Animal Inspiration | Outlaw Kritters Gifts & Jewelry for Dog, Cat & Animal lovers.
July 12, 2016


Nature Artist Julie Wilmore Captures A Moment In Time

Julie Wilmore


City girl Julie Wilmore is a nature girl at heart. She looks to the mountains and forests for inspiration when creating her masterful works of art. A quiet calm encompasses her work, as though you’ve been privy to a private moment captured in time that only earth and animal are aware of. Dreamy and yet realistic, you can almost hear the rustle of the leaves as each creature makes its way through the forest.


Respite in the Pine Haunt by Julie Wilmore

Respite in the Pine Haunt

How do animals inspire your artwork?

I grew up hiking and camping - this created a deep bond within me for the natural world and specifically woodland and mountain animals. I am seeking the space between these real places I spent time in and the fluctuating memories I have of them. Every wild animal encounter I have has stuck with me and is defined by a unique mood, sensation or experience.

What medium do you work in?

My drawings are made with powdered charcoal and carbon pencil. I literally paint in dry charcoal; this actually offers me a high level of control over the value, texture and I think most importantly soft vs hard edges. I then work with the carbon pencil and a smudge stick to add details, texture and deep blacks. I then add color in many translucent layers using Photoshop to retain all the texture and detail of the drawing, but give it the life of color. (You can see one of Julie's works in progress on her blog where she shows each step. see it by clicking here). 

Boundless Nocturne by Julie Wilmore

Boundless Nocturne


Do you own or have you owned any pets and if so, tell us about them?

No pets currently; I grew up with pets and one day when I am not living in a very small city apartment I hope to adopt a dog.

Ptarmigan:Julie  by Julie Wilmore


How long have you been creating art?

I have been drawing all my life, but really made the decision to dedicate myself to the skill about five years ago.

Tailwind by Julie Wilmore


If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

This is a really hard question, but I think I’d have to say the wolverine. It is small but fierce; doesn’t hibernate through winter and scales mountains with ease.

Hone Claws by Julie Wilmore 
Hone Claws

Anything else you would like us to know about your artwork or yourself?

I grew up hiking and camping - this created a deep bond within me for the natural world. I am seeking the space between these real places I spent time in and the fluctuating memories I have of them. In ways I am trying to connect my childhood to adulthood and bring nature back into my life in the city.

My hope is that people react to my work in a way that will bring some respect and attention to the natural places in our world and be considerate of the other species we share it with.

See more of Julie's work by visiting her in the following online locations:

Instagram: @juliewilmore
Twitter: @juliewilmore

July 05, 2016


Inspired by Japanese Tradition, C. B. Fraser Creates Haiku Cats

C.B. FraserThis week's featured artist, C.B. Fraser, is not only an artist, but a writer and yoga teacher as well. She combines her love of Asian art, with her creative writing skills, to create Haiku Cats. Her line of art, greeting cards, and a Haiku Cats book, depict a whimsical look at the eccentric personalities of felines and their ever so entertaining world. For those of you who have forgotten what we learned about Haiku poetry in school, we'll give you a refresher. They are a traditional form of Japanese poetry consisting of three lines where the first and last lines have five syllables and the middle line has seven. Now, let's meet C. B. and see how animals inspire her work.


How do animals inspire your artwork?

I love animals in general, but cats are my artistic muses. Felines are a perfect blend of beauty and comic relief.  Their grace and aesthetic perfection inspire my artwork, and their "cattitude" provides endless material for the haiku I write. 

Haiku Cats by C.B.Fraser


What medium do you work in?

My work is primarily collaged Asian design motifs, that are often embellished with pen and ink. 

