One of my primary artistic muses, if I may use so highfalutin' a term, has been my mom's old Brussels Griffon Terrier, Aja, who we inherited from one of her friends who passed away. I really need to get a good picture of him, as he must be seen to be believed. He's about 12 years old and has lost most of his hair. He shambles around in the most outrageous bowlegged stance, front legs akimbo like some overpumped bodybuilder. He likes to sleep on a pile of blankets in the closet like a gremlin. Aja once frightened a delivery man. We had let Aja out to do his business and he was sitting hunched over in the driveway when the truck pulled up and my mom went out to collect Aja. Afterwards, the man driving the truck told my sister-in-law that when he drove up he saw something in the driveway, but he didn't know what it was. He said it looked kind of like a dog, but not quite, and he was in fact a bit scared to get out of the truck. This story amuses me to no end.
This makes Aja a wonderful source of inspiration for my strange little creatures. Odds are if something has a humorous underbite and/or big buggy eyes, it's based on Aja. He's pugnacious and stubborn, though not mean, and long after he passes he'll live on in my paintings and doodles.
This weekend I'm storing up some new inspiration as I dogsit for a friend. She has a pair of Scottish Terriers, Mae and Prima. Hanging around with them is like living with a pair of scampering mops, which I mean in the best possible way. I love to watch them scurry after their toys on their impossibly short legs, legs nearly hidden under their ruffles of fur so the girls seem to be propelled by something other than dog feet. Perhaps a dozen clawed feet like The Luggage in the Discworld novels. Their shaggy eyebrows make their faces incredibly expressive and give them a certain wise air. I foresee a number of new creatures springing from this visit.
I love terriers in general, and even the ones I don't find very appealing (like Bull Terriers, ew) can still lead to interesting creature designs. It's terriers everywhere! Ahhh!