Milly and Harper – Pet Portraits

I am always delighted when a customer returns to me for another commission.  It is an endorsement and validation that they appreciate the style and quality of my work and are happy to commission you to do another piece of artwork for themselves or a loved one.

MillyandHarper by Michael Quinlyn-Nixon(forblog)
Last year, Mrs Angela Rose had commissioned me to create a birth illustration for a young relative, with a collection of dinosaurs.  On this more recent occasion, she requested me to create a portrait illustration of her daughter’s two West Highland Terriers: Milly and Harper.  I prefer to take photographs of pets myself, whenever possible, so I went around to do a photoshoot of the two canine characters.  Both of these two dogs were in a rather soporific mood on a hot July day that they needed to look their best for the camera.  They were both very well groomed, but their sleepy moments were interspersed with bouts of running, racing and jumping, as Mrs Rose’s daughter, Amy, and myself strived to keep them awake whilst I took numerous photographs. 

I have to say that both Milly and Harper were adorable in different ways, but I have a ‘soft-spot’ for Harper who gently raised her nose to touch mine whilst introductions were being made. 

The illustration took a number of days to complete and required a background of fawn and soft browns to make Milly and Harper stand out.  Whenever I am drawing ‘white’ dogs I am amazed to discover all of the different colours that go to make up the fur.  These colours can include a range of browns, creams and fawns to name a few.

I handed over the finished commission to Mrs Rose and her husband, Ian, and they commented that the illustration was “spot on” and that Amy would be delighted with her personal and unique commissioned illustration. 

I later heard that Amy was delighted and the commission will soon be displayed on her living-room wall.  Thank you to the Roses and my other clients who return to me time-and-time-again for illustrations – it is very much appreciated.

Welcome to my new blog…from Michael Quinlyn-Nixon

Hello Reader and welcome to my blog.  This blog wouldn’t have been possible if it hadn’t been for the help of my very good friend Cherry.  It’s hard to sum up the last twelve-years and all of the hard work and effort that went into creating the twelve Bear-a-thought calendars.  I didn’t realise at the time of producing the first teddy bear calendar, in 2002, that it was the centenary of the teddy bear, since its creation in 1902.  Now I reflect on it, it is a lovely and happy coincidence (if I believed in coincidences!).


I started my first teddy bear illustration ‘A Well Earned Rest’, during a short visit from Cherry to my home in 1999.  I wasn’t aware at the time that it was going to be the start of a twelve-year occupation, that was going to take the lion’s share of my spare time, weekends and holidays.  I had no other plans than to create a couple of teddy illustrations for my nieces, but later a former school friend of mine, Diane, suggested that I also used the illustrations to produce a limited-edition and unique calendar of my drawings.  I dedicated my first illustration to my grandparents, Georgina and Henry Lake, as it included a gardening theme and they were keen gardeners.  My Grandfather Lake, a wonderful and kind man, was the inspiration for including the ladybird in the illustrations, as I recall fond memories of collecting ladybirds (from a nearby marshy area of Tanfield Lea) which he would utilise to keep his beloved roses aphid-free.  Ladybirds have from that time evoked memories of my special grandfather.  Spotting the ladybird (pardon the pun) in each illustration has – I have been told – occupied the mind of many an infant child (their parents have praised me for it!).  The ladybirds have also become my ‘signature tune’, resulting in many people from many different countries sending ladybird items and souvenirs from the far-flung corners of the world.  Because of this an image of a ladybird has become the main feature of my new logo and artistic venture.  Being a symbol of good luck, I really couldn’t have chosen anything more appropriate…