As an illustrator I have designed letters from time to time, sometimes decorated, sometimes plain. It is something most illustrators will eventually get round to - methodically creating an entire alphabet - but you usually need a theme, a reason to do it.
Simultaneously, I have lost count of the numbers of people who ask if I have though of doing dogs (obviously for them it needs to be their particular favoured breed!). I have done a fair few dogs over the years, usually in the context of other elements - like the greyhound and rooster illustrated for WH Smith many years ago.
So I have finally decided to bite the bullet, and create a themed alphabet around dogs.
I set myself a few rules:
Aim to make the dogs proportionate in size - so if the alphabet is displayed together (like say in a poster), the dogs are at the correct scale with each other.
Pick popular dogs - below is a list of the most popular breeds in the country - its a good start point - although a few of my favourite rarer breeds make the cut -
Labrador Retriever 509,500
Jack Russell Terrier 376,300
Staffordshire Bull Terrier 356,000
Border Collie 233,700
Cocker Spaniel 224,400
English Springer Spaniel 194,700
German Shepherd 158,900
Yorkshire Terrier 144,800
Shih Tzu 117,900
Cavalier King Charles 116,400
West Highland White 112,000
Golden Retriever 91,400
Border Terrier 84,000
Lhasa Apso 61,700
Bichon Frise 57,700
Vary their stances a little - still aiming to display them at their best - but have a little variety like the Greyhound and the Yorkshire Terrier.
Make the letters interesting - so each letter has a different (mostly) texture - but clearly inspired by the same font (Caslon).
So an early list of options went like this:
A - Afghan hounds/Airedale
B - Boxer/Border Collie/Border Terrier/ Bichon Frise
C -Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/Cocker Spaniel/Chihuahua
E - English Springer Spaniel/Englishanything
F - Fox terrier/French Buuldog
G -Greyhound/Giant Schnauzer/German shepherd/Golden retriever/
H - Hungarian various/Hairless
I - Irish setter/Italian Greyhound
J -Jack Russel/
K - Keeshond/Kelpie/Kerry Blue/King Charles Spaniel (cavalier also)
L -Labrador retriever/ Lurcher
M - Miniature anything/Mongrel
N - Norfolk/Norwich terrier/Newfoundland
O -Old English Sheepdog
Q - Queensland Heeler - a P chasing a Q
R - Rottweiler/Red Setter/Ridgeback
S - Staffy/Shih Tzu/Shnauzer
T - Toy something/Tibetan something/
U - Nothing....maybe a T chasing a V
V - Vallhund/Vizsla
W -Wire Haired Fox terrier/West Highland White/Whippet
X - Mexican Hairless (Xoloitzcuinthl)/Xiasi Dog
Y -Yorkshire Terrier
Z -Zwegshnauzer (miniature schnauzer) Zulu Dog)
You will see from the sketch poster what my choices are looking like at the moment - of course they might change...
I am taking my time with the alphabet, but hope to finish it by the end of the year. At that point we aim to create a poster with them all in, and in the meantime Kate is printing two colour silkscreens at a much larger scale - obviously this has been interrupted by the present lockdown - but will hopefully recommence later this year.
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