Givin me the wild eye

I was vacillating all week about what I was going to do for the “Draw an Eye” challenge for the Everyday Matters group, and I finally decided to paint the excessively large eyes of my American she-bulldog, Ripley. I don’t know if it’s a birth defect or a characteristic of the breed but Ripley’s very large eyes seem to point in two different directions, giving her a decidedly ‘unfocused’ and inattentive look when she gazes straight at me. We noticed this characteristic when she was a puppy, and when she was in a particularly rip-roarious mood her eyes would widen, exposing even more of the whites for a distinctly rabid, mad-dog appearance. We came to call this “giving us the wild eye.” Although it’s not apparent from the angle of this drawing, she really does have ears. Uncut, of course. She’s doesn’t go for any of that west side cosmetic surgery stuff.

  1. Shelly McC
    September 26, 2005

    Wow! this is incredible. Great work!!

  2. Detlef
    September 26, 2005

    I don’t think Ripley has an evil eye in her. She looks like a mighty fine companion to me. Very nice depiction. I also like the way this has been framed.

  3. Jurgen
    September 26, 2005

    Beautiful work indeed. Those eyes are very captivating!

  4. Miyuki F.
    September 26, 2005

    Lovely, lovely. This image looks very much alive.

  5. Linda
    September 26, 2005

    Great alive eyes on Ms Ripley! (And super grin, too!)

  6. victorie
    September 26, 2005

    very well done, it’s really alive..

  7. Lin
    September 26, 2005


  8. Nita
    September 26, 2005

    You’ve captured a wonderful light in her eye. I love the very subtle color-swish inf fur and tongue!

  9. Gail
    September 26, 2005

    Great work Karen – your Ripley looks like a loving companion. I love the use of color.

  10. Kira
    September 26, 2005

    Excellent drawing! You really captured the eyes. I can feel his personality.

  11. Kira
    September 26, 2005

    Sorry – I can fee HER personality!

  12. Evy
    September 26, 2005

    Wow. This is really beautiful! The eyes are very captivating. So alive. Love the moustache and the subtle ‘eyebrow’. I believe you said that you used WC pencils? I can’t never get such an even look with WC pencils. What did you use to draw the white moustache? How long did this sketch take? A very fine job.

  13. Karen
    September 26, 2005

    Thanks everyone!
    Evy, it was watersoluble crayons which pretty much melt on the paper. Also, I paint with them by touching brush to the tip of the crayon when I want to get in small areas. About 90 minutes, although I had to stop and fix dinner in the middle. That’s a best guess, though.

  14. joyce
    September 26, 2005

    This is great! She looks like a great dog–your portrait shows lots of personality!

  15. Cin
    September 26, 2005

    one of my all time favorites, everything about this is so completely gorgeous!

  16. Teri
    September 27, 2005

    Karen, you have totally captured Ripley’s personality with those eyes. Beautiful!


  17. mal
    September 27, 2005

    karen, this is a beautiful rendering. we love ripley!

  18. coffee
    September 27, 2005

    I like what you have done to this piece. You are quite good with watercolours, don’t you? Really, really impressed with it. I just did my own experiment
    with acrylic. My sis bought as she thought there might be a good business venture if we were to be serious about our artistic skills.

    I thought ‘ hey, why not trying! ”

    To be really frank with you, I am really really bad with watercolours. My strength might be with illustrations. Just did a fashion illustration yesterday.
    Had it posted in my blog. Maybe you would be able to comment on it. The more comments I get, the more I’ll be able to learn from my mistakes.

  19. isay
    September 28, 2005

    lovely illo as always. really

  20. Cin
    October 21, 2005

    Here by way of Moleskinerie and I’m so glad!
    You’ve caught that wide-eyed “I’m about to have a mad half-hour” look which I recognize in my own companion animals so well.

    You have a lovely way of illustration, and seeing you’re work reminds me of how evocative an illo can be.

  21. Sioux
    June 17, 2006

    Love Ripley’s eye!! and the rest of her!!

  22. Jan
    June 18, 2006

    This is superb! I love dog drawings anyway. I love the perspective… if it was my dog, I know I would be just about to be…kissed!

  23. Malinda
    June 18, 2006

    Karen, that’s the best I’ve ever seen eyes done!!! If I touched the screen, she’d whimper!! Lovely composition and use of the MS sizing in the washes, it worded great!