How cute is Buster?! This was another portrait commission that came out of the r/AccidentalWesAnderson subreddit post my husband made. This French Bulldog’s dad, John, emailed me after he saw the portrait of Scout. He wanted to capture a few things in the portrait:
- a beret (after all, il est francais!)
- Buster’s favorite toy, which John and his wife call Olympic man
The photo he provided was absolutely fantastic, and since he described his little guy as alert but not overly hyper, I thought it was the perfect reference angle. The slight head cock and expression lent themselves well to capturing his alertness — he looks very curious, like he’s absorbing everything he hears.
I asked John if he had any other words to describe Buster, and he said “sleepy and hungry. It’s all he does.” lol!
The toy they call Olympic Man was apparently part of a BarkBox at some point…I mentioned it to my friend Niki (dog mom to Fiona) and she remembered getting it herself. I thought that was so cute.
To get around Buster’s ears, I sketched the beret in a shrunk-down size so it nestles down between them. I envisioned it in a classic dark blue because that would coordinate well with the decor I saw in the photo.
John suggested we portray Olympic Man like an Olympic medal, hanging around his neck, which was exactly what I had been imagining when he first mentioned the toy. I love it when that happens!
Since we had this Olympic theme going, I chose olive branches for the botanical element along the sides because it’s what they used to crown winning athletes with.
Since Buster’s coloring is white, charcoal grey, and soft pink, I wanted to keep his color palette rather muted. The olive branches fit perfectly with this, and don’t overpower the blue and gold medal.
The portrait is primarily drawn with colored pencils — a combination of Polychromos, Caran d’Ache Pablos, and Prismacolor. The leaves are watercolor, and the name banner is gouache. I really enjoy working with this combination of materials.
I’m super happy with how this portrait came out, especially when I look into his eyes. The soft grey-blue shines like he’s going to pop off the paper and start walking around.