I’ve seen many pet portraits on my social media page, but none quite as brilliant as those by Ed Hall.
Hall is an accomplished local artist with an affection for drawing pooches—any pet, for that matter. He may not have predicted that man’s best friend would so fully become his inspiration, but this canine Caravaggio has found his calling capturing the energy and spirit of Fido as well as felines on paper, in either pencil or pastels.
With dramatic detail and clear perspective, Hall embraces the unique qualities that make pets a pawfect subject to immortalize. One look at his works and I knew I had to get my paws on the exceptional artist and get to know him!
Davi: Why pet portraits? And when did you start drawing them?
Ed: I’ve been drawing animals since I was a kid. One of my first memories of being in a real art show was in 1977, and my contribution was a duck in flight. Growing up with dogs, it was only natural that I would start drawing and painting them as well.
What’s the best thing about having pets as your subjects?
Seeing the shared loved between pet and owner. I also enjoy drawing the muscle structure, the legs and the shape of the head. Plus, I like getting to know the breed, and the little things about the dog or cat that separate it from all others.
Do you have pets? Are they a source of inspiration for you?
Yes, and yes! Anyone who knows me knows my boxer Remmy. He’s my muse, my friend and my constant companion.
What animal do you find most challenging to draw?
Horses are tough, but I love drawing them. They’re huge, beautiful beasts. Having grown up around them on my grandfather’s farm, I got to know this firsthand. Someone once said, if you can draw a horse, you can draw anything.
How do you capture the personality of a pet in a drawing?
If possible, I like to meet the animal. Every pet has a different personality, and pets are often a direct reflection of their owners. If I can’t meet the pet, I like to know some things about them that might translate onto the final piece.
Your ‘real job’ is editorial cartoonist. Has cartooning influenced pet drawing?
My background in figure-drawing helps me understand how the human form works. I don’t separate human form from animal form. Conversely, cartooning allows me to exaggerate form, and sometimes that can add to the representation of a pet’s personality. After all, there’s no truer image of someone or something than a good caricature!
Thanks, Ed! Any chance you can do my portrait next?
I’m looking forward to it, buddy!
Art is weird. Half the time you’re, like, “Is this splotch of paint supposed to be a statement on societal affairs?” On the other hand, a painting of your pet is undeniably great—it’s a classy way to flaunt your love for the best thing that’s ever happened to you.
Ed Hall works on commissions from doting pet parents who want to proclaim their puppy and/or kitty and/or parakeet love. If you’d like your pet on paper, bark at him at hallpetportraits.com.