Do you own or have you owned any pets

I have owned only three cats in my life. My first two cats were from a litter my neighbor's cat delivered on my bed one night.  Clam was a fuzzy little gray female who never met a morsel of food she didn't like. She also rarely met a human she didn't like, and would invariably pick the most cat-averse person in the room to try to win over. Her brother Huey was a rather shy black cat with the sweetest disposition ever. He would throw himself in front of the door when I was leaving, and refuse to budge. No one could hide better than my Huey. After Clam and Huey, came Kittyboy, who just followed me home one lucky day. We rescued each other. He was old and deaf with a touch of dementia, but I got to be his person for five sweet years. At present, I have no cats of my own, but am auntie to my landlord's two cats. I live in his guest house which they view as an extension of their domain.  I am their auxiliary food dispenser, and hostess to slumber parties when their dad is out of town. 

Paw by C.B.Fraser

How long have you been creating art?

Though I have no formal training in art, I have always considered myself to be a fairly creative person. For years, I have been dabbling in different mediums, and in a way, "Haiku Cats" is a synthesis of many of these different artistic explorations. This is a project that has spanned about five years, and spawned about six hundred cats, definitely giving whole new meaning to the term "Crazy Cat Lady…"


Haiku Cats Products by C.B.Fraser


If you could be any animal, what would it be?

I would be a cat, of course.  Why? So that I could possess effortless beauty, boundless grace, ignore all boundaries and nap whenever I damn well please. 


Gratitude by C.B.Fraser


What word or words describes your feelings toward animals?



I had the privilege of meeting C.B. (on left) and her business partner (designer/producer) Dolores Lusitana, at CatCon 2016 this year. I got a shot of them surrounded by Haiku Cats.


You can find more work by C.B. Fraser at her website:

Facebook: Haiku Cats 


June 28, 2016


Wildlife Painter BECKSY, Helps Rhino Conservation Through Her Paintings

artist Becksy with dog Ralph


This week's featured artist creates beautiful wildlife inspired paintings from her garden studio in the Scottish Borders. Her best buddy Ralph, a German Wire Haired Pointer. keeps her company. Besides selling prints, she also creates a line of silk scarfs which showcase her paintings. Visit her website which is listed at the end of this article to see them.

How do animals inspire your artwork?

It’s usually a stance or a look that inspires me, that captures my attention. It's not necessarily the animal itself. I can’t really explain why, I just see the image and know it’ll make a good painting.

 "Daividh" duck painting by Becksy


What medium do you work in?

I paint with Oil on canvas painted with a palette knife.

 "Nigel" by Becksy


Do you own any pets, or should I say, are you owned by any pets?

I have a cat named Ernest and a German Wire-haired Pointer called Ralph. Ernest looks at me all the time with utter disdain, and possibly contempt. Since I met my partner, I’ve been banned and David is his favourite. He’s an awesome hunter, unfortunately weasels are his specialty. Ernest will steal the food out of your mouth and is obsessed with chickpeas.


Ralph is two and does yoga in the kitchen, with his specialty being the downward dog position. He bombards us with vocal yawning every morning. He’s never really grasped that Ernest has utter contempt for him too. He quite often foils Ernest hunting attempt just for the hell of it. Sometimes he stalks us around the garden when he’s feeling frisky, and also likes to bury his head in giant pillows and make muffled pig snorts…he makes a terrible art critique.

 "Fabulous" Flamingo painting by Becksy


How long have you been creating art?

I’ve been creating art since I was a child; however I have only painted professionally since 2014 when I realized I needed to start enjoying my job. Luckily, my partner is wonderful and has supported my decision to pack in my project management career and take up drinking gin professionally while painting with a palette knife! 

"Murdo" painting of a roaring stag by Becksy


What charities or animal welfare groups are you involved with?

I’m working with the RZSS (Royal Zoological Society Scotland) painting Rhino which are to be auctioned for Rhino conservation.  I am doing this in memory of my father, George, who died from cancer in 2015. I’m painting all 5 species of Rhino: Greater One-Horned, Black, White, Javan and Sumatran.  


"Fairfax" painting by Becksy


What is your favorite piece of artwork you’ve created?

