Zach reached out to me about making a portrait of his rescue dog, Ross, as a gift for his wife. It’s always so touching to me that people trust me with making special gifts for their loved ones! And when he explained the concept he had in mind I was super excited to sketch it out.
Ross is an adventurous Husky/German Shepherd mix, so Zach wanted to see him with a Daniel Boone-inspired look. He suggested a coon skin hat and straw hanging out of his mouth — which also connected to their home state of Kentucky. That hat sounded particularly fun to draw.
They also have big maple trees in their yard, so we decided on a fall-colored maple leaf border.
Ross was so much fun to draw. I love how his eyes, paired with that smile, have a curious sparkle to them. The coon skin hat really captures Ross’ spirit in a unique and personal way. I used colored pencils for the portrait and hat, watercolor for the leaves, and gouache for the name banner. The hat was really cool to draw because as I started, I wasn’t sure how I was going to achieve the right texture. It took some faith in the process, and as I kept going it turned out exactly as I had hoped!
I experimented with the leaves until I got the gradient effect of the changing colors that I was after.
Happy birthday to Zach’s wife! I hope she was surprised and thrilled with the portrait of her fur kid.