Portraits Aren’t Just for People

When I’m trying to come up with animal characters for stories I usually begin by sketching from photos of real animals. For characters Peanut and Crackers, I began the design process by doing portraits of different dog breeds and then simplifying those drawings into cartoon characters. Some of these dogs appear as secondary characters in Book 2 of the series. Stay tuned! 🙂


The three main characters are based on my own pets. Here’s a comparison between actual photos and each cartoon persona I created. If you study animals, they each have funny little personal traits. I tried to incorporate these traits into Puppy Problems.

For example, our cat loves boxes. Our little dog with the button ears whose cartoon persona is Crackers, can’t stand squirrels. Our puppy does this cute little thing where he pauses and lifts one paw when he’s nervous. Peanut does the same thing. 

My advice to anyone who wants to create characters and comics, pay attention to the little things. The fun is in the details.