The perfect way to remember your pet

Posted By elaine on April 13, 2010

dogart#2dogart1For over 30 years, illustrator Karl Edwards has created art used in advertising campaigns and in children’s books.   Using old school pen and ink techniques and watercolor along with very modern computer rendering demand for Edwards’ commercial work is great, but his heart is in creating beautiful dog portraits! 

   Edwards received his art degree at the California College of the Arts and then went to work at the San Diego Zoo drawing pictures of their exotic birds and reptiles.  While he enjoyed the challenge of the texture in scales and feathers, he still prefers fur.

   “I’ve had dogs, mostly Boxers and Long-Haired Dachshunds. (I have had) Cats, lizards, snakes, birds, I’ve even had a squirrel monkey,” said Edwards.  “But dogs are so honest, and the variety within the species is fascinating.  Each breed is so different, but they’re all dogs.”dogart3

   Creating the perfect dog portrait takes more than just perfected techniques.  In order to create a portrait that has owners seeing their beloved pet on the canvas, Edwards has to spend time with the owners to get to know the animal.

  “It’s not enough to get a convincing likeness.  There has to be a bit of interpretation to bring out the dog’s unique personality,” said Edwards.  “Otherwise it is just a photorealistic rendering with no soul.”

dogart4  For this artist the owner’s input is critical.  He knows that no one knows a pet better than the owner, so he goes over every part of the process with them.  After finishing the first sketches he consults the owner to make sure that their vision is the same.  “It is fun to discuss the project with the owner and really connect,” the artist explains.  “The sensibility of the owner is a huge piece.  Do you want a formal pose, or something humorous and light hearted?”

  In many cases the pictures are created after the pet is gone,  so Edwards makes sure that he not only looks at old photos, he also spends time talking to the owner, listening to stories about the dog so he can capture the anidogart5mal’s special personality. 

 “It is a very personal process with a lot of give and take,” he said.

Many of these works of art are donated to dog charities, but he does do commission work too , so if you would like a personal piece of art to remember your pet check out his website.    It will be something that you will cherish!

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