Hello, I am Louise Dollery – a twenty year old watercolour wildlife artist from Hayling Island, England. I grew up in a small seaside town with a big family and many furry friends to look after. Being constantly around animals, I naturally grew attached to our wild and wonderful world. Now that I have found art, I feel that my purpose in life is to remind people how truly beautiful our planet is and how we shouldn’t destroy our home.
I was a relatively artsy child, completing ‘painting by numbers’ kits and making Christmas cards in my spare time, though I was directed to the more academic subjects like Maths and English at primary school. When I was fourteen, I was asked to take my Art GCSE early, then by sixteen I had an A Level in Art & Design. Learning through exploration, my eyes were opened to the different worlds and mediums within art. While studying Graphical Communications at sixth form college, I worked on numerous projects and was greatly encouraged by my tutors to start selling my work. I was commissioned by a couple of companies to help create logos and concept sketches, but I soon settled on watercolour as a favourite medium and animals as the preferred subject.
My passion for animal welfare has only grown and grown, so I am thrilled that I can incorporate it into the joy of painting. I find inspiration all around me. There are so many species and ideas on my drawing list, I don’t know where to start! With each animal that I see, I become entranced in how they move and how they communicate with one another. I love to see wild animals in their natural habitats. Although there isn’t a species of animal I dislike, I feel especially connected to deer. I find them to be majestic and calm creatures, timid but also powerful at the same time. For these reasons, my fawn painting, ‘Dotty, Lottie & Spotty’, has been my favourite painting to work on to date, and I greatly look forward to the stags and deer that I will paint in the future.
With each animal that I see, I become entranced in how they move and how they communicate with one another.
Each painting starts with a simple pencil line sketch. I prefer to use the grid method to get the anatomy just right. From here I add base colours, with watercolour paints, and build up the depth with layers before adding the fine details. I try to make my paintings as realistic as possible, adding as much detail as I can with help from tiny brushes! As a perfectionist, I challenge myself to be accurate and as photo-realistic as possible. I have always been attracted to hyperrealism and being able to convey reality within art.
Once I am happy with a finished painting, I scan the design and have it printed onto a selection of products such as tote bags, mugs, magnets and pocket mirrors. I love receiving deliveries of new stock; seeing my own work printed is a magical feeling. I like to produce useful items with a purpose, but that also make fabulous gifts. I chose to start printing this way so that more people could enjoy my work in their everyday life. It’s fascinating to see how many different companies are out there ready to print on almost anything!
I created my brand Louise Dollery Illustrations only a year ago and already feel that I have learnt a great deal. From presenting myself and my work at events, improving my physical painting techniques, to branding and marketing. Receiving feedback on my work is a real push for me, I enjoy seeing people’s reactions and hearing their suggestions of what animal I should paint next. The most incredible moment for me is when I have been commissioned to create a painting of a lost friend. Being able to bring an animal metaphorically back to life is such a heart-warming feeling.
I also follow a whole range of artists and creators on social media who inspire me daily, whether it’s their personal drive to continue working, their style or the quality of their products. I still have a lot to work on, but I am hugely excited to see where I will be in five years time and to see how my painting abilities will grow. I am wholeheartedly looking forward to the future and what the art world holds for me.
The most incredible moment for me is when I have been commissioned to create a painting of a lost friend. Being able to bring an animal back to life is such a heart-warming feeling.
My main advice for anyone starting out would be practice, practice, practice! Find what you love most, a subject to inspire you, and keep going – your first piece might not be amazing, but in a week, a month, a year it will be! Why wait? Start now!