Dog on the run

Click for larger

My friend Katherine Tyrell is teaching a wet canvas class in drawing and sketching in public, so it thought it would be fun to participate in some of her assignments and challenges. It sort of takes all the surprise out of it when I come up with my own challenges and it’s nice to let someone else throw a curve for a change. And I know her lessons wil be quite good. One of the first assignments was to do a series of 5, 10 and 15 minute sketches, and to try to do them as quickly as possible to loosen up. I don’t know any model who is looser than Ripley, and she obliged me with a few sittings, er, lyings. I’ll have to pay off in Milk Bones later.


  1. Michelle Himes
    June 6, 2006

    I found your dog drawings on the Wet Canvas Drawing 201 lesson on sketching, and thought they were terrific. So I came here and have read through several of your posts – enjoying both your drawings and your commentary. Will come back and read more when I have more time.

    Nice work!!!


  2. Tami
    June 6, 2006

    Karen, it is official, I am in love with Ripley! I know, I am just another face in the crowd to her, but I can’t help my self, she is beautiful!!! Especially when you draw her!
    I can’t believe these are 5, 10 and 15 minute sketches! Maybe my problem is that I am trying to put in too much detail…Hummm.

  3. Karen
    June 6, 2006

    Thanks, Lydia, Michelle, Tami!
    Tami – the individual heads are about 5 min. each, perhaps a little less since that whole page took about 20 min.

    The drawing of her stretched out was 16 min. but some of that time was playing around with the tapestry pattern in the bed – the Ripley drawing part was about 14 min. Regarding detail: I find that it’s useful to just put in enough to suggest the light and shade values but not to try to draw every hair, whisker and wart. And Ripley has a lot of all three, which is why she has a face only a bulldog mother could love.

  4. Cin
    June 6, 2006

    love those lines! another great Rilpey portrait, some of your best work I think, I’ve loved every one

  5. Diahn
    June 7, 2006

    Superb! I love these – I think that’s why dogs were created…so they would provide us plenty of quick sketching opportunities! Ripley is a great model!
    May I ask what type of bulldog she is? My Oscar is a dog of questionable parentage, and he really resembles Ripley a great deal in form! He’s also a great model!
    Thanks for sharing these, Karen!

  6. TeriC
    June 7, 2006

    Yeah, I’m with Tami on this one…I am in love with Ripley also! You made that challenge a lot of fun.

  7. Roberto Bobrow
    June 7, 2006

    The full body Ripley can be used as an example for students. You made a cleaver choice of what NOT to draw plus a wonderfully balanced alternance of light and shades areas. Just great.

  8. Ann Fortenberry
    June 7, 2006

    Always glad to see her Ripleyness. Dog on the Run is a great title. Now that I think about it, she’s probably running after rabbits in her dreams. It amazes me that you got those great sketchesdone in such a short time.

  9. Karen
    June 7, 2006

    Thank you, all …

    Diahn, she is an American bulldog, AKA “southern white dog” “southern bulldog” “white farm dog” etc. It’s what bulldogs were like in England before they were bred into today’s “English” style. They were long-legged, very brave, athletic, and good with families. Colonists brought them to the US to work on farms, and when the British bulldogs were bred into the new short-legged smushed-face style, these ancestors remained pretty much unchanged. There are two lines of American bulldogs, the Johnson and Scott lines (names of their breeders.) Ripley is from the Johnson strain. ABs are considered to be a rare working breed.

    Ann, I think I can get some speed with Ripley because I am so familiar with drawing her. I’m not so fast with giraffes!

  10. clare
    June 8, 2006

    Ahh that loose pose of Ripley’s is fantastic. He is wonderful model.

  11. clare
    June 8, 2006

    Sorry Karen, SHE is a wonderful model

  12. Stephanie
    June 10, 2006

    I’m glad you clarified Ripley’s pedigree. I’ve owned English Bulls and was confused seeing a bulldog so long legged and without the “smushed face”. I’ve never heard about American Bullies. Could never draw my pup “Humphrey Boneguard”. Whenever I got the pencil and paper out that was his signal to come and drool all over it. Your sketches are beyond incredible. Everyday I log in hoping to see a new one. Thanks

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>