This is the fourth installment in a series documenting Ollie’s portrait process.
Ollie’s portrait is nearly complete! I’m still in awe of the intricate details captured by the artist, Todd Belcher, of Jimmydog Design Group. It is true that an artist can really capture the soul of your pet. Normally, the artist would not be giving me a play-by-play update of the progress, but for the purpose of this story, we’re giving you an inside look at the process.
Not only does Belcher love drawing family pets, he has several of his own. Belcher says he enjoys the sense of fun that family dogs bring to his routine. “Their enthusiasm is contagious; they get so excited about new places and things, even something like seeing a squirrel,” he says. “They are members of the family. My wife Stephanie and I are as devoted to them as they are to us.”
His passion for his own pets certainly comes through in the passion he puts into the portraits of the family pets he creates. Jimmydog Design Group was formed in 2002, named after Todd and Stephanie’s dog Jimmy. The company reflects their creativity and commitment to animals.
Many of Belcher’s works are commissioned as gifts, which he paints in acrylics or as black-and-white drawings. Working from photographs, he begins each portrait by focusing on the animal’s individual characteristics. “If you capture the details – the eyes, the way the mouth opens, the tilt of the head, the way the fur lies – the way it all looks comes together to convey the personality of the subject.” He creates in a lively manner to avoid lifeless, static representations.
Belcher grew up in Dallas, North Carolina, where his parents provided a pet-friendly environment for the young artist. “Our dogs were integral parts of our family,” he recalls, “and from this I learned to appreciate their devotion and intelligence.”
Next Week: More on the portrait progress!
Win a pet portrait! Dog Living and Jimmydog Pet Portraits are teaming up to give two lucky winners custom portraits of their pets by renowned artist Todd Belcher. To enter, “Like” Jimmydog’s Facebook page and post a favorite photo of your pet, along with why you’d like to win a portrait. Visitors to Jimmydog’s page will vote on which photo they like best. The winner will receive an 11”x14” Grand Prize portrait. The runner-up will receive an 8”x10” portrait. Submit your photo by May 16. Winners will be announced May 21. Enter now! (The portrait prizes includes the image of one pet; additional pets can be included for $75 each.)