Dogs are masters at integrating themselves into our human world. All they really want is to be with us and doing whatever we do.
I wanted to create a series of amusing cards that put dogs on centre stage in human situations, highlighting the quirks and habits of their human owners.
I was inspired by ransom notes in which mismatched letters are clipped from newspapers and magazines to hide the identity of the writer, almost as if the dog had made the card... and this set the tone for the use of collage for the illustration too.
I have a collection of old rubber stamp catalogues from the early 20th century from manufacturers who made india rubber goods like address stamps, date stamps, pricing & ticketing stamps. The yellowed pages of the catalogues contain lots of wonderful vintage type styles and layouts that companies could use to design their stamps for commercial use. I cut out the lettering for the cards from these old catalogues.
My stash of old maps, papers and scraps provided plenty of inspiraton for the collage itself.
I'd like to be able to give a neat explanation as to how I came up with the idea for each card, but there was no specific process or trigger that I can put my finger on. The ideas came from observing people in their everyday lives, both in reality and watching films and reading magazine articles and chatting to friends and family. Some ideas came quickly and others by slow osmosis...many of the ideas came on my daily dog walks!
The idea for the most popular card in the range "Some days Bob just couldn't be arsed" came from my teenage son, in the days when it was his standard response to any of my suggestions!
I wanted to give the dogs on the cards traditional, characterful names that echoed the vintage design of the cards. I chose a textured paper for the backgrounds, using bold mid-century colours like orange, teal, olive, mustard and lime to reflect the retro styling.
I sketched out the design for each card digitally on my iPad Pro and then used that a basis for creating each collage. I used various coloured papers, old magazines and tissue paper to make the collages, adding touches of detail with acrylic paint.