When I found out that Shauna (The Kildare Nose of Tralee’s Mum) had this amazing talent drawing pet portraits I wanted to find out a bit more about her and make sure that everyone got to see the amazing talent she has.
We all take millions of photos of our pets, but this is a beautiful way to capture the spirit of your dog in a hand drawn picture.
I think you will agree that Shauna has an amazing talent! Here is a little bit more information about her and the work she does.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you get up to in your spare time.
I’m an artist from co. Kildare and I really love animals. I foster for the K.w.w.s.p.c.a, and like to help out in any other way I can for them. In my spare time I love to go hiking with my dog, painting, drawing and hanging out with friends both 2 and 4 legged. I lead a pretty quiet existence.
What type of pets do you have?
I have 1 dog, my pride and joy Gia, a 22 month old Great Dane who was Kildares Nose in the Pet Sitters Ireland Nose of Tralee competition in 2014.
2 cats, Koi, my sweet but not so clever boy, and Meera is my super intelligent and darling girl. both 3 yrs old.
I also currently have 1 foster pup 17 wk old Trilby a lab mix.
When did you discover you had a skill for drawing.
I always drew as a kid, I constantly doodled on my school books and my hands. Horses were (and still are) my go-to doodle and warm up sketch.
I had a wonderful teacher Mrs McManus in 5th class who gave me a water colour painting set and art book at the end of the school year for helping her clean the classroom a few times after school. That was one of the best presents I ever received but I didn’t actually realise I was half decent at drawing until I was in secondary, I just liked to draw. I kinda realised I was good in 5th and 6th year, but I wanted to be vet nurse! I had to repeat 6th yr due to an illness and I really started putting a lot of work into my art and realised I wanted to do art seriously, not just drawing but also in other areas. I started vtos where the I had 2 wonderful tutors, Melanie who understood my love of tattoo art and the unconventional, and Pascal who not only put up with my mad ideas (like making a dragon entirely out of sweets which ended in disaster) but encouraged me but also has the patience of a saint and did a level 5 art award.
What do you love most about the drawings that you do.
The fantastic thing about art is when it is for yourself it can be whatever you want, any style or subject.
What I love about pet portraits is that if someone wants a drawing of their pets it really means they care about them, but it’s also a challenge. I could draw 10 Labradors, each one has it’s own individual characteristics or look and it’s trying to translate that to paper so that the owner can look at it and say that’s my dog! It’s not something I’ve done many of, mainly I just draw them from pics in books or the internet for my own amusement and practise or as gifts for friends.
How do you go about actually drawing the pets
When someone asks me for a pet portrait, I ask them for at least one clear picture, mainly because I want to see the pets eyes, it’s the eyes in the drawing that really make the pet THEIR pet! A fuzzy picture in bad light sometimes means I can’t truly capture the character of the animal, but sometimes it’s a picture of a pet that’s passed away a few yrs ago and when that happens I have to use a little bit of artistic license.
When I get pictures I pick the best one that would make the most aesthetically pleasing drawing, either because of the pose or the face the pet is making. I then do a light outline of the shape of it’s head and features, once I’m happy with that I start the shading, starting with the darkest and working to the lighter ones. Then to add a finishing touch I use an eraser to add highlights and spray on a protective spray to stop smuggling.
How long it takes really depends on the animal, for example a golden labs would take 2-3 hrs usually for an A4 drawing, but as I recently learned a Scottie takes about 5 hours. The darker and hairier the dog, the longer it takes. Cats are usually around 3 hrs depending on markings.
Horses usually take around 3-4hrs depending on if the horse has tack on or not.
What type of pets do your draw and what’s the most unusual drawing you have done.
I can draw pretty much any type of pet once I have a good picture of it. Sadly I haven’t been asked to draw anything too unusual in terms of pet portraits, mainly just dogs and the odd cat and horse, although I recently took a picture of Gia wearing a hat which I want to draw for giggles.
I love drawing animals full stop, so what ever type of animal you share your life with, why not immortalise it
How can people get in touch with you if they want to get a drawing done of their pets.
If you are interested in a pet portrait drawing you send me a message on Facebook. Alternatively you can contact Pet Sitters Ireland and we can put you in touch with Shauna.