A Westie Close up

2011-09-20It’s been a while since my last entry… where does the time go? Anyway, it’s hard to stare down a dog. They will just gaze back at you with their deep, black, puppy-dog-loving eyes. I love it when you almost rub noses. I was working on this illustration of a Casper character design and, while making the cropped image for this entry, I just fell in love with this crop! It reminded me of my dogs who would often sit and stare, sit and stare, sit and stare. Sometimes a tiny whimper – wowrhhh – and then more staring. You can’t help but give them a pat.

Hear the Westies WoWL!

The first Westies


I was going through some old photos the other day and stumbled across some of the very first conceptual sketches (the three photos on the left!) I did for The Westies of West London in December 2009. After work one evening I suddenly had this idea to draw some Westies (I think Casper had some influence that day!) and I proceeded to sketch these drawings onto our white board in the office. I liked the characters and the idea so much that I decided to setup this website and do more. It’s great fun to look back and see how the Westies are evolving.

Hear the Westies WoWL!

A new Westie character design


So it has been quite a while since my last post. I’ve decided to go back to basics and work on the developing the look and feel of the Westie character, which also means going back to using mediums that I’m really fond of to create the artwork. For this design I’ve used pencil for the sketch followed by black Indian ink and brush for the final illustration (although I discovered that my old brushes are somewhat scraggly and split, and produce more calligraphy-like strokes rather than fine brush strokes!). To me the ink and brush line-work is more fluid and natural, which is perfect for the Westie’s hair. I’m also found of the various line weights that are created using the brush which is more spontaneous and uneven, which gives the Westie even more character. I’ve always loved using brush and ink, so will the Westies!

Hear the Westies WoWL!

Walking the Westies

I was inspired by the return of Spring, parks and my experience from walking my own dogs (and Casper) for this illustration. I’ve never walked this many at one time though! I wanted to experiment with various expressions, characters and a larger setting for the dogs. I liked the idea that London is being over-run by wild Westies, although the dog walker still manages some level of control! However, Billy has managed to escape and Basil is an entangled mess. As always, the ever-changing, unpredictable English weather still plagues someone. This time it’s the mice while they’re trying to do their daily shopping run.

The Westies Gang


From left to right: Casper, Billy, Lucky (with the leash) and Basil (hiding behind the street lamp).

The inspiration for this gang of Westies or West Highland Terriers –as they are also known- is based on the Westies I’ve encountered, seen or heard of in Notting Hill. I wanted to feature some additional characters, other than the current one I’ve started using with Casper, as there are more Westies in the Westies of West London.

Casper is our office dog and he’s always raiding the bins, so I thought he’d love it out on the streets, free to do as he pleases. Billy, is one of our client’s Westies –I’ve never seen him but I have heard of his name– and I liked the idea that he has this long, unmanaged fringe which distinguishes him from the rest. He’s also a little bigger than the others and loves betting or gambling with the local pigeons to pass the time. Lucky is one of the other Westies who lives in the mews and is always running around with a leash attached to his collar (sort of like a security blanket I suppose). Basil… well Basil is an excitable, hyperactive pup who is still a bit “leaky”, so he’s generally creating little puddle surprises all over the place.

Welcome to the Westies Gang!