One of the first custom etching projects I ever worked on (maybe even the very first), was a hand-engraved dog portrait on a vase for a man who had lost his best friend and wanted something to commemorate their relationship. I drew his dog from a single photo, and when I handed it to him so he could see it in person for the first time, he cried. I'll never forget that moment, and the way it made me feel to be part of something so powerful.
I've long since wanted to do more pet portraits, especially since drawing animals has been my favorite past-time since I was in elementary school. I know how important pets are to their owners (I grew up with a dogs, cats, gerbils, rats, fish, and frequently rode horses and ponies at a neighbor's farm). I dread the days we have to say goodbye to our loves, but I know we can't live without them.
When a customer recently asked me to draw a portrait of her boyfriend's 13yo dog, Fela, so that she could give him a gift that would make him melt, I couldn't wait to get stared.
Not only was Fela a cute dog, but she was so incredibly photogenic, I had a hard time choosing an image to use for her portrait. Every picture showed her smiling this wide, goofy grin. I finally settled on one and started sketching, digitally.
The entire drawing was created in Inkscape, a freeware vector program I use to create my graphics for sandblasting. It's a lot like Adobe Illustrator, and I use it for nearly everything.
I worked with my customer to get the image just as she'd pictured it, sending some digital mock ups of the design to her for critiquing. In just a few days, I had the finished design with Fela's name above it.
We shipped it out 7 days after she ordered, it even though I got the flu in the middle of everything! I'm not always able to get custom designs done this quickly, but it feels great to see a project through in one week. Having a helpful customer that can respond promptly to questions, knows exactly what they'd like, and has great photos, can all help a lot.
I heard that the recipient LOVED it, and I'm considering adding this design (or a similar version of it) to our stock designs. Contact me if you'd like something like this for yourself or a loved one!