Over the last few weeks, I've been getting to know one of the world's most misunderstood canines - Fearless. Face like a cement mixer, heart of marshmallow. Colin Thompson's new book is a character study of this hapless bulldgog, who blunders through life, meaning well, loving everyone to bits, but more Clueless than Fearless. He's based on Colin's bulldog Wallace (now deceased),and is a brilliant character. I haven't had much to do with bulldogs - in fact I've never had the pleasure of meeting one before. The closest I've gotten is growing up with a boxer called Pickles (one testicle, half a brain, liked the taste of milkmen).
So for the initial sketches of Fearless, I've just been working off googled images of bulldog ugly mugs. Here's some of what I came up with to start with:
Because Fearless is bulldog through and through, and because I want to do him justice, I thought I better get to know some of his relatives. It turns out that there's a bulldog breeder living just round the corner from us - luck! - who was kind enough to let me come round today and do a photoshoot with their dogs. They have SEVEN. Just... wow! And lucky for me, they were gloriously bulldoggy and so photogenic. Bailey, the camera loves you. Okay, work it for me, baby! Shake these jowls! Chew that stinky ball! Yes!!!
I took almost 300 bulldog glamour shots in just over half an hour. They're amazing creatures - they're like walking bricks with a smile on one end. My thanks to Wanda and Vince at Wonderbull for their generosity in letting me invade their back yard today.