I’m often asked what breed of dog I have drawn the most often. I think people expect me to have to stop and think about it before answering, but the answer is undoubtedly boxer dogs, specifically Sammy, who in recent years sadly crossed over rainbow bridge, and Penny, who has gained a little more white around her gorgeous features since I first drew her but is still her same beautiful self.
I remember the first time that I saw their photos, back in 2014 when their Mum Michelle first contacted me from the USA. Sammy was a gorgeous tan boxer with brown ears and muzzle, and a few white markings. Her sister Penny was a jet black beautiful young boxer with white toes, chin and a white blaze across her chest. I was excited to draw them, especially as they had such wonderful personalities with Sammy’s love of all things edible, and Penny with her playful nature. I had no idea back then, that I would be drawing them again, and again, and how much I would come to love these gorgeous girls that I would never meet.
Of Scotty’s Cartoons, Michelle said
“I honestly don’t know how I found her, but what an amazing surprise she was! She has become a true friend. A special individual. I was just trying her out. I figured what’s wrong with one picture? What did I have to lose? Wow, was I surprised! What an amazing picture. One picture after the next was amazing! I found a wonderful person with so much talent. I was so lucky.”
Back in 2014 I hadn’t yet designed the personality form that I now send out to new clients seeking a dog portrait scene. So we just had a brief chat about Sammy and Penny’s personalities, and I asked for some photos of them and their toys.
This was the first scene that I drew of Sammy and Penny
“She just made it happen. It was as if she knew them already! I trust Helen with anything. She really knows how to capture and create everything.
Helen captured them as if she was watching them; their every move. She knew them well and I couldn’t have imagined anyone else displaying my dogs the way that she did.“
Since then, Michelle has been back on multiple occasions to commission me to do another scene of her gorgeous girls, resulting in a whopping 42 cartoons of them in various scenes displaying their personalities, as well as several additional ones for her friends featuring their dogs. Michelle has become a true friend over the years, and even asked me to design her sugar skull tattoo of Penny for her, which was a huge privilege for me.
Sammy and Penny have featured in New Year scenes, Easter, July 4th, Halloween and Easter holiday scenes… (click the side arrows to scroll through the gallery)
We’ve also had Sammy and Penny on the beach, in the pet shop, running a lemonade stand, being pampered in a salon, camping, having a ball pit party, and loads more!
As I got to know them better, I found it increasingly easier to add those added extra touches in that I love to put into scenes, as the multiple facets of their personality became apparent to me. Michelle said
“She added things to EVERY picture! It was as if she was there watching them (in California)! She always found a way to express something new. She ALWAYS included their favourite toys in one way or another!”
Every time that Michelle has returned for another scene I have felt like I’m drawing my old pals Penny and Sammy again, as I’ve drawn them even more than my own dogs. It’s always a homely feeling letting my hand draw the curves of their beautiful snouts and mischievous paws.
In 2021 Sammy sadly crossed over the rainbow bridge, and despite me never having met her, I felt heartbroken.
I had explored her personality so fully, that it felt like a real loss. Since then, I have drawn a few more of Penny, and we always made sure Penny had her toy sloths as buddies in her cartoons so that she’s not lonely. I also ensured that I incorporated a special nod to Sammy in each one so that she wasn’t left out, as I can’t help but think of her too when I draw Penny. Sammy’s reflection has appeared on a Christmas tree bauble and in a river, and her favourite ball was in the top of a palm tree in the paradise island scene. Penny's appearance has changed a little over the years, with white freckles across her face that somehow make her even more beautiful.
To anyone thinking of having a pet scene by Scotty’s Cartoons, Michelle says
“Don’t even hesitate. Helen is the best, most caring person you’ll ever find. What a true talent. She asks all the right questions. Give her a chance, you wont be disappointed. I guarantee it!”
Huge thanks to Michelle for the very kind words and kind permission for this blog post. Thanks too, as always, go to Sammy OTRB and to Penny, for having such beautiful personalities to draw. xx