My favourite piece of art is the first Fox I painted. It just seemed to flow correctly when I painted it. There was no scratching off and starting again, and the colours worked together really well. I like its gangly legs and its naive naughty expression.


You can view more of Rebecca's work at her:

facebook: BECKSYdotCOM
twitter: @BECKSYdotCOM
Instagram: becksydotcom
June 21, 2016


Children's Book Illustrator, Steph Laberis, Shares Her Love of Animals - Especially Rats!

Meet Steph Laberis. Steph Laberis self portrait

Steph is this week's featured artist. Steph's work is colorful, fun, and charming. She specializes in character design for TV and feature animation, as well as illustration for kids books and toys. She has worked on some projects for some really big names like Hasbro, Little Golden Books (remember those from when you were a kid?), Leapfrog and American Greetings, so it's more than likely you've seen her work out in the marketplace. We are thrilled to share her love of animals and how they inspire her work.


 Cats by Steph Laberis

How do animals inspire your artwork?

Massively! Most of my body of work features animals. There is such a wealth of shapes, sizes, textures and personalities inherent in animals that it's an endless source of inspiration for me. I tend to get bored with drawing people, yet I love projecting the personalities of people I know onto my animal characters. Even better if the inherent features of the animal compliment the personality I am going for.


 Rat Illustration by Steph Laberis

What medium do you work in?

It's pretty much all digital at this point. The reason why is because digital painting programs having come so far with the feel of their brushes, and the fact that most of the work I've been doing is for clients (children's publishing, TV and feature animation), which means I will have to make frequent changes to my work and it's so much easier to do that digitally. Once in a while I will break out the Acrylagouache (opaque acrylic based watercolor paint that dries quickly) for a painting , or do some needle felting or try sewing a plush toy, simply because I miss the feeling of having a tangible object to work with.

Felted Mouse by Steph Laberis

Do you own any pets?

Oh goodness. I grew up with Cocker Spaniels and my love for dogs (ANY breed!) started there! Throughout my childhood I had a lot of different pets, including fish, anoles, hamsters, gerbils, and a rabbit. When I was in college I got the pet I had always wanted - a rat! From then on, I was hooked, and I have had the honor of loving 21 rats over the last 12 years. The rats have been just wonderful and each one I got through a small animal rescue, often coming from terrible conditions prior; some were from hoarding cases, one was abandoned in a terribly small hamster cube on a sidewalk, some were meant to be live food for snakes. They all turned out to be incredibly sweet, full of personality and love in their own way. I also have 2 cats via osmosis of moving in with my longtime boyfriend. One of those cats, Fritzy, is the cat ambassador to people who thought they didn’t like cats (i.e. me!) She is the living embodiment of love, and is so very precious, because she is a special needs cat. She has a seizure condition and most recently we’ve learned that she has congestive heart failure. I am happy to say that she is doing wonderfully with treatment right now, but every day with her is still a gift. And most recently, I have adopted 2 white mice from a wildlife hospital that I volunteer at. The menagerie grows!


How long have you been creating art?

For as long as I can remember! I knew very early on that I loved to draw and never questioned having art as a big part of my life. My love for animals is probably the only other passion in my life that rivals my love for creating art, and I didn’t really think about that until adulthood when I started doing animal illustration full-time. It’s funny, back in high school I was voted “Class Artist”, which made sense to me, but also “Class Vet”. That surprised me because I had no idea I was projecting that quality.

 Illustration by Steph Laberis

What are 3 of your favorite animal inspired movies, books or songs?

1.) The Lion King, because seeing it was a turning point in my life when I decided to pursue animation… way back when I was 13!

2.) This is actually a video game, but Okami was striking in both its art style and the sensation of playing as a wolf goddess.

3.) The Busy World of Richard Scarry books. I loved looking for all of the  little details in his illustrations and seeing animals doing humanized things. He also brought in some less common species like mandrills and he drew positively perfect mice!

