I am excited to have reached 20 breeds in the “Dog Tag” series of prints with these two new additions – the French Bulldog and Poodle. Next, I will be taking a little break from this series to pursue some new ideas but as I still have many requests for other breeds (think Yorkie, Boxer, Great Dane, Bulldog, Pointer… and the list gets longer) I will be returning to the series next year!
There’s a lot of hand lettering and illustrating involved in these prints…
Telling the story of the breed in an original and quirky way can be a bit of a challenge in around 30-35 words!
The French Bulldog print is hand printed in a dark sepia black and the Poodle print in a soft french grey ink.
The French Bulldog has a colourful history accompanying the rather politely named Parisian Belles de Nuit on their evening sojourns. Apparently they were a useful way to break the ice with potential customers to start a conversation! They were also the dog of choice for the french in-crowd arty set and cafe owners in the 19th century. They were bought over to France from England when the Industrial Revolution forced traditional lace workers to flee to France to find work.
Also with a colourful history, the poodle was a popular feature of the travelling circus. Like the Frenchie, the poodle was the a la mode accessory for high society. The poodle’s frou frou reputation belies its origins as a dog bred to retrieve waterfowl from muddy swamps and rivers!
Here are all 20 breeds in the Dog Tag series of prints…
Prints are 30cms square and each one is individually hand printed and signed.
Sniff them out at The Enlightened Hound
I have been wanting to create something combining hand drawn lettering and illustration and I had in my mind an idea for a design based on a dog tag. In my recent post on Hand Lettering and Sketches I wrote about taking part in an online Hand Lettering project run by hand-drawn lettering and branding guru Jon Contino via the Skillshare website.
My original idea was making a new print in the form of a hang tag so I thought this course would be perfect to help me develop it. Most people on the course were designing labels for actual products, like bottles of beer or soap but the ‘product’ for which I was designing a label is a dog, or more accurately a specific dog breed…
Imagine a dog in a pound/shelter with a tag around its neck. The purpose of the tag (product label) is to give a prospective owner some information about the dog breed in the hope that they will rescue the dog. So it is really doing the same thing as a product label – trying to differentiate and tell a story of the product – but in this case a dog, rather than a botte of beer!
There’s a bit of Paddington Bear in this project too – the lost bear with a luggage label attached – entreating its finder to ‘look after this bear’.
Well my project has now come to fruition! Of course I had to start with a Portuguese Water Dog as my dog, Figo is a ‘portie’.
This illustration was too fine detail to be cut into a lino plate so I used a photopolymer plate instead which is capable of capturing much finer lines. Here is the plate…
I am intending to draw and print dog tag breed stories for other dog breeds… so watch this space for your breed!
These prints are on sale at The Enlightened Hound
If you know anyone with a Portuguese Water Dog, please point them in my direction. We ‘Portie’ owners love to meet each other!
In a rather radical departure from letterpress, that will explain my dearth of posts recently, I have been busy finishing a book that has just been published. For all you dog owners out there, who live in or near Buckinghamshire, England, grab yourself a copy of “Buckinghamshire – A Dog Walker’s Guide”.
I have spent the best part of the last year roaming the Buckinghamshire countryside with my Portuguese Water Dog, Figo, perfecting 20 of the best dog friendly walks in the area. I was inspired to write the book as I wanted to get out and explore the fabulous Chiltern countryside Bucks has to offer. However the issues for dog owners trying new places are different from simply rambling without a furry friend in tow.
Without directions or local knowledge, you might get lost or end up walking for miles along roads (possibly busy ones) as you don’t know where footpaths come out (reducing off-lead time for dog and enjoyability of walk for both), plus there are other dog related hazards, such as presence of livestock, blocked off stiles that are important to know for a safe and rewarding walk. So the walks have been designed with maximum off-lead time and minimum exposure to roads and each route comes with detailed information about livestock that may be encountered, the number and type of stiles, the nearest vet and, most importantly dog friendly pubs or cafes along the way!
I have always loved dogs but never owned one till Figo, as it is only now that I have the time to devote to a dog. I blame the Famous Five as I used to read the books to my two boys and they were inspired by ‘Timmy’. My eldest boy then badgered me for the next few years until I finally felt ready to take on the responsibility (as I knew it would ultimately be mine). Now I can’t imagine our family without him and totally identify with Gerald Durrell’s quote “A house is not a home until it has a dog’.
Portuguese Water Dogs are loyal, energetic, intelligent and sensitive companions. Figo brings us together as a family and hates it if any of us gets upset or shouts. He comes running over wagging his tail and instantly restores peace. As I am at home much of the time he is a perfect companion and our walks are an important and rewarding ritual for us both. I am now working on a series of dog-inspired linocut prints – more on this soon!
If you live locally the book is available in many local bookshops, otherwise it can be purchased online from Amazon or from the publisher’s website, Countryside Books.