Custom Pet Portraits + I Love My Cat

I’d like to to share one of my latest projects, something I never thought I would do since I’ve never really drawn animals other than cats and birds before: custom portraits of my friend April’s Shiba Inus! When she first asked me I wasn’t sure if I could do it so I made this colored pencil sketch of her two Shibas sitting side by side. For practice.
custom pet portraits by cynthia bauzon arre
Obviously I got the proportions all wrong. šŸ˜³ Anyway, working on the sketch allowed me to familiarize myself with their features and markings so I eventually felt more at ease drawing them. I think it also helped that Shiba dogs look somewhat “feline”1 with their upright ears and almond-shaped upward-slanting eyes.

And then I made individual portraits, taking into account each of their distinct attributes — for instance a slightly crooked ear for one of them which was from an operation, etc — for a more personal touch. I was confident enough to use watercolor this time. I don’t typically use blacks for coloring but the black and tan Shiba variety called for it and I was quite happy with how they turned out and thankfully, so was their mom. šŸ™‚
custom pet portraits cynthia bauzon arre
These were so fun to do and once I get more dog-drawing practice under my belt, I’ll likely add animal portraits to my custom artwork repertoire. (I will have to draw the line at pet reptiles though… šŸ˜Æ )
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Meanwhile.. it’s no secret that I love our cat. In fact he’s right there in my blog logo illustration which I haven’t changed for years. He’s also in my still-non-existent handmade store’s logo (see watermark) and in a lot of drawings I’ve done and even in some of Arnold‘s comics as an Easter egg to friends who know us well.

There was one day last week when my mind hit a blankĀ and I couldn’t start working. He was lying on his play matĀ in front of me and, as if sensingĀ my anxiety, started rolling around playfully. I could never resist when he does that so I went over and gave him a chin and back rub. He looked soĀ contentĀ and carefree that I felt like preserving that moment. Without thinking I started sketching him. He kept moving around whileĀ I tried capturing all his posesĀ and that was the birth of the series of illustrations below (right) which I ended up turning into a pattern (left).
pet portraits

It’s still being proofed over at Spoonflower but if you like cats too, my orange tabbies pattern is now available on phone covers, iPad sleeves, and more at Zazzle and RedBubble.

  1. for me at least[ back]
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Shrink Plastic: Before and After

shrink plastic before and after

Thought I’d share this before and after image of the shrink plastic “Sampayan” (“Laundry Line”) necklace I made the other day. See how those drawings shrunk down to about 1/4th of their original size? They also grew about a millimeter in thickness and the colors got more saturated. Here’s a closer view:

I used Frosted “Ruff and Ready” Shrinky Dinks Shrinkable Plastic sheets to make these charms. My favorite thing about these sheets is that one side has already been machine-sanded so I can draw directly on them with colored pencils. The other side is glossy and when it shrinks, there’s no more need to coat the front with glaze. I don’t know if you can see it in the pic but I love how nice and glossy theyĀ are. It’s almost like these charms were cast in resin.

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Another reason for this blog update is to announce that one of my designs is featured on RedBubble’s front pageĀ amongĀ the curators’ picks for the day. #kilig

hipsters pattern

The Cool Kids” on FOUND by RB

If you’re interested, you can also purchase this design on iPhone covers on RedBubble, and onĀ wristlets, wallets, and even plates (yes) on Zazzle @ Funky Patterns. And for you crafty cats,Ā fabric printed with this pattern (on either a pink orĀ blue background) is also available starting today in my Spoonflower store. If you ever get to use it on your projects, please upload a photo of your finished projectĀ on thereĀ ok? šŸ™‚

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I'm Cynthia Bauzon-Arre, a Filipino watercolor artist & graphic designer. I live in QC with my graphic novelist husband Arnold and our friendly marmalade tabby Abbas. This blog has been chronicling my life, likes, and loves since 2001. [ more ]

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