What are 3 of your favorite famous animal characters?

Jiji (Kiki’s Delivery Service) Dug (UP) and… does the Unicorn from The Last Unicorn count? Because to me, she was the quintessential unicorn and all of the other artwork I’d seen of unicorns just looked like horses with horns on their heads. A unicorn is defined as having the head of a goat, the body of a deer and the tail of a lion, and the Unicorn embodied that in her design.

 Cat illustration by Steph Laberis

What charities or animal welfare groups are you involved with?

I do a lot with North Star Rescue!  They are located here in the Bay Area and for a while now have been my source for ratty companionship! In addition to giving homes to their animal clientele, I often donate prints and artwork to their shop and for fund raising raffles. I also volunteer once a week at Lindsay Wildlife Hospital, taking care of their feeder mouse colony and hand-feeding the baby birds that come in. If I log in more hours, I will eventually be able to take care of the wild mammals and opossums. Looking very forward to that day!


Want to see more of Steph's work? Visit her at the following online locations:

Retail Website:

Facebook: The Art of Steph Laberis

Inatagram: Steph_laberis

June 14, 2016


Pet Portrait Artist Kristina Kiehn Makes Memories from Clay

Dog Tile by Kristina Kiehn


This week we head to sunny Lake Elsinore, California to interview Kristina Kiehn. We aren't actually traveling there, rather a cyber visit, but I'm envisioning chatting with Kristina down by the lake, sipping an iced tea and hanging out with her pups.

Kristina is an amazing clay artist that specializes in custom animal bas-reliefs for pet memorials, decorations, or gifts. As stated in Wikipedia a "Bas-relief[1] is a type of sculpture that has less depth to the faces and figures than they actually have, when measured proportionately (to scale). This technique retains the natural contours of the figures, and allows the work to be viewed from many angles without distortion of the figures themselves."

After creating an urn with her pets face, she realized the memories it created within her. She began making gifts for family members with pets and saw the emotion it evoked. As with many of the artists I've interviewed, an incident with Kristina's own pet spurred on a passion which shaped the direction of her artistic endeavors.

How do animals inspire your artwork? 

My pets, and love of animals, have inspired me to create one-of-a-kind pieces out of clay. I do my best to capture the animal's personality as I sculpt and glaze each piece.


cat tile by Kristina Kiehn

What medium do you work in?

My medium of choice is clay. I've been working with clay for over 8 years. Last year I decided to make a business out of it. I sculpt unique bas reliefs, tiles or plaques, of favorite animals and loved pets.

Do you have any pets?

I have never been without pets. I've had many different animals growing up; dogs, cats, birds, fish, snakes, rats, even a squirrel. I currently have a family of Chihuahuas, Mama, Stanley, and their two sons Mister Binx and Chubbs. Everyday when I come home I'm greeted by "the family". They are my furkids. I feature them on my instagram @claybykristina.


Dog tiles by Kristina Kiehn

How long have you been creating art?

I have always loved creating art. Early on, I was coloring in the lines and drawing the best stick figures. Many years went by as I learned more styles and mediums. When I took a ceramics class I advanced quickly. My instructor and new friends pushed me as I sculpted piece after piece. Soon, I began appearing in galleries and stared a business!


Dog Urn by Kristina Kiehn

What is your favorite piece of artwork you've created?

My favorite piece is my dogs urn. I started making it for my dog Biscuit when I found out that he had tumors at an old age. Biscuit will always be with me in my heart.

If you could be any animal, what would it be?

If I could be any animal I would have a hard time choosing. It's a toss-up between dog and sloth. I know how my dogs live and let's just say they live a great life. On the other hand I'm a big sloth fan. The sloth is my spirit animal. How about I have the power to choose between the two each day!


dog tiles by Kristina Kiehn

How would you describe your feelings towards animals?

