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
- Boxer 84,600
- Border Terrier 84,000
- Rottweiler 75,400
- Chihuahua 74,200
- Lhasa Apso 61,700
- Bichon Frise 57,700
- Lurcher 56,800
- Greyhound 49,400
- 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.