Introductions first... Hi! I'm Zara, the artist, writer and leader of the pack. Juniper is my dog, she's second in command. And Figpig is my Cornish Rex cat who likes to think he's the king of the castle, but he's just a very weird looking feline with a very loud voice!
I started drawing "Pet Studies" under the name of Opulent Mutts all the way back in 2016, after frantically creating a stall's worth of charcoal dog drawings to show and sell at a fundraising dog show by Arundawn Dog Rescue - from which I was very excited to get my first proper commission.
I remember feeling unbearably guilty getting paid to draw people's pets. I felt like a complete fraud. I was also terrified that I wouldn't be able to accurately capture the animals that people love so dearly. So I designed a custom art package that would allow me to draw lots of quick sketches instead of just one detailed portrait, and I hoped that at least some of the drawings would hit the spot.
I discovered that people loved having a small collection of drawings to display in their homes that showed off different aspects of their pets' personalities - and I loved the spontaneous and expressive results I could achieve when sketching free and fast! I've tried a few different approaches over the years, but my quick pet studies have always been the most popular.
Due to the speedy and sketchy nature of my drawings I use art materials that allow me to get marks down on the paper quickly and expressively. I love using a mixture of pencil, ink, charcoal, soluble graphite and soluble carbon. This year I want to develop my style and play with colour, so you can expect to see more watercolour and coloured pencil experimentations. I do want to stay true to my fast and sketchy vibe though, because I think it's interesting and I'm an impatient artist - I like instant gratification!
Aside from drawing, I am also a passionate writer. I write professionally for Netmums.com on parenting topics (view my Author profile), and I have my own blogs covering a variety of other personal interests (find out more on my Writer website). So, as a writer, it feels natural to me to promote my pet portraits with a blog dedicated to informative and entertaining dog and cat articles and stories. I hope that you find some value in them, and also decide to commission a pet portrait or purchase a piece of nature-inspired artwork for your home.
Please feel free to contact me to discuss freelance writing or illustration projects and collaborations.