My feelings towards animals are strong. For example, when I watch a movie where the animal gets hurt, or worse, it pains me. I physically can't watch certain movies, like Marley &Me, because it hurts so bad.

Want to see more of Kristina’s work? Click on the link & visit her on:

Etsy Shop- click here 

Instagram-click here  or search by username @claybykristina 

Facebook-click here or search by username Clay by Kristina -this is her brand new page, so go show her a little love and like it!



June 07, 2016


Interview With Iva Valentino the Author of Black Cats and Ballet Slippers

Iva Valentino


This week, we have a different kind of animal inspired artist. We are featuring Iva Valentino, who is the author of "Black Cats & Ballet Slippers." This prior middle school teacher and lover of dance, is also crazy for animals. I think she's a cat wizard too, as her cat is 20 years old. She must have a magic 9-lives cat potion brewing. 

How do animals inspire your writing?

I grew up with lots of rescue pets. Especially cats… so many cats! When I was a kid in Ohio, I had a black cat named Mitzko. He was amazing. He was always so spunky, with a lot of “cat-titude!” Mungo, the black cat in my middle grade books, is Mitzko’s clone. Mungo plays a big part in “Black Cats and Ballet Slippers,” and will be returning in the sequel, titled “The Ballerina’s Guide to Football.”

Black Cat and Ballet Slippers


What type of writing do you specialize in?

I write middle grade fiction for girls. The books are lighthearted and funny, and can be enjoyed by adults, too!

Do you own or have you owned any pets, and if so, tell us about them?

My current furbabies are Xena and Lupo. Xena is a warrior catress all the way! She’s twenty years old—and a little deaf—but still going strong. Lupo is our wonderful rescue dog, who will be turning twelve this year. He’s a mix of lab and shepherd and who knows what else!

What are 3 of your favorite animal inspired movies?  

I absolutely LOVE animated movies. One of my favorites is The Lion King, which came out when I was going through a particularly angsty phase in middle school. I still sing Hakuna Matata when I feel stressed! I also really love Finding Nemo and Madagascar. And Ice Age… whoops, that’s four!

What charities or animal welfare groups are you involved with?

I volunteer for Pima Paws for Life. They are truly an awesome organization! I walk dogs once a week, and I also try to snuggle with the kitties as much as I can.


Side note- Pima Paws for Life is the main charity Outlaw Kritters supports, so we love Iva even more for volunteering there!

Be sure to check out Iva's book here:


 You can purchase the book at:


May 31, 2016


Dawn Marie MacSporran Makes a Statement with Driftwood

Dawn Marie MacSporran


This week's artist, Dawn Marie MacSporran, hails from Niagara Falls, Canada. She works her magic using unaltered driftwood to create magnificent sculptures of life-sized animals. These unique masterpieces definitely make a statement!


How do animals inspire your artwork?

I love animals. I love that each has a distinguishing feature that can be highlighted through my work!

Sculpture by Dawn Marie MacSporran


What medium do you work in?

Mostly driftwood but I use accents of other natural elements, such as shells, occasionally.


Do you have any pets?

I've owned quite a few dogs throughout my life. My current dog, My golden doodle, Dexter, is the love of my life (besides my husband) lol.


Horse sculpture by Dawn Marie MacSporran


How long have you been creating art?

I've been creating art all my life. I've sketched, painted, airbrushed, decorated cakes and graphic designed. But, just recently stumbled onto driftwood sculpting!

TABACON by Dawn Marie MacSporran

What is your favorite piece of artwork you’ve created?

My favourite piece of artwork would be my driftwood sculpture called "TABACON" he's a life size lion lounging in the grass.  


If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

Not that's it's an animal, but I would be a bird. Love the idea of the freedom of flying!

Horse Bust by Dawn Marie MacSporran

What are three of your favorite animal inspired movies?

