Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The Dog Sketcher


I used to sketch and paint in high school. It was something freeing, fun and relaxing. But as writing and college demanded more of my time, I gradually let go of drawing and moved on.

That changed in the last few months. After writing a profile on a South Florida artist named Magda Love and her lush colorful murals and after watching my partner's niece Lu sketch whenever she visited Miami, my curiosity called to me. Could I still draw? Is the skill still there?  I was determined to find out.

So last April, I headed to an art store that sits across from the University of Miami in Coral Gables. I bought a new sketch pad, a pencil and eraser. I sat on my blue sofa on that Friday night. I took a deep breath and just let my right hand do its own thing for a few hours.

I sketched a photo of my partner and his dog and then my bestfriend and then the dog again. And in the following weeks, I found pure joy in drawing dogs especially ones that I know (including my partner's fox terrier Luna who loves to pose for the camera. That's her posing for me in the top left sketch on this blog.)

These dog sketches have become a fun escape from all the writing that I do for work and my fiction. I usually produce the sketches on Saturday mornings because I'm an early riser and the drawing is a peaceful way to start the weekend.

Look, I know I'm no Picasso or Romero Britto. Perhaps I should be using #baddrawer whenever I post these on Instagram. But I feel that I am learning and improving with each sketch. I'm still trying to work on accurately sketching the dogs' bodies which can be challenging depending on their position (looking up, laying down on their sides, etc.)

Someone asked me the other day to explain my drawing process and that's been difficult to describe.

My eyes dart back and forth, becoming mini copy machines that help my right hand transplant the image or photo onto paper. I usually start with drawing the eyes, then the nose and I work in a circle from there, going round and round to fill out the face (and fur if it's a dog.)

As I draw, I fall into a Zen-like zone and time disappears, similar to when I run my two to three miles a few times a week.  It's r-e-l-a-x-i-n-g.

And I am always surprised by how the sketch turns out when I am done because I never know where the sketch will take me.

The sketches simply put a smile on my face and it seems to do the same for the dogs' owners. I framed one of Joey, my 93-year-old godfather's York Terrier, and gave him the sketch because art should be shared especially if it brightens one's spirits.

 I recently drew Chuby, a cute maltese (pictured to the left).


Here are some of my sketches and photos of their real life counterparts from the last six months.

Lucrecia, an English Bulldog. She passed away recently. RIP













Joey the Cuban york terrier





















Patch, my cousin's  Boston terrier from... Boston!