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From Peanuts to Pet Portraits, unveiling the artists who’ve shaped my dog art

From Peanuts to Pet Portraits, unveiling the artists who’ve shaped my dog art

We may be born with artistic tendencies or appreciation but I don’t think any of us are born talented, as a child I was told I had talent, but I think what people missed at the time was the connection with the hours of drawing I did, practice was what made me 'talented' and a desire and drive to keeping picking up those pencils and paints and keep trying. 

When people tell me they can't draw or they’d never be able to draw as well as me, I say it’s not an on/off switch that you can/can’t draw, it’s that you’ve never wanted to draw, or that you've never had the desire to draw so badly that you’re willing to draw terribly and keep drawing terribly until you improve, this desire is where I think Snoopy came in for me.

I remember drawing and painting before Snoopy came into my life, one particularly vivid memory is being greatly irritated by another girl at Sunday School because she couldn't colour in properly (she only used one colour and scribbled all over the page, I would sit there muttering,'but she's doing it wrong'! I was 5) , but it was Snoopy that inspired me to practice and to practice hard, I wanted to be able to draw snoopy without tracing, freehand and at speed. My best friend and I would race each other and pester our families to say which of us did it quicker or got a better likeness.

With the habit of trying to draw fully ingrained in me, by the time I got to secondary school, I was in the ‘good at art’ crowd and thanks to a fabulous art teacher (Thank you Mr. Nick!) the desire to create art, experiment and have fun has never left me.


In my very early years, getting a ‘likeness’ was important to me and that’s something I’ve carried with me to today. As was capturing an expression and expressing some humour. I also picked up some strange ideas about what constituted good art but more on that later...

Snoopy and woodstock cartoon strip

It’s common knowledge my first love was Snoopy, it started a lifelong love of the work of Charles Schultz. With the tiniest of lines or eyebrow dash he could convey an entire expression and he’s definitely inspired a lot of my illustration work, I think you can see it best in my range of ‘Today I will be…’ greeting cards, where I have this idea of dogs stating their intentions for the day on a scrap of paper.

Jo Scott Art Greeting Cards on a Mantlepiece

Other influences include;

David Hockney - he’s from my neck of the woods and has a studio in the town where I was born, Bridlington. I’ve always loved his use of colour and his dedication to practice, he is ALWAYS working on something. If I reach my 80’s I hope I’ll still be painting something! 

Herge - It wasn't until after I’d created this range of greeting cards and several people commented on how they reminded them of TinTin, that I realised  he was another influence from my youth

Jo Scott Art Greeting Cards on a Mantlepiece

These cards are available via my publisher here -

And if you'd like to read more about Herge, click here


I discovered Alison Friend, only a few years ago, I love her subjects, her ability to tell a story, you can almost read their thoughts and all of this within a pose. Even though I’ve never met her I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of her own personality traits are depicted in her paintings.

It’s this unique element that inspires me to bring more of myself into my work

Alison Friend oil painting images

Many of us artists have strange limiting beliefs , we can also adopt odd opinions about what actually constitutes a good painting, for example, I always like my work to look like I've spent hours on it, so if it only takes me an hour then I think it can't possibly be finished yet (I've learnt to walk away at this point and come back later to decide) but I need it to look spontaneous and sometimes dramatic (I mean really where do some of these things come from!?!) We're usually overtly critical of our work and I will often decide that people won't like a painting before I've even shown them it 🤣

Sometimes it's about seeing other peoples work and it it giving you permission to think a little differently about some of the work you produce - I'm working on a series of paintings that tell different stories, very much in my own style, so watch this space... but in the meantime I'm really pleased with how I capture expressions in my commission work now

Watercolour black spaniel painting by Jo Scott


This is where I’m practising most these days, my 2 biggest influences are Lisa Wang

And Alvaro Castagnet, who I think of as the Antonio Banderas of watercolour painters!

Also I have to mentionTom Shepherd he's a British artist who again I only discovered a couple of years ago, but I’m very excited to be going on one of his painting retreats this September.

I’m looking forward to experimenting and painting for paintings sake and whilst I'm sure I’ll sneak in the odd dog to paint I’m hoping to try out lots of different subjects too. A real painting holiday.

For updates on my 'watch this space' comment, plus the review of my painting retreat and for any new work releases/events, do make sure you’re on my email list, you can sign-up by clicking here


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