8 Below, Turner and Hooch, and War Horse. 
Want to see more of Dawn Marie? Vistit her here:

Website - (under construction),
Instagram #dawnmariemacsporran
May 24, 2016


Giva Solana Captures the Soul of Pets with Painted Portraits

Giva Solana

Not too long ago, we attended the Phoenix Pet Expo. We had the pleasure of meeting self-taught artist Giva Solana, who was next to us displaying some of her pet portraits. Giva speaks a lot about capturing the beautiful souls of the pets in her portraits, and I believe she is also transferring a part of her beautiful soul into each portrait she paints. Giva has such a kind spirit and her passion for animals is contagious. 

 Joe by Giva Solana


How do animals inspire your artwork? 

Each animal has an individual personality and character. I honor and love every living being, and I love finding out, who they are. Painting animal or pet portraits allows me to deeply connect with the individual soul through their eyes, which are also called: “The windows to the soul”. Although I paint from a photograph, I can feel their Spirit and capture their very special personality through that connection. It is a very inspiring and fulfilling process. I never forget an animal, I have painted. They become well­-known friends. 


Higgins by Giva Solana

What medium do you work in? 

I work with acrylic paint. It has the flexibility of watercolor, and at the same time the glow of oil paint.



Do you own or have you owned any pets? 

Yes, I cannot even remember a time in my life without pets. I have always had a special connection to animals, and they are like family members to me. Currently I live with a cat family, whose members are getting up there in age. The youngest is about 10 years old. I have raised most of them with a bottle, when they were kittens. My 2 favorite cats, Mira and Benny crossed the rainbow bridge last year at age 18. They are with me in spirit at all times, and they inspire my artwork today. 

 Fred & Milo by Giva Solana

"Fred & Milo"

How long have you been creating art?

I have always been an artist, but I seriously started painting animal/pet portraits a couple of years ago. My friend lost her beloved pets in a house fire, and somehow I wanted to keep them “alive” for her, so I painted them. She was amazed how well I captured their characters and personalities, and she cherishes her painting.  It is really comforting to have a painted portrait of your pet, especially after they transition.  A photograph is not the same as a painting.     

 Mira by Giva Solana


What charities or animal welfare groups are you involved with?      

Although, I paint mostly pet portraits, I am a big fan of wildlife. I am saddened by the fact that so much wildlife is being threatened by extinction, mostly due to changes in our environment and their  habitats. My absolute favorite animal is the tiger. Tigers are majestic beings and represent power and  strength. Did you know that their roar can be heard as far as 2 miles away?  I support the tiger rescue organizations, Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center in Scottsdale, and  various small animal rescue groups.  

 Benny by Giva Solana


Want your own pet portrait? You can find Giva at the following locations:




Google +

 Giva is offering 30% off all portraits during June, 2016 in honor of her birthday!

May 17, 2016


Russ Howie - Get Animal Inked

Russ HowieThis week, we interview multi-talented musician, painter, and tattoo artist, Russ Howie. Russ has a soft spot when it comes to animals, which began when he was a kid, and is now being showcased in his beautiful paintings and tattoos. His tattoos take a realistic approach and many happy customers proudly display his work. So, grab a cup of joe, and settle in for a great read. You don't want to miss the part about the Easter bunny...





 dog painting by Russ Howie

How do animals inspire your artwork?

