sports or assisting you as you garden, do chores etc. They do make good lapdogs though, albeit a bit bigger than average!

09-25-2010, 07:09 PM
Wow! These are incredible, in so many different mediums. I'm awed by the watercolor pencil painting, that doesn't even look like watercolor pencil. It's so tight, detailed, soft edges and hard edges contrasting so beautifully. All of them are gorgeous. I'm looking forward to seeing more!

We have dogs but I haven't sketched them much, mostly I do my cat and occasionally my daughter's cat. But I'm going to be studying yours for dog anatomy to do justice to our Siberian Husky, Corgi and labrador mix.

I have warm feelings about Australian Shepherds because two of them once rescued my cat - neighbors in the building found him and put him outdoors in Minnesota during winter. The dogs belonged to another housemate who knew I'd moved in. They saw my cat coming in, knew he belonged in the house and herded him back toward the door while barking up a storm to let their mom know they found a House Cat outdoors.

He was terrified, but he was also safe - if he'd gotten lost out of that yard I might never have seen him again. He's a house cat who's never been an outdoor cat, but he always gets out of collars so he could easily have been run over or picked up as a stray. They were good dogs and didn't hurt him.

Carole A
09-25-2010, 08:59 PM

I had a good laugh at your Border Collie sleeping on the fridge and the washer.

I have a lab; he's 11 years old now and still in good shape and has great stamina for an old boy. We walk nearly every morning together and I think that's kept him feeling and acting younger. Everyone said that labs remain puppies until they turn two, and you know they were right. It seems that almost to the day of his 2nd birthday, he calmed down, stopped trying to rearrange my furniture (really!) and gave up his fondness for taste of leather. He still thinks he's the neighborhood cat police though and apparently doesn't think that cats should be allowed outside loose, so if they trespass in our yard, he'll run them off in a heartbeat. It's only fun if they run though, so if a cat just sits and ignores him, he's totally baffled.

Anxious to see more portraits of your pups. Wish I had the courage to attempt painting fur.


09-26-2010, 02:02 AM
Welcome to the forum WYSWIG!! Your work is fantastic and your menagerie sounds wonderful, loads of inspiration for drawing and sketching - no lack of subjects there! You sound like you have a very busy life.

I can tell this is going to be a great sketchbook to watch, thanks for joining us :)

09-26-2010, 05:30 AM
"The Once And Future Flyball Champion" Ink.
This is Hope as a little fluffet, about 8-9 weeks old or so playing with her most favorite toy in the world - the tennis ball! I figured it was fitting coming back from flyball practice today and going to our next comp next week! (And if I'm honest, I'm totally puppy-clucky atm waiting to get my next one in some months time... :clap:)

The watercolour pencil has been a real learning curve for me. I'd been an arty kid but put everything down in my tweens/early teens and not done boo until a few year ago just after I had my son. I picked up some sketching pencils and then the other year some Watercolour ones. I've found them very challenging - the sideways dog was the 2nd I tried, the full page of Verity the 3rd and it took a solid week of sketching at night after the kids go to bed!

Before I tried a whole sketch with it I did the backgrounds on pencil sketches like this earlier journal entry:

Carole - give fur a go! I had no idea I could do any of it at all until I decided to pick up a pencil. I've done a handful of drawings (pretty much what you see here - maybe 3 or so not scanned) over the past year and only in the past 2-3 weeks decided to try teaching myself seriously instead of waiting for "one day" when I can go to classes. I have a loooong way to go before I'm as good as some people on here but it's better than I guessed I'd do as a start! I just started (last week) acrylics again - my first since I was a kid and was pleasantly surprised. It's not perfect and I've lots of technique to learn to get the paint to do what I want it to predictably but it's a decent start! (It's in the WIP section of Open Critiques if anyone wants a peek.)

09-26-2010, 08:28 AM
FANTASTIC work, LOVE the details and the poses, epecially LOVE the pen and ink ones - they are just sooooooo expressive.

LOVE IT!!!!!

09-26-2010, 06:52 PM
Puppy and tennis ball is just the cutest. You caught such a great pose on that one.

The second one is wonderful too. You caught that eager expression of a working dog just waiting for the signal to go and DO something.

09-27-2010, 07:57 AM
Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. -Kahlil Gibran
The old foggie chasing after the birds who were blatantly unperturbed coasting high above her, probably wondering what the mad thing was runnning in great circles for. :lol: I smeared some of the ink where he coat is merle to differentiate it from the white and copper areas because the coat was so "busy" in this one but I'm not sure I like the effect. The flex on both front paws is a bit wonky as well but I struggle (polite term for it... :rolleyes:) with action so it'll do. ;)

I think having done so many quickies I need to settle into a proper pencil sketch for my next. :p And, um, quit dawdling on the background on my painting...

09-27-2010, 08:15 AM
AGAIN amazing dog drawing, LOVE her expression, you can tell she is totally absorbed in the chase.... even if it is fruitless!!!!!! LOL!!!!

09-27-2010, 07:21 PM
Chasing the birds is a wonderful sketch. I think the coat looks great. Can't say about the paw positions. But the action is definitely there.

09-27-2010, 07:57 PM
for a quick sketch I think chasing birds is wonderful! It is fresh, lively and a very happy looking dog - it's great!

Carole A
09-27-2010, 10:09 PM
Aww, she's really enjoying this game. Her smile is evidence of that. I love the quote; so perfect for our four-legged kids.


09-30-2010, 03:17 AM
Rainy, cold, muddy and grey - I think my poor dog looks about as tired of it as I feel! Bring on spring! (Or baring that, enough dry weather to go collect some kindling so I can build a fire and not freeze my socks off! Having no heat stinks!:lol:)
Debating if I should use an light/grey ink wash on his 'copper' markings to make it look different from his white. (broken/partial nose blaze and small 'wrist' level sock on the paw.)

09-30-2010, 10:41 AM
Great job on this pose! I probably would leave this as is (not knowing the pooch, of course) because it works very well as is. I'm loving your series here. I would love to do one with my two dogs, but they're old and not very active, and I haven't gotten very good at dogs yet. You do a wonderful job on yours.

With my dogs, or at least with my yellow Lab Bekka who shadows me literally everywhere (nice to be that popular with one creature anyway - :) ) the look you've captured here is what she uses when she inevitably parks herself in the location where she can keep an eye on me (and my possible exit paths) so I can't 'get away' without her knowing it. When she was younger, I couldn't sneak out even if she was asleep without her waking up and following me. Now that's she's an old girl (just turned 14) and almost totally deaf, she'll sleep through my leaving for another part of the house. When she wakes up and sees me gone, I hear her get up and very quickly follow her 'where's dad?' circuit in the house until she finds me again.

10-01-2010, 12:13 AM
I think you've depicted the differing "colors" of his coat. This pose is wonderful. The eyes say it all.

10-01-2010, 12:48 AM
Your dog looks so lovable! I'd go with the coppery wash, if the dog's tricolor especially if there are grey areas that are the same value as the coppery warm patches. It'd look gorgeous either way though. Why not save a high resolution black and white scan so that you can print it out on watercolor paper and then color that?

10-01-2010, 05:33 AM
a really natural pose and I wouldn't touch it - but I might scan and print and try out a wash of coloured pencil on the printout - 2 for the price of one :)

10-01-2010, 09:10 PM
Great sketch WYSIWYG, I like it as it is, but you have some great ideas from Robert and Viv. Have a play with a print out first - I have ruined so many drawings I liked by jumping in with a wash and then hating it!

10-02-2010, 12:10 AM
I will second, third and fourth what others have said.... scan, print and play on the printout. Once you decide from there, then you can decide to leave it as is or add the highlights of grey/silvery tones!!!!!


Gentle Hugs, Stacey

10-03-2010, 09:34 PM
Great dog drawings!! I've always liked those dogs. They're incredibly smart!!

10-04-2010, 10:24 AM
I love your dog sketches! You capture their emotions so well, especially love the one of Hope with a tennis ball. So adorable.

10-04-2010, 11:27 AM
wow! We can tell you have a love for your dogs! You have captured every detail of them! Wonderful

10-05-2010, 10:02 AM
Robert, the dog is a blue merle with copper and white trim - so similar in colour to the two colour pencil pieces on the first pages. Hm, I'd not even thought of printing it out to try without ruining it... now that IS a fun idea! And I do have some watercolour paper somewhere... :clap:

10-06-2010, 02:30 AM
You have good taste in dogs:) I have two mixed breed Australian Sheppard's, not sure of the mix ( I'm no dog expert:P ) they're a bit bigger than the pure breed ... I like these sketches, the color pics are spot on... great job!

WC Lee
10-08-2010, 02:55 AM
beautiful dogs :) they seem so energetic and probably keep you quite busy, where do you find time to get things done?

10-08-2010, 04:15 PM
wow! so impressed with your dog sketches, you really know you subject, the poses and look in the eye you have got down on paper proves that. My dog (Australian Cattle Dog x Corgi) hates it when I try to sketch him or photograph him, he just knows when I look at him 'in that way' and sulks (or runs if I have a camera!)

Carole A
10-08-2010, 07:36 PM
wow! so impressed with your dog sketches, you really know you subject, the poses and look in the eye you have got down on paper proves that. My dog (Australian Cattle Dog x Corgi) hates it when I try to sketch him or photograph him, he just knows when I look at him 'in that way' and sulks (or runs if I have a camera!)

:lol: :lol: My dog, a black Lab, doesn't like his picture taken. Everytime I get the camera out, he moves; or if he doesn't have time to move, he just turns his head so I can't get a shot of his adorable self.

Carole A

Joan T
10-09-2010, 10:42 PM
Wonderful!!!!! Your dog sketches are sooooooooo good!

Vivien Maloney
10-10-2010, 04:41 AM
Hi from another obsessed dog person! I somehow missed your sketchbook, but have now been through the pages you've already posted. Love your dog sketches and will be following your sketcbook with interest.