I mean, not to sound too simplistic but I love animals and they make awesome and endless subject matter. But if you want the “artistic” answer to that question, it actually changes depending on the day, and is also different from piece to piece depending on whatever set of circumstances are involved.  Where I end up with a piece is a journey and definitely has about 90% to do with how I feel in the moment, in combination with that specific situation and set of circumstances.  I consider the whole process to be the foundation for keeping myself open to inspiration.  Also, I do both commissioned work and I do my own art, in my own spare time, for my own personal artistic reasons, and the inspiration for each situation is entirely different.  With pet portrait commissions, my inspiration comes mostly from my clients.  The relationship, personality, and connection between the client and his/her pet are what inspire me in this specific situation.  With this particular type of work, the goal for me is always to capture the most prominent and unique features of the animal so that the collector can have an emotional experience with the piece in addition to the obvious decorative one.  Providing this experience is my inspiration in this situation.  However, in my own personally inspired -non-commissioned- artwork, when I use an animal in a piece it is definitely under a completely different set of circumstances, and therefore the motivations and inspirations are different as well.  More often than not, if I use an animal in a piece, or if I use an animal as the subject in a piece, it is done as a metaphor for some underlying message either within the painting or of the painting as a whole.  The message may be open to interpretation, but if you see any animal imagery in my personal work, it is done symbolically.  So the inspiration behind this feature in a lot of my work is continuously changing from idea to idea, actually.      

 owl tattoo by Russ Howie

What medium do you work in?

I work exclusively in oil on canvas or wood panel, watercolor on cold press or wood panel, and tattoo ink in (human) epidermis.


cat tattoo by Russ Howie

Do you own or have you owned any pets and if so, tell us about them?

I had an awesome dog growing up. His name was Bosco and he was a collie mix with maybe lab and possible Rottweiler.  Most chill dog ever.  The place could be getting robbed and all he’d want was his belly rubbed and a piece of cheese.  Aside from Bosco, I’ve kept fish from time to time throughout my life.  Back in San Diego I definitely had an aquarium obsession going.  We had about a dozen or so tanks in the studio at one point, not to mention a few terrariums with lizards and poison Dart frogs and stuff.  That carried over to about a half dozen tanks in my tiny 2 bedroom house.  It was getting a little out of control and my incredibly tolerant and laid back girlfriend at the time was starting to trip about it.  After a few years I moved and had to tear down the tanks and then never really got back into it.  Aquariums, if done right, are a lot of constant work and that makes it difficult to maintain and a very involved and time consuming hobby.  Which I didn’t mind and it was something I very much enjoyed, but my schedule became tight and the aquarium hobby moved further and further down the priority list.  Next thing I knew there weren’t enough hours in the day for it anymore.  You know how that goes sometimes.  However, about 6 years ago I had up to 4 cats at one point including 2 Bengals.  Now I just have one tuxedo cat named Tiva who’s been with me for about 15 years.  She’s the OG.  She doesn’t really meow, but instead chortles.  Kinda sounds like some strange alien language, but the tone of it is very matter of fact-like.  It’s obvious she assumes I can understand her language.   I don’t, but in a weird way I swear I can communicate with this cat.  It’s crazy.  Anyway, she looks exactly like the Johnny Cat logo (pink nose and all) and is an amazing friend.  She never got bigger than about 4 – 5 pounds and is a lover.  Very personable cat and comes out to meets strangers rather than hides.   She loves being pet and loves any human interaction really.  About a year ago she started this thing where every time I’m on the phone with an immediate family member (mom, sis, bro) she comes running from wherever she is in the house and gets all affectionate and stuff rolling around on the floor at my feet and licking my toes and purring in my ear.  It’s like she knows its family on the phone.  Super weird.  And she’s super persistent and it only happens with immediate family members.  It’s like some amazing next level animal instinct mojo.


Dog portrait by Russ Howie

How long have you been creating art?

I honestly began to define myself as an artist at a very young age, and had a lot of encouragement around me to do so.  At age 4 I was already drawing pictures of sharks and marine creatures with crayons for my mother’s dental office wall.  I’m 40 now, so I would say that I have been creating at least some form of art for most of my life.  And I still do art for my mom’s office wall, but I’ve graduated from crayons to paint.  In regards to mediums, actually I never really ventured too far from drawing in #2 pencil, to be honest with you, until about 1998 when I learned Photoshop and studied graphic design at a university in my home state of New York.  At school I was introduced to other mediums, but unfortunately I was not mature enough at that time to move on from my pencil drawings in my personal artwork beyond the work I did exclusively for school.  In 1999 I was introduced to tattooing and by 2002 I had moved to California and found a tattoo apprenticeship situation.  After about 6 years of professional tattooing I was introduced to painting and have been painting now for about 7 years.  


dog tattoo by Russ Howie

What is your favorite piece of artwork you’ve created?

To be honest, I get new favorites all the time and fall out of love very quickly with pieces that I may have been originally crazy about.  I am actually very critical of my own work.  Sometimes I hate a piece and stare at it long enough and eventually grow to love it.  And sometimes the complete opposite.  And to be even more honest, I think my favorite pieces are ones that are still in my mind and haven’t come out yet.  But for the sake of answering the question, I have a desert scene tattoo that I have been working on that I am very proud of and super excited about doing more work on.  And painting wise I would say that I am very connected to some of my Native American artwork because it is inspired by my father who passed away 7 years ago. 

 Indian on Horse Painting by Russ Howie

What are 3 of your favorite famous animal characters?

Cat woman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Donatello), Grape Ape the 40 foot gorill-ill-ill-ill-aaaaa.


turtle drawing by Russ Howie

How would you describe your feelings toward animals?

It’s funny. The first thing that comes to mind is that when I was a kid, I would cry if I had to eat a chocolate Easter bunny.  I thought the chocolate Easter bunny was so cute, that the thought of biting into its cute little sugar candy nose was like totally traumatizing for me.  True story!  And the thought still crosses my mind when they start putting the chocolate Easter bunnies out on the store shelves. Growing up, I was the kid who was always saying; “Mom, can we keep him?”  I would bring home and/or feed stray cats and dogs and was always bringing home reptiles of some kind.  My parents would send me to summer camp and I would ditch camp to sneak off and catch frogs and turtles with friends.  Is it wrong if I say that I probably have more faith and compassion for animals than I do for humans at this point in my life? 

 Horse drawing by Russ Howie

Anything else you would like us to know about your artwork or yourself?

I am currently seeking new clients who would like tattoos (or paintings) specifically of songbirds or horses done in a classic, realism style.  Additionally, I am also working on a series of politically themed paintings and I am seeking models of all kinds who wish to have their images and/or likenesses portrayed in an original  If you would like to have your image/likeness used as the subject of an original oil painting, please contact me @ for details. 

Want to connect more with Russ? Follow him at the following locations:



Instagram #tattoo_russ

May 10, 2016


Katie Walker Design - An Array of Animal Whimsy with a Decorative Flair

Katie Walker DesignThis week's featured artist, Katie Walker, lives in Hertfordshire, UK. Katie works as a designer and illustrator for an accessories supplier. Her personal artwork reflects a textile background with decorative patterns infusing her many whimsical animal illustrations.





Lama by Katie Walker Designs

How do animals inspire your artwork?

Animals inspire my work for so many reasons. I love the way they look, how they walk, run around, and explore! They’re so cute and beautiful, and just fill me with joy!

Chiwawa by Katie Walker DesignsCanal Boats by Katie Walker
What medium do you work in?

I work in water colour, black pens, pencils, and coulouring pencils.

Bugs and Leaves by Katie Walker
Do you own or have you owned any pets?

We have a family dog named Penny Walker! Sadly, I live a 100 miles away from home! I plan, in a few years, to re-home a doggy from a homing center.

Sleepy Box by Katie Walker

What are 3 of your favorite animal inspired movies, books or songs?

I love UP -The dogs are amazing! Fantastic Mr. Fox is fantastic! I have recently fallen in love again with Winnie the Pooh – The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. I love any style of animation and the stories!

Whale by Katie Walker Designs

What are some words that describe your feelings toward animals?

Love! Friendship! Happy!

Foxy by Katie Walker Designs

Anything else you would like us to know about your artwork or yourself?

I am a proud Vegan!

In the Leaves by Katie Walker

You can see more of Katie's wonderful work